Testosterone is an important hormone in the male body. It is found in women, too, but men produce eight to 10 times more testosterone than women do.
Testosterone is needed in men to help maintain muscle mass and strength, as well as bone mass and strength. Testosterone also helps to maintain a healthy libido, and mental and physical energy levels.
A new study suggests that one out of every four men over the age of 30 have low testosterone levels. The study also revealed that only one out of every 20 men, however, actually show clinical symptoms related to testosterone deficiency.
It is normal for men’s testosterone levels to decrease slightly as they age. But low levels — less than 300 nanograms per deciliter — can make it difficult for men to feel healthy.
Researchers at the New England Research Institutes looked at data from almost 1,500 men. These men were taking part in the Boston Area Community Health Survey. The survey took into account participants’ testosterone levels and symptoms of hormone deficiency. The study also looked at medications that have an impact on levels of testosterone.
Twenty-four percent of men in the survey had low testosterone levels. Many of these participants experienced no symptoms along with the testosterone deficiency.
In older men over the age of 70, 18% were found to be symptomatically low in the male hormones.
“Low levels of testosterone impact many aspects of male physiology,” said lead author Andre B. Araujo.
Is there anything you can do to protect against low testosterone levels?
Eat healthy, but watch out for low-calorie diets. Over the long term, eating fewer calories than you need for your body weight will lower your testosterone levels.
Animal protein seems to be linked with higher testosterone levels. Try to add some lean beef, poultry, fish, and pork to your weekly diet. You don’t need to eat red meat every day — just enough to keep your levels up. Protein is important for healthy testosterone levels, but too much can have a negative effect.
Zinc is an important mineral when it comes to maintaining testosterone levels. Keep your levels up by eating foods high in this mineral.
Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are all known to lower levels of estrogens in the body. Estrogens can block the production of testosterone — so you want to help keep them in check by eating these veggies.
One last thing to consider: alcohol can increase the rate at which testosterone is converted into estrogen. Remember to drink in moderation.