In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about testosterone, defining exactly what it is, its functions, how to optimise testosterone levels and more.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone (also referred to as T) is a hormone that regulates muscle development, skin production, bone growth, bone marrow, brain function and reproductive hormones.
While T is primarily associated masculinity, it is an essential component for both sexes to maintain optimal health and well-being.
The Function Of Testosterone
The major effect of testosterone on the brain (of both males and females) is to make effort feel good. For example, the pain from weight-lifting.
Men have 10-20 times more testosterone than women. In men, testosterone levels naturally begin to decline around the age of 30, resulting in a range of side effects.
Men with higher T levels achieve psychological dominance, have more self esteem and move through the natural world with more confidence.
T increases sensitivity to reward. In other words, it increases the amount of dopamine that is released in response to behaviours that enhance survival and reproduction and in turn dopamine increases T.
The Evolutionary Perspective
From an evolutionary perspective, the primary function of testosterone was to coordinate male behaviour in the service of reproduction.
High T levels are associated with more disease resistant genes and therefore greater health. Thus, signs of T signal to women that a man has good genes and a healthy reproductive capacity.
Testosterone & Weight Training
When it comes to weight training, testosterone is stimulated by intensity and volume.
Levels of T increase with exercise lasting around 60 minutes. Levels of T decrease with exercise lasting over 75 minutes while levels of cortisol increase.
6 Strategies For Naturally Optimising Testosterone Levels
Regardless of age, there are a range of natural ways to optimise testosterone levels. Below we’ll unpack 6 of the most common and accessible.
- Quality Sleep ― Studies show that poor sleep can decrease levels of T by up-to 15%.
- Minimise Stress ― When cortisol levels increase, T levels decrease and vice versa.
- Resistance Training ― Studies show resistance training can increase levels of T by up-to 21.6% in men and up-to 16.7% in women.
- Minimise Alcohol ― Studies show that alcohol can decrease levels of T by up-to 23%.
- Vitamin D ― Studies show that vitamin D can increase T levels by up-to 25%.
- Ashwagandha ― Studies show that ashwagandha can increase T levels by up-to 50%.
- Semen Retention ― Semen retention for just 7 days can increase a man’s T levels by up-to 45.7%.
Testosterone is a hormone that is essential in generating health and well-being in both men and women.
T regulates muscle development, skin production, bone growth, bone marrow, brain function and reproductive hormones.
Strategies for optimising T levels include quality sleep, minimising stress, weight training, minimising alcohol, increasing vitamin D levels, consuming ashwagandha and engaging in semen retention.