Testosterone may be a buzzword among male bodybuilders. However women also need to possess healthy levels of this vital hormone to boost their physical fitness or weight loss program, and to achieve general wellness. We’re going to talk about the forgotten hormone for women’s health and wellbeing.
Women often only consider testosterone therapy when they hit menopause. As they age, androgen production begins to slow down and their sex drive can be reduced. Studies indicate that testosterone does have an impact on the sex drive and can remedy other problems of sexual dysfunction. However, doctors are hesitant to recommend testosterone replacement therapy for women.
Testosterone Therapy for Women
Testosterone therapy is usually only prescribed to women with adequate estrogen levels experiencing a lessened libido, depression and fatigue, where there are no other identifiable causes. Many women choose to take the natural route to wellbeing, by making small changes to their diet and lifestyle that can make a significant impact on their testosterone levels. Whether women wish to boost their sex drive, enhance fat burning, strengthen bones or build muscle, the following lifestyle and dietary may be of help:
- Steer clear of sugar and processed foods: Sugar is no less than a ‘monster’ in modern diets, causing everything from weight gain to Type 2 diabetes, inflammation and heart disease and even premature aging of the skin. When you consume sugar as a product or as an ingredient in so many processed foods, you cause your glucose levels and insulin to spike, leading to a dramatic drop in testosterone.
Tips to Maintain Healthy Hormone Levels
You don’t need to avoid carbohydrates; simply select the right kinds. Shun pre-cooked foods and opt for seasonal fruits and vegetables, which are rich in phytochemical energy and which will help keep your blood sugar levels constant throughout the day. Processed foods and refined sugars can wreak havoc on women’s health.
- Consume healthy fats: Testosterone is composed of cholesterol, which is obtained from dietary fats. Aim for heart healthy fats and remember that low-fat diets have been found to cause a drop in testosterone. Consume an array of meat, fish, nuts and beans. Also make sure your protein intake is adequate, as proteins help optimize insulin levels and they have the fats required for testosterone building.
- Try out the ‘superfoods’ for testosterone building: Some foods known as ‘superfoods’ for testosterone production include Brazil nuts, oysters and other food which are rich in zinc. You should also aim to boost your magnesium levels by consuming antioxidant-rich cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc.
- Go organic: Organic foods contain less harmful chemicals, pesticides and growth hormones. They respect the natural balance of hormones and contain higher percentages of antioxidants (and less metals such as cadmium) than non-organic produce.
- Ensure you are obtaining adequate levels of Vitamin D: Research has shown that Vitamin D supplementation in men (3,332 IUs daily) for a one-year resulted in a 20 per cent rise in testosterone levels. Vitamin D is also important when it comes to the prevention of brittle bones and osteoporosis when we are older. Currently, it is estimated that 40 million adults in the US have (or are at risk of developing) osteoporosis. To increase your Vitamin D levels, try to enjoy a few minutes beneath the sun everyday and consume fortified products (such as yoghurt and cereal). Mushrooms, eggs, beef liver and cheese also contain small amounts of this Vitamin. The Daily Values (DV) set for Vitamin D currently stands at 400 IU by the FDA, which is less than the recommended 600 IU. Try not to take more than 4,000 IU a day, since fat soluble vitamins are not as easily eliminated by the body as water-soluble vitamins.
- Make time for exercise: Various studies indicate that weightlifting exercises (including lunges, squats, step-ups, etc.) can boost testosterone levels. Both heavy and light weights have been found to have a positive effect. It is important to give yourself short rest intervals between sets (aim for 120-second breaks), since research indicates that this is the magical time frame for maximum testosterone gain, according to research.
- Eliminate your exposure to chemical estrogen to the greatest extent possible: Chemical estrogen, present in a plethora of modern skincare products, shampoos, gels, home cleaning products etc., contain chemical estrogens with play havoc with the natural balance of hormones in your body. These chemicals are also present in many fragrances, scented candles and air fresheners. When purchasing grooming and skincare products, try to go as natural as possible.
Sources and Further reading: