Testosterone, or as you may know it, ‘the manly hormone.’
It’s true that we tend to associate testosterone with manliness...conjuring up images of hairy cavemen gnawing on meat. But there’s a scientific reason behind this!
Although testosterone is a hormone present in both men and women, it plays a more significant role for men. It affects bone and muscle mass, the way fat is stored in the body, and even red blood cell production. A low level of testosterone can result in a loss in libido and low sperm production, which are of course essential for conception. A man’s testosterone levels will also dictate his mood, hence the ‘angry caveman’ image...
So, just how significant is testosterone to male fertility?
According to Puneet Masson, MD, assistant professor of Urology and director of the Male Fertility Program at Penn Fertility Care, ‘Hypogonadism—or low testosterone—can lead to issues with sexual desire...and can also affect the development of sperm. Low testosterone can definitely affect a man who’s having difficulty achieving a pregnancy.’ Doctors like Masson actually advise against supplementing with testosterone, as this can hinder the body's natural ability to produce testosterone and even shut off your ability to produce sperm.
So even though a ‘magic pill’ may seem tempting, don’t do it guys...doctor’s orders!
Now, do you remember the saying: ‘Let food be thy medicine,’ well...
‘Let food be thy testosterone!’
Here are some foods to naturally increase your testosterone levels.
- Cruciferous Vegetables (kale, spinach, arugula, bok choy)
- Egg Yolks
- Beans (kidney, fava, cannellini, garbanzo)
- Low fat milk
As well as diet. It’s also important to take environmental factors into account. You could be eating like a nutritionist, but if your lifestyle is hectic and stressful, this could also hinder your body's ability to produce testosterone.
Check out our 'Fertility Yoga for Men' article to see how you can destress.
Moreover, recent studies report that testosterone levels are on the decline worldwide and that the environment is probably to blame for this. ‘The average levels of the male hormone dropped by 1 percent a year,’ Dr. Thomas Travison and colleagues from the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, found. This means that, for example, a 55-year-old man in 2002 would have testosterone levels 15 percent lower than those of a 55-year-old in 1987.
So, you’re not alone guys...this is a worldwide issue that needs to be addressed. But, before taking on the world like superman, why not start with you?
If you're in need of some meal inspiration, check out our article: Testosterone boosting recipes