How to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally

Six Methods:Managing Your Diet and NutritionExercising RegularlyChanging Your LifestyleUsing Vitamins, Minerals, and HerbsDiagnosing Low TestosteroneWhen Should You Try This?

Testosterone is a hormone that regulates the sex organs, metabolism, bone loss, and other bodily functions. Though affecting primarily men, both sexes can experience low testosterone or Low T. Studies have shown that lifestyle choices play the biggest part in testosterone levels. Exercise, sleep, stress, and obesity can all affect hormone levels. Find out how to increase testosterone levels naturally.

Additionally, check out When Should You Try This? to learn more about when you may wish to consider trying natural methods of increasing your testosterone levels.

Method 1
Managing Your Diet and Nutrition

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    Consult your doctor for a yearly physical. Ask for a detailed analysis of your weight. If you are overweight or obese, this could be the cause of a drop in testosterone.
    • Obese people secrete more aromatase, an enzyme that works to convert testosterone to estrogen. Your metabolism will continue to decrease as your body produces more aromatase, making the problem worse. Create a weight loss plan with your doctor.
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    Avoid processed, packaged, and prepared foods. Increased weight and obesity can lead to low testosterone levels.[1] Changing your dietary patterns can make a big difference not only to your testosterone levels but to your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Start changing your diet by cutting out processed, packaged, and prepared foods.
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    Eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Eating “whole” foods means cutting out excess sugars, trans and hydrogenated fats, preservatives, etc. Try to incorporate:
    • More fruits and vegetables[2]
    • More fish and quality meat.
    • Avoid processed food, including grains, lentils, beans, and dairy.
    • More nuts and seeds
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    Avoid outside sources of sugar. This includes sugars added to processed foods (such as high fructose corn syrup), as well as artificial sweeteners.[3] If you need a “sweet hit”, try using Stevia, an herb that can provide sixty times the sweetness of sugar.
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    Increase healthy fats. Omega-3 fats are healthy fats found in a variety of foods. These include those found in eggs, algae, fish and mussels, but also plant oils like flaxseed, hemp and walnut oil. Healthy fats actually help to build a healthier body.
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    Drink plenty of water. Lots of water is essential to any healthy diet. In addition to hydrating you, water can also stop you from feeling hungry.
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    Eat only when hungry. Cut down on snacking, eating when bored, and other sneaky calories. Try to eat only when you are hungry.
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    Don't go on crash diets. Restricting calories significantly may send the wrong signals to your body, which will not increase testosterone. Instead, cut your calories by approximately 15 percent the first week.
    • All weight loss goals should be reasonable. Aim to lose a pound per week by improving diet and increasing activity levels.
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    Eat following a workout. Meat, high-protein yogurt, and some vegetables can help build muscle. Increasing muscle will help burn fat and increase testosterone.

Method 2
Exercising Regularly

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    Start a strength-training routine. If you have never lifted weights, used resistance bands or used weight machines, hire a personal trainer or physical therapist to teach you the proper form and procedure.[4]
    • If you are very weak, start with resistance bands. This gentle form of strength-training allows you to use a rubber strap to train weak muscles before lifting actual weights.[5] Do this 2 to 3 times per week for the first 3 to 4 weeks. If you have a joint or back problem, you may want to graduate to stronger bands and stick to this form of strength training.
    • You can increase your testosterone levels by up to 20 percent by lifting weights 3 times per week for 11 weeks.
    • Strength training in the evenings can increase testosterone levels in the evening. These effects tend to be brief and smaller the better shape you are in.[6] They can still help.
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    Use weight machines or free weights 2 to 3 times per week. For men, you will want to choose weights that tire your muscles after only 5 repetitions. Do 3 sets. You should feel muscle fatigue after a weight training workout. Allow your muscles 24 to 48 hours to rest.
    • Women or people with joint problems may choose to do endurance training. For example, they may choose a slightly lower weight and complete 3 sets of 10 to 15.
    • Work half sets in between full sets. This means, you should complete half the range of motion, from the bottom up or top down, to work the fast twitch muscle fibers as well as the slow twitch fibers.
    • Lift weights slowly. Breathe slowly and never drop the weight. Control the weight until it is in its original position.
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    Do cardio-interval training. Begin doing cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 times per week.
    • Interval training requires you to warm up, sprint or workout intensely for a short period (such as 90 seconds), and then work out at a more moderate "resting" pace for a slightly longer interval (approximately 2 to 4 minutes). Repeat these sets for approximately 30 minutes, including warm up and cool down. The different intervals can vary based on the specific cardio activity. If you are new to interval training, consider having a personal trainer suggest a regimen for your experience level.
    • Cardiovascular machines, like stair machines, bikes, ellipticals and treadmills can be programmed to do interval training, if you do not want to jog or swim while providing your own interval timing.
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    Make sure you sweat during your 30-minute workout. While general activity is good, you will need to work your heart more intensely to reach weight loss and testosterone improvement goals. This is true for both strength training and cardio.
    • Do not overtrain. If you are already fit, too much cardio exercise is likely to lower testosterone levels.[7] Your goal is to keep your metabolism high while giving the body plenty of time to rest and recover.
    • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Dehydrated people produce less testosterone after a workout.
    • Don’t forget the other benefits from exercise, including better cardiovascular health, weight loss, increased strength, and endurance.[8]
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    Fast intermittently. Intermittent fasting combined with moderate to high intensity exercise has been shown to increase testosterone levels.[9] During the fasting period, include moderate to high-intensity exercise of your choice. The idea here is that since you are fasting, your body will turn to stored fat for its fuel.[10]

Method 3
Changing Your Lifestyle

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    Get a full night's sleep. Doctors recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Less sleep can result in 10% lower testosterone levels. Less sleep can also make it difficult to lose weight.[11]
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    Stay active. Moving around more and sitting less will balance your hormones, decrease stress, and result in weight loss.
    • Buy a pedometer. Make sure you hit at least 10,000 steps per day during the course of your daily routine.
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    Reduce your stress levels. Stress produces the hormone cortisol and interrupts the production of hormones such as testosterone.[12][13]
    • Focus on creating a work/life balance. Spend 2 hours a day on leisure activities you enjoy. Try to bring your workday down to 10 hours or less.[14]
    • Start meditation, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, and/or qigong. These activities can reduce stress and help you sleep better. If you don’t think you have time, start by taking four 2-3 minutes throughout the day to take 25 deep breaths per break.
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    Consider including sexual activity in the morning. If low testosterone has affected your sex life, then consider changing sexual activity to the morning. Testosterone levels are naturally higher in the morning.

Method 4
Using Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs

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    Get some sun. Getting vitamin D requires you to spend some time (15 to 30 minutes) with a good amount of your skin in direct sunlight. Keeping vitamin D levels high can produce up to 20% more testosterone. Consider talking to a medical professional about vitamin D supplements if you work inside all day and cannot spend time in the sun.[15]
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    Take a zinc supplement. Moderate to mild zinc deficiencies have been shown to lower testosterone levels.[16] Talk to a knowledgeable healthcare provider about a zinc supplement.
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    Consider herbal supplements. Some studies have shown that certain herbal supplements may help to increase testosterone or combat the effects of low testosterone. Some of these herbal supplements include:
    • Tribulus terrestris, which has shown an increase in sexual activity in animal studies. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Withania somnifera (ashwaganda), which has been reported in preliminary clinical trials to increase sperm quality.[17] Most studies have used up to 450 mg four times a day.
    • Ginkgo biloba, which increases testosterone synthesis.[18] Dosage was 270 mg of ginkgo extract 4 times a day. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Yohimbe, which has been used to increase sexual interest and treat erectile dysfunction.[19] Doses vary but ranged from 5.4 mg (3 times a day) to 10.8 mg (3 times a day). Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Method 5
Diagnosing Low Testosterone

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    Look for physical symptoms. Men with low testosterone levels may notice a variety of associated symptoms. These may include:
    • Erectile dysfunction (ED), including a decrease in the number and quality of erections
    • Smaller testes (hypogonadism)
    • Decreased sperm counts
    • A decrease in muscle mass leading to decreased strength and endurance
    • Changes in blood lipids such as cholesterol levels
    • Osteopenia (softening of the bones) and osteoporosis (decreased bone density)
    • Hot flashes
    • Swollen or tender breasts (gynecomastia)
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    Look for emotional symptoms. In addition to physical effects, men may also notice mood changes associated with low testosterone. These can include:
    • Decreased sex drive (libido)
    • Fatigue
    • Mood changes, including depression, irritability, and anxiety
    • Problems with memory, concentration, or a sudden lack of self-confidence
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    Have a blood test to determine the condition. Diagnosis involves a blood test along with a physical exam. The test is most often done using blood drawn in the morning. This is usually when testosterone levels are highest.
    • Your doctor will diagnose the condition if your combination of symptoms and lab results indicate low testosterone levels.

Method 6
When Should You Try This?

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    Increase testosterone if you’re an adult with abnormally low levels. Under most circumstances, adults who have been medically diagnosed with low testosterone levels can safely increase their levels, and natural methods can be some of the healthiest ways to do so. That being said, you should avoid intentionally increasing your testosterone if you are still an adolescent or if you’re an adult with normal or undiagnosed levels.
    • Testosterone levels are usually highest during your adolescent years, but since your hormones fluctuate regularly during this time of your life, it's best to let them naturally adjust themselves rather than attempting to change them yourself.[20] If you're concerned about low testosterone as a teenager, consult with your doctor before making any changes.
    • Increasing testosterone when your levels are already normal can negatively impact your health, even as an adult. For women, high testosterone may lead to polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, obesity, and thinning hair, among other problems.[21] There's some debate regarding how harmful high testosterone can be for men, but some research suggests that excessively high levels can increase a man's risk of cardiovascular disease.[22]
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    Try herbal supplements if you have no conflicting health concerns. If you have no known health concerns other than low testosterone, most herbal supplements should be relatively safe to try on a short-term basis. Certain medical conditions may make these herbal remedies dangerous, however, so you may wish to avoid using herbs to increase testosterone if you have known health concerns.
    • For women, avoid most herbal supplements if you are (or might be) pregnant or if you're currently breastfeeding. Tribulus, ashwagandha, ginkgo, and yohimbe are all considered unsafe under these conditions.
    • For men, tribulus might be linked to prostate problems.[23]
    • Ashwagandha may cause problems in people with diabetes, low blood pressure, stomach ulcers, auto-immune diseases, and thyroid disorders.[24]
    • Ginkgo may cause an allergic reaction if you're allergic to urushiols, like poison ivy and cashews. It could also cause problems if you have blood pressure irregularities, diabetes, hypoglycemia, gastro-intestinal disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, nervous system disorders, seizures, skin disorders, psychiatric disorders, or heart disease.[25]
    • Yohimbe is dangerous if you suffer from bleeding conditions, schizophrenia, prostate problems, PTSD, liver disease, kidney disease, blood pressure irregularities, heart disease, anxiety, depression, or diabetes.[26]
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    Exercise caution if you take certain medications. If you're not currently on any medications, most herbal remedies are likely safe to use. You may need to avoid these remedies if you're currently on medications that could interact with them, however.
    • Avoid tribulus if you're on blood pressure medication, diabetes medications, or steroids.[27]
    • Ashwagandha may be dangerous if you're on immunosuppressants or sedative medications.[28]
    • Ginkgo could negatively interact with heart disease agents, seizure medications, anticholinergic agents, antidepressants, and CYP450-metabolized agents.[29]
    • Avoid yohimbe if you take or may take MAOIs, clonidine, guanabenz, tricyclic antidepressants, antihypertensive drugs, naloxone, phenothiazines, or stimulant drugs.[30]
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    Consider short-term use of herbal remedies. As long as you do not have conditions or medications that may cause complications, testosterone herbal remedies are likely safe for adults when taken for six months or less.
    • Beyond six months, some herbal remedies may result in complications like excessive bleeding,[31] stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.[32] Difficulty sleeping may also be a result.[33]
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    Use dietary supplements in moderation. While moderate amounts of vitamin D and zinc can help your body produce more testosterone and stay healthy, excessive amounts of either nutrient can actually be toxic. It's usually best to get both nutrients from natural sources, but if you choose to take supplemental forms, simply make sure you follow the dosing instructions provided on the label.
    • The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D is 600 IU (international units) daily. Toxicity usually occurs in people who regularly take around 50,000 IU for several months, but this amount may be smaller for individuals with liver problems, kidney problems, or other health concerns.[34]
    • For zinc, the recommended daily allowance is between 8 and 11 mg daily in adults.[35] The upper limit is about 40 mg daily, and toxicity typically occurs when individuals regularly intake more than this upper limit.[36]
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    Make beneficial lifestyle changes after consulting your doctor. Making healthier diet and exercise choices can be a great idea, even if you don't need to increase your testosterone levels. To get the most benefit out of your improved lifestyle while minimizing any possible risks, see your doctor before implementing any major changes.
    • In addition to testing your testosterone levels and notifying you of any personal health limitations, your doctor can work with you to determine the best treatment possible. Your doctor may suggest medical remedies, but don't be afraid to let your doctor know if you strongly wish to stick with natural methods. As long as it doesn’t present a threat to your health, most doctors will be willing to work out a strategy according to your wishes.


  • Contact your doctor if you want to raise your testosterone but you are on pain medications, anabolic steroids, or Prednisone. These can cause lower levels of testosterone.[37] However, you should not stop taking them unless suggested by your doctor.
  • Be patient. Weight loss, getting into shape, and increasing testosterone levels take time.


  • If you choose to use herbs, talk to a naturopathic physician or a medical herbalist first. An expert should determine dosing requirements and possible interactions with medications.

Things You'll Need

  • Doctor
  • Personal trainer/physical therapist
  • Foods rich in healthy fats
  • Foods rich in zinc
  • Foods rich in protein
  • Resistance bands
  • Weight machines/free weights
  • Water
  • Interval training
  • Sleep
  • Pedometer
  • Leisure activities
  • Meditation/yoga
  • Vitamin D

Sources and Citations


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