How to Raise Testosterone Levels Naturally (Teen Boys)

Three Parts:Stimulating Testosterone ProductionIncorporating Specific NutrientsWhen Should You Try This?

Testosterone is a hormone produced in the male testes. During a boy's pubescent years (ages 9 to 14), there is an increase in production that leads to male secondary sexual characteristics such as a deeper voice, more muscle mass, facial hair growth and enlargement of the Adam's apple (among others). Some teenage boys experience these puberty changes at later ages than others. The timing of puberty is often genetically determined (through heredity), but other factors can play a role in delaying it, such as poor nutrition, physical trauma and certain diseases. Stimulating testosterone production naturally is possible in teen boys, although in rare cases hormone therapy may be needed to trigger and complete puberty.

Check out When Should You Try This? to learn more about when to consider natural remedies for raising testosterone levels as a teenage boy.

Part 1
Stimulating Testosterone Production

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    Lose weight if you are overweight. Some research points to a correlation between being overweight (obesity in particular) and low levels of testosterone in both men and teenage boys.[1] It's been noted in significantly overweight males that losing weight can stimulate a natural increase in testosterone production.
    • For teenage boys, limiting dietary processed sugar (such as refined sucrose and high fructose corn syrup) is critical in order to maintain a healthy weight. Limit consumption of soda pop, doughnuts, cakes, cookies, ice cream and candies to special occasions and infrequent treats.
    • On the other hand, you should eat lots of fresh produce (fruits and veggies), whole grains, fish and low-fat dairy products. Swap out sugary beverages for purified water and low-fat milk.
    • Make healthy substitutions for your favorite foods. Make mac-and-cheese with whole-wheat pasta and stir in some squash puree. Bake pizza on whole-grain crust with lots of fresh veggies and a little low-fat cheese. Make chili and burgers with ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef.
    • Cardiovascular exercise is the other important component of weight loss. Walking each night for 30-45 minutes is enough to kick start significant weight loss when combined with eating right. Cycling and swimming are other excellent cardiovascular exercises.
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    Partake in short-term high-intensity exercise. Casual walking is great for weight loss, but high-intensity exercise (such as playing soccer, swimming or lifting weights) can directly stimulate testosterone production.[2] However, the key is how long you spend doing the exercise as well as your intensity levels. Short bouts of high-intensity exercise (weightlifting in particular) has a proven positive effect on increasing testosterone levels and preventing its depletion in teenage and older males.[3] Thus, keep your workouts relatively short (no more than 30 minutes) and try to go full out in as safe a manner as possible. Working out for longer periods (an hour or more) at less intense levels can sometimes reduce testosterone levels in men / boys.
    • As a general rule, the more muscle mass you stimulate with exercise, the more testosterone you'll produce. Leg presses and squats (with weights) are especially effective at triggering testosterone production because of the large muscle groups that are stimulated.
    • Other good weightlifting exercises for stimulating testosterone production are bench presses and deadlifts.
    • The skeleton and soft tissues of teenage boys are still growing, so intense weightlifting should be carefully monitored by experienced professionals.
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    Get good quality sleep on a regular basis. A chronic lack of quality sleep can significantly reduce the amount of testosterone a teenager or man produces, which then reduces muscle growth and promotes fat gain. Research has shown that quantity of sleep is associated with morning testosterone levels in males.[4] More specifically, male testosterone levels in the morning increase with a longer duration of sleep. At least seven hours of restful sleep is recommended, although for many teenagers, nine hours is ideal to feel refreshed.
    • Avoid consuming stimulants (caffeine, alcohol) at least eight hours before heading to bed. Caffeine increases brain activity and makes it hard to fall asleep. Alcohol prevents you from getting a deep sleep.
    • Don't forget that caffeine is found in colas, energy drinks, coffee, black tea and chocolate.
    • Make your bedroom as relaxing, quiet and as dark as possible in order to promote good quality sleeps. Always turn off the computer and/or TV well before turning in for the night.
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    Don't avoid natural fats. Many people think that all fat is bad and should be avoided, particularly by teenagers who are overweight. However, natural fats and cholesterol from animal products (meat, eggs, dairy) are essential nutrients, especially for the production of sex-related hormones such as testosterone.[5] Eating moderate amounts of saturated and unsaturated fats does not typically trigger weight gain — too many refined carbohydrates and artificial trans fat are the real culprits of obesity. In fact, some studies show that low-fat diets reduce testosterone levels in males, as well as create other growth and development problems.[6] Research indicates that a diet with less than 40% of the energy derived from fat leads to decreased testosterone levels.[7]
    • Healthy examples of foods that contain high amounts of monounsaturated (plant-based) fats include almonds, walnuts, natural peanut butter, avocados and olive oil.
    • Examples of healthy foods with saturated (cholesterol containing) fat include lean red meat, seafood, eggs yolks, cheese, coconut oil and dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa.
    • Remember that cholesterol is needed to make testosterone, so consult your doctor about appropriate blood cholesterol levels for teenage boys — they may need more than average while going through puberty.
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    Reduce stress levels. Stress is ubiquitous in the modern world, particularly for teenagers who face a variety of pressures and expectations. High levels of stress triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which tends to counteract the negative physiological effects of stress. That's certainly beneficial, but cortisol also blocks the effects and impact of testosterone within the body, which can cause significant problems for teenage boys.[8] As such, try to provide a low-stress, stable environment for your teenager and give him opportunities to vent his frustrations and other emotions. Exercising, playing sports and developing enjoyable hobbies are all great at reducing stress.
    • Don't be afraid to see a mental health professional if stress levels are too great to cope with. Techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective for stress, anxiety and depression.
    • Popular stress-relieving practices include meditation, tai chi, yoga and breathing exercises.

Part 2
Incorporating Specific Nutrients

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    Consume enough zinc. Zinc is a mineral needed for many body functions including healthy immune function, bone strength and the production of testosterone. In fact, low levels of zinc are correlated to low levels of testosterone in men and teenage boys.[9] Mild zinc deficiency is now fairly common among Americans, so there's a good chance your teenage boy (particularly if he isn't a healthy eater) may be deficient. Ask your doctor for a blood test to get a better idea, but in the meantime, focus on serving and eating foods that are rich in zinc, such as meats, fish, low-fat milk, hard cheeses, beans and some nuts and seeds.
    • Zinc supplementation for as little as six weeks has shown to cause a significant improvement in testosterone levels among men.[10]
    • The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc is 8-11 mg per day for teen males.[11]
    • It's much more challenging for vegetarians to get adequate amounts of zinc, so supplementation is a potential solution. You may need to consume as much as 50% more than the typical RDA.[12]
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    Get plenty of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a very important nutrient when it comes to testosterone production. This makes sense when you realize that vitamin D acts more like a steroidal hormone than it does like any typical vitamin. A 2010 study looked at the relationship between vitamin D supplementation and testosterone levels in men and found that those with higher levels of the vitamin also had higher levels of testosterone in their blood.[13] Vitamin D is made by human skin in response to intense summer sunshine, but a lack of going outdoors has triggered near epidemic levels of deficiency in American teenagers. Compounding this problem is that most northern states don't get enough sunshine to trigger vitamin D production for many months of the year.
    • Vitamin D is not common in foods, but good sources include cod liver oil, fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks and fortified dairy products.
    • If supplementing with vitamin D, choose the D3 variety because it seems to be more effective and perhaps a little safer.
    • The recommended vitamin D blood levels are between 50 to 70 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Your doctor can refer you for a blood test to understand the vitamin D status.
    • The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU/15 mcg per day for teen males.[14]
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    Consider supplementing with D-aspartic acid (DAA). DAA is an amino acid found in glandular tissues and it's thought to increase the activity of testosterone production and impact other hormones in the body. A 2009 study found that men who supplemented with 3,120 mg of DAA daily for 12 days experienced an increase in testosterone by an average of 42%.[15] The results showed that DAA may have a key role in the regulation of the release and synthesis of testosterone in men, although it's likely to have similar effects on teenage males also. Another form of aspartic acid is made in the body and found in a variety of foods, but DAA is not as commonly found in food sources.
    • The best food sources of DAA are corn protein, casein, nondairy creamers and soy protein. It would be extremely difficult to get enough DAA from food sources to impact testosterone levels.
    • It's interesting to note that DAA supplementation impacts testosterone production in relatively inactive males the most, and may actually decrease levels in very active males (such as bodybuilders and serious athletes).[16]
    • Consult with your doctor before putting your teenager on supplements meant to impact his testosterone levels, especially since there are not many studies on DAA use in people at this time.

Part 3
When Should You Try This?

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    Try diet and exercise changes as your health permits. Losing weight, eating the right foods, and getting more exercise are great ways to naturally increase testosterone while also improving your overall health. While mild to moderate changes are likely safe in most teenage boys, you should consult your doctor before making any significant changes to make sure those changes will be right for your specific health needs.
    • If you don't already exercise, your doctor may advise you to start with moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise, like walking.[17] Continue moderate-intensity exercise until your body adjusts to the new routine before introducing any high-intensity exercise or strength training.[18]
    • When you do progress into high-intensity exercise or strength training, make sure someone (like a trainer or coach) shows you the proper techniques involved to reduce your risk of injury.[19]
    • Before starting any routine--even a moderately intense one--you should check with your doctor if you have heart disease, lung disease (including asthma), diabetes, kidney disease, arthritis, or cancer. You should also check with your doctor if you are significantly overweight.[20]
    • If you get dizzy, feel short of breath, or experience abnormal pain while exercising, stop your new routine and consult your doctor.[21]
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    Supplement nutrients when levels are low. Low levels of zinc and vitamin D may contribute to low testosterone levels in teenage boys, so increasing these nutrients through diet or dietary supplements can also help boost your testosterone. If your zinc and/or vitamin D levels are already normal, though, use caution before further increasing those levels with supplements.
    • Increasing zinc and vitamin D through your diet is safer than using dietary supplements, and your body will likely absorb more of these nutrients when ingested through food, anyway.
    • If you choose to take dietary supplements, always make sure to follow the recommended dietary allowances (RDA), and be aware of the upper limits for each nutrient.
      • For zinc, the RDA for boys between 9 and 13 years old is 8 mg daily, while boys 14 through 18 years can take up to 11 mg daily. The tolerable upper intake level for boys 9 through 13 is 23 mg; for boys 14 through 18, this amount is 34 mg. Taking amounts greater than the upper intake level could be toxic.[22]
      • For vitamin D, the RDA for most teen boys is 600 IU/15 mcg per day. It's somewhat harder to overdose on vitamin D since it's generally not toxic until you take more than 50,000 IU daily, but it could be easier to overdose if you have certain health conditions.[23]
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    Use natural remedies after consulting with your doctor. Even though many natural remedies for low testosterone are safe for most teenage boys, you should still consider making an appointment with your doctor if you're concerned you may have low testosterone.
    • Keep in mind that puberty occurs at different ages and at different rates, so you shouldn't necessarily be alarmed if your testosterone levels seem to be lower than those of your peers.
    • If you are concerned, your doctor can take a blood test to determine if your testosterone is abnormally low. Most doctors are willing to take your preference for natural treatments into consideration when designing a treatment plan, but your doctor will also let you know if medical treatments (i.e. prescription testosterone therapy) would be better for your circumstances.
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    Consider other options with extreme caution. There are numerous herbal supplements that may claim to raise testosterone levels, but taking these can be risky, especially during your teenage years. Stick with medically-verified natural treatments. If these don't work for you, ask your doctor for further guidance.
    • While DAA supplements are possibly safe for most teenage boys, there are very few studies on the effects of DAA, especially with regards to teenagers. You should get approval from your doctor before trying it.
    • Avoid non-prescription use of testosterone supplements or steroids. Additionally, herbal supplements marketed toward those with low testosterone may lack medical support and could be unsafe, especially for developing teenagers.


  • If delayed puberty and development is a concern, then consult with your doctor about getting testosterone and other hormones measured via blood tests
  • A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level or reduced bioavailability of testosterone.[24]
  • Abnormal testosterone levels can be a side effect of taking certain medications, so ask your doctor about your teenager's prescription drugs.
  • Testosterone therapy (via injections, pellets, patches or gels) can be helpful for men and teenage boys, but only under the supervision of an experienced doctor. They are generally only for use with specific medical conditions.[25]


  • Avoid taking testosterone or other steroid supplements (especially anabolic steroids) without a medical diagnosis and prescription. These can have many significant side effects and health risks.

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Categories: Men's Health