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Combating Low Testosterone

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Reduced testosterone levels have been associated with the intake of certain medications (e.g., ketoconazole, spironolactone, estrogens, methadone) and the presence of comorbid conditions, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obesity, hemochromatosis and the metabolic syndrome (MetS).


Testosterone levels also decline with age, and a subset of men over age 40 may display clinically relevant testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS)

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Management of the medical conditions stated above to put them under control may help to manage the low testosterone levels.


Some testosterone deficiency symptoms can be managed with reversal of an underlying medical cause, drug therapy or lifestyle modifications.


Especially, treatment of sleep apnea, weight reduction and discontinuation of opioid (pain management drugs) may improve symptoms of testosterone deficiency.


Focus on diet and exercise approach would be on a healthy weight reduction, improving muscle strength to counter sarcopenia (muscle mass loss) and enhanced emotional well-being.


Choosing foods high in protein and taking relatively low levels of carbohydrate would be another option, to sustain or increase serum testosterone levels, however this method is not advisable for people with impaired or poor kidney, liver and diabetic issues.

Zinc supplementation for marginally zinc-deficient elderly men may also result in 2-fold increase in serum testosterone levels. Otherwise, good natural sources of dietary zinc are organ meats, meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grain cereals.


Sufficient Vitamin D levels are also linked to higher serum testosterone levels, which can be obtained through direct exposure to sunlight without sunscreen usage. The duration required for sun exposure would be about 15 to 30 minutes during the daytime, try to avoid staying out during the hottest time of the day 10.30am – 3.30pm to prevent heat exhaustion.

Ensure sufficient calcium intake levels in foods as well, due to andropause (male aging) causing increased risk of andropause-induced osteoporosis.


As for herbal agents, fenugreek was found to improve libido in a study. However, the mechanism is unknown. While there are also some mixed evidence for ginseng use to enhance libido, through effects on sexual reproductive tissues.

Other dietary uses of omega-3, vitamin C, magnesium supplementation, with Astragalus herbal root (bei qi), Chinese yam have relatively limited research on its contribution in mediating testosterone levels. Same goes to Tribulus terrestris and saw palmetto supplements yielding insignificant results in increase for testosterone levels. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation also has insignificant effects on testosterone levels in human studies.


As for physical activity levels, cardio endurance exercises stimulate the brain to release hormones that activate higher levels of testosterone released from the testes.


Interestingly, both a lack of exercise and overtraining (high-intensity, long-duration exercise) have been found to decrease testosterone levels. That’s why experts recommend starting with moderate-intensity (60%–75% maximum heart rate) exercise for up to 30 minutes, three times a week, for andropausal men. Short bouts of intense exercise may be more effective than continuous, lower-intensity exercise for overall testosterone response.

(updated : December, 2019)

Disclaimer : The website may contain information relating to various conditions and treatment, gathered and sourced from reputable sources. However, this is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, it is solely intended for informational purposes only. Patients should always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider for thorough medical advice and information about diagnosis and treatment.


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