When it comes to men, the most dominant hormone that comes to mind is testosterone. Better known as a muscle-building hormone. If your man has low testosterone, it doesn’t mean he needs to take an anabolic steroid hormone. Let’s start with the natural stuff first and leave the rest up to his doctor.
Here are two tips on how your man can boost his testosterone levels naturally using supplements.
Tip #1: Get enough zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral (essential being the key word here) that helps with a number of processes in the body. Its function is to help 300+ enzymes. Zinc helps boost your immune system, to produce critical proteins and DNA, and also helps with wound healing. We need a sufficient amount of zinc to maintain healthy skin and for optimal ability to taste and smell. It’s an antioxidant and can be supplemented to support optimal levels of testosterone because its job is to help the enzymes that converts cholesterol into testosterone.
So what’s the best way to get more zinc into your diet?
Zinc can be found in red meat, poultry, egg yolks, and shellfish. Some plant-based foods are also a good source of zinc like beans and nuts. The highest levels can be found in oysters.
The daily recommended dose of zinc for men is 11 mg/day (for women it’s 8 mg/day). Low zinc levels are rare but tend to occur in vegetarians/vegans, athletes, and people who sweat a lot because zinc is lost through sweat. And low zinc levels have been linked to low testosterone levels.
Of course if you’re not getting enough zinc in your diet, you can always supplement. But before you do, consider a few things:
- It’s possible to get too much zinc so unless your doctor tells you, don’t take more than 40 mg/day. For many people just 5-10 mg/day is enough to prevent deficiency.
- Zinc supplements have been known to interact with certain medications so if you’re on meds, be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if a zinc supplement is safe for you.
- Zinc supplements are best taken 2-hours away from any medications (if it’s safe to use it at all while taking those medications) and should be taken with food. Taking zinc on an empty stomach might make you feel nauseous, so have a meal or healthy snack before you take it.
Tip #2: Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D —which is actually a hormone and not a vitamin, is also known as the “sunshine vitamin.” It’s the most common nutrient that folks living in North America simply don’t get enough of. Why? Because it’s not very abundant in foods and most places far from the equator can’t get enough sunlight to produce adequate levels year round.
So when winter sets in, say goodbye to the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D is known to help us absorb calcium from our foods and is also necessary for our immune system, nervous system, and muscular system. As with zinc if you’re deficient in this nutrient you may experience increased testosterone levels after supplementing.
Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with bone conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
It’s a fat-soluble vitamin and found in fatty fish (anchovies, salmon, mackeral, herring, sardines, whitefish, eel), organ meats, and egg yolks. Unfortunately it isn’t abundant in most other un-fortified foods.
The bottom line with vitamin D is if you’re not getting enought sun exposure (10-15 minutes a day with 70% or more skin exposed), you may need to supplement. If outside in the sun a lot or eat fatty fish every day you may be the exception. You can always ask your doctor to check your blood levels to be sure because vitamin D is another one of those nutrients where more is not always better.
Here are a few tips to supplement with vitamin D safely and effectively:
- Read your labels and don’t overdo it. Never supplement with more than 4,000 IU/day unless recommended by your doctor.
- As with zinc (and most other supplements), check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any medications to make sure there’s no adverse interactions.
- Take your vitamin D with some fat to help your body absorb this vitamin. It is often recommended that you take it with the largest meal of the day.
- Note that vitamin D is also found in cod liver oil, and multivitamins, so you may not need to take it separately (read your labels).
If your man isn’t getting enough zinc and/or vitamin D every day, his testosterone levels may be a bit low. Use supplements when appropriate, but don’t overdo it.
Recipe (vitamin D and zinc): Honey Sesame Salmon
2-3 lbs salmon fillets
¼ cup soy sauce, tamari or substitute with Bragg’s liquid aminos or coconut aminos
¼ cup sesame oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar
1” of ginger, shredded or 1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons diced green onions or chives
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Mix soy sauce/tamari/aminos, sesame oil, lemon juice, honey/coconut nectar and ginger together to make a marinade.
Place salmon in a glass dish and cover with marinade. Let sit for a few hours or overnight.
Heat a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil.
Place salmon in pan skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Pour marinade into the pan, lower the heat and cook for 3-5 more minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.
Sprinkle with diced green onions/chives and sesame seeds.
Serve and Enjoy!
Tip: Wild salmon can contain up to 4 times the amount of vitamin D as farmed salmon.