The previous segment of this blog series, which focused on naturally maximizing your free testosterone levels, emphasized the reduction of two major testosterone killers—cortisol and excess estrogen. If you haven’t read that article yet, I would definitely check it out here first. In it, we cover how the first step in optimizing free testosterone is eliminating excessive drains that commonly reduce testosterone in both men and women.
Along these same lines, this article focuses on the common vitamin and mineral deficiencies that need to first be remedied before moving on to the behaviors, supplements and overall lifestyle that maximizes your testosterone. It makes little sense to run out and supplement your diet and lifestyle before one first clears up the commonly deficient areas of their nutrition. Likewise, you wouldn’t fill up the water bucket before first plugging the holes in the bottom!
So, without further ado, let’s explore the all-too-common nutritional holes which prevent the body from naturally producing its natural testosterone potential. These commonly deficient ingredients that directly aid the body in testosterone production are: magnesium, zinc, selenium, and good ole’ vitamin D. Below is a quick breakdown on each and some dosage suggestions to get these critical levels back on track, thus allowing your body to optimize its testosterone naturally.
- Vitamin D
This is ‘el numero uno’ on this list for very good reason. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common today and is fairly inexpensive to remedy with a quality vitamin. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a locale where it’s sunny year round and you consistently get sun on your major body parts (torso, back, chest, etc.), you are probably at least somewhat deficient in vitamin D. Taking as little as 2,000-5,000 iu of vitamin D each day is enough to upgrade your bodies abilities to manufacture testosterone. This alone has been proven to increase testosterone as much as 20% in men that were previously deficient, not to mention the host of other benefits to your immune system.
Often overlooked , magnesium is one of the major building blocks in a wide array of basic biological functions inside you (+300 metabolic reactions alone in the body). Therefore, it should come as no surprise then that for those who are deficient in this critical mineral, supplementation is shown to have significant impacts on your body’s testosterone production. Considering that you body’s magnesium stores are used up most when stressed, you may be low in your magnesium if you deal with regular stress. I recommend the powder form of magnesium mixed with water at bedtime, which has a higher bio-availability (absorption) plus the added benefit of helping you sleep. I also take a high-quality calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement (i.e. with a full chelate spectrum) since it is important to receive these three minerals in correct proportion. Doing so also ensures higher zinc levels as well, leading us to #3 on this list.
Modern society and its food choices provide few options to realistically receive your optimal levels of zinc intake and, as a result, millions of people are critically low in zinc. There is even research indicating that a common zinc deficiency can lead to as much as a 50% reduction in testosterone levels! This can be double-checked with a common blood test if you want to check your levels for yourself (which I recommend for all your vitamin and mineral levels). Finally, it is estimated that 45% of adults over the age of 60 may have lower than recommended zinc levels and 20-25% of adults that were even taking supplemental zinc were still lower than recommended. Be sure to get plenty natural sources of zinc from meats, fish, raw milk, raw cheese, beans, yogurt or kefir.
While the other 3 vitamins & minerals are more commonly recognized as the biggest dietary culprits of low testosterone, you hear less about selenium’s role in rebuilding your T levels. Selenium is one of several key micronutrients that, once missing from your system, can significantly reduce your body’s optimal ability to produce testosterone. Fortunately, there is an easy method to raise your selenium levels naturally through real food by incorporating more brazil nuts into your regular diet. Yes, Brazil nuts are packed with selenium and just a daily handful is enough to raise selenium levels, natural cholesterol, and even L-arginine in the body. The 2014 Journal of Andrology reported that dietary selenium was able to significantly increase sperm quality, volume, and motility.
In closing, I want to emphasize that it is always preferred to get the nutrients above from real, organic food. However, getting these raw foods in your diet every day can be a challenge. This is why I designed the Ultimate Testosterone Shopping List as well as my Testosterone Top-10 e-cookbook to help men buy and cook with the critical raw ingredients that provide the body with what it needs to naturally produce optimal testosterone levels.
One final note is that, although definitely pricier, it is highly recommended to buy organic wherever possible to obtain the highest nutrient density within your food. Modern farming practices, particularly in America where soil degradation is shown to be highest of all developed nations, have led to nutritionally deficient soils that are severely lacking in the key nutrients that once existed generations ago. For years, modern farming practices have bred our produce to simply look good (e.g. bright, shiny, large) while simultaneously neglecting the actual nutritional value of the food itself. Further, through lack of soil replenishment techniques, proper crop rotation, and the primary use of petroleum-based fertilizers, we have slowly but surely depleted the soil of the critical ingredients needed to nourish the body. I could go on, but that may be a topic for another blog post altogether. For now, eat as clean and organic as possible and consider supplementing with reputable, quality vitamins & minerals to nourish the body and keep your hormones in balance.