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Aaron Sta Maria
Written by Aaron Sta Maria

Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan

5 Ways to Correct Low Testosterone Levels in Men

Low testosterone levels in men start after they turn 30. It can lead to a poor sex drive and a loss of muscle power, among other symptoms.

Man with a confused facial expression as he looks under the covers and a displeased woman looking to her side as they both lie in bed

True or false: Under normal circumstances, positive lifestyle habits can ensure a man’s physical, emotional and sexual well-being. The answer is, not quite. On the contrary, low testosterone levels can affect a man, which may lead to: 

  • A loss of sex drive 
  • A loss of muscle strength 
  • Difficulty concentrating and memorising 

It can also increase his risk of developing health problems, including: 

  • Infertility 
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Low body hair production 
  • Low haemoglobin levels and mild anaemia 

What gives? Learn the causes of this occurrence and ways a man can feel more like himself again. 

Contact sports can make men prone to testicular injury.
Contact sports can make men prone to testicular injury. 

Why a Man May Think and Feel Less of Himself 

A gradual decline in testosterone will happen naturally after a man turns 30 and continues at about 1% per year. However, a reduction of this hormone can also transpire for several other reasons. 

A traumatising injury 

Testicular injuries are common among men who play contact sports. Often, the testicles can absorb the shock of an injury but won’t experience severe damage. Heavier injuries may require medical attention.

Testicular torsion is another form of physical trauma. It involves a twist of the spermatic cord and cuts off the blood supply to the reproductive glands. An abnormal positioning of the testicles and scrotum when a man sits is the primary reason for this type of trauma. 

A devil-may-care attitude 

Here’s a not-so-fun fact – testosterone levels can decrease within 30 minutes after consuming alcoholic beverages. An excessive consumption over a prolonged period may also affect the hormone in various ways, such as: 

  • Elevating oestrogen and cortisol levels 
  • Disrupting a person’s circadian rhythm 
  • Disrupting the metabolism of NAD+ co-enzymes that support testosterone production 

Ineffective management of type 2 diabetes mellitus can also make a man vulnerable to a reduction in testosterone. 

Lopsided body constitutions 

When viewed through the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) lens, low testosterone stems from body constitution imbalances. Eu Yan Sang TCM Physician Sam Ng Teck Xian echoes this opinion.

He explains, “Low testosterone mainly links to the Liver, Spleen and Kidneys. It tends to appear in people with Phlegm-Dampness, Kidney Deficiency, or yin (passive energy) Deficiency. It’s also prevalent in those diagnosed with the ‘Three Highs’; high cholesterol, high blood glucose or blood pressure.”  

Phlegm-Dampness is associated with obese people, while yin Deficiency is characteristic of overly thin people.

Testicular disorder 

Klinefelter syndrome impairs the physical and intellectual development of men and boys alike. The symptoms of this chromosomal condition may vary in each person. Typically, people who’ve been diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome have small testes and produce smaller amounts of testosterone.

Testicular cancer is a disease that’s becoming more rampant among young men. Advancements in the treatment of testicular cancer have enabled a close to 100% cure rate in people with Stage 1 of the disease. Yet, studies demonstrate that survivors of this cancer type are vulnerable to testosterone deficiency. It’s reported that the disorder had an impact on 20% of survivors. 

A man swinging battling ropes in a gym
High-intensity interval training supports testosterone production in men.

5 Techniques to Avert or Reverse the Effects of Low Testosterone  

A blood test is the most effective way to measure testosterone quantity. It’s advisable to take the test at approximately 8am, as levels of the hormone are highest during the early hours of the morning.

Get more active 

Engaging in regular physical activity promotes muscle-building and helps maintain a person’s weight. An increase in muscle mass relates directly to higher testosterone levels. Weight control prevents the accumulation of visceral fat, which suppresses the production of the hormone.

Prioritise strength training, weight lifting and high-intensity interval training over cycling or long-distance running. The former set of works can boost testosterone, while the latter two will reduce the quantity of the hormone.

Eat your way to additional testosterone  

A poor diet is the foundation of many diseases and clinical conditions. To address bad testosterone production, a man should avoid foods that are salty, greasy or overly flavourful.

Instead, he should eat a bland diet that comprises mainly nuts, seeds and colourful fruits and vegetables. The consumption of protein-rich fish and red meat is also encouraged.

Use herbal alternatives

The use of herbal formulas or ingredients can help improve testosterone levels in distinct ways. Physician Ng advocates the consumption of Eucommia bark (Du zhong 杜仲) tonic soup for invigorating the Kidneys, strengthening the waist and boosting vitality. It’s suitable for long-term use and may be taken once or twice a week with meat and herbals.  

Waist Tonic Essence is another formula proposed by physician Ng and can be used to raise energy levels. Likewise, Cordyceps sinensis extract has the same effect, while also being able to nourish the Kidneys and Lungs. Ingredients like Eucommia bark (du zhong, 杜仲) and goji berries (gou qi, 枸杞), too, can benefit these organs.

Eucommia may also reinforce the muscles and bones. Goji berries are capable of restoring qi (vital life force) and improving a person’s eyesight. Meanwhile, Morinda (ba ji tian, 巴戟天) can nourish the Kidney, restore yang (active energy) and eliminate Wind and Dampness. 

It’s alright to hit the snooze button 

A rise in testosterone takes place during a person’s slumber. Research shows that peak levels of the hormone can be seen during the deep restorative sleep stage of the circadian rhythm. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. 

Out with the old, in with the new 

Testosterone replacement therapy can be administered in multiple ways. These are: 

  • Pellets implanted under the skin at the upper hip or buttocks (the pellets will dissolve slowly and can deliver for three to six months) 
  • Intramuscular injections every ten to 14 days 
  • Patches that are placed on the abdomen, back, arms, and buttocks (applied once a day) 
  • Testosterone gels applied on clean, dry skin on the upper back and arms 

Do note that this treatment option can sometimes induce side effects like: 

  • Acne 
  • Oily skin 
  • Skin irritation 
  • High blood pressure 
  • High red blood cell count, which may lead to blood clots 
  • Liver dysfunction 
  • Testicular shrinkage 
  • A worsening of severe sleep apnoea 
  • Ankle swelling due to fluid retention 
  • Difficulty urinating due to prostate stimulation (increase in prostate size) 

Early intervention is necessary for preventing low testosterone symptoms. A balanced lifestyle is undoubtedly the best way to ensure a man’s holistic well-being. If you are considering herbal remedies, it’ll be wise to consult a licensed TCM practitioner beforehand. Doing so will ensure safety of herbal formulas or ingredients for unique body constitutions.

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. Low Testosterone (Male Hypogonadism). [Accessed 29 April 2022]
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Testicular Disorders. [Accessed 29 April 2022] 
  3. MedlinePlus. Klinefelter syndrome. [Accessed 29 April 2022]
  4. Wiley Clinical Healthcare Hub. 2020. Testicular cancer: low testosterone and the metabolic syndrome. [Accessed 29 April 2022]
  5. MedicineNet. 2021. How Does Exercise Affect Testosterone Levels? [Accessed 29 April 2022]
  6. Sleep Foundation. 2022. How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? [Accessed 29 April 2022] 

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