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Low Testosterone in Men – Simple Steps to Boost Your Testosterone Levels

low testosterone in men

Conventional wisdom holds that low testosterone in men is just guaranteed as men get older.

While it’s true men’s testosterone levels drop about 1 to 2% every year once they hit their 30s or 40s [1], these testosterone declines don’t have to be as drastic as you might think.

According to recent research done at the University of Sydney, testosterone levels in fit men aged 40 and older don’t decline from month to month. The doctor behind this study instead credits low testosterone in men to underlying medical issues or a less-than-healthy lifestyle. [2]

These findings offer hope that maintaining overcoming low testosterone is possible. Still, many men wouldn’t say no to a testosterone boost, no matter what age they are. And while there are quality testosterone boosters available like you’ll find here on, you can also follow these steps to boost your low testosterone.

Eat More Fat and Cholesterol

For years, physicians and nutritionists have recommended limiting fat and cholesterol intake. But, diet that limits these foods actually increases the chance of low testosterone in men. Leydig cells in the testes need cholesterol to initiate testosterone synthesis. [3]

Several scientific studies indicate eating fat raises testosterone levels. [4] Men who dropped their fat intake from 40% to 25% of their diet had a 15% drop in serum testosterone. [5] Another study showed eating a high fat diet lowers sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG. [6] SHBG attaches to testosterone and makes it biologically inert. Consequently, lowering SHBG increases available testosterone. [7]

Of course, this recommendation isn’t a free pass to eat as much fat and cholesterol as you want, especially if you already have high cholesterol or other health issues that require dietary restrictions. Still, adding more eggs, bacon, olive oil, and nuts to your diet is like adding fuel to your testosterone engine.

Incorporate Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin D into Your Diet

Fat and cholesterol aren’t the only dietary elements that promote testosterone production. Zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D play important roles in testosterone creation, too. Making sure you get enough of these vital minerals is an excellent way to ensure testosterone synthesis occurs at a healthy rate.

In one study, older men who added zinc supplements to their diet nearly doubled their testosterone after 3 to 6 months. And, in the same study, even young, otherwise healthy men had lower testosterone when they didn’t get enough zinc. [8]

As for magnesium, athletes who took large supplemental magnesium doses (10 mg per kilogram body weight, about 900 mg for a 200-pound person) experienced increases in testosterone. [9] While supplemental magnesium doses this large exceed the tolerable upper intake level, eating magnesium-rich foods like spinach, nuts, fish, beans, and avocados is a safer but still effective option. [10]

Adding vitamin D to your supplement stack also encourages testosterone levels to increase. Men who were overweight and in the testosterone deficiency range increased total, bioavailable, and free testosterone after taking 83 mcg vitamin D every day for a year. [11] Consequently, this testosterone boosting supplement is especially helpful for men who aren’t in the best shape and need a real testosterone lift.

Establish Healthy Sleep Patterns

What happens in the bedroom is one major reason most men want to maintain high testosterone levels. There’s no question healthy testosterone levels allow men to perform better sexually. But, the more restful half of bedroom life, the sleeping part, actually has a major influence on testosterone levels, too.

It’s scientifically established that testosterone production occurs mostly during sleep. [12] Consequently, depriving yourself of sleep wreaks havoc on your testosterone levels. A study performed at the University of Chicago found even young men who get less than 5 hours of sleep have a 10 to 15% drop in testosterone. [13] If your testosterone is already lower because of age, you don’t do yourself any favors by not getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

However, it’s not just the amount of sleep you get but how well you sleep that matters. A 2-year study of more than 1,300 older men tracked both sleep patterns and total testosterone levels. Those with lower testosterone spent less time asleep than those with higher testosterone levels. This meant they didn’t enter deeper, slow-wave sleep as often. [14] Another study linked slow-wave sleep with higher testosterone levels. [1]

Not sure how to improve sleep quality? Doctors at Harvard Medical School recommend the following strategies:

• Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption 3 to 4 hours before bed
• Have a relaxing bedtime routine
• Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even weekends
• Keep your bedroom dark and free of noise [15]

Keep Stress Hormones Under Control

The human body constantly performs a balancing act controlled by how hormones influence each other. For instance, the stress hormone cortisol counteracts several manly characteristics derived from testosterone: competitiveness and attraction.

Professors from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Oregon published a study in 2010 linking high cortisol to decreased competitiveness, a trait regulated by testosterone. Researchers took saliva samples from the 57 participants to measure their hormone levels. Participants then engaged in a one-on-one competition and were told they could request a rematch if they wanted.

Those with high testosterone but low cortisol always asked for a rematch after losing—they demonstrated competitiveness. But, those with high cortisol never asked for a rematch, even if they had high testosterone. These results suggest cortisol takes precedence over testosterone and minimizes its effects. [16]

Another study showed women perceive men with high cortisol levels as less attractive than those with low cortisol levels. Again, this occurred even in men with high testosterone. [17] It seems the best way to take advantage of whatever testosterone you do have is to keep stress to a minimum as much as possible.

Aside from minimizing stress, another way to lower cortisol levels is to lose weight. In a 2013 study, overweight or obese men had a 51% rise in cortisol after they ate lunch. By contrast, lean men who ate a similar meal only had a 5% cortisol rise. [18]

No matter what your testosterone level is, don’t assume it can only go down from here. Making any or all of these lifestyle changes will put you on the right track for boosting low testosterone and keeping it at a healthy level.


[1] Sekerovic, Z., C. Lord, et al. “High testosterone levels are associated with larger amounts of slow-wave sleep in middle-aged men.” Sleep and Health. 20th Congress of the European Sleep Research Society. Lisbon, Portugal. 2010 Sep 17. Available from:

[2] Doheny, Kathleen. “Testosterone Decline: Not Inevitable With Age?” WebMD Health News. 2011. Available from:

[3] Haider, Syed G. “Leydig Cell Steroidogenesis: Unmasking the Functional Importance of Mitochondria.” Endocrinology. 148.6 (2007): 2581-2582. Available from:

[4] Volek, Jeff S., William J. Kraemer, Jill A. Bush, Thomas Incledon, and Mark Boetes. “Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise.” Journal of Applied Physiology. 82.1 (1997): 49-54. Available from:

[5] Hmalainen, E, H Adlercreutz, P Puska, and P Pietinen. “Diet and serum sex hormones in healthy men.” Journal of Steroid Biochemistry. 20.1 (1984): 459-64. Available from:

[6] Reed, M.J., R.W. Cheng, M. Simmonds, W. Richmond, and V.H.T. James. “Dietary Lipids: An Additional Regulator of Plasma Levels of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 64.5 (1987): 1083. Available from:

[7] South, James. “Testosterone and Andropause.” Complementary Prescriptions. Available from:

[8] Prasad, AS, CS Mantzoros, FW Beck, JW Hess, and GJ Brewer. “Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults.” Nutrition. 12.5 (1996): 344-8. Available from:

[9] Cinar, V, Y Polat, AK Baltaci, and R Moqulkoc. “Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion.” Biological Trace Element Research. 140.1 (2011): 18-23. Available from:

[10] Office of Dietary Supplements. “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Magnesium.” National Institutes of Health. 2009 Jul 13. Available from:

[11] Pilz, S, S Frisch, et al. “Effect of vitamin d supplementation on testosterone levels in men.” Hormone and Metabolic Research. 43.3 (2011): 223-5. Available from:

[12] Goh, VH, and TY Tong. “Sleep, sex steroid hormones, sexual activities, and aging in Asian men.” Journal of Andrology. 31.2 (2010): 131-7. Available from:

[13] Leproult, Rachel, and Eve Van Cauter. “Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. 305.21 (2011): 2173-2174. Available from:

[14] Barrett-Connor, Elizabeth, Thuy-Tien Dam, et al. “The Association of Testosterone Levels with Overall Sleep Quality, Sleep Architecture, and Sleep-Disordered Breathing.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 93.7 (2008): 2602-2609. Available from:

[15] “Twelve Simple Tips to Improve Your Sleep.” Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School. 2007 Dec 18. Available from:

[16] “Stress Hormone blocks Testosterone’s Effects, Study Shows.” The University of Texas at Austin. 2010 Sep 27. Available from:

[17] Harding, Anne. “Are women turned off by stressed-out men?” 2012 Feb 22. Available from:

[18] Turner, Anne I, Susan J Torres, et al. “Overweight and Obesity Influence Cortisol Response to Food Ingestion in Men.” Endocrine Reviews. 34.3 (2013): SAT-41. Available from:

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