Testosterone is a sex hormone that regulates libido, strength, muscle mass, fat distribution, sperm and production of red blood cells. It's a no-brainer that men would want to keep their testosterone levels in a normal range, but as we age, this may not always be possible.
Dr. Rand McClain of Regenerative and Sports Medicine was recently asked on our Youtube series Ask The Doc, “During an interview with Mike O’Hearn, he said it was possible with a great lifestyle, great diet and regular training that it was possible to keep a high testosterone level no matter what age. Do you agree with this statement?”
Before we get into Dr. Rand's answer, let’s discuss what happens to our body's hormones as we age. In adolescence, testosterone is produced to spark an initial growth spurt and development of body hair. As boys begin to go through puberty, testosterone levels rise to stimulate growth of muscles and bones, enlargement of the voice box, enlargement of the genitals and increased production of red blood cells. Testosterone levels peak usually around age 17 and stay high for the next two or three decades.
In some cases, men can have high testosterone levels their whole life. However, for most men, testosterone starts to decline naturally around age 40. The decline is felt incrementally and averages about a 1% decline each year. At first, the change is not too noticeable but by age 70 testosterone is 30% lower than its peak. This often leaves men asking, how can I naturally boost testosterone levels?
So back to Dr. Rand’s answer to this question. The short answer of it all is no. McClain says, “to date no one has been able to maintain their testosterone levels into those later years.” He goes on to explain that andropause, the decline in testosterone, similar to menopause in women—starts at age 35. While Mike O’Hearn seems to be the exception to this rule because of his strict regimen of exercise, diet and lifestyle, the average person is not going to have the same outcome.
Accepting this change in testosterone as a natural part of aging is the first step. Every man will go through this experience at some point in their life and the best thing to do is to work and focus on overall health.
Some things you can do to improve your overall health while testosterone levels decrease include the following.
Resistance training like lifting weights has been shown to have a positive impact on men as they age and can even minimally improve testosterone levels.
Dieting and fad eating can throw your hormones off balance. Striving for a diet consisting of whole foods that include a balance of protein, carbs and fats will be your best tactic as your testosterone naturally decreases.
Stress produces another hormone called cortisol. Cortisol inversely affects the production of testosterone in the body. Meaning when one goes up, the other comes down. Finding ways to reduce stress in your life can contribute to an optimal testosterone level.
There are several options available for effective testosterone replacement therapy recommended by the Regenerative & Sports Medicine team. These options include patches, gels, pellets, oral tablets, creams, or injections—all of which can help to restore healthy testosterone levels.
To determine the most suitable treatment for your specific men's health condition, the team performs a thorough health assessment that involves discussing your symptoms, reviewing your medical history, and conducting a physical examination. Additionally, they may take blood or urine samples for testing to better inform their recommendations.
Keeping these tips in mind, there is not a purely natural way to increase testosterone for men over 40. The decline will happen whether we want it to or not. The best thing we can do is take care of our overall well being and try to live the healthiest lifestyle we can. You may also want to consider hormone replacement therapy in the future.
You can watch the full video of Dr. Rand speaking on the topic here.