Low testosterone levels are very common in older and senior men. Today we will talk about how to increase testosterone after 60.
Testosterone is the most important male hormone. It’s essentially what makes men men. It causes your voice to deepen, body hair to grow and you muscle mass to increase.
Besides being responsible for the secondary sex characteristics testosterone has other important roles in the human body and it’s also found in women in smaller concentrations.
There is a natural reduction in testosterone levels as you age. This is something that can’t likely be completely reversed but there are certain lifestyle factors that can reduce your testosterone levels way lower than they need to be.
These same testosterone reducing lifestyle factors are causing even young males in their 20s or 30s to suffer from low testosterone levels and the associated problems like low libido, fatigue and loss of strength and vigor.
Lack of testosterone has the same negative effects in senior men and some additional ones, we’ll talk more about in a minute. Testosterone can essentially be thought as a youth hormone for men. It gives you energy, strength and of course libido.
With low testosterone levels it’s hard to enjoy life to the fullest as you tend to feel sluggish, unenthusiastic, fatigued and simply lack the zest for life.
What is testosterone
Testosterone is a hormone that is produced in the human body mainly by the testicles but also in smaller quantities in the adrenal cortex and in the ovaries in women.
Due to the fact that testicles produce most of this hormone, adult men have around ten times the amount of testosterone compared to women.
Testosterone belongs to a group of hormones called androgens, which means male hormones. Other androgens are dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and androstenedione.
Androgens are responsible for the secondary male sex characteristics that you get in puberty. These include a deeper voice, increased body and facial hair etc. Essentially what makes men look like men.
Testosterone and DHT are anabolic steroid hormones, which means they are capable of increasing muscle mass significantly. This is the reason why men are generally significantly stronger than women and respond better to strength training.
Androgens increase male sex drive and libido, reduce the level of perceived stress, increase competitive drive and general well-being.
There is a common myth that testosterone makes men violent and aggressive. It’s true that testosterone increases healthy aggression and determination but actually higher natural testosterone levels have been shown to increase positive social interaction among men while low levels are associated with negative feelings like anger, anxiety, irritability and social withdrawal.
Abnormally high testosterone levels, such as found in bodybuilders who abuse steroids can cause irritability and violent behavior. You have to remember that in these circumstances the levels are several times over the normal physiological ranges and you shouldn’t worry about becoming aggressiveness by optimizing your natural levels through lifestyle factors.
Why is testosterone important for older men
So is testosterone really important for you after 60 or is it more of a young mans game? Testosterone is actually even more important for your health as you age because of its anabolic and metabolic effects which affect your overall health. These effect include:
Loss of bone density, also known as osteoporosis, is a common condition that causes injuries in seniors. This is because low bone density makes your bones fragile and prone to breaking if you suffer a fall.
Your bones have receptors that react to both estrogen and testosterone. When these receptors are activated, your bone density improves.
Keeping optimal testosterone levels will help you prevent osteoporosis. Strength training and diet rich in calcium and vitamin D can prevent osteoporosis as well.
Testosterone affects your fat metabolism positively. This is because of the anabolic effects of testosterone. It causes your muscles to store more energy and makes your fat cells more prone to release energy instead of storing it.
Since your metabolism tends to get slower and more prone to storing fat as you age, it’s easy to see the benefits of higher testosterone levels. The effects won’t be drastic as diet, exercise and overall activity levels play a big role as well, but you should hang on to every little thing that makes burning fat easier.
To make things even more interesting, high body fat actually reduces testosterone levels (we’ll talk more about that in a second). This means that improving testosterone levels reduces body fat and reducing body fat improves testosterone. A true win-win situation!
Muscle mass and strength
Loss of muscle mass and strength, also known as sarcopenia or old age frailty is a common condition in elderly people. At what age it starts to affect you, or if it will at all, depends on couple things.
The first thing that can prevent sarcopenia quite effectively is strength training. Strength training allows your muscles and connective tissues remain strong and mobile as you age and this combats the natural decline.
Testosterone levels have a significant effect on your muscle mass and strength because of its anabolic effects. This is why having optimal testosterone levels helps reduce sarcopenia.
Low testosterone levels are associated with negative emotions and reduced energy levels. Things like lack of motivation, irritability, low libido and depression can be associated with low testosterone levels.
Improving testosterone levels can make you simply enjoy life more as well as improve your well-being through other benefits like improved sex life, strength and vigor.
Becoming old doesn’t have to mean the end to your sex life, on the contrary. Sex is generally thought to be very important for relationship satisfaction and overall well being and enjoyment of life.
The older you get, the lower your libido generally gets. This is mainly due to the declining testosterone levels. Low testosterone levels can also cause sexual performance issues like erectile dysfunction even if your libido is intact.
If you keep your testosterone levels optimal you will notice increased libido and sexual performance.
What causes low testosterone in older men
There are several lifestyle factors that can affect your testosterone levels negatively. The levels will naturally decline as you age because your testicles capability to produce the hormone will reduce.
Even though this natural reduction is normal, there are other lifestyle factors that can negatively affect your testosterone levels. Addressing these factors makes it’s possible to reduce the effects of the natural decline in testosterone levels.
The first factor is body fat. Bodyfat has an enzyme called aromatase, that converts testosterone into estrogen. Your hypothalamus uses estrogen levels to control testosterone levels. Reducing bodyfat will increase testosterone levels if you are significantly overweight.
Diet, stress and sleep are the stables of healthy living and healthy testosterone levels. If you lack in any of these, your testosterone levels won’t likely be optimal.
Stress can also reduce your testosterone levels if it’s chronic. This is why it’s important to strive for relatively stress free lifestyle and to control your stress.
Micronutrient deficiencies and medications can also cause low testosterone through several mechanisms. Let’s look step by step how to correct each of these factors to improve your testosterone levels!
How to increase testosterone after 60
1. Lose bodyfat
Your bodyfat contains an enzyme called aromatase. This enzyme converts testosterone into estrogen, the main female hormone. Estrogen has some important functions in the male body as well but having too high levels will have negative effects on your health and reduce the effects of testosterone.
Estrogen is also the hormone that your hormonal control center, the hypothalamus uses to sense testosterone levels. This is because estrogen is a byproduct of testosterone in the male body. If estrogen levels are high, the hypothalamus won’t give the order to the testis to produce more testosterone.
Since higher bodyfat increases the conversion of testosterone into estrogen through aromatase, you can see that higher body actually directly reduces testosterone levels due to increase estrogen levels.
This is why it’s important for men to keep their bodyfat levels relatively low. It’s likely anything below 20% won’t significantly reduce your testosterone levels, so there is no need to over do it. Just keep a healthy body weight.
Strength training helps you to reduce bodyfat while increasing the secretion of anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone. Strength training alone won’t significantly increase your testosterone levels but it will help you do activities that will.
Strength training will also activate testosterone receptors within your muscle cells. These receptors react to the testosterone in your blood stream by activating protein synthesis to increase muscle mass and strength.
3. Eat a reasonable diet
Your diet plays a significant role in testosterone levels. Having a good balance of all three macro nutrients (fats, carbohydrates and protein) is important for healthy hormone function.
Also having enough energy is important as hard weight loss diets can put your body in a sort of survival state, where reproduction and muscle mass are not priorities so your body shuts down sex hormones.
Testosterone and many other hormones are made out of fat and eating a low fat diet has been shown to negatively affect testosterone levels. So include plenty of fats in your diet from healthy sources like fish, avocados, nuts etc. There is also evidence that diets high in saturated fat can increase testosterone, but since the science surrounding the safety of saturated fats is currently unclear, it’s wiser to stick to safer options.
There is also evidence that simple starches like potatoes and white rice can actually increase testosterone levels when consumed in reasonable amounts. This is likely signaling your body that there is plenty of energy and no need to save resources for survival, allowing hormone function to take priority.
Protein is important for building muscle and hormone function but unlike many fitness magazines suggest, high dietary protein can actually hurt your testosterone production. So just like with other macro nutrients, it’s important to eat reasonable amounts.
So what is the ideal diet? Anything you enjoy and can stick to that has a balanced amount of fats, carbohydrates and protein. A healthy reasonable diet should be made out of unprocessed natural foods like fish, tubers, rice, fruits, vegetables, poultry etc. Having a treat every now and then is fine as well as long as you don’t over do it.
4. Reduce stress
Chronically elevated stress levels will drop your testosterone levels. This is due to stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. Being chronically stressed will increase your cortisol levels, which will suppress the production of testosterone.
This is once again a kind of survival mechanism. The stress response is meant for short term performance improvement under a threat and it’s called a fight or flight reaction. Meaning that it prepares your body to either fight the threat or flee for safety depending on the situation.
The problem with this reaction is that it overwhelms everything else in your body. If this continues for a prolonged time, your hormone levels can get out of whack and you can suffer from several negative health effects.
So take stress seriously and try to find ways to reduce stress. If there are things in your life that cause stress and that you know you can change, make it a priority. Some times we can’t run from the causes of our stress so it’s important to learn to control it.
Meditation, sleep, diet, exercise, talking to other people and being in nature can greatly reduce stress so make them a priority.
5. Sleep more
Many people sleep way too little. This is unfortunate because there are few things that are as beneficial for your health as a good nights sleep.
Sleeping allows your body and mind to rejuvenate and repair themselves. Your stress levels reduce after a well slept night and your hormone function is dependent on rejuvenating sleep.
On average men who sleep less than 7 to 8 hours have significantly lower testosterone levels than men who get enough sleep. Sleep apnea also affects your testosterone levels negatively, in some cases catastrophically.
Sleep protects your from other health issues as well so make sleep a priority and enjoy the benefits of a brighter mind and increased energy!
Micronutrients and mineral are important for healthy hormone function. There are certain vitamins and micronutrients that many people are deficient in that affect testosterone levels directly.
These include magnesium, zinc, boron, vitamin D and E. You should eat a diverse diet with to increase the amount of these nutrients. It’s hard to get optimal levels from food alone, so it’s wise to invest in a high quality men’s multivitamin
7. Check your medication
Some medications can affect your testosterone levels, so it’s wise to go over your medication with your doctor if you suffer from low testosterone levels.
Common medications that can affect testosterone levels include at least painkillers (NSAIDs and opiates), sleeping pills, statins and other cholesterol medication, diabetes medication, cortisone, antidepressant and blood pressure medication.
Notice that all of those are general medication groups with hundreds of different medications. There is no simple answer to which meds might significantly reduce your testosterone levels. Some might actually increase it, especially if they treat a significant metabolic disease. But it’s worthwhile to look more into your medication as there might be better options to discuss with your doctor.
I hope you enjoyed reading about these tips for increasing testosterone in men over 60 and will use them yourself with positive results! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me on the comments section below. I answer all questions to the best of my knowledge.
Testosterone is a very important hormone for male health and general well-being. Becoming older will inevitably reduce your testosterone levels from your youthful levels but it should not mean you have to lose or your manly vigor and vitality.
Fortunately with the above tips you can fight this age related decline in testosterone levels. The main things are unsurprisingly the main ingredients of healthy living: Healthy diet, enough exercise, enough sleep and not too much stress. That will go a long way for increasing testosterone as well as improving other health issues and quality of life.
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See you next time!