Increasing Testosterone with Diet, Exercise and Supplements: My Latest Test Results

  • by Nils Osmar. July 31, 2023
  • This post is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. 
  • See full Medical Disclaimer

My testosterone was 803 ng/dL when I began testing it in 2013 (at the age of 60). As the years went by, my levels began sinking, as often happens due to the aging process.

In 2020, my total testosterone was 579 ng/dL; my doctor said this was “good for my age”, but I didn’t like the direction things were going. So I decided to try raising it by making changes in my regimen: I started doing resistance training and taking several supplements, including tongkat ali and some others.

  • In September 2021, my total testosterone was 973 ng/dL.
  • I then phased out the supplements, cutting back to taking them twice a week.
  • I was tested again in July of 2022; in that test, it was 425 ng/dL.
  • This suggested that the supplements were working. I restarted taking them, and made some more changes to my diet, increasing my consumption of meat, fish, eggs and other animal foods.

My latest test

  • I had a blood draw a week ago, in July 2023 (at the age 0f 70).
  • According to Labcorp, my total testosterone is now 947 ng/dL.
  • For comparison, most men my age test at 300-450 ng/dL.
  • I also tested my free (circulating) testosterone this time. (I had not done so before.) It’s 17.2 pg/mL, an excellent level.

Estradiol levels

Estradiol is also important for maintaining a healthy libido, for erectile function, and spermatogenesis. I’ve started testing mine to make sure none of my supplements (such as DHEA) were also raising estrogen. My estradiol came in at 33 pg/mL, which my doctor says is right where it should be.

How I’m feeling:

  • I have good physical and mental energy.
  • My sex drive is high, about the same as it was when I was in my 30s.

My protocol:

  • I’m eating a mainly animal-based diet (though I’m not totally carnivore).
  • I’m working out four times a week (two upper body, twolower body)
  • I’m taking supplements aimed at increasing testosterone, including tongkat ali, DHEA, fradogia agrestis and a few others. (I’ll be making up a complete list soon, including a new one I added four months ago, a proprietary formula.

Low testosterone symptoms

According to the ProMD Health website, symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Decreased sex drive; while libido will naturally decrease below peak levels as a man ages, a complete lack of interest in sex is cause for concern
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Broken bones and fragility, as low testosterone can lead to low bone density
  • Inability to conceive
  • Increased body fat
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decreased body hair
  • Swollen breast tissue (gynecomastia)
  • Hot flashes
  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Low iron

Testosterone and longevity

As we age, our T levels drop. Benefits of higher testosterone. A recent Science Daily article, “Low Testosterone Levels Associated With Increased Risk Of Death In Men”, summed up a review published in Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals:

…About 19 percent (166) of the men had a low testosterone level; 28 percent (240) had an equivocal testosterone level, meaning that their tests revealed an equal number of low and normal levels; and 53 percent (452) had normal testosterone levels.One-fifth (20.1 percent) of the men with normal testosterone levels died during the course of the study, compared with 24.6 percent of men with equivocal levels and 34.9 percent of those with low levels. Men with low testosterone levels had an 88 percent increase in risk of death compared with those who had normal levels. When the researchers considered other variables that may influence risk of death, such as age, other illnesses and body mass index, the association between low testosterone levels and death persisted.

The study noted that there were both risks and benefits to increasing testosterone – partly because most men use injections, which can have negative side effects such as shutting down their own bodies’ production of it. It concluded, though, that low levels were clearly associated with the highest death rates. (Extremely high levels came in second.) Men with free (circulating) testosterone levels between 9.8 to 15.8 nmol/L range tended to live the longest.

Could my testosterone be too high?

In Europe and the UK, testosterone is measured in nmol/L; here in the U.S. it’s measured in ng/dL. The official recommendations as to what’s an ideal level also vary between different countries.

Here in the U.S. while recommendations vary between medical facilities, there’s a general consensus that it’s good to keep it between 264-916 or thereabout. By that standard, mine is a little high but, according to my doctor, is still fine; if it were 1100 ng/dL, my doctor would be concerned.

If I were getting injections, it would be easy to calibrate and raise or lower it by adjusting my dosage; but when taking supplements, it’s more difficult to raise it or lower it by precise amounts.

To put the “recommended levels” in context, it’s important to remember that due to various factors including environmental pollutants, T levels in males are dropping worldwide. So the current average range of 246-916 may be inherently skewed, because it’s based on a population suffering from low testosterone. I suspect that most men would be far better off if they were around or above 900 ng/dL.

Not medical advice

This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplement(s), just reporting on what I’m doing. Supplements, like medications and other interventions, can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen, and consult with a medical professional about any issues which might have a medical component.  See full Medical Disclaimer

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