Declining levels of testosterone are causing problems for male endurance athletes
A brief look at the hormone testosterone demonstrates its importance to males and shows why declining levels in recent years could be causing problems for male endurance athletes.
Testosterone is directly involved in the development of muscle bulk and strength in males.
It increases levels of growth hormone making exercise more likely to build muscle and encourages recovery from the damage caused by training.
Testosterone also plays an important role in increasing bone density and tells the bone marrow to manufacture red blood cells. As red blood cells carry oxygen to working muscles there is an obvious problem with deficiencies in athletes competing in endurance activities.
Men with Low levels of testosterone are more likely to suffer from bone fractures and breaks and anemia.
Testosterone also plays a role in fat metabolism, helping men to burn fat more efficiently. Declining testosterone levels can cause an increase in body fat for no apparent reason.
Decreasing testosterone levels can also result in:
- -Loss of lean muscle
- -Decline in libido and erectile dysfunction
- -Decline in energy levels
- -Depression, mood swings
- -Testosterone levels in the low range (a blood serum score below 350 ng/dl) may increase your chances of dying of a heart attack.
- -Low testosterone seems to predict increased risk of total mortality in cardiovascular disease as well as cancer,” said Dr. Kay-Tee Khaw, professor of clinical gerontology at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in Britain.
Testosterone levels naturally fall as we age
Most of you probably know that your individual testosterone levels fall as you age. But studies have shown that men today, have about 20% less testosterone than men the same age did two decades ago.
That’s a big drop off and over training amongst athletes involved in endurance sports seems to exacerbate the problem. Many reasons have been suggested and the link below shows 5 ways we are possibly lowering our testosterone levels without even knowing it.
How to help prevent a decline in testosterone
- Manage Your Weight
Weight plays a huge role in many of men’s body functions, including testosterone production. According to research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 conference, overweight men tend to have lower testosterone levels.
- Do Some High Intensity Exercise
Exercise, if done properly, can complement your diet plans and promote testosterone function. However, findings show that prolonged moderate endurance exercise can have a negative effect on the hormone’s levels. Instead of only focusing on slow steady runs include some high-intensity training sessions.
- Include Some Strength Training
In addition to high intensity workouts, strength training may also help increase testosterone levels. However, it should be done at the right intensity. In order to do so, increase the weight and lower your number of reps. Focus on exercises that work more muscles, such as dead lifts or squats.
- Up Your Zinc Consumption
Taking a zinc supplement for as little as six weeks has been found to improve testosterone levels. Zinc supplementation may also help protect men from exercise-induced testosterone decline. On the other hand, limiting dietary sources of zinc may lead to a reduction of testosterone.
Still, your diet is the best source of zinc. Along with protein-rich foods like meats and fish, other foods abundant in zinc include raw milk, raw cheese, beans, and yogurt or kefir made from raw milk.
- Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
As a steroid hormone, vitamin D is significant for helping maintain healthy sperm count. Vitamin D can also raise testosterone levels.
- Address Stress
During stressful moments, your body releases high amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which may block the effects of testosterone. Chronic stress would mean that testosterone function is blocked in the long term.
- Increase Your Intake of Amino Acids (BCAA) and Protein post exercise and make sure you are adequately scheduling in recovery days.
Studies show that amino acids and protein during recovery can help raise testosterone levels, especially when consumed along with resistance training. Also allowing high and low volume training and recovery days to let the body adequately adapt to training loads.
- Supplement with a natural testosterone enhancer during heavy training periods
Research has suggested that combinations of specific natural testosterone enhancers can temporarily support natural testosterone production and recovery from exercise during heavy period of training.
The most researched ingredient in each supplement appears to be D-aspartic acid with increases of up to 40%.