As a man gets older, testosterone levels will begin to drop a bit each year. It's normal for an older man to have lower testosterone levels than when he was younger, but it can still cause bothersome symptoms. Low testosterone levels can also be caused by a variety of medical conditions including stress, thyroid problems, diabetes, alcohol abuse and heart disease. Low testosterone is an easily treatable condition. Keep an eye out for the most common symptoms of this hormone imbalance including:
- inability to concentrate
- lack of energy
- loss of muscle mass
- low libido
- low semen volume
- low sexual satisfaction
- weak or absent erections
- weight gain
The more of these symptoms you experience, the more likely it is that your testosterone levels are lower than normal. A simple blood or saliva test from your doctor is the only way to know for sure. However, you don't need to see a medical professional in order to take advantage of the many natural ways you can optimize your hormone levels. Such measures can be taken even if you don't know for sure that you have low testosterone, or if you don't experience any such symptoms but want to ensure healthy hormone balance as you get older. One natural way to support healthy testosterone levels that has recently been discovered by science is by taking a fenugreek supplement.
Fenugreek and Testosterone
More and more natural supplements are being found to help maintain healthy testosterone levels and fenugreek is counted among them. Fenugreek, known to science as Trigonella foenum-graecum, is an annual plant related to beans and peas. Both the leaves and seeds of the fenugreek plant are used as an herb, though the seeds are more common for culinary purposes. Many dishes in South Asia, the Middle East, the Near East and Africa use fenugreek.
Fenugreek also carries with it medicinal properties. It appears in Ayurvedic medicine as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine. Even modern science confirms fenugreek's benefits. This herb is useful for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, reducing blood triglycerides and even increasing milk production for nursing mothers. As a supplement, you can take it either as an extract or you can consume whole seeds.
Fenugreek is also great for helping to maintain balanced testosterone levels as well as boosting the low libido that very often accompanies low testosterone. In one study, giving fenugreek extract to 50 male volunteers for a period of 12 weeks increased free testosterone levels by up to 46 percent. The benefits were seen in a full 90 percent of the participants. The higher testosterone levels were also reflected in increased sperm count for 85.4 percent of the men, plus improvements in libido, cardiovascular health, mental alertness and mood.
Another study on the link between fenugreek and testosterone looked at 60 Australian men who were administered fenugreek extract for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, libido increased by an average of 28 percent. Men who received placebo did not experience any change in their sex drive. These types of effects that can be seen with Fenugreek are thought to be due to the beneficial compounds known as saponins that are present in the herb. Saponins can also carry other health benefits like improving your immune system and reducing oxidative damage to your cells.
More Ways to Boost Your Hormones
Around 15 percent of all men have a lower libido than they would like. Low libido and low testosterone are common and easily treatable conditions and are often linked. In addition to supplementing with fenugreek, there are several other steps you can take to help maintain healthy testosterone levels as well as improve your sex drive:
- Fenugreek and testosterone are linked, but so are many other herbs and nutrients. Combining several herbal supplements that help maintain healthy hormone levels can provide better results than taking just one. Other supplements that help maintain healthy hormone levels include Ginkgo biloba, maca root, Panax ginseng and zinc.
- Eat a healthy diet. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. Proper nutrition will give your body all the "raw materials" it needs to create hormones.
- Exercise regularly. Include both cardio and strength training. Cardio will improve your circulation, making it easier to get aroused. Strength training will increase your muscle mass, which increases testosterone.
- A healthy diet combined with exercise can help you lose weight. Managing your weight is important as being overweight or obese can easily lower testosterone levels.
- Get at least seven hours of sleep every single night. Not getting enough sleep will lower your testosterone levels and increase stress.
- Stress is a common culprit of low testosterone or low libido. Try to cut stress out of your life, if possible. Relive what stress remains using healthy stress-relief techniques, such as meditation, massage, social support and exercise. Calming hobbies such as reading, drawing, and listening to music can also reduce your stress levels.