How To Increase Testosterone Naturally In Men (Dr.Berg)

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How To Increase Testosterone Naturally In Men
How To Increase Testosterone in Men – Dr.Berg on Boosting Testosterone Graphic © Background image: Shutterstock #1446032714 (under license)

According to the American Urological Association, around 40% of men above 45 now have low testosterone levels. [1]

This is a big deal – because testosterone is one of the most important hormones in men—contributing to optimal sexual health, muscle growth, fertility, thinking ability, bone health, mood, and fat loss. [2] As a man, this is the hormone that is primarily responsible for the maintenance of your male attributes.

With such a profound impact on our health and feeling of well-being, it might be more than a little concerning to learn that research shows a significant overall drop in total testosterone levels in recent decades. [3][4] As a 2017 Forbes article puts it, “You’re Not The Man Your Father Was.” [5]

So what is behind the plummeting testosterone levels? How do you know if you have low testosterone? And how do you increase your levels? We tap into the advice of Dr. Eric Berg and research findings for answers.

Signs Of Low Testosterone

Testosterone levels typically change with age—peaking during adolescence and early adulthood before gradually dropping by 1%-2% after age 30. [6] But in some cases, testosterone production may drastically drop below the ‘normal’ range—and you may experience signs of low testosterone or hypogonadism. [7] These may include:
• Difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection before sex
• Loss of body and facial hair
• A decrease in muscle mass
• Mental / emotional changes, including a depressed mood, brain fog, and irritability
• Increased body fat
• Sleep disturbances
• Osteoporosis (decreased bone mass or lower bone volume)
• Decreased libido or sexual activity
• Infertility
• Gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue) 

Please keep in mind that low testosterone may not always present clear-cut signs. But if you experience a couple of the symptoms above, you should consult your doctor for bloodwork.

Causes Of Low Testosterone

As mentioned earlier, it’s relatively normal for testosterone levels to gradually drop each year as we get older. However, younger people may also experience symptoms of low testosterone, or the decline may be more drastic than expected. In such cases, there’s likely something more than age behind the low T levels.
Other potential causes of low testosterone include:

• Exposure to excess estrogen
• Misuse of anabolic steroids
• High insulin
• Obesity or being overweight
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Injuries or tumors affecting the testicles
• Using certain medications such as opioids
• Exposure to radiation or chemotherapy
• Metabolic disorders
• Inherited diseases, such as down syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, and 
Prader-Willi syndrome
• Chronic conditions like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cirrhosis of the liver

Why And How To Increase Testosterone In Men

Interested in boosting your testosterone levels? Studies show that optimized testosterone levels offer tons of benefits, including better libido, stronger bones, more muscle and less fat, a healthier heart, and improved mood. [8][9]

Dr. Berg recommends three main solutions to boost testosterone in men: increasing growth hormone (GH) levels, eating anti-estrogenic foods, and lowering cortisol (stress hormone). But what does the research say about his suggestions? 

1. Eating Anti-Estrogenic Foods

Testosterone and estrogen are present in both sexes but in varying amounts. While testosterone is the main sex hormone in men, in women, that role goes to estrogen. In men, a little estrogen is essential for
overall health. But too much has been linked to health concerns such as increased erectile dysfunction and depression. [10][11] The goal is to maintain a healthy balance.

According to Dr. Berg, one way to achieve this for men with low testosterone may be monitoring their diet to encourage testosterone and discourage estrogen. Here are some foods and eating habits that may offer anti-estrogenic benefits:

• Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, and cabbage contain a chemical called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that may reduce estrogen levels in men. [12]

• Some medicinal mushrooms—such as oyster mushrooms—contain compounds that have inhibitory effects on aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. [13]

• Curcumin in turmeric may increase testosterone and reduce the levels of estrogen. [14][15]

• Eating enough protein may help with fat loss and the maintenance of healthy testosterone levels. [16]
You might also want to minimize exposure to estrogen-like chemicals in the environment, especially from parabens, bisphenol-A (BPA), and other chemicals that may affect testosterone levels. [17][18]

2. Increasing Growth Hormone Levels

A number of studies have suggested a link between growth hormone (GH) and testosterone. [19][20][21]
“Wherever growth hormone goes, testosterone follows,” says Dr. Berg. He goes on to suggest different ways you can increase your growth hormone levels, including:

• Intermittent fasting may significantly increase your GH levels. The diet plan may directly affect the production of GH in the pituitary gland by lowering your body fat and keeping your insulin levels low. [22][23][24]

• Exercise—especially weight lifting or high-intensity workouts—is one of the most effective ways of increasing your growth hormone levels. [25][26] And you may boost your HG levels further during workouts with the help of protein shakes. [27]

• High-quality sleep may be an effective strategy to maintain optimal HG levels long-term. Studies show that the most significant releases of GH happen in your sleep. [28][29]

3. Lowering Cortisol (Stress Hormone) Levels

Excessive or long-term stress can have an adverse effect on your health, including your testosterone levels. [30] Increased cortisol levels due to stress leave you more susceptible to weight gain and increased food intake, which can reduce your testosterone levels. [31][32]

Feeling stressed? Here are some techniques that may be beneficial for your testosterone levels and overall health:

Vitamin D is essential for optimal health – yet up to 1 billion people around the world are deficient. [33] This is a concern because studies show links between low testosterone and vitamin D deficiency. [34][35] Therefore, it’s only logical to increase vitamin D intake—whether through supplements or safe exposure to sunlight. [36]

Improving your sleep quality may be an effective way to reduce cortisol and increase testosterone levels. [37] Some measures to optimize sleep include having a bedtime routine, limiting exposure to blue light at night, sleeping in a quiet room, exercising, and limiting your food and caffeine intake before bed. 

Regular exercise may lower cortisol levels by reducing stress, improving sleep quality, improving overall health, and giving you greater resilience to adversity. [38]

Get Tested!Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any signs of low testosterone, such as decreased libido, increased body fat, muscle loss, erectile dysfunction, or sleep disturbances. A diagnosis is a simple blood test away. And depending on the results, you can start taking the necessary lifestyle changes to optimize your hormones for a happier, healthier life.



[1] American Urological Association: archives/summer-2017/testosterone-replacement-therapy-is-it-right-for-you

[2] Nassar, G. N., & Leslie, S. W. (2022). Physiology, Testosterone. [Updated Jan. 4, 2022]. StatPearls:

[3] Chodick, G., Epstein, S., & Shalev, V. (2020). Secular trends in testosterone-findings from a large state-mandate care provider. Reproductive biology and endocrinology, 18(1), 1-5:

[4] Travison, T. G., Araujo, A. B., O’Donnell, A. B., Kupelian, V., & McKinlay, J. B. (2007). A population-level decline in serum testosterone levels in American men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 92 (1), 196-202:

[5] Forbes: was/?sh=5b99630f8b7f

[6] Kelsey, T. W., Li, L. Q., Mitchell, R. T., Whelan, A., Anderson, R. A., & Wallace, W. H. B. (2014). A validated age- related normative model for male total testosterone shows increasing variance but no decline after age 40 years. PloS one, 9(10), e109346:

[7] Cohen, J., Nassau, D. E., Patel, P., & Ramasamy, R. (2020). Low testosterone in adolescents & young
adults. Frontiers in endocrinology, 10, 916:

[8] Bassil, N., Alkaade, S., & Morley, J. E. (2009). The benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a review. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 5, 427:

[9] Sharma, R., Oni, O. A., Gupta, K., Chen, G., Sharma, M., Dawn, B., … & Barua, R. S. (2015). Normalization of testosterone level is associated with reduced incidence of myocardial infarction and mortality in men. European Heart Journal, 36(40), 2706-2715:

[10] Schulster, M., Bernie, A. M., & Ramasamy, R. (2016). The role of estradiol in male reproductive function. Asian journal of andrology, 18(3), 435:

[11] Stanikova, D., Luck, T., Bae, Y. J., Thiery, J., Ceglarek, U., Engel, C., … & Riedel-Heller, S. G. (2018). Increased estrogen level can be associated with depression in males. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 87, 196-203:

[12] Oregon State University:

[13] Kikuchi, T., Motoyashiki, N., Yamada, T., Shibatani, K., Ninomiya, K., Morikawa, T., & Tanaka, R. (2017). Ergostane-type sterols from king trumpet mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii) and their inhibitory effects on aromatase. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(11), 2479:

[14] Zhang, Y., Cao, H., Yu, Z., Peng, H. Y., & Zhang, C. J. (2013). Curcumin inhibits endometriosis endometrial cells by reducing estradiol production. Iranian journal of reproductive medicine, 11(5), 415:

[15] Abarikwu, S. O., Akiri, O. F., Durojaiye, M. A., & Alabi, A. F. (2014). Combined administration of curcumin and gallic acid inhibits gallic acid-induced suppression of steroidogenesis, sperm output, antioxidant defenses and inflammatory responsive genes. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 143, 49-60:

[16] Zamir, A., Ben-Zeev, T., & Hoffman, J. R. (2021). Manipulation of dietary intake on changes in circulating testosterone concentrations. Nutrients, 13(10), 3375:

[17] Jurewicz, J., Radwan, M., Wielgomas, B., Dziewirska, E., Karwacka, A., Klimowska, A., … & Hanke, W. (2017). Human semen quality, sperm DNA damage, and the level of reproductive hormones in relation to urinary concentrations of parabens. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 59(11), 1034-1040:

[18] Barbagallo, F., Condorelli, R. A., Mongioì, L. M., Cannarella, R., Aversa, A., Calogero, A. E., & La Vignera, S. (2020). Effects of bisphenols on testicular steroidogenesis. Frontiers in endocrinology, 11, 373:

[19] Kim, H. S., Kim, D. H., Ryu, K. Z., Kim, C. M., & Park, D. B. (1992). The effects of testosterone on the pituitary growth hormone secretion. Journal of the Korean Pediatric Society, 35(2), 174-181: https://www.e-

[20] MARAN, R. R. M., SIVAKUMAR, R., RAVISANKAR, B., VALLI, G., RAVICHANDRAN, K., ARUNAKARAN, J., & ARULDHAS, M. M. (2000). Growth hormone directly stimulates testosterone and oestradiol secretion by rat Leydig cells in vitro and modulates the effects of LH and T3. Endocrine journal, 47(2), 111-118:

[21] Gibney, J., Wolthers, T., Males, M., Smythe, G., Umpleby, A., & Ho, K. (2003, March). Testosterone enhances the effect of growth hormone (GH) to increase IGF-I but exerts an anabolic effect that is independent of GH action. In Endocrine Abstracts (Vol. 5). Bioscientifica:

[22] Clasey, J. L., Weltman, A., Patrie, J., Weltman, J. Y., Pezzoli, S., Bouchard, C., … & Hartman, M. L. (2001). Abdominal visceral fat and fasting insulin are important predictors of 24-hour GH release independent of age, gender, and other physiological factors. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 86(8), 3845-3852:

[23] Veldhuis, J. D., Liem, A. Y., South, S., Weltman, A., Weltman, J., Clemmons, D. A., … & Pincus, S. (1995). Differential impact of age, sex steroid hormones, and obesity on basal versus pulsatile growth hormone secretion in men as assessed in an ultrasensitive chemiluminescence assay. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 80(11), 3209-3222:

[24] Lanzi, R., Luzi, L., Caumo, A., Andreotti, A. C., Manzoni, M. F., Malighetti, M. E., … & Pontiroli, A. E. (1999). Elevated insulin levels contribute to the reduced growth hormone (GH) response to GH-releasing hormone in obese subjects. Metabolism, 48(9), 1152-1156:

[25] Pritzlaff, C. J., Wideman, L., Weltman, J. Y., Abbott, R. D., Gutgesell, M. E., Hartman, M. L., … & Weltman, A. (1999). Impact of acute exercise intensity on pulsatile growth hormone release in men. Journal of applied physiology, 87(2), 498-504:

[26] Felsing, N. E., Brasel, J. A., & Cooper, D. M. (1992). Effect of low and high intensity exercise on circulating growth hormone in men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 75(1), 157-162:

[27] Kraemer, W. J., Volek, J. S., Bush, J. A., Putukian, M., & Sebastianelli, W. J. (1998). Hormonal responses to consecutive days of heavy-resistance exercise with or without nutritional supplementation. Journal of Applied Physiology, 85(4), 1544-1555:

[28] Davidson, J. R., Moldofsky, H., & Lue, F. A. (1991). Growth hormone and cortisol secretion in relation to sleep and wakefulness. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 16(2), 96:

[29] Takahashi, Y., Kipnis, D. M., & Daughaday, W. H. (1968). Growth hormone secretion during sleep. The Journal of clinical investigation, 47(9), 2079-2090:

[30] Whittaker, J., & Harris, M. (2022). Low-carbohydrate diets and men’s cortisol and testosterone: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition and Health, 02601060221083079:

[31] Chao, A. M., Jastreboff, A. M., White, M. A., Grilo, C. M., & Sinha, R. (2017). Stress, cortisol, and other appetite‐ related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6‐month changes in food cravings and weight. Obesity, 25(4), 713- 720:

[32] Van der Valk, E. S., Savas, M., & van Rossum, E. F. (2018). Stress and obesity: are there more susceptible individuals?. Current obesity reports, 7(2), 193-203:

[33] Sizar, O., Khare, S., Goyal, A., Bansal, P., & Givler, A. (2021). Vitamin D deficiency. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing:

[34] Chen, C., Zhai, H., Cheng, J., Weng, P., Chen, Y., Li, Q., … & Lu, Y. (2019). Causal link between vitamin D and Total testosterone in men: a Mendelian randomization analysis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &
Metabolism, 104(8), 3148-3156:

[35] Barbonetti, A., Vassallo, M. R. C., Felzani, G., Francavilla, S., & Francavilla, F. (2016). Association between 25 (OH)-vitamin D and testosterone levels: evidence from men with chronic spinal cord injury. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 39(3), 246-252:

[36] Canguven, O., Talib, R. A., El Ansari, W., Yassin, D. J., & Al Naimi, A. (2017). Vitamin D treatment improves levels of sexual hormones, metabolic parameters and erectile function in middle-aged vitamin D deficient men. The Aging Male, 20(1), 9-16:

[37] Hirotsu, C., Tufik, S., & Andersen, M. L. (2015). Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions. Sleep Science, 8(3), 143-152:

[38] Childs, E., & De Wit, H. (2014). Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in physiology, 161:

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