This may not be a question that you’ve considered. Most women don’t. It's also something that most doctors don’t test women for. But the fact is that many, if not most women have low levels of testosterone.
Testosterone is the male reproductive hormone, and men have much more of it than women. But for women, it plays a surprisingly important role.
Testosterone is produced by the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat and skin cells.
For women, testosterone levels peak around age 25 and steadily decline after this. By the time you are 40, your levels are likely half what they were at their peak.
Why do you need testosterone?
Testosterone is a growth hormone. It is responsible for building muscle, and bone. It also helps to boost mood, increase energy levels and increase libido.
Most doctors don’t test for testosterone levels in women. Even if your levels are found to be low, there is no approved treatment.
Signs of Low testosterone in women
Low testosterone is often misdiagnosed in women. The signs mimic other conditions like hypothyroidism. It is also difficult to test women who are menstruating because levels vary with the menstrual cycle.
Some of the signs of low testosterone are:
loss of muscle tone
lack of sex drive
increase in body fat
low bone density
Signs of too much testosterone
It is also possible to have too much testosterone. Some of the signs of excess testosterone are:
excess body hair,
deeper voice, acne,
male pattern baldness,
irregular menstrual cycles,
What causes high testosterone?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a common cause of high testosterone. Adrenal disorders are another cause. The use of anabolic steroids is also a cause of high testosterone.
What causes low testosterone?
Use of hormonal contraceptives
Lack of exercise
You can boost your levels of testosterone
Here are some ways to increase testosterone levels, or at least slow the decline.
If you are overweight or obese then lowering your fat levels will help to increase testosterone levels.
One of the best ways to boost testosterone is with resistance training. The most effective way is using weights or resistance which is quite heavy, so you are building muscle. But if you are a beginner to resistance training you will need to work up to the heavier weights while you perfect your form.
Cardiovascular exercise does not in itself increase testosterone levels, but if it helps you lose fat then it may help increase or maintain testosterone levels. Beware of overtraining (especially with endurance exercise) as this will lead to a decrease in testosterone levels.
For women HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) seems to lower testosterone levels, but this may depend on the intensity and the frequency.
Walking outdoors is helpful in maintaining testosterone for a few reasons. It helps to reduce stress, helps with weight maintenance and increases your vitamin D intake through sunshine.
Get adequate protein in your diet
Getting enough protein in your diet helps you to boost your testosterone levels. it also helps you to increase muscle mass and decrease fat, which both help to increase testosterone.
Some of the best sources of protein include:
Wild fish (salmon or mackerel)
But don’t forget carbohydrates and fats
Without adequate carbohydrates in your diet, your body will turn to protein for fuel rather than use it for building muscle and bone. Here are some of the best sources of fats and carbohydrates for building testosterone:
• leafy green vegetables
• pumpkin seeds
Vitamins and minerals you need
Foods that are rich in vitamin D, vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc and magnesium are also important for boosting testosterone. Choosing the foods mentioned above will help you get enough of these vitamins and minerals, but supplementation may be necessary.
Lower stress and cortisol levels
Higher cortisol levels can lower testosterone levels. And since stress increases cortiosl levels, some kind of stress reduction may be helpful in maintaining testosterone levels.
Mindfulness, yoga, and breathwork are useful in reducing stress.
Things to avoid
If you are trying to boost your testosterone levels here are a few things to avoid:
• hormone disruptors like BPA in plastics
• refined grains
• artificial sweeteners
Testosterone is important for both men and women. It is just one part of hormone balance. I can help you achieve hormone balance by providing you with nutritional guidance and supplement protocols. Book a free nutrition consultation to find out more.
Vicki Witt | Clinical Nutritionist | Holistic Coach | Reiki Master | Certified LEAP allergy therapist Over 25 years of successfully helping you achieve optimal health and weight loss 🍏 | www.vickiwittweightloss.com
Vicki Witt is a Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Coach, and Reiki Master. She has been practicing over 25 years and specializes in holistically customizing diet and lifestyle plans to each individual for weight loss and hormonal control. Her clientele often report they feel the best they have ever felt and wish they had started sooner. One of the USA and Australia's top Nutritionists, she has won multiple awards for her services in the industry.