A generation ago, many doctors suspected that testosterone was the cause of men’s prostate troubles.  More recently, that theory has been discarded in light of persuasive evidence that healthy testosterone levels are actually essential to prostate health.

Testosterone is the hormone that gives men their male features and characteristics. This hormone not only controls and governs sexual and reproductive function, it’s also responsible for the growth of secondary male characteristics such as chest muscles and facial hair.

After age 30, a man’s body decreases its production of testosterone, a little more each year. By the time he reaches 40, he’s deficient by as much as 10 percent, or even more.

Beyond prostate trouble, low testosterone can lead to a diminished sex drive, a reduction in lean muscle, mood swings, weaker bones, and even trouble concentrating. In fact, just about every function in the body is affected by this drop in testosterone levels.

So the critical question is: Are you feeding healthy testosterone … or speeding its decline?

How you live your life can mean a faster drop in testosterone, and the low energy and decreased vitality that comes with it. Some common lifestyle factors that can suppress testosterone production include:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Increased stress levels
  • Improper diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

They’re all associated with drops in testosterone.  And once it starts falling, you’ll definitely know the difference.

You begin to make more frequent trips to bathroom at night … your sex life isn’t quite the sizzling experience you’d like it to be … your energy and mood levels have begun to slip, and it’s taking more time and effort to recover than when you were younger.

So, here are three critical ways to boost your testosterone naturally:

  1. Feed your body what it needs: Increase high-quality proteins while reducing carbs. Be sure to get plenty of essential fatty acids (EFAs) into your diet.
  2. Work out regularly for overall health and sexual stamina. But be careful not to overdo it: working out for more than 45-60 minutes in a single session can increase the level of hormone cortisol, which can negatively impact testosterone production.
  3. Reduce stress for healthy libido. Check out yoga or meditation classes, and learn to just kick back and enjoy your days off.
  4. Consider taking a men’s health supplement containing saw palmetto, a well-studied herb that supports healthy testosterone levels and helps maintain normal prostate size.
  5. Get outdoors more often. Studies show that Vitamin D is essential for mood health. As little as 15 minutes a day of sun exposure can make the difference between chronic low-grade depression and a more balanced emotional state.

In a report issued in July 2001, the Centers for Disease Control noted that women are 100 percent more likely than men to seek preventative health care. This alarming report noted that the failure of men to become actively engaged in their own health care takes a toll at early ages, but the trend accelerates as men near retirement.

Given this startling (and sobering) information, it’s obvious that men need to learn effective strategies to protect their health, especially as they age. It’s an issue of critical importance – not only for themselves, but for their loved ones, too.

Men: Do you take a supplement for prostate health?