Understanding Young Male Testosterone Levels at Historic Lows

Understanding Young Male Testosterone Levels at Historic Lows - FormTheory Athletics

Testosterone is a hormone found in both males and females but is significantly higher in men. It's responsible for men's typical traits, such as a deep voice, facial and body hair, and muscle development. Testosterone levels decrease as men age, but recent studies show that testosterone levels have been declining in young males for decades. This issue potentially affects a man's fertility, mental health, sexual function, and physical ability. The decrease corresponds with an increase in average BMI, which can contribute to lower testosterone levels. However, a recent study showed that the trend was prevalent even among men with BMI in the normal range.

This article gives information about the potential reasons why young male testosterone levels are at historic lows and what young men can do to maintain or increase their testosterone levels.

There are different reasons why young male testosterone levels are dropping.

Among them are:

Sedentary Lifestyle and Obesity

Living a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, or being obese can cause decreased testosterone levels. Research indicates that doing regular exercise increases testosterone production significantly. Not having an active lifestyle or being overweight can reduce the amount of testosterone available for use. The reason is that fat cells contain enzymes that convert testosterone to estrogen, which is a hormone typically found in higher concentrations in females. Additionally, when the body experiences excess fat, it produces more insulin, leading to insulin resistance in some individuals. Insulin resistance may cause dysfunction in the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis, which is responsible for regulating testosterone levels. Leading a more active lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight could help improve testosterone levels and overall health.

Poor Diet

Having a poor diet has been linked to lowered testosterone levels. Eating processed foods and not getting enough vitamins and minerals can adversely affect hormone production in the body. These types of foods are typically high in inflammatory agents and refined carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. Both of these issues have been linked to a decrease in testosterone production. Additionally, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as vitamin D and zinc, are common in individuals who consume a poor diet and can further lower testosterone levels.

Environmental Factors

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) found in pesticides, plastics, and personal care items, have been linked to lowered testosterone levels in men. EDCs like phthalates, pesticides, and bisphenol A (BPA) mimic hormones found naturally in the body, which can interfere with hormone production and potentially lower testosterone levels. EDCs can enter our bodies through ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption. Once inside, they disrupt the endocrine system, which is responsible for regulating hormones in the body. Specifically, EDCs disrupt the production, release, transport, metabolism, and elimination of hormones, leading to lower levels of testosterone in both men and women. This can have a range of negative effects on health, including reduced fertility, decreased muscle mass and bone density, and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Stress has a negative effect on testosterone levels. The body releases cortisol, a hormone produced in response to stress, which inhibits testosterone production. Cortisol and testosterone are inversely related, meaning that when cortisol levels are high, testosterone levels tend to be low. This is why men who experience chronic stress may have lower sex drive, reduced muscle mass, and other health issues related to low testosterone. Additionally, stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking alcohol and smoking, both of which have been proven to decrease testosterone levels.

Sleep Deprivation

When young men are deprived of an adequate amount of sleep, it can cause hormonal imbalance, leading to decreased testosterone levels. Lack of sleep can interrupt the normal sleep-wake cycle and lead to a decrease in testosterone production. Sleep deprivation can also increase the production of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can further suppress testosterone levels. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that men who slept less than five hours a night had significantly lower testosterone levels than those who slept seven to ten hours.


What Can Men Do?

Naturally, since a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, environmental factors, stress, and sleep deprivation lead to diminished testosterone levels, the inverse of each of those will help to increase testosterone production. Here are some tips as to how a young man should go about restoring a healthy level of testosterone.

Regular Exercise

Exercise has long been known for its positive effects on overall health, but it can also help contribute to improved testosterone levels in young men. Studies have shown that resistance training, such as weightlifting, can significantly increase testosterone levels in men, even after just a few weeks of consistent training. Additionally, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to increase testosterone levels as well. However, it's important to note that over-exercising or excessive cardio can actually have the opposite effect and decrease testosterone levels. Finding a balanced exercise regimen that includes strength training and HIIT may be a key factor in contributing to healthy testosterone levels in young men.

A Balanced Diet

A diet that is well-rounded with the right mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fats can help support healthy levels of hormones. Foods that are rich in zinc, vitamin D, and magnesium can also boost testosterone production by stimulating the production of luteinizing hormones that signal the production of testosterone. It is important to include a variety of leafy greens, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and lean proteins.

Limit Exposure to EDCs

EDCs can be found in many everyday products such as food, water, cosmetics, and plastics. To minimize exposure to these harmful chemicals, one can start by choosing healthy and organic foods, using natural cleaning agents, avoiding canned foods and drinks, and using glass storage containers rather than plastic. In addition, paying attention to product labels, selecting environmentally-friendly products, and adopting proper cleaning practices can drastically reduce the amount of EDCs in one's daily life.

Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep Quality

One of the best ways to reduce stress is through exercise, whether that be through a high-intensity workout or a calming yoga session. Daily prayer, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can also help to reduce stress levels. Additionally, it's crucial to establish a sleep routine and stick to it as much as possible, even on weekends. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body's internal clock and promotes better sleep quality. Avoiding caffeine and electronic devices before bed and creating a calming sleep environment are also essential for quality sleep.


While many turn to prescription medication or even anabolic steroids to achieve an increase in testosterone, supplementation is a safer and more natural alternative. Benefits of supplementation for testosterone include improved muscle growth, increased energy and stamina, and improved libido. It's important to note that supplementation should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional, as excessive amounts of testosterone can have negative health effects. However, when used correctly, taking natural supplements to boost testosterone can be a powerful tool in achieving optimal health and wellness.


Talk to a doctor or healthcare provider if you think you may have low testosterone levels and try hormone therapy or supplementation to boost testosterone levels. Always talk to a healthcare provider before using testosterone stimulation supplements. It could be time to consult with a specialist in male health or sports medicine to evaluate and diagnose a testosterone level issue. Maintain healthy testosterone levels to maintain physical, emotional, and sexual wellness.


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