How to Raise Testosterone Without Injections -- By Dr. Stephen Stevenson
Low testosterone levels don’t always mean we need to prescribe testosterone. One alternative alters the body’s conversion of testosterone without the side effects of simply dosing the body with the hormone.
In both men and women testosterone can be converted into estrogen by an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase is found throughout the body but is highest concentration in a person's body fat. So people with excess body fat typically convert testosterone into estrogen at a higher rate, thus lowering their testosterone levels and raising their estrogen levels. This is the reason why weight loss frequently results in increased testosterone levels.
Another way to block this conversion of testosterone into estrogen is to take a medication called an aromatase inhibitor that blocks the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. These medications are typically used for breast cancer treatment in women. However, in much lower doses they can be used to help raise testosterone levels and lower estrogen levels in males (1). Aromatase inhibitors can be used alone or in conjunction with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) to help prevent the excessive estrogen that is a potential side effect of TRT.
Like most pharmaceutical medications, aromatase inhibitors have potential side effects, but there are also several foods, supplements, and botanicals that act as natural aromatase inhibitors. These include: dietary fiber, flaxseed (lignans), soy (isoflavones), grape seed extract, white button mushrooms, green tea, stinging nettle root, quercetin, vitamin C, Chrysin, and zinc. While not quite as powerful as the prescription aromatase inhibitors, they can be quite effective at decreasing estrogen levels and increasing testosterone levels, with the added bonus of not creating the potential side effects of the medications.
Dias JP, Shardell MD, Carlson OD, et al. "Testosterone vs. aromatase inhibitor in older men with low testosterone: effects on cardiometabolic parameters." Andrology. 2017.
Dr. Stephen Stevenson specializes in, among other things, men's hormonal health. Visit with him or our other practitioners for your first (free) visit -- call us at 785/760-0695.