Hormonal changes are very common in a woman’s life, particularly during pregnancy and childbirth. What many don’t know is that men also go through hormonal changes following the birth of a child in what is known as the fatherhood testosterone plunge. Research has shown that men experience a decrease in testosterone after becoming fathers in order to help prepare them for their new role. It is believed that lower testosterone in men causes them to be more caring and committed to their families. Lower levels of testosterone are also attributed to the changes in lifestyle following the birth of a child, such as less sleep and increased stress. While the reasoning behind the hormonal changes may be understandable, men derive their identity and perceived “masculinity” from this very important hormone.

So here are a few ways to deal with the sudden drop in testosterone.

1. Diet

Consuming a healthier diet can have a great impact on testosterone levels for men. A balanced and wholesome diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and carbs is beneficial for not only the production of testosterone but for overall health. Animal protein from meat, high saturated fats from avocados and nuts, and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower should be a key part of the diet as they can help balance testosterone levels and increase the amount of free circulating testosterone in the body. Look for other foods rich in magnesium, zinc, and omega fish oils. Be sure to monitor your calorie intake and avoid overeating as this can be counterproductive and actually lead to even lower levels of testosterone. It also important to avoid foods that cause a reduction in testosterone such as soy.

2. Supplements

If you are unable to get the minerals and vitamins you require from your diet, supplements are a helpful solution. There are certain vitamins and minerals that are very beneficial to testosterone levels. D-Aspartic acid has been successful in boosting low testosterone levels as it increases the hormones that stimulate the Leydig cells to produce more testosterone. Vitamin D is also effective for testosterone production. If you are not getting enough exposure to sunlight then a supplement is your best bet. Second to vitamin D in treating testosterone levels is zinc, which is actually recognized as an aphrodisiac. Zinc deficiency is associated with reduced levels of testosterone and sperm count so taking daily zinc supplements can greatly help boost testosterone. While studies have proposed other vitamins such as A, C, E to help tackle low testosterone, vitamin D and zinc are the only ones proven to truly affect testosterone levels in the body.

3. Exercise

Putting your body to work is not only great for your lifestyle but also an effective way to naturally boost testosterone levels. Exercise increases testosterone in the body in two key ways. First, exercise results in more muscle and less body fat. Bodies with minimal fat generally produce more testosterone. Second, there are exercises that directly result in spiked levels of testosterone. While all forms of regular exercise can lead to changes in hormone levels you should consider focusing on these specific types of exercise in order to maximize your workouts. More intense workouts yield better results so aim for resistance training, endurance training, weight-lifting, and high-intensity interval training. Lifting weights is very effective, especially when you lift heavy. Use compound lifts that work out large muscle groups in the body like squats and deadlifts. Combine weight lifting with high-intensity interval training like sprints for maximum effect. These workouts are the most impactful but if you are unable to do them, lighter exercises such as walking and swimming are also great. Remember not to overtrain your body and always take some days off between workouts to rest.

4. Sleep

While sleep may be a foreign concept to most new fathers who have little time to rest between working and taking care of their families, sleep is so important for hormonal balance. Fathers should try their hardest to get as much sleep as they can because testosterone is produced at night when we’re asleep. Studies have confirmed that there is a link between the amount of sleep and testosterone levels. The more you sleep the more time you give your body an opportunity to produce testosterone efficiently. Sleep also gives your body a chance to manage the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can wreak havoc on testosterone if not managed well. Sleep, therefore, allows the body and mind to rest and recharge and it is during this time that testosterone is restored. Getting between 8 and 10 hours of quality sleep a night is ideal.

5. Testosterone Boosters

While testosterone levels can be increased through natural lifestyle changes, sometimes they are simply not enough. In that case, you can consider safe and effective boosters that directly target the production of testosterone. These boosters can be natural such as the ashwagandha herb which is used to treat infertility in men. Other treatments can be prescribed by a doctor such as testosterone pellet therapy which has been used to treat hormonal imbalance for many decades. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a naturally occurring hormone, is one of the most commonly used boosters in the market. A daily dosage of 100mg is believed to be effective in restoring testosterone levels. Before taking any type of booster, make sure you understand how testosterone works and what the causes and symptoms of low testosterone may be.

While fatherhood may be one of the greatest joys in life, the body changes that come with it can be upsetting. Low testosterone levels do not have to get you down. With a few long-term changes in your lifestyle, you will be able to regain optimal levels of this vital hormone which is important for muscle growth, fat loss, and general well-being. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough rest, and keeping your stress levels under control is what it boils down to. If you feel you need a little more help, consider multivitamins and testosterone boosters. All in all, fatherhood testosterone plunge is something you can overcome!

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