By Akshay Raja
Testosterone is a hormone which is mainly produced in the testicles; stimulating sperm production and sex drive, as well as helping to build muscle and bone mass.
With environmental and dietary changes, there have been increases in vitamin and mineral deficiencies across the population. In men, this can lead to low testosterone; symptoms of which include fatigue, low sex drive, loss of muscle mass and increased body fat.
One way in which men can attempt to deal with this and increase their testosterone levels is through using supplements to increase related hormones or vitamins.
Whilst it is widely reported that people who adopt a vegan diet should incorporate the use of a B12 supplement into their daily diet, this article will focus on vegan supplements which can be used to support men’s health and increase testosterone.
One vitamin which can boost the levels of testosterone in men, is vitamin D. Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as the body synthesis vitamin D in reaction to sun exposure. Due to the lack of sun exposure humans receive nowadays, vitamin D deficiency does not just affect vegans and supplementation is not solely required by those on a vegan diet.
Vitamin D helps the body in the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, as well as improving brain development and heart and muscular function.
The maximum daily dosage recommended by the National Institute of Health is 4000 I.U. a day.
Whilst most vitamin D supplements are not vegan as they rely on animal-based sources of vitamin D3, Holland and Barrett offer Vitamin D3 3000 I.U. tablets, as well as an oral 1000 I.U. spray.
Magnesium is also a vital mineral for men’s health, helping with sleep as well as being critical for blood glucose control, protein synthesis and the regulation of the circadian rhythm. Furthermore, magnesium helps the body absorb calcium, necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to support blood levels of testosterone and muscular health.
According to the National Institute of Health, healthy adult men should generally consume 400 to 420 mg of magnesium daily.
According to these statistics, Vitabiotics, Dr Vegan and Holland and Barrett all offer suitable vegan magnesium supplements.
However, as the National Institute of Health also recommend that, when supplementing, the dose for adults should not exceed 350 mg unless prescribed, an alternative option would be the Magnesium and Zinc tablets from Holland and Barrett.
The Magnesium and Zinc tablets also offer 10mg of zinc a day, offering further benefits.
Zinc is involved in the production of testosterone and is also important for maintaining sperm quality.
Whilst foods such as beans contain zinc, they also contain phytate, which blocks the absorption of zinc, so it can be useful to also take zinc supplements.
The National Institute of Health recommends a daily dosage of 11mg a day, meaning the Magnesium and Zinc tablets mentioned above would also provide a suitable amount of zinc.
As an alternative option, Holland and Barrett also offer 15mg vegan zinc tablets. Whilst they offer 25mg tablets, the NHS warn against taking more than 25 mg a day unless advised by a doctor, so it may be a better option to start with the smaller dosage.
Whilst the information in this article should not be taken as medical advice and the balance of vitamins and minerals is different between individuals, the three supplements mentioned in this article have all been proven to have a positive effect on men’s health and can all contribute to increasing testosterone levels.