All women wish to increase their testosterone levels due to many reasons. According to a new study, simply acting like a boss can immediately increase your levels of testosterone. And increasing the powerful hormone can in turn make you an even more powerful lady boss.
In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers asked actors and actresses to give a monologue pretending to be a boss and firing an employee. They instructed both groups to do it in a stereotypically masculine fashion (“be blunt and mean”) and then in a traditionally—albeit still offensive—feminine way (“be nice and act unsure”).
Both groups saw a rise in the amount of testosterone in their saliva levels. However, women saw the largest gains, with a 10 percent jump from their baseline hormone level. Even more interesting, the women saw their testosterone rise no matter which gender stereotype they acted out.
Most people recognize that hormones influence how we feel, but this study shows that how we feel can also alter our hormone levels. And while the exact mechanism isn’t known, it does seem that there is something about the act of wielding power over someone else that can directly affect our bodies, Sari van Anders, Ph.D., lead author and an associate professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor explained in the study.
So why would women want a boost of the male hormone? Well, while men produce testosterone via their testicles, women’ ovaries also produce a small amount, which researchers say is as necessary to our health as it is to his. According to a landmark study published in the World Journal of Urology, women who are low on testosterone often experience weight gain, hair loss, depression, exhaustion, increased cardiovascular disease, and low libido. And separate studies have found that raising a woman’s testosterone levels back to the normal range improves memory and learning, increases fertility, lowers depression, and increases confidence.
Yet supplementing with the hormone can be dicey—in fact, the Endocrine Society issued an official Clinical Practice Guideline last year advising against the use of testosterone therapy in healthy women—so researchers have been looking for ways to naturally raise levels in both sexes. Past research has found that exercise, particularly weight lifting and interval training, provides a consistent boost. But this may be the first study that shows you can raise a hormone level simply through the power of your mind.
While this study is intriguing, scientists caution that more research needs to be done on the subject. For instance, we need to see if the testosterone boost lasts longer than a few minutes and if the effect is really from feeling powerful or simply from delivering a certain type of monologue. But the possibility is exciting—and, let’s be honest, the world needs more lady bosses.
And you don’t have to go around firing people just to score the perk. Start by adopting a signature “power pose” (like the Superman), which a Harvard study found can actually boost your confidence and make you appear more powerful to others. Then mentally review your successes and be kind to yourself about past failures—University of California, Berkley research has shown that self-compassion helps people become more powerful leaders. Lastly, make your voice heard. Whether you’re growling “You’re fired” at an underling or discussing a group project, speak up and use the power you do have in order to score that testosterone boost and become the ultimate lady boss.
Balanced testosterone levels in women help in more places than just the bedroom. It is the muscle- and bone-building hormone commonly associated only with men, but it’s important for women too, especially as they get older. Testosterone can help reverse common postmenopausal effects of reduced muscle size and weaker bones, often leading to osteoporosis. Increasing testosterone levels naturally in women needs only a few lifestyle and diet changes.
Consume more quality protein in your diet. Eat a small protein source at every meal, such as lean red meat, poultry, cold water fish, tofu, legumes and/or nuts.
Add the herbal supplement ginseng to your diet; it comes in tea, powder or capsule forms. It is also sometimes used in energy drinks or nutritional juice supplements. According to VitaminStuff.com, ginseng behaves as an adaptogen by naturally balancing out sex hormones in the body through stimulation of the hypothalamus gland. Alternative medicine practitioners recommend 250 to 500 milligrams of ginseng daily as a supplement.
Increase your intake of “good” fats. Fat itself is not the enemy—it’s simply the type you choose that affects your health. Stick to flax, olive and peanut oils. Eat avocados and fatty fish, and add a flax or fish oil supplement to your diet. NowLoss.com states that the body requires these types of fat to stimulate the production of testosterone, so make sure 20 to 30 percent of your caloric needs are met with these types of fats.
Limit your intake of alcohol. Alcohol disturbs many of the body’s natural hormonal processes. Women should drink no more than one glass of wine (particularly red wine) or one strong drink per day.
Have sex once a week to maintain your natural testosterone levels. This is not a myth, and works for both men and women. Your naturally occurring testosterone levels drop off after a week of sexual inactivity.
Add zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 supplements to your diet. These three powerful vitamins and minerals promote testosterone production and increase your immune system response, muscle building capacity and mental alertness.
Add a Vitamin C supplement to your diet. About 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C is enough for the average adult, unless you feel as if you might be getting sick. Vitamin C helps reduce the enzyme naturally produced by your body that converts testosterone into estrogen.
Do not take steroids unless directed to by your physician. These chemicals do more harm than good when taken for the sole purpose of building muscle tissue. Vitamin and mineral supplements will not hurt you if taken as directed. Only vitamin A has been shown to be toxic at levels 10,000 times over the RDA.
Things that increase testosterone levels in women
- Quality protein sources
- “Good” fats
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
Estrogen levels fall at menopause. This is a natural transition for all women between ages 40 and 55. The decline in estrogen can happen abruptly in younger women whose ovaries are removed, resulting in so-called surgical menopause.
Perimenopause is the period of transition before menopause. The first natural decline in estrogen levels starts during this phase. Other physiological changes also start. Women going through perimenopause may experience weight gain along with other menopause symptoms. For instance, there may be irregular menstrual periods, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
On average, menopause occurs at age 51. When it does, a woman’s body produces less estrogen and progesterone. The drop of estrogen levels at menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness or itching
- Loss of libido or sex drive
Some women experience moodiness. That may or may not be related to the loss of estrogen. Lower levels of estrogen may also increase a woman’s risk for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and fractures.
During puberty, it’s normal for levels of estrogen to rise. That’s because this hormone fuels changes in a young girl’s body. For example, it plays a role in the development of breasts, a more mature curved figure, fuller hips, and pubic and underarm hair.
In addition, high levels of estrogen are seen in women who are extremely overweight. Levels are also high in women who have high blood pressure or diabetes. Estrogen levels rise during a healthy pregnancy, and increased estrogen levels may be seen with tumors of the ovaries, testes, or adrenal glands.
Some drugs, such as steroid medications, ampicillin, estrogen-containing drugs, phenothiazines, and tetracyclines can increase estrogen levels.
What happens when testosterone levels rise or fall?
If your body produces too much testosterone, you may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. You may also have more body hair than the average woman. Some women with high testosterone levels develop frontal balding. Other possible effects include acne, an enlarged clitoris, increased muscle mass, and deepening of voice.
High levels of testosterone can also lead to infertility and are commonly seen in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is an endocrine condition that is sometimes seen in women of childbearing age who have difficulty getting pregnant. Women with PCOS have symptoms similar to those produced by high testosterone levels. They include:
- An apple-shaped body
- Excessive or thinning hair
- Menstrual irregularity
PCOS is associated with:
- Higher levels of circulating male hormones
- Insulin resistance
- Carbohydrate intolerance — conditions that make you prone to gaining weight
- Low levels of HDL — ”good” — cholesterol
- Elevated triglycerides
- High LDL — ”bad” — cholesterol
- High blood pressure
As women with PCOS age, the presence of these risk factors increases their risk for heart disease. At menopause, women experience a decline in testosterone. That decline may be correlated to a reduced libido. Some findings indicate that testosterone replacement therapy may benefit sexual function in certain perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Testosterone replacement is unadvised in women with breast or uterine cancer. It also may increase the chances of cardiovascular disease or liver disease. So, experts are cautious about recommendations.
So the best way for women is to increase testosterone levels in a natural way.