Targeted Supplements and Low T: A Functional Medicine Approach to Optimizing Male Testosterone

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Medically Reviewed
June 18, 2024

As a functional medicine physician specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, I see a growing number of men in their 30s and 40s experiencing symptoms often associated with low testosterone (Low T).  

Fatigue, decreased libido, muscle loss, and difficulty concentrating are just a few of the tell-tale signs. But unlike conventional medicine, which often focuses solely on treating symptoms, functional medicine takes a different approach – one that emphasizes identifying and addressing the root cause of hormonal imbalances like Low T. 

Why Testosterone Matters 

Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, is critical to men’s health. It influences everything from muscle mass and bone density to sexual function and mood.  

As men age, testosterone levels naturally decline. However, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and underlying health conditions can accelerate this decline, leading to a condition known as hypogonadism or Low T. 

Conventional Medicine vs. Functional Medicine: Different Approaches to Low T 

Traditional medicine often relies on a simple blood test to diagnose Low T. If levels fall below a certain threshold, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) might be the recommended course of action. However, this approach has limitations. 

  • Limited Testing: Standard blood tests often only measure total testosterone levels. Functional medicine goes beyond this, looking at free testosterone (the readily available form) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that binds to testosterone, impacting its bioavailability. This comprehensive assessment provides a clearer picture of a man’s true testosterone status. 
  • Treating Symptoms, Not Root Causes: Conventional medicine often focuses on symptom management with TRT. While TRT is the recommended treatment for Low T, conventional medicine only treats the symptoms and does not address the underlying factors contributing to Low T. Functional medicine delves deeper to identify these root causes, such as: 
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Certain nutrients like zinc, vitamin D, and magnesium play a crucial role in testosterone production. Deficiencies can significantly impact testosterone levels. 
  • Stress: Chronic stress elevates cortisol, a hormone that can suppress testosterone production. 
  • Chronic inflammation: Inflammation throughout the body disrupts hormonal balance, including testosterone. 
  • Sleep disturbances: Poor sleep quality can negatively impact testosterone production. 
  • Gut health: An imbalanced gut microbiome can hinder testosterone production and contribute to inflammation. 
  • Obesity: Excess body fat can convert testosterone into estrogen, further reducing available testosterone. 

Targeted Supplements for Supporting Testosterone 

By addressing these root causes, we can naturally support healthy testosterone levels. Functional medicine utilizes targeted supplements based on a patient’s individual needs. Here are some examples: 

  • Zinc: This essential mineral plays a critical role in testosterone production. Studies have shown that zinc supplementation can improve testosterone levels in men with deficiencies [1]. 
  • Vitamin D: Low vitamin D levels have been linked to Low T [2]. Supplementation can be beneficial in raising testosterone, especially in men with deficiencies. 
  • Magnesium: This mineral is important for various bodily functions, including testosterone production. Research suggests magnesium supplementation may improve testosterone levels in men with deficiencies [3]. 
  • Ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb has been shown to reduce stress and improve testosterone levels in some studies [4]. 
  • Fenugreek: This herb may help improve testosterone levels and sperm quality in men [5]. 

The Importance of Early Monitoring 

Many men don’t consider monitoring their testosterone levels until they experience significant symptoms. However, early detection is crucial.  

By proactively monitoring testosterone levels in your 30s, we can identify potential problems early on and take a preventative approach. This allows us to implement lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation before symptoms arise. 

Beyond Supplements: Lifestyle Changes for Optimal Testosterone 

Functional medicine recognizes that supplements are just one piece of the puzzle. Optimizing testosterone levels also requires a focus on healthy lifestyle practices.

Here are some key strategies: 

  • Prioritize Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. 
  • Manage Stress: Techniques like meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature can effectively combat stress. 
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Losing excess body fat can significantly improve testosterone levels. 
  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. 
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, including strength training, to maintain muscle mass and support testosterone production. 

Conclusion: A Personalized Approach to Male Health 

Functional medicine offers a personalized and comprehensive approach to managing Low T. By combining advanced diagnostic testing, targeted supplementation, and healthy lifestyle modifications; we can address the root causes of low testosterone and help men achieve optimal health and well-being.  

If you’re experiencing symptoms suggestive of Low T or simply want to take a proactive approach to preserving your best health, contact Nava Health today.  


This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice from a licensed physician. Please consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or starting any supplements. 

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A Medical Director, and one of the first physicians to join the Nava Health & Vitality Center, Dr. Douglas Lord has made significant contributions to our Center and its founding principles. Dr. Lord has helped develop and implement the Nava Method™—Nava’s proprietary approach to total body wellness. He has also been instrumental in liaising with other expert practitioners to successfully implement Nava’s range of therapies, treatments, and products.