Masculinity in decline
I have something to tell you. Before I say this, I want you to know I’m not one of those tin-foil-hat types.
That crazy conspiracy dude Alex Jones was right...they’re turning the frogs gay.
(Note: “Gay frogs” is a rhetorical flourish.)
A 2015 study found that frogs who live in lakes and ponds near population centers were mostly female.
That might not seem like a big deal...until you read they also found male frogs with female eggs in their testicles!
The study suggests the male frogs are turning female.
What’s the cause?
All these estrogen-mimicking chemicals entering our water supply. And it’s not just estrogen-mimicking...actual birth control hormones excreted by women is being flushed into our waterways.
These chemicals are in a class of compounds called endocrine-disruptors and they wreak havoc on male hormones.
There’s the soy (phytoestrogens) in many of the processed foods you eat.
Radio waves from your smartphone.
Prolonged exposure to blue light from screens wrecking your sleep.
The stress of your always-on, never-disconnected lifestyle.
Information bombardment every waking moment of your day.
And don’t even get me started on the media demonizing masculinity 24/7 like it’s their job.
By the way, did you know that over the past 20 years there’s been a 22% generational decline in testosterone levels in men?
It’s gotten so bad that in 2017 LabCorp (a leading medical diagnostics company,) based on findings by the Endocrine Society, reduced their normal testosterone range from 348-1197 ng/dL to 264-916 ng/dL.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is this:
LIFE is doing it's best to turn you into a huge p***y.
Your testosterone is tanked...Your cortisol is through the roof...
THAT’S why you feel like crap all the time!
That’s why you'd rather watch TV than have sex with your partner!
That’s why you can’t lose belly fat!
Jeez...how are you not curled up in the fetal position in a corner somewhere?
I’m only half joking. And I know I’m ranting...I just get fired up because I’m so passionate about the subject.
Testosterone is the most important chemical compound to men, bar none. It..
- Decreases body fat
- Increases muscle mass
- Improves heart health
- Increases bone density
- Combats Alzheimer's and improves cognition
- Improves confidence
- Increases sex drive
- Improves mood and feeling of well-being
- Decreases feelings of anxiety and depression
- And does thousands of other beneficial things in your body
Now, there are two ways for you to increase the testosterone your body produces:
One, you can do it with hormone replacement therapy.
You need to consult your doctor before doing this. I don’t recommend it, for various reasons, unless you’ve exhausted all your non-medical options.
Two, you can do it by optimizing your lifestyle.
That involves regular exercise (cardio and lifting weights,) a healthy diet, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and a bunch of other things...
That's why I wrote this guide.
Took me hours of research to dig up all the studies, but everything I'm going to tell you about is 100% backed by science to boost your testosterone naturally.
How To Read This Testosterone Guide
Before we get started, I want to tell you how you should interpret this post and use the information I'm about to give you.
I am not a doctor...
This post is not medical advice, and should not be treated as such.
You must not rely on the information in this blog post as an alternative to medical advice from an appropriately qualified medical professional.
If you have specific questions about any matter you should consult an appropriately qualified medical professional.
If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention.
You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this blog post.
What's more, you're going to see a bunch of citations related to studies on mice and rats.
Last I checked, rats and mice aren't human. You'll probably think to yourself, "why the hell is he telling me about studies on mice?".
I'll tell you why...
It's because humans and mice have similar endocrine systems.
Because of this, they've been used for a long time to test for medicines and treatments prior to human trials.
So, while you should take the results of studies on mice and rats with a grain of salt, they will still give you a good indication on what to try to optimize your hormones.
Now, on to the post.
Check Testosterone and Other Key Hormone Levels First
First of all, you need to know baseline health markers. You can't optimize anything until you know what you're already working with.
On top of this, every individual is different.
You might try something on this list and see positive effects on your testosterone levels, while another person who tries the same sees no change.
Get your blood work done twice a year. I recommend DiscountedLabs.com. Get the complete hormone and wellness panel for men.
This panel is the most inclusive of all offered on the site for men who want a wide picture of their health or who are considering starting testosterone replacement therapy.
It provides a baseline overview of your sex hormones, thyroid gland, adrenal function, metabolic function, cholesterol, prostate and overall health. It includes:
- CBC (includes immune cells, red blood cells and hematocrit)
- CMP-14 (Includes kidney and liver function, glucose and electrolytes)
- Lipid Panel (LDL, HDL, Triglycerides)
- Testosterone free and total (LC/MS assay with no upper limit)
- Estradiol, Sensitive (LC/MS assay)
- DHEA-sulfate (Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate)
- TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
- Free T3 (Free Triiodothyronine )
- PSA (Prostatic Specific Antigen)
- LH (Luteinizing Hormone)
- FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
There are plenty of guides online teaching you how to read your blood work. Or you can take it to your doctor and have him interpret for you.
Testosterone and Diet
1. Avoid Alcohol
This is a tough one for most. Alcohol consumption is part of our culture.
Still, as a man concerned with optimizing his health so he can live his best life for a long time, you need to think about cutting out alcohol entirely.
While small amounts of alcohol (think 1-2 glasses at most per week) increase your testosterone levels, heavy consumption leads to a huge decrease.
This study on intoxicated men showed a significant decrease in testosterone levels up to a day after, as well as increases in estrogen compounds and cortisol (the stress hormone.)
And ironically, the beverage most associated with manliness, beer is the worst offender...
The hops in beer contain the most powerful phytoestrogen, 8-prenylnaringenin. Phytoestrogens are chemicals found in plants that mimic estrogen.
So, getting drunk on beer will kill your testosterone to estrogen ratio.
If you're going to drink, limit yourself to liquor and wine in controlled amounts.
2. Eat the right carbohydrates
Carbs have been demonized in the media for the past few years, now.
With the popularity of low-carb diets like Atkins, Paleo, Ketogenic, etc., it seems like cutting out the carbs is a good way to go, right?
Slow down there big fella...the real answer is...
Sure, glucose ingestion was associated with a 25% decrease in mean testosterone levels. But that's not the whole story.
Glucose levels regulate the release of growth hormone and might be involved in reducing the effects of dieting on fertility.
And here's the kicker...
When they studied two groups of men, one on a high protein diet and the other on a high carbohydrate diet, the high-carb group had more serum testosterone and lower cortisol.
They also tested this on men who exercise, and found the high-carb group showed higher levels of free testosterone and lower cortisol.
So, the key is for you to fuel your body with the right kind of carbohydrates. Stick to whole food sources like potatoes, rice, fruit, and vegetables.
3. Eat healthy fats
The more fat you eat, the better your testosterone levels. The right fats that is.
Saturated and monounsaturated fats increase your testosterone, while polyunsaturated fat decreases it.
Don't be afraid to eat liberal amounts of fatty foods like:
- Grass-fed butter
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
But stay away from deep-fried foods and "fake fats" like corn oil or other vegetable oils.
4. Get enough protein (but not too much)
All the bros and bodybuilding magazines were wrong...
You don't need a shit ton of protein to build muscle.
In fact, the science shows beyond 0.8 g/lb bodyweight, there are no benefits to eating more protein.
What's more interesting is that getting the majority of your calories from protein has been shown to actually decrease testosterone! Check out this graph.
Notice how as the ratio shifts towards a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio, the less serum testosterone was available in the blood.
So the moral of the story here is to eat right under your weight in grams of protein and eat a higher ratio of good carbohydrates.
5. Probiotics for gut health
When they studied the effects of adding probiotic bacteria to the diets of mice, they found it:
- Prevented age related testicular shrinkage
- Increased testicular size significantly
- Increased testicular weight significantly
- Increased testosterone levels significantly
- Increased social domination
- Increased the activity of the hypothalamus-pituiary-testis axis
- Increased sperm motility, quality, and quantity
- Increased luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone levels
^^ Just look at that big-balled bastard.
Now, you can supplement with probiotics but the problem is you need to make sure the bacteria you're ingesting are alive.
If I was you, I'd get my dose of good gut bacteria from the following natural sources:
- Fermented cheeses (stinky cheeses like blue, gorgonzola, etc.)
- Fermented fish
6. Stay the hell away from SOY
Soybeans have compounds in them called isoflavonoids. Isoflavonoids are phytoestrogens that crash your testosterone and ramp up estrogen.
The main isoflavone in soy is Daidzein. When digested, it metabolizes to Equol. Equol is an anti-androgen, meaning it f***s with your testosterone production. Not a good look. No wonder those Buzzfeed guys have t-levels in the 200's.
If you want another dose of reality, let me tell you this story of a 19-year-old type 1 diabetic who was and otherwise healthy man. When he switched to a vegan diet and started eating tons of soy-based products, he got hit with the sudden onset of loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. Testosterone sunk like Battleships. He only got back to normal a year after he quit being a vegan.
7. Eat your cruciferous vegetables
Crucifers vegetables like:
- Brussel sprouts
Are potent aromatase inhibitors. I.e. they reduce your body's conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This is because of a compound in cruciferous vegetables called indol-3-carbinol.
It's been thought that diindolylmethane (DIM) is the metabolite responsible for the aromatase inhibiting effects, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
As well, cruciferous vegetables are chock-full of plant sterols, which have been shown to reduce estrogen levels.
8. Eat onions
One study on rats showed a significant increase in serum testosterone when given fresh onion juice over 20 days. I don't recommend that you do this, because you'll be sweating the stench of onions out of your pores for several days after.
Still, you can be liberal with the onions when cooking. I love me some caramelized onions.
Onions also contain quercetin, a flavor compound that decreases estrogen and increases nitric oxide in the blood.
9. Eat mushrooms
White button mushrooms have been shown to inhibit aromatase activity. Another study found shiitake mushrooms had anticancer effects (due to limiting estrogen.)
Just like onions, you can easily add a few handfuls of button or shiitake mushrooms when preparing meat or vegetables.
10. Add turmeric to your food
Turmeric is a popular spice in Asian cooking. These days, they're calling it a superfood, because of its potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. The compound responsible for turmeric's superpowers is curcumin.
Curcumin has stimulatory reproductive effects (like sperm quality and production.) It has also been shown to reduce estradiol (the main form of estrogen in the body.) And it can also help with muscle recovery after exercise.
If you don't want to add turmeric to your food, you can always supplement with curcumin tablets.
11. Add black pepper to your food
Black pepper enhances the absorption (bio-availability) of a bunch of different micro-nutrients.
Take curcumin with piperine (the active compound in black pepper,) for example. They've tested it in rats and humans. With rats, giving curcumin and piperine increased the bioavailability by 154% versus giving curcumin alone. With humans, piperine increased the bioavailability of curcumin 2000%.
The message is clear. If you want to get the most out of curcumin's anti-estrogen, testosterone boosting, bone building, cancer inhibiting, muscle strengthening, slimming effects, eat it with black pepper.
12. Add chilli (cayenne, paprika, etc.) to your food
This one's a bit of a chicken-or-egg situation.
Studies have shown individuals with higher testosterone are more likely to eat spicy food. Does it mean eating spicing food increases testosterone? I don't know.
Still, no harm trying. Dash a bit of hot sauce on your meals or add cayenne when cooking.
In a study on mice, capsaicin (the active compound in chilli) appeared to enhance testicular cell proliferation and can affect the release of ghrelin and testosterone directly or indirectly.
If you want to maximize the effects of all the spices I mentioned, check out the double pepper curry bomb.
13. Cook with ginger
Ginger is a powerful antioxidant and antiinflammatory. This means it gets rid of free radicals in your body. Inflammation and excess free radicals are responsible for much of disease and aging. The've proven this in the lab, and the effect is more powerful the more concentrated the ginger.
It also seems to have androgenic effects because rats treated with ginger extract saw an increase in the size of their testicles, sperm count and quality, and serum testosterone levels.
14. Drink coffee pre-workout (Caffeine in moderation)
Caffeine is an age-old pre-workout supplement. Drinking coffee before a workout gives you a better workout because of the anabolic effects of the increase in testosterone concentration. However, this is countered by the opposing catabolic effects of the increase in cortisol and resultant decline in the testosterone:cortisol ratio.
Coffee is also a rich source of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. I recommend limiting your caffeine intake to pre-workout. A single cup of coffee is more than enough to get the benefits. In contrast, you should stay away from energy drinks because they are loaded with sugar and don't have any of the beneficial micronutrients.
Testosterone and exercise
15. Resistance training / lift weights
Resistance training has a multitude of benefits:
- Increased strength and coordination
- Improved bone mineral density
- Increased muscle mass
- Lower body fat
- Maintaining body composition
- Improved energy levels and mood
- Better cognitive performance
- Protects against degenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimers
- And much more...
Just as important or more, resistance training increased the production of testosterone and other androgens in both the short- and long-term. In this study on young people, resistance training led to a 45% in growth hormone secretion.
So...get your a** in the gym.
16. Do mostly compound lifts
In one study, 2 groups of collegiate athletes were put on 2 different strength training programs over 6 months. Both programs were full-body, meaning they trained all of their muscles. The only difference is, one group had to do squats and deadlifts. The growth hormone response in the group that performed squats and deadlifts was significantly higher than the group that followed the upper body program.
17 & 18. Lean body mass / relative bodyweight strength
This is more of an indicator of good health (and good hormone health) in men. If you are lean and muscular you probably have high testosterone.
You can measure this practically by your ability to perform bodyweight strength exercises like pushups, pull ups, squats, lunges, dips, etc. If you are weak on these movements, it means you're fat. And if you're fat, you're probably low-T and high estrogen.
Studies have shown sprinting sessions to increase production of testosterone and cortisol over steady-state cardio and circuit training.
High intensity exercise is better for your testosterone levels than the slow, steady-state kind you see the fatties around you doing, day after day, with no improvements to their physique. High Intensity Interval Training is when you alternate periods of intense exercise with short periods of rest (e.g. 30 seconds of burpees every minute on the minute.)
A study on masters athletes found 6 weeks of HIIT improves peak power output (PPO) and free testosterone.
In another study, 15 athletes were assigned to either a HIIT group or steady state exercise group. both groups increased their testosterone levels but the HIIT group was much higher. This suggests that higher intensity training might produce a more pronounced turnover of testosterone.
A third study involved 18 road cyclists who were placed into one of two groups for 4 weeks of training, one doing high intensity training, the other steady state. The higher intensity group reported increased testosterone levels of 97% as opposed to the steady state group who increased by only 62%.
Who would have thought walking, of all things, boosts your testosterone? Well, it's true, according to research.
This study divided participants into 2 groups and put them on a calorie-controlled diet. One group was made to walk. At the end of the study, the group that walked had higher testosterone.
And not just walking, any kind of physical activity beats being sedentary for your testosterone levels. One study found an hour of chopping wood increased semen quality and testosterone levels.
Let's add one more. This study also showed better semen quality and increased testosterone levels in physically active men over sedentary men.
Testosterone boosting supplements
Here's the thing about Vitamins and Minerals. They boost your testosterone if you're deficient in them. Basically, supplementation helps you normalize your hormones. Once you have enough, then adding more doesn't do anything.
So, all you really need is a balanced, varied diet. However, the food you eat today isn't as nutritious as the food your grandpappy and great-grandpappy ate. With that in mind, if you do have a deficiency, here's what you should be taking to boost your testosterone levels.
22. Vitamin A
Vitamin A isn't a single compound but a number of different chemicals includes retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and several provitamin A carotenoids (most notably beta-carotene). Retinoic Acid plays a key role in the formation of sperm.
In this study involving rats, when they were cut off from Vitamin-A their testosterone production dried up to the point where their testicles shrank, and estrogen levels inside the testes went up.
In this study on children with delayed onset puberty, supplementing with Vitamin A and Iron was as effective as testosterone replacement therapy in kick-starting their development.
To get your daily amounts of provitamin A carotenoids, eat a sweet potato, some carrots, or dark leafy greens like spinach. To get the active forms (retinol, retinal, retinoic acid) you can eat beef liver or salmon, or drink cod liver oil.
23. Vitamin B complex
B-complex vitamins include these eight primary vitamins:
- B1 (Thiamin)
- B2 (Riboflavin)
- B3 (Niacin)
- B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
- B6 (Pyridoxine)
- B7 (Biotin)
- B9 (Folic Acid)
- B12 (Kobacalamine)
The vitamin B family can be helpful for dealing with several common health problems we face today, such as depression, fatigue, heart disease, stress, brain health, and high cholesterol.
In one study, subfertile men given zinc and folic acid demonstrated a significant 74% increase in total normal sperm count and a minor increase of 4% abnormal spermatozoa. A similar trend was observed in fertile men.
Vitamin B deficiency has been shown to reduce your liver's ability to get rid of estrogen and reduce it's ability to absorb testosterone.
To get the full spectrum of Vitamin B from your diet, all you need to eat are these 3 foods:
- Whole eggs
24. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential compound for good health, a potent antioxidant and immune booster. Deficiency in Vitamin C can lead to:
- Easy bruising
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Slow wound healing
- Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
- Dry and splitting hair
- Dry red spots on the skin
- Rough, dry, scaly skin
- Weakened immune system
- Digestive disorders like leaky gut and autoimmune disease
- Possible weight gain because of slowed metabolism
- Swollen and painful joints
This study involved industrial workers exposed to lead because of their jobs. When they tested the effect of Vitamin C, they showed a statistically significant increase in sperm amount and quality.
In another study, infertile men received 1,000 mg of vitamin C twice daily for a maximum of 2 months. Results showed their mean sperm count and sperm motility increased over 100%.
Vitamin C can also help lower cortisol, according to several studies, thus improving your anabolic ratio (testosterone:cortisol.)
This in-vitro study showed that Vitamin C was able to regenerate damaged testosterone molecules by almost 60%. Another study using in-vitro preparation of rat testis showed significant stimulation of enzyme activity and rise in testosterone content.
You can get your daily intake of Vitamin C from cruciferous vegetables like brocolli, kale, and brussel sprouts, or fruits like oranges, grapefruits, kiwi, mango, pineapple, guava, strawberries, and much more.
25. Supplement with Vitamin D
Vitamin D isn't a vitamin, it's a steroid hormone. And it's responsible for over 1,000 processes in your body, including your production of testosterone
Participants in one study given 3332 IUs of Vitamin D for 1 year saw total testosterone increase 25% bioactive testosterone increase 20%, and free testosterone levels increase 20%.
Older men who supplement with Vitamin D are less likely to fall because of higher testosterone levels.
The only way to get your Vitamin D is through sunlight or supplements.
According to this 1939 study, it's much better to get your Vitamin D from sunlight. Testosterone levels increased 120% over 5 days of exposure to UV light. And if the testicles were exposed to UV over the same time frame, the boost was 200%.
26. Vitamin E
This study on rats showed significant increases in testosterone and other androgens with Vitamin E supplementation.
Maybe more importantly, Vitamin E protects your body from the free radicals formed when polyunsaturated fats are oxidized. Polyunsaturated fats are probably the most potent food that reduces testosterone. So, it's no surprise supplementing with Vitamin E gives you a nice boost in testosterone.
Vitamin E is found in all kinds of nuts (almonds having the highest amount at 48% your daily amount.) Wheat germ oil has 135% of your daily recommended serving (you probably need to take more than the RDA, though, because of how much polyunsaturated fat is in our diet.)
Boron is very much related to hormone balance. Most of us are Boron deficient, even though it hasn't gotten as much attention as a lot of other micronutrients. This is one of those underlying deficiencies that can have a significant impact on pretty much the entire body.
There was a pilot study done where they found a 56% increase in free testosterone after taking 6 milligrams of Boron a day for 2 months. In that same study, they also found an increase of vitamin D levels of almost 20%. Boron is also an anti-inflammatory and aids in joint health.
Magnesium is responsible for 300+ bodily processes, like:
- Increasing bone-mineral density
- Improving cardiovascular health
- Maintaining fluid balance
- Giving your cells energy
- Improving your sleep
- Increasing your free testosterone
- And much more...
Studies show that supplementation with magnesium increases free and total testosterone values in sedentary and in athletes. People who exercise see greater increases than people who are sedentary. Magnesium also increases IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor,) which is the primary mediator for growth hormone production.
The best natural sources of Magnesium are: raw cacao, meat, rock/sea salt, dark leafy greens. The best way to supplement orally is with Magnesium Glycinate. Magnesium is absorbed better through your skin, so Epsom Salt baths and Magnesium sprays are more effective than tablets.
In infertile males there is a strong positive correlation between serum testosterone and selenium levels. In one study, all semen parameters significantly improved when participants were treated with selenium and N-acetyl-cysteine.
An NIH study looked at skin cancer patients taking 200 micrograms Selenium over 4.5 years. It reduced the chances of dying from cancer 50%, reduced prostate cancer 63%, and reduced colorectal cancer 58%.
Selenium essential for thyroid health. The enzymes that synthesize T3, the most active form of thyroid hormones, require Selenium as a co-factor. Thyroid hormones are responsible for 30-40%, of your basal metabolic rate. One of the most common symptoms of hypothyroid is low energy levels (more common in women but it does happen to men too.)
The best natural source of Selenium is brazil nuts. However, it's also found in eggs, poultry, beef, pork, seafood, and some whole grains.
You need Zinc if you want your body to function optimally because it's needed for the production of 300+ enzymes and a bunch of important bodily processes.
If you're deficient in Zinc, supplementing with it will increase your testosterone levels. If you're a sedentary person, Zinc can prevent the drop in thyroid hormone and testosterone that happens when you exercise. Not only that, it'll boost your testosterone levels higher than your baseline. The same thing happens with individuals who exercise heavily (like athletes.) Zinc supplementation protects your thyroid and testosterone levels.
In a study on infertile men, testosterone and dihydrotestosterone rose significantly after oral administration of zinc, as did their sperm count. And some of them got their wives pregnant too. In patients with sexual dysfunction from illness (like needing kidney dialysis) Zinc supplementation can cause an increase in the serum level of sex hormones which may improve their sexual function.
In this study on rats, Zinc deficiency was shown to increase the conversion of estrogen to testosterone. So, Zinc is essential to keep your testosterone-to-estrogen ratio in check.
I already discussed curcumin in "10. Turmeric." The problem with adding turmeric to your food is:
- How do you ensure the quality of the product?
- How much do you need to eat to get enough curcumin?
That's why curcumin supplements are a good idea. You can also make haldhi doodh aka turmeric milk, which is commonly consumed in India and Pakistan.
32. Ashwaghanda KSM-66
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen; it allows the body and brain to basically adapt to the stress it's being put under.
Typically, as we get older, not only do testosterone levels change but the stressors of life also change. They're like arrows pointing down, pushing on us. We need to be able to adapt to all of those, and counterbalance or push against them.
What an Adaptogen does, whether Ashwagandha or other forms of ginseng, is it starts to push all those arrows back up. And the way it really works is by helping normalize male hormones in your body.
In a placebo-controlled study, 57 males were given 600 milligrams of KSM-66 Ashwagandha (the same dose in Formula-M.) This is what they found:
434% greater testosterone increase than the placebo group. In actual numbers, 96 nanograms per deciliter (ng/DL) versus 18.
73% greater increase in their bench press
48% greater increase in their leg extensions
133% greater reduction in body fat
2 studies were done, one slightly larger dose; 675 milligrams versus 600 milligrams. They found a 167% increase in sperm count and a 53% increase in semen volume.
One study showed an increase in testosterone but not nearly as the study with the exercising group. If somebody is exercising, it's just going to allow the body to function and adapt to that exercise even more.
Another study looked at stressed-out individuals. They found not only a significant reduction in all stress parameters but also a significant reduction in cortisol. And that's very important because of the anabolic index. All things equal, if your testosterone is normal but stress (cortisol) goes up, anabolic ratio goes down. You want to increase testosterone AND reduce cortisol. That's the ideal situation.
With respect to energy, there's a clinical trial that shows 600 milligrams a day of Ashwaghanda KSM-66 increasing cardiovascular endurance and quality of life.
33. DON'T take Fish Oil
You know how big the fish-oil supplement industry is? They expect it to reach $57 BILLION DOLLARS by 2025. There's just one problem...all the claims about fish oil supps being good for you are bulls***!
Second, when researchers reviewed the studies on the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, here's what they discovered. Between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2012, 18 studies and 6 meta-studies of omega-3 fatty acids were published in the high-impact journals. Only 2 of the studies reported any benefits.
Not only that, research shows most of the fish oil you're taking is RANCID. That's why manufacturers add Vitamin E to help prevent the oxidation of the fats. Even so, studies show the peroxide levels in almost all the fish oil products available in the market were abnormally high irrespective of their Vitamin E content.
And don't forget all the crazy, awful stuff we're doing to pollute our water sources. All those harmful pollutants end up in the fish you, know. Garbage in, garbage out...so how good can the fish oil supplements be? This study on rats shows pollutants reduce the antioxidant ability of fish oil and increases oxidative stress in the body.
34. DON'T take Metformin
Metformin is a wonderdrug. Primarily used in treatment for people with diabetes (to help them control insulin levels,) it's been studied for over 50 years.
Metformin improves the quality of your gut microbiota, has antitumor effects, antiaging effects, cardiovascular protective effects, neuroprotective effects and is an optional treatment for PCOS.
BUT, Metformin decreases your testosterone levels. One study showed a significant decrease in total testosterone levels in the diabetic group and free testosterone levels in the control group.
Testosterone and lifestyle
35. Reduce your body fat
If you're fat (overweight or obese,) you have higher estrogen levels because fat boosts the aromatization of testosterone to estradiol. In obese adolescent boys, increased aromatization of testosterone to estradiol can stunt their growth.
And you really need to watch out for the belly fat. Men with relatively high waist circumference but low obesity (BMI) had lowest levels of total and free testosterone in this study.
Men with a lot of belly fat have androgen deficiency. The symptoms are low libido, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, depressed mood, lethargy, and diminished physical performance. According to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, the prevalence of androgen deficiency among American men between the ages of 40 and 79 is nearly 8 percent. Once study estimated that there are approximately 2.4 million 40- to 69-yr-old U.S. males with androgen deficiency.
36. Get more sunlight on your skin (and balls)
The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This doesn't take long at all, especially in the summer. You don't need to "tan." To get the effects it takes about half the time it takes to burn your skin. The amount of vitamin D produced depends on the time of day, where you live, you skin color, and how much skin you expose.
Male rats exposed to continuous light for 70 days showed an increased weights of testis, accessory sex organs, serum levels of testosterone and other androgens. Prolonged light exposure also stimulated sperm production.
Applied directly to the testicles, sunlight increases testosterone production by an average of 200%. So if you can subathe nude, do it. Another option is red light therapy, where you shine a red LED lamp on your balls for 2-8 minutes.
37. Quit smoking / don't smoke cigarettes
Cigarettes can cause erectile dysfunction. I.e. they f*** up your erections. There is a strong association between the intensity of cigarette smoking and degree of erectile dysfunction. Stopping cigarette smoking can improve erections in a considerable proportion of smokers. Age and the severity of erectile dysfunction before stopping smoking are inversely related to the chance of improvement. Compared with men who never smoked, men who smoked at some time had a greater likelihood of erectile dysfunction.
38. Get 8+ hours of sleep a night
Your body makes the testosterone it needs for the day while you sleep. Sleep deprivation can totally tank your testosterone levels. The more sleep you can get, the more testosterone you make.
This study showed that besides age, sleep duration was associated with androgen concentrations in men, so the quality and length of sleep may be beneficial in managing men with low androgen concentrations.
If you want to get better sleep:
- Exercise in the morning.
- Stay away from electric light at night.
- No screens (computer, smartphone, TV) 2 hours before bed time.
- Switch to "warm" light (yellow/orange) and dim the lights.
- Sleep in a cold room, preferably naked.
- Sleep in complete darkness (use an eye mask if you have to.)
- Turn off your wifi and mobile phone (or put it in airplane mode.)
39. Talk to pretty girls
Psychologists found that just a 5 minute talk with an attractive woman raised testosterone by 14 per cent and cortisol by 48 per cent. They did not change (or slightly decreased) after a conversation with a young man.
That's right, you dorks. Delete Tinder, go the f*** outside, and actually start talking to women!
40. Have more sex
Here's a cool study. Researchers when into a strip club to study the effects of strippers on customers' testosterone. Consistent with expectations, results revealed that testosterone levels increased 36% among men during a visit to the sex club. The amount of testosterone increase was significantly greater among the guys who had sex with the strippers (72%) compared with the guys who just watched (11%).
In this study on couples, testosterone increased on the nights they had sex and decreased on the nights they had none. The pattern was the same for males and females. And the lack of sexual activity due to erectile dysfunction decreases testosterone levels.
Use it or lose it, fellas.
41. Cold showers
Your testicles operate best when they're cooler than the rest of your body. That's why they hang in a pouch outside your body. The internal temperature of your testicles is 35 degrees, 2 degrees lower than the rest of your body.
Which raises the question...do they work better at colder temperatures?
Old-school Russian weightlifters seemed to think so. They used to ice their nuts before big lifts.
In fact, the opposite is also true. If you heat your testicles, testosterone and sperm count decrease to a point where it's considered a contraceptive!
Which brings us to cold showers...
This in-vitro study of human testes showed that DNA synthesis is at a maximum at 31°C with delicate temperature sensitivity while RNA and protein syntheses are at a maximum at 34 °C or 37 °C and are temperature-dependent.
Your sperm production is affected by the seasons. Sperm concentration and motility decreases from spring to summer and fall with recovery in the winter. As well, the highest percentage of normal sperm morphology was observed during the winter months.
I don't know about you, but I might add icing my nutsack to my morning and evening routine. If that's too much, at least take two cold showers a day. It helps with endothelial function and gives your immune system a boost.
Posture, body language...how you carry yourself...can increase your testosterone.
In this study, Amy Cuddy (you've probably seen her TED talk,) Harvard researcher and author of presence, tested high- and low-power poses.
People who did the high-power poses got a boost in testosterone and reduction in cortisol. The people who did the low-power poses got the opposite.
43. Drink lots of water
Even mild dehydration causes a big bump in cortisol, which leads to a 2nd order effect of decreasing testosterone. One study soccer players who went through a 90-minute exercise drill; one group was allowed to drink water while the other wasn't. Mean heart rate, perceived exertion, serum aldosterone, osmolality, sodium and cortisol responses during the test were higher in the 'no-fluid' trial than in the fluid trial.
Another study showed dehydration reduces the growth-hormone producing effects of exercise.
The chart below shows dehydration increased cortisol significantly and reduced the testosterone increase that happens with exercise.
44. Intermittent Fasting
As a concept, fasting for good health is thousands of years old, and a mainstay of many religious traditions. All that crap about eating 6 small meals a day, is just that...crap. Fasting has a number of well-known physiological benefits. I won't go through them all here, because what you want to know is, "will fasting increase my testosterone?".
Yes, it will.
One study on obese individuals showed short-term fasting increased the GnRH-elicited lutenizing hormone response by 67% and the corresponding testosterone response by 180%.
The chart below shows what happened to testosterone levels after a 10-day water fast. Testosterone levels decreased over the duration of the fast, then on the refeeding day jumped back up to well above the levels at the beginning of the experiment.
There are many fasting protocols you can experiment with - Warrior Diet, Lean Gains, Metabolic Blowtorch Diet, twice-a-week fasting, alternate day fasting, and everything in between. Ease into it and once you're comfortable with the idea of not eating for most of the day, scale up.
Testosterone and the environment
Every day you are subject to a chemical bombardment on your endocrine system.
Polluted air and water, EM radiation from screens, plastics, food full of harmful chemicals, all wreaking havoc on your hormones.
And the chief culprits are Xenoestrogens, are a type of xenohormone that imitates estrogen. They can be either synthetic or natural.
- Synthetic xenoestrogens are widely used industrial compounds, such as PCBs, BPA, and phthalates, which have estrogenic effects on you even though they differ chemically from the estrogenic substances you naturally produce.
- Natural xenoestrogens include phytoestrogens which are plant-derived xenoestrogens, sometimes called "dietary estrogens".
Excess estrogen or estrogen imbalances are bad for both men AND women.
And, if you live in a coastal, populated city, you can't avoid the environmental effects on your hormones.
At best, you can make more informed, deliberate choices on the types of products you use every day.
45. Try to Avoid Certain Plastics
With plastics you need to worry about two things: phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA.)
- Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as toys, vinyl flooring and wall covering, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other fragrance preparations
- BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles.
Meeker and colleague Kelly Ferguson of the U-M School of Public Health examined phthalate exposure and testosterone levels in 2,208 people who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011-2012.
They analyzed urine samples to measure concentrations of 13 substances left after the body metabolizes phthalates. Each participant’s testosterone level was measured using a blood sample.
They found an inverse relationship between phthalate exposure and testosterone levels at various life stages.
In women ages 40-60, for example, increased phthalate concentrations were associated with a 10.8-to-24 percent decline in testosterone levels.
Among boys ages 6-12, increased concentrations of metabolites of a phthalate called di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, was linked to a 24-to-34.1 percent drop in testosterone levels.
“While the study’s cross-sectional design limit the conclusions we can draw, our results support the hypothesis that environmental exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates could be contributing to the trend of declining testosterone and related disorders,” Meeker said.
“With mounting evidence for adverse health effects, individuals and policymakers alike may want to take steps to limit human exposure to the degree possible.”
In this study, increasing serum BPA concentration was statistically significantly associated with:
- Decreased androstenedione levels
- Decreased free testosterone levels
- Decreased free androgen index
- Increased sex hormone-binding globulin levels.
Basically it trashes the shit out of sex hormones in men AND women.
46. Beware of Antibacterial soap
Antibacterial products contain two compounds called Triclosan and Triclocarban.
Triclosan has been shown to enhance the estrogenic activity of synthetic estrogenic compounds and bisphenol A uptake in mice.
In rodent studies, triclosan exposure has been associated with reduced testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, and sperm production.
These chemicals may be used in thousands of personal care and consumer products as well as in building materials.
Based on extensive peer-reviewed research, their statement concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms.
Read the back of your soaps and try to avoid products that contain these compounds.
47. Non-stick cookware
Non-stick products (cookware, wrappers, etc.) get their properties from perfluorooctanoic acid or (PFOA.)
When you cook with non-stick cookware, heat degrades the non-stick coating over time, and the PFOAs end up in your food.
In May 2016, the EPA issued a lifetime health advisory for PFOA after multiple studies showed it could harm humans. High levels of exposure may cause:
- Testicular and kidney cancer
- Problems to fetuses, breastfed babies, and children including low birth weight, early puberty, and immune system problems
- Liver damage
- Thyroid disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Changes to cholesterol
- Changes in blood pressure during pregnancy
And what's worse, because of the presence of testosterone, men take twice as long as women to flush PFOAs out of our body.
Don't use this type of cookware. Good ole fashion olive oil will do just fine.
48. Deodorants and grooming products
Your deodorant and many other grooming products you use contain Parabens.
They're widely used as preservatives in foods, cosmetics, toiletries and pharmaceuticals. This study shows that propyl paraben adversely affects hormonal secretion and male reproductive functions.
Parabens are in lots of products, you just have to decide how important those products are if you're using them on a regular basis. Try to find similar products that are paraben free.
49. Filter Your Drinking Water
Flouride in our drinking water reduces testosterone.
In this study on Chinese farmers, markedly lower testosterone levels were observed in males who drank high-fluoride water than in those who drank low-fluoride.
Furthermore, younger farmers, 18-29 and 30-39 years old, may be the most likely to have lower testosterone levels when exposed to fluoride.
This study compared the testosterone levels of skeletal fluorosis patients and males drinking the same water as the patients but with no clinical manifestations of the disease, with those of normal, healthy males living in areas nonendemic for fluorosis.
The results suggest fluoride toxicity is what's causing the adverse effects on the male reproductive system.
This suggests the endocrine-disrupting effects seen in wild fish and in humans are caused by similar combinations of endocrine-disrupting chemical cocktails.
Be sure to filter all the water you drink.
There are numerous harmful chemicals that somehow end up in our water supply. So be safe and get your ass a water filter!
50. Check Your Food for GMO
Freakin' Monsanto, man.
GMO crops have a gene that makes them resistant to pesticides, so farmers can spray more pesticides/herbicides on them and increase yields.
The most common one used worldwide is Roundup, a glyphosate-based pesticide.
Glyphosate is widely used to kill weeds both in agricultural and non-agricultural landscapes. And wouldn't you know it...
Glyphosate, its active ingredient in plants and its main metabolite (AMPA) are among the first contaminants of surface waters.
Researchers tested Roundup on Leydig cells (the cells that produce testosterone) from rats. Within 24-48h of exposure to Roundup, the cells were damaged.
It was also toxic on the other cells, mainly by necrosis. At lower non-toxic concentrations of Roundup and glyphosate (1ppm), the main endocrine disruption is a testosterone decrease by 35%.
And there's no telling what effect GMO foods will have on your children, your grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Actually...I can take an educated guess because Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov and his team fed three generations of hamsters varying diets (one without soy, one with non-GM soy, one with GMO soy, and the final with higher amounts of GMO soy).
By the third generation, the pups from the fourth group suffered a high mortality rate and most of the adults were infertile or sterile.
After reading all of this you're probably thinking, "what's the point?" And I can sympathize.
If things don't change at the global, societal level, in 50-100 years "Men" (as you and I understand the word) will cease to exist.
Guys are going to have to go on testosterone replacement therapy just to be normal.
But you have no control over what happens 50 years from now. You can only deal with your present circumstances.
The first step to a healthier, hormonally optimized you is to arm yourself with information.
By reading this guide you've done just that.
The next step is for you to finally take ownership of your health and start making deliberate, strategic decisions on how you live your life.
Once you've made that decision, you need to take action.
I'm not going to give you a dozen different recommendations. I'll just give you one...start by getting your blood tested and then work from there.
Use the 50 tips I've given you as a guide. Choose 5 - 10 of them that your not currently doing and that you could easily fit into your routine.
Baby steps my friend, baby steps...
Leave a comment below telling me the biggest insight you got from this essay.
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- Low energy?
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- Can't gain muscle or lose fat?
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