7. TestShock Program
Writing about natural testosterone optimization has been my job now for the past few years. Reading, learning, and researching info on hormones has been something I’ve done for ever since I was 15…
…As you can imagine, I have seen, read, bought, or sometimes straight up ignored hundreds of ‘T-boosting’ e-books, physical books, supplements, courses & programs, and even coaching. I get pitched some testosterone related products on a daily basis, since this site is currently the most visited ‘natural testosterone resource’, everyone wants their piece of the pie and their product to shine on the sidebar.
The problem is that I don’t want to promote bullshit in here, and that is exactly what 95% of the natural testosterone optimization programs and supplements are.
Not TestShock though. The moment I had read the first few pages of the book I knew that this was something different, something that aligns with the actual scientific evidence, and something that might truly be the ‘complete A-Z guide for how to increase testosterone naturally’.
Now I don’t want to over-hype the program, but if you like to read articles like the one you’re reading now, and you’re interested in natural T-enhancement, then you’re going to love all the 262-pages of Christopher Walker’s TestShock course.
8. Take a Look at Your Posture
According to an interesting study done by Cuddy et al. in Harvard University, your body language as well as postural changes can almost immediately impact your stress and steroid hormones.
In their research, the scientists wanted to know what happens to the bodily hormones when the subjects do either a set of ‘high-power poses’ (taking up more space, standing tall, hands on hips, dominant alpha stuff, etc) or ‘low-power poses’ (contractive behavior, closed limbs, taking less space, general insecure positions, etc).
Surprisingly, only in 2-minutes power-posing led to 20% increase in salivary testosterone levels, and -25% decrease in the stress hormone; cortisol. On the contrary, low-power posing led to a drop in T with accompanied rise in cortisol.
Here’s Cuddy herself talking about the topic and the study:
9. Money, Success, and Competition
I’m a big believer in the fact that making lots of honest money equals – at least in some form – happiness.
Not necessarily the fact that you can see the numbers in your bank account, but the fact that money (at least if you make it in your own terms) often equals total freedom.
Money also equals success in many fields, and can be a form of competition, or at least if not competitive, it generates the feeling that you’re “winning in life”.
Simply put, money is testosterone.
This study of young future-traders is a great example. In it, the traders noted higher testosterone levels on the days that they made above average profits. One young gun in the study ended up on a 6-day money streak and had 78% higher T-levels in serum as a result
Coates J, Herbert J. Endogenous steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008;105(16):6167-6172.
The results were likely caused by the fact that winning and success in almost any form of competition are both heavily correlated with increased testosterone levels
Bernhardt P, Dabbs J, Fielden J, Lutter C. Testosterone changes during vicarious experiences of winning and losing among fans at sporting events. Physiol Behav. 1998;65(1):59-62.
Booth A, Shelley G, Mazur A, Tharp G, Kittok R. Testosterone, and winning and losing in human competition. Horm Behav. 1989;23(4):556-571.
McCaul K, Gladue B, Joppa M. Winning, losing, mood, and testosterone. Horm Behav. 1992;26(4):486-504.
Trumble B, Smith E, O’Connor K, Kaplan H, Gurven M. Successful hunting increases testosterone and cortisol in a subsistence population. Proc Biol Sci. 2013;281(1776):20132876.
</div>”>40–43, and what does a big pay day make you feel like? Winning of course. It doesn’t necessarily have to be money that generates the feeling of success. It can be sports, even watching sports, simply getting a list of tasks done, etc. Whatever makes you get the “genuine” feeling of being the boss and dominating your pursuits.
10. Testicular Health
Roughly 95% of the testosterone in your body is produced inside the leydig cells of the testicles…
…Because of this, it’s quite obvious that optimal testicular health and circulation would need to be one of the top priorities for all men.
For optimal testicular function, your balls actually need to be a tad bit cooler than the rest of the body, hence why they hang in a pouch outside of it. Because of this, sleeping naked, wearing loose boxers, and taking frequent cold showers can have a positive impact on your testosterone production.
Roughly 15-20% of men also develop a condition called “varicocele“, which is a thrombosis or “blockage” of some of the veins that lead to the gonads. Since varicoceles inhibit the normal blood flow to the leydig cells, they also inhibit the transportation of LH to its target, which causes your body to produce inadequate amounts of T. This is seen in many studies; men with varicoceles have significantly lower testosterone levels than control subjects
Cantatore C, Capuano P, Cobuzzi I, et al. Semen quality and hormonal levels in infertile patients with varicocele. Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2010;82(4):291-293.
</div>”>44, and when the blockage(s) are surgically removed, testosterone levels tend to increase significantly
I guess some sort of testicular massage might also help in T production, though there isn’t (understandably) any research on that.
11. Check What you Smoke
Two of the most common things that people smoke are; tobacco and marijuana.
The question is, how do they affect testosterone levels? Or do they even?
Looking at the scientific evidence behind tobacco and testosterone, it’s actually something that increases natural testosterone and DHT levels
This effect is likely caused by nicotine, which acts as aromatase enzyme inhibitor
Biegon A, Kim S, Logan J, Hooker J, Muench L, Fowler J. Nicotine blocks brain estrogen synthase (aromatase): in vivo positron emission tomography studies in female baboons. Biol Psychiatry. 2010;67(8):774-777.
</div>”>48(turning less testosterone into estrogen) and also blocks the conversion from dihydrotestosterone into a weaker metabolite 3-alpha-diol
Meikle A, Liu X, Taylor G, Stringham J. Nicotine and cotinine effects on 3 alpha hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in canine prostate. Life Sci. 1988;43(23):1845-1850.
…Then there’s also the metals and minerals in tobacco which can have androgenic effects, bottom line being that smokers tend to have bit higher T levels than non-smokers, even though smoking itself is not too healthy thing to do.
When it comes to cannabis, some studies say that the active ingredient (THC) can inhibit testicular enzymes needed in testosterone production and reduce T-levels, though the effects are reversible and not as significant as some people claim. In fact there have been few studies where smoking pot has not negatively impacted any hormones
Block R, Farinpour R, Schlechte J. Effects of chronic marijuana use on testosterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin and cortisol in men and women. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1991;28(2):121-128.
12. Alcohol in Excess is Not your T-Boosting Pal
Let’s just start of by saying that no, you don’t have to completely cut off alcohol from your life in order to naturally raise testosterone levels.
Is it beneficial for T? Not in the slightest, in fact it has multiple mechanisms for lowering androgens, but in all honesty its effects on T-levels have been wildly exaggerated.
Sure if you’re an alcoholic who slams booze to the point of passing out on nearly all days of the Week, you can be damn sure that it crushes your test production, but few drinks here and there do not have that significant of an effect…
…Though, the mechanisms of action are bit scary;
- The metabolization process of alcohol tends to reduce the amount of coenzyme NAD+, which is an essential part of the electron donoring process necessary for steroidogenesis
Widenius T. Ethanol-induced inhibition of testosterone biosynthesis in vitro: lack of acetaldehyde effect. Alcohol Alcohol. 1987;22(1):17-22.
- Alcohol can also increase the release of beta-opioid-endorphins from the brain and stimulate prolactin release
Frias J, Torres J, Miranda M, Ruiz E, Ortega E. Effects of acute alcohol intoxication on pituitary-gonadal axis hormones, pituitary-adrenal axis hormones, beta-endorphin and prolactin in human adults of both sexes. Alcohol Alcohol. 2002;37(2):169-173.
</div>”>53, both of which can negatively affect testosterone production.
- Oxidative damage increases thorough the body in response to alcohol consumption
</div>”>54, this leading to localized reduction of testosterone in the gonads and also indirect reduction via increased cortisol levels.
- Chronically high intake of alcohol is notorious for its effects in increasing the aromatase enzyme
Purohit V. Can alcohol promote aromatization of androgens to estrogens? A review. Alcohol. 2000;22(3):123-127.
</div>”>55, which converts testosterone into estrogen, causing a “feminized” effect in the male body.
How much do you have to drink to actually suppress test levels though?
The most damaging effects come from few rodent studies
Ellingboe J, Varanelli C. Ethanol inhibits testosterone biosynthesis by direct action on Leydig cells. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1979;24(1):87-102.
Salonen I, Huhtaniemi I. Effects of chronic ethanol diet on pituitary-testicular function of the rat. Biol Reprod. 1990;42(1):55-62.
</div>”>56–58. One rat study in particular showed a staggering 50% reduction in testicular size after they were fed with a diet containing 5% of the calories from alcohol
van T, Gavaler J, Cobb C, Sherins R, Lester R. Alcohol-induced testicular atrophy in the adult male rat. Endocrinology. 1979;105(4):888-895.
Rodents ain’t the only ones who see suppressed T-levels after alcohol ingestion. Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to lowered testosterone levels in humans too
Välimäki M, Härkönen M, Eriksson C, Ylikahri R. Sex hormones and adrenocortical steroids in men acutely intoxicated with ethanol. Alcohol. 1984;1(1):89-93.
</div>”>60–62. It’s also known that chronic alcoholics tend to have significantly lower levels of testosterone accompanied with significantly higher estrogen levels than their non-alcoholic peers
Venkat K, Arora M, Singh P, Desai M, Khatkhatay I. Effect of alcohol consumption on bone mineral density and hormonal parameters in physically active male soldiers. Bone. 2009;45(3):449-454.
Villalta J, Ballescà J, Nicolás J, Martínez de, Antúnez E, Pimentel C. Testicular function in asymptomatic chronic alcoholics: relation to ethanol intake. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1997;21(1):128-133.
Dai X, Thavundayil J, Santella S, Gianoulakis C. Response of the HPA-axis to alcohol and stress as a function of alcohol dependence and family history of alcoholism. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2007;32(3):293-305.
…Luckily enough, few studies have shown that low-moderate alcohol consumption isn’t that bad for male hormone production. Here an equivalent of ~2 glasses of red wine was associated with a mere 7% reduction in testosterone
</div>”>66. In another one, 0,5g/kg of alcohol actually slightly increased testosterone levels
In the case of alcohol, the dose really does make the poison. Enjoying a few old fashioned’s or beers once in a while isn’t enough to chemically castrate you.
13. Caloric Intake Matters
In order to make your body produce adequate amounts of testosterone, you need to give it enough calories to fuel the processes necessary in hormone production.
If you’re constantly feeding your body with a big calorie deficit, your body actually starts shutting down the reproductive system and conserves energy for more vital processes needed for your survival.
It doesn’t even have to be a massive calorie deficit, a 7-year study compared men who restricted their calories (1350–2415 kcal/day) and ate very “clean” against sedentary subjects who ate a normal Western diet with higher caloric intake (2145-3537 kcal/day). Due to their restrictive caloric intake, the group of men that ate lower amounts of calories had 31% lower testosterone levels, despite the fact that they maintained a “clean diet” and practiced running on a regular basis
Cangemi R, Friedmann A, Holloszy J, Fontana L. Long-term effects of calorie restriction on serum sex hormone concentrations in men. Aging Cell. 2010;9(2):236-242.
For optimal T production, consider eating a slight calorie surplus or maintenance calories.
The catch-22 here is that if you’re fat (which lowers testosterone
Mogri M, Dhindsa S, Quattrin T, Ghanim H, Dandona P. Testosterone concentrations in young pubertal and post-pubertal obese males. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013;78(4):593-599.
</div>”>11), you MUST be on a caloric deficit to lose the weight, and the deficit itself can end up reducing your T-levels
Cangemi R, Friedmann A, Holloszy J, Fontana L. Long-term effects of calorie restriction on serum sex hormone concentrations in men. Aging Cell. 2010;9(2):236-242.
</div>”>68. So should you remain fat and make sure that you’re not getting too few calories? Or should you consider losing the weight by eating a calorie deficit and then bumping your calories up to maintenance level after you’re lean?
The answer is the latter option obviously.
When you start eating more after your weight loss success, your hormone production quickly shoots up, and as you lean down, it’s going to jump up to much higher numbers than what it was on a caloric surplus when you were still fat. If you want to lose weight slowly without really hurting your T-levels in the process, consider a really small deficit of only -15%, which has been shown to have no significant negative impact on testosterone production
Garrel D, Todd K, Pugeat M, Calloway D. Hormonal changes in normal men under marginally negative energy balance. Am J Clin Nutr. 1984;39(6):930-936.
14. Protein is Necessary but not in Huge Quantities
Protein is vitally important for muscle growth as well as testosterone production.
We know that chronic protein malnutrition causes low testosterone levels
Lado-Abeal J, Prieto D, Lorenzo M, et al. Differences between men and women as regards the effects of protein-energy malnutrition on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Nutrition. 1999;15(5):351-358.
</div>”>13, while it’s also scientifically proven that roughly 0.8g/lb of lean mass is somewhat the point of diminished returns when it comes to the optimal amount of protein for muscle gains.
The problem is that the bodybuilding sites and magazines preach everyone to eat super-high amounts of protein (remember that they also sell you the protein), and protein IN EXCESS is not only useless for your muscle building goals, but it can also significantly reduce testosterone levels.
A study by Anderson et al. shows that when the male subjects undergo 10-days on a high-protein low-carb diet, their free-testosterone levels will be 36% lower than what they would be on a high-carbohydrate low-protein diet. High-protein diets also caused significantly higher cortisol (stress hormone) levels and – as to be expected from lowered bioavailable T – increased SHBG levels. Caloric intake and the amount of dietary fat was kept the same during both diets.
Another study, this time on resistance trained men, showed that dose-dependent reductions in testosterone were caused by increased percentages of energy from protein as well as increased protein to carbohydrate ratio
The bottom line is that yes, you do need protein for both testosterone and muscle gains, but no, you don’t need as much as the fitness industry claims. For the optimal amount in terms of T-production, a good starting point would be ~20-25% daily calories from protein. As well as getting the majority from animal sources since plant-based protein is inferior to animal sourced when it comes to big T
15. Carbs and then More Carbs
There’s some unfair demonization going on against carbohydrates now. Or actually it has been going on for quite some time…
…The low-carb people say things like;
“Carbs raise insulin, insulin makes you fat, which is simply why carbs make you fat”, or the classic “Humans don’t need carbohydrates brah”.
The fact of the matter is that it has been scientifically proven that weight-loss has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of carbohydrates or other macronutrient trickery. Heck, you can eat the shittiest sugary snacks for all of your meals and still lose weight as long as you’re in a state of caloric deficit.
Guess why? Because that’s how the human body works.
In the past few years as the “paleo diet” has become a thing, their so called “experts” have been telling people that since the cavemen didn’t eat a lot of carbs, we shouldn’t either. The thing is that they had absolutely no evidence to back up their claims about paleolithic humans not eating carbs. Recent evidence actually suggests that cavemen ate plenty of them.
The biggest reason why no man should go on a low-carb diet, is the fact that they’re notorious for lowering testosterone levels, increasing the stress hormone cortisol, and messing up with your sleep.
As explained in the above subheading, Andersson et al. found out that when caloric intake and fat intake are kept the same, diet high in carbs and low in protein leads to 36% higher free-testosterone level and lower cortisol production when compared to one with high-protein low-carbs
Anderson K, Rosner W, Khan M, et al. Diet-hormone interactions: protein/carbohydrate ratio alters reciprocally the plasma levels of testosterone and cortisol and their respective binding globulins in man. Life Sci. 1987;40(18):1761-1768.
</div>”>72. The study by Volek et al. Found similar results, go low on carbs and testosterone takes a hit
When two groups of men undergoing intensive cycling 3x/week eat a diet of either 30% energy from carbs or 60% energy from carbs, the group which eats less carbs will have significantly lower free-testosterone levels
Lane A, Duke J, Hackney A. Influence of dietary carbohydrate intake on the free testosterone: cortisol ratio responses to short-term intensive exercise training. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010;108(6):1125-1131.
</div>”>73. Similar results have been seen in another trial with both men and women as subjects
Tsai L, Karpakka J, Aginger C, Johansson C, Pousette A, Carlström K. Basal concentrations of anabolic and catabolic hormones in relation to endurance exercise after short-term changes in diet. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1993;66(4):304-308.
When exercising men who are put on a low-carb diet, they notice significant increases in the stress hormone cortisol
</div>”>75. The pulastion rate of GnRH (master hormone that starts the testosterone production process) also seems to be heavily dependent on glucose availibity
Roland A, Moenter S. Regulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons by glucose. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2011;22(11):443-449.
As a general rule of thumb, I’ve always recommended ~40-60% of daily calories from carbohydrates. Mainly from low-fiber low-gluten sources, since gluten may increase prolactin levels
Delvecchio M, Faienza M, Lonero A, Rutigliano V, Francavilla R, Cavallo L. Prolactin may be increased in newly diagnosed celiac children and adolescents and decreases after 6 months of gluten-free diet. Horm Res Paediatr. 2014;81(5):309-313.
Fanciulli G, Dettori A, Demontis M, Anania V, Delitala G. Serum prolactin levels after administration of the alimentary opioid peptide gluten exorphin B4 in male rats. Nutr Neurosci. 2004;7(1):53-55.
</div>”>77,78 and there’s some – although not very conclusive – evidence against high-fiber diets. To make it simple, eat the bulk of your carbs from potatoes, rice, fruit, and sugar (yes, that “white death”).
16. Dietary Fat Does the Trick
I’d say that fat and carbs are the boss macronutrients for testosterone production.
There’s plenty of evidence suggesting that increased amount of energy from dietary fat, leads to increased serum testosterone levels
Bélanger A, Locong A, Noel C, et al. Influence of diet on plasma steroids and sex hormone-binding globulin levels in adult men. J Steroid Biochem. 1989;32(6):829-833.
Hill P, Wynder E. Effect of a vegetarian diet and dexamethasone on plasma prolactin, testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women. Cancer Lett. 1979;7(5):273-282.
However, the type of fat matters A LOT. Saturated fatty-acids (SFAs) and monounsaturated fatty-acids (MUFAs) correlate very positively with testosterone levels, whereas polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFAs) and trans-fats effectively suppress androgen production.
A crucial part that is often left out in many articles is the part of different types fats having different effects on your hormones.
Bottom line: Ideally you’d want to keep your dietary fat intake at somewhere close to ~20-35% of daily calories, while most of them coming from SFAs and MUFAs with limited – even completely removed – amounts of PUFAs and trans fats. In case you’re scared about the effects this would have on your cardiovascular system, there’s very little to be afraid of, recent research has showed that the link between saturated fat & dietary cholesterol with heart problems was never really strong
</div>”>82, and the older studies have been debunked multiple times in more recent trials.
17. About that Sugar
Much has been said about simple forms of sugar (table sugar, honey, etc) reducing testosterone levels, and previously I used to believe that consuming sugar would be really bad for testosterone levels…
…now I’m not so sure anymore. Of course yes, there’s the research which shows that right after ingesting sugar, testosterone levels will drop acutely, but it’s crucial to understand that the act of eating pretty much anything is able to lower testosterone levels ACUTELY.
There’s no research that I know of which would of have linked sugar intake to long-term reductions in testosterone. In fact, the studies on carbs being pro-testosterone and GnRH increasing its pulsation rate in high-glucose environments speak towards the fact that sugar, which is basically what all carbohydrates eventually convert into, is not that bad for testosterone levels. It might actually be relatively good to consume some sugar (at least in form of fruit and fruit juice) on a daily basis.
In my opinion, sugar has been unfairly demonized. It doesn’t make you fat as everyone and their dog claims, overeating anything does. Sure it’s not that filling, and it might be more addictive than many other foods, but it’s not some toxic poison that destroys you from the inside out as is often boldly stated in click-bait headlines. Dr Ray Peat’s info on sugar is something I highly recommend to everyone who still lives in sugarophobia.
“The liver provides about 70% of our active thyroid hormone, by converting thyroxine to T3, but it can provide this active hormone only when it has adequate glucose.”Dr. Ray Peat
18. Plant-Based Diets are Not the Way to Go
Sure, you can learn how to increase testosterone levels on vegan/vegetarian diets if you know what you’re doing, but is it the optimal type of diet for T-production? No.
When you ditch all animal protein and animal fat, you’re in a situation where it’s really hard to get a balanced intake of amino-acid’s, enough cholesterol, and enough saturated fat to fuel your body’s testosterone producing needs. On plant-based diets men tend to also eat too much PUFAs in comparision to SFAs and MUFAs, which can further mess up testosterone production…
…Not to mention that it’s increasingly harder to consume your daily caloric needs from plant-based foods alone (not to say that this isn’t possible, it’s just much harder).
Factoring those in, its no surprise that many studies have linked plant-based diets to lower testosterone levels. For instance, in this 1989 study changing from meat-based diet to plant-based one resulted in a 26% reduction in free-testosterone levels
Bélanger A, Locong A, Noel C, et al. Influence of diet on plasma steroids and sex hormone-binding globulin levels in adult men. J Steroid Biochem. 1989;32(6):829-833.
</div>”>79. Another study did the same thing with 30 male subjects and saw a 36% reduction in total testosterone levels on plant-based diet
Hämäläinen E, Adlercreutz H, Puska P, Pietinen P. Decrease of serum total and free testosterone during a low-fat high-fibre diet. J Steroid Biochem. 1983;18(3):369-370.
</div>”>83. Multiple other studies have noted that plant-based diets can lead to higher SHBG levels resulting in lower free-T and thus lower bio-availibity of testosterone for the androgen receptors
Raben A, Kiens B, Richter E, et al. Serum sex hormones and endurance performance after a lacto-ovo vegetarian and a mixed diet. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992;24(11):1290-1297.
Though this isn’t always the case, in one study it was noted that after adjusting BMI, vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters don’t really differ much in terms of testosterone levels. In fact in that singular study the vegan group had 6% higher total testosterone levels than meat-eaters
Allen N, Appleby P, Davey G, Key T. Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but normal bioavailable androgens in vegan men. Br J Cancer. 2000;83(1):95-97.
Which brings me to the point. You don’t necessarily have to crush your testosterone levels with vegan/vegetarian diets. If you can get in a good amount of calories, accompanied with some SFAs and MUFAs (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, Macadamia nuts…), it’s likely that you can maintain high testosterone levels despite not eating any animal-products.
19. Organic Produce for More T?
In the case of eating organic foods for better testosterone production, it’s not about what you’re getting from the organically grown produce, but rather what you’re NOT getting from the conventional kind.
Specifically, I’m talking about pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and growth/fat-promoting hormone traces.
Sure, organic foods are more expensive, and surely you don’t HAVE to switch everything organic in order to maintain high-T, and yes not all pesticides are harmful…
…But some can be. One study show how the researchers screened 37 commonly used pesticides for their hormonal actions in-vitro, as many as 30 of them were antiandrogens
Orton F, Rosivatz E, Scholze M, Kortenkamp A. Widely Used Pesticides with Previously Unknown Endocrine Activity Revealed as in Vitro Antiandrogens. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(6):794-800.
</div>”>87. Another study tested multiple pesticides for their effects on the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and saw that many of them had a mechanism for blocking DHT synthesis
Lo S, King I, Alléra A, Klingmüller D. Effects of various pesticides on human 5alpha-reductase activity in prostate and LNCaP cells. Toxicol In Vitro. 2007;21(3):502-508.
In a large-scale American study, it was noted that 91% of the US test subjects had notable amounts of the insecticide; chlorpyrifos in their bodies
Trunnelle K, Bennett D, Tulve N, et al. Urinary pyrethroid and chlorpyrifos metabolite concentrations in Northern California families and their relationship to indoor residential insecticide levels, part of the Study of Use of Products and Exposure Related Behavior (SUPERB). Environ Sci Technol. 2014;48(3):1931-1939.
</div>”>89. This is alarming, since TCPY (3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol) which is a metabolite of chlorpyrifos, was noted of having a dose-dependent testosterone lowering effect in multiple linear regression models in one paper
Meeker J, Ryan L, Barr D, Hauser R. Exposure to nonpersistent insecticides and male reproductive hormones. Epidemiology. 2006;17(1):61-68.
</div>”>90. Several animal studies have also shown that chlorpyrifos has a significant testosterone lowering effect
In isolated testicular leydig cells, one of the most widely used herbicides in the World; Glyphosate, had a direct testosterone lowering effect at normally occurring environmental dosages
Clair E, Mesnage R, Travert C, Séralini G. A glyphosate-based herbicide induces necrosis and apoptosis in mature rat testicular cells in vitro, and testosterone decrease at lower levels. Toxicol In Vitro. 2012;26(2):269-279.
Research from Denmark has showed that farmers who spray their crops with conventional pesticides experience lower sperm production and lowered sex hormones when compared to farmes who produce organic foods whom have higher sperm quality and higher sex hormone levels
Larsen S, Spano M, Giwercman A, Bonde J. Semen quality and sex hormones among organic and traditional Danish farmers. ASCLEPIOS Study Group. Occup Environ Med. 1999;56(2):139-144.
Many other pesticides such as organophosphates
Goncharov A, Rej R, Negoita S, et al. Lower serum testosterone associated with elevated polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in Native American men. Environ Health Perspect. 2009;117(9):1454-1460.
</div>”>97, and Atrazine
</div>”>98 have been also linked to suppressed testosterone production.
NOTE: I’m not a fan of fear-mongering (think FoodBabe, Mercola, David Wolfe, NaturalNews), which is why I refrain from making any wacky tin-foil hat accusations about pesticide use. Indeed GMOs have saved thousands of lives in Africa, and in many cases there’s a legit reason to use crop-sprays, preservatives, and so forth. It’s always your personal decision whether you eat organic or conventional produce, or maybe you mix them up. The most important thing is that you read the evidence about them yourself instead of blindly following one expert with one specific stance, because in this subject, you’ll hear a bunch of bullshit from all-camps.
20. The Milk Controversy
In terms of its macronutrient composition (high quality micellar casein, fats from mainly SFAs and MUFAs, and some carbs) and micronutrient composition (A, B1, B2, B12, D, choline, calcium, magnesium, and potassium) one could easily assume that milk is a pro-testosterone drink.
However, if we look bit deeper, there’s a problem with milk, especially the full-fat kind.
It’s the amount of hormones, in particular the naturally occurring mammalian estrogens, and especially in countries like US where the cows are kept pregnant (this increasing estrone content by up to 33-times
Isobe N, Nakao T, Uehara O, Yamashiro H, Kubota H. Plasma concentration of estrone sulfate during pregnancy in different breeds of Japanese beef cattle. J Reprod Dev. 2003;49(5):369-374.
</div>”>99) for over 300-days of the year.
As a big-fan of milk, I was not happy to find Japanese research where drinking cows milk resulted in increased serum estrogen and progesterone levels, which suppressed GnRH secretion from the brain and thus lowered testosterone secretion in men and prepubertal boys during a 21-day study period
Maruyama K, Oshima T, Ohyama K. Exposure to exogenous estrogen through intake of commercial milk produced from pregnant cows. Pediatr Int. 2010;52(1):33-38.
Since the conjugated hormones are mostly in the fat portion of the milk, it seems that skimmed and low-fat milk would be a hormonally better option…
…And indeed there are two studies which support this theory;
- When physically active men drank full-fat milk and their overall sperm quality significantly decreased
Adebamowo C, Spiegelman D, Berkey C, et al. Milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;58(5):787-793.
- Consumption of low-fat and skimmed milk reliably increased sperm volume and mobility
Afeiche M, Bridges N, Williams P, et al. Dairy intake and semen quality among men attending a fertility clinic. Fertil Steril. 2014;101(5):1280-1287.
21. Cholesterol is the Building Block
There seems to be a correlation with the total amount of blood cholesterol and testosterone levels – even though studies have also shown that the intake of cholesterol through nutrition doesn’t really do much to blood cholesterol levels in long-term
Dubois C, Armand M, Mekki N, et al. Effects of increasing amounts of dietary cholesterol on postprandial lipemia and lipoproteins in human subjects. J Lipid Res. 1994;35(11):1993-2007.
An average sized male naturally synthesizes about 1-1,5g/day of cholesterol, while his body holds an additional amount of ~35 grams within cell membranes…
…It’s also known that the more cholesterol you consume through your diet, the less of it your body has to synthesize in liver, intestines, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs
Dietary Cholesterol Feeding Suppresses Human Cholesterol Synthesis Measured by Deuterium Incorporation and Urinary Mevalonic Acid Levels | Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. ATVB Journal. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/16/10/1222.long
. Accessed February 4, 2017.
Bottom line is that all the steroid hormones are made from cholesterol
</div>”>105, and even though your body naturally synthesis it on a daily basis – and controls the production accordingly to your dietary intake
DeBose-Boyd R. Feedback Regulation of Cholesterol Synthesis: Sterol-Accelerated Ubiquitination and Degradation of HMG CoA Reductase. Cell Res. 2008;18(6):609-621.
</div>”>106 – increased dietary intake of cholesterol
</div>”>70, as well as blood levels of HDL cholesterol
Freedman D, O’Brien T, Flanders W, DeStefano F, Barboriak J. Relation of serum testosterone levels to high density lipoprotein cholesterol and other characteristics in men. Arterioscler Thromb. 1991;11(2):307-315.
</div>”>107, are still positively linked to increased serum testosterone levels. So eat some egg yolks and make sure to keep your blood HDL (the “good” cholesterol) high.
22. Choose Coffee Over Tea
Tea, especially the green kind, has been hailed as the supreme health drink for years…
…And surely enough there’s evidence that regular tea consumption can reduce your risk of certain cancers
Sun C, Yuan J, Koh W, Yu M. Green tea, black tea and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Carcinogenesis. 2006;27(7):1310-1315.
</div>”>108, offer slight protection from type-2 diabtes
Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, et al. Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(2):340-348.
</div>”>109, and improve cardiovascular health
</div>”>110. Some research even suggests that green tea consumption can aid in weight loss
Auvichayapat P, Prapochanung M, Tunkamnerdthai O, et al. Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial. Physiol Behav. 2008;93(3):486-491.
</div>”>111 (although these effects are marginal at best and the green tea extracts sold as fat-burners are really not as effective as the producers claim).
Looking at tea from the hormonal point of view, it’s not so “supreme” after all;
- Tea is one of the foods with highest known fluoride content
</div>”>112 and fluoride in excess can significantly lower T-levels.
- When isolated leydig cells are exposed to green tea catechins (EGCG and EC), stimulated testosterone production drops significantly.
- Injecting rodents with green tea antioxidants ended up crushing testosterone levels by a whopping 70%
- The catechins and tannins in various teas have a mechanism of blocking DHT synthesis via reducing 5-a enzyme
Lee H, Ho C, Lin J. Theaflavin-3,3’-digallate and penta-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose inhibit rat liver microsomal 5alpha-reductase activity and the expression of androgen receptor in LNCaP prostate cancer cells. Carcinogenesis. 2004;25(7):1109-1118.
Liao S, Lin J, Dang M, et al. Growth suppression of hamster flank organs by topical application of catechins, alizarin, curcumin, and myristoleic acid. Arch Dermatol Res. 2001;293(4):200-205.
- Adding increasingly bigger dosages of green tea to male rodents feed (human equivalents of 5 to 20 cups) caused dose-dependent reductions in testosterone between 25-78%
Chandra A, Choudhury S, De N, Sarkar M. Effect of green tea (Camellia sinensis L.) extract on morphological and functional changes in adult male gonads of albino rats. Indian J Exp Biol. 2011;49(9):689-697.
I recommend choosing coffee instead, since not only does coffee taste better, it’s also pro-testosterone;
- 4mg/kg of caffeine taken 1-hour prior to exercise can increase T-levels by 12% in elite athletes.
- When infused into a chewing gum 240mg’s of caffeine was able to increase the exercise-induced testosterone boost by 14%
Paton C, Lowe T, Irvine A. Caffeinated chewing gum increases repeated sprint performance and augments increases in testosterone in competitive cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010;110(6):1243-1250.
- In one study, pre-workout caffeine dosed at 200, 400, 600, and 800mg’s led to dose-dependent increases in testosterone
Beaven C, Hopkins W, Hansen K, Wood M, Cronin J, Lowe T. Dose effect of caffeine on testosterone and cortisol responses to resistance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2008;18(2):131-141.
- Caffeine is known to be a non-selective PDE-inhibitor
Essayan D. Cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;108(5):671-680.
</div>”>119, reducing the breakdown rate of cAMP (a compound needed in T-synthesis)
23. Intermittent Fasting for Androgen Sensitivity
Did you know that you don’t have to stuff your face with food for every few hours in order to boost T and maintain optimal rates of muscle growth?
Despite the fact that the fitness industry tries to sell you the idea of multiple small meals being “optimal”, science has actually shown that meal frequency does nothing to metabolic rate, eating fewer meals does not burn away your muscle or make it harder to build that, and for a fact, short-term fasting does not lower your testosterone levels.
In fact there are few interesting studies which have shown that after a short-term fast, your androgen receptors become more sensitive towards testosterone than what they would be if you’d eat on a constant basis. Even after 10-days of water fasting, re-feeding shoots testosterone levels higher than what the baseline was in the beginning
Röjdmark S, Asplund A, Rössner S. Pituitary-testicular axis in obese men during short-term fasting. Acta Endocrinol (Copenh). 1989;121(5):727-732.
Klibanski A, Beitins I, Badger T, Little R, McArthur J. Reproductive function during fasting in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1981;53(2):258-263.
I personally don’t recommend long fasts, although they can be useful in dropping weight. Instead I fast intermittently until every evening and eat all my calories post-workout, therefore theoretically taking advantage of that post-fasting anabolism and increased androgen sensitivity right after tearing the muscles in the gym.