Now that we know chronic insulin spikes lead to lower Testosterone production, I hope I haven’t sent you running into the low carb camp! There are a few studies out there showing that long term low carb or ketogenic dieting leads to higher cortisol levels (especially with subjects who are training), and decreased testosterone levels (28 & 29). I have used low carb diets in the past with successful results (winning a national bodybuilding title), however the key is to use cyclical carb re-feeds. If you’re going to go on a low carb diet for whatever reason, be sure to work in a large carb reefed once a week.
Your body’s circadian rhythm essentially resets itself every night and releases chemicals like cortisol, which contribute to the overall hormone balance that can prevent low T-levels. I have even heard one endocrinologist claim that one hour of sleep between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. has the same healing effects on your body as two hours of sleep before or after this timeslot!
A number of research groups have tried to further define the relationship of testosterone and body composition by artificial alteration of testosterone levels in eugonadal populations. Induction of a hypogonadal state in healthy men (Mauras et al 1998) or men with prostate cancer (Smith et al 2001) using a gonadotrophin-releasing-hormone (GnRH) analogue was shown to produce increases in fat mass and decreased fat free mass. Another experimental approach in healthy men featured suppression of endogenous testosterone production with a GnRH analogue, followed by treatment with different doses of weekly intramuscular testosterone esters for 20 weeks. Initially the experiments involved men aged 18–35 years (Bhasin et al 2001) but subsequently the study was repeated with a similar protocol in men aged 60–75 years (Bhasin et al 2005). The different doses given were shown to produce a range of serum concentrations from subphysiological to supraphysiological (Bhasin et al 2001). A given testosterone dose produced higher serum concentrations of testosterone in the older age group (Bhasin et al 2005). Subphysiological dosing of testosterone produced a gain in fat mass and loss of fat free mass during the study. There were sequential decreases in fat mass and increases in fat free mass with each increase of testosterone dose. These changes in body composition were seen in physiological and supraphysiological treatment doses. The trend was similar in younger versus older men but the gain of fat mass at the lowest testosterone dose was less prominent in older patients (Bhasin et al 2001; Bhasin et al 2005). With regard to muscle function, the investigators showed dose dependent increases in leg strength and power with testosterone treatment in young and older men but there was no improvement in fatigability (Storer et al 2003; Bhasin et al 2005).
The real danger comes when you eat a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates (90% of Americans). The sugar binds to LDL (So-called bad cholesterol – PS: It’s not even cholesterol, it’s a protein) and renders it inert. When inert, the LDL cannot pull good cholesterol (HDL) into your cells. This is bad. So what you need to do in conduction with your high fat diet is take in a lot of cruciferous vegetables, limit your carb intake, don’t touch toxic sugars. And exercise regularly.
We scoured the database of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (part of the U.S. National Library of Science) for articles. Of the many ingredients marketed as boosting testosterone levels, we only found four backed by multiple articles based on human testing. For the best chance of boosting testosterone levels, a supplement needs to contain magnesium, fenugreek, and longjack — and some zinc wouldn’t go astray, either.
Tailor the above recommendations to your personal needs and lifestyle. If you’re a vegetarian drop the bacon and steak, but keep the whey protein and eggs. If you have an injury that prevents you from heavy weightlifting, move as much as you can in the way that you can. There are no studies out there which can tell you exactly what will happen if you do X and Y, but not Z. And I certainly can’t tell you either. Don’t be afraid of self-education – that’s how I learned all this – and embrace the idea of conducting your own experiment and being your own test subject. Incorporate as many of the recommendations above as you’re comfortable with, consult your doctor, and track your results.
If you’re already taking your tongkat ali, your maca, your fenugreek, and your tribulus, good job! Your testicles might be bursting at the seams. However, there is more you can do, another effective natural method. Consider adding foods that increase testosterone levels to your diet. If you are skeptical that it can really make a difference, eating these types of foods can increase testosterone by about 20%-30%. Or, if you’re like me and a huge Tim Ferriss fan, you actually believe his almost preposterous claim to having doubled his testosterone through diet alone. Read my article, Tim Ferriss’s testosterone diet, if you’re curious.
The amount of testosterone synthesized is regulated by the hypothalamic–pituitary–testicular axis (see figure to the right). When testosterone levels are low, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is released by the hypothalamus, which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to release FSH and LH. These latter two hormones stimulate the testis to synthesize testosterone. Finally, increasing levels of testosterone through a negative feedback loop act on the hypothalamus and pituitary to inhibit the release of GnRH and FSH/LH, respectively.
Testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women. Even though it’s often associated with a man’s libido, testosterone occurs in both sexes from birth. In females, it plays a part in sexual drive, energy, and physical strength. In males, it stimulates the beginning of sexual development and helps maintain a man’s health throughout his life.
Ensure that you get adequate restful sleep each night. Sleeping less than the recommended 6 to 8 hours per night increases stress hormones, which lowers testosterone production. Additionally, learn to manage stress levels in healthy ways to naturally increase testosterone. Hormone replacement therapy may be required for some men with low testosterone levels. Consult your physician about treatment options.
The mineral zinc is important for testosterone production, and supplementing your diet for as little as six weeks has been shown to cause a marked improvement in testosterone among men with low levels.1 Likewise, research has shown that restricting dietary sources of zinc leads to a significant decrease in testosterone, while zinc supplementation increases it2 -- and even protects men from exercised-induced reductions in testosterone levels.3
Studies of the effects on cognition of testosterone treatment in non-cognitively impaired eugonadal and hypogonadal ageing males have shown varying results, with some showing beneficial effects on spatial cognition (Janowsky et al 1994; Cherrier et al 2001), verbal memory (Cherrier et al 2001) and working memory (Janowsky et al 2000), and others showing no effects (Sih et al 1997; Kenny et al 2002). Other trials have examined the effects of testosterone treatment in older men with Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline. Results have been promising, with two studies showing beneficial effects of testosterone treatment on spatial and verbal memory (Cherrier et al 2005b) and cognitive assessments including visual-spatial memory (Tan and Pu 2003), and a recent randomized controlled trial comparing placebo versus testosterone versus testosterone and an aromatase inhibitor suggesting that testosterone treatment improves spatial memory directly and verbal memory after conversion to estrogen (Cherrier et al 2005a). Not all studies have shown positive results (Kenny et al 2004; Lu et al 2005), and variations could be due to the different measures of cognitive abilities that were used and the cognitive state of men at baseline. The data from clinical trials offers evidence that testosterone may be beneficial for certain elements of cognitive function in the aging male with or without cognitive decline. Larger studies are needed to confirm and clarify these effects.
Afrisham, R., Sadejh-Nejadi, S., SoliemaniFar, O., Kooti, W., Ashtary-Larky, D., Alamiri, F., … Khaneh-Keshi, A. (2016, November 24). Salivary testosterone levels under psychological stress and its relationship with rumination and five personality traits in medical students. Psychiatry Investigations, 13(6), 637–643. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5128352/
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Before the ready availability of non-injectible testosterone preparations, and because of their ease of administration by the oral route, 17-alkylated steroids were popular surrogate agents for testosterone. These substances, however, were capable of inducing several risk factors for coronary artery disease (Kopera 1993; Hall and Hall 2005) and as a consequence, particularly after the revelations of extensive 17-alkylated anabolic steroid abuse by athletes, testosterone, became unjustly incriminated. The evidence, however, tends to suggest just the opposite; testosterone may even be cardioprotective. Dunajska and colleagues have demonstrated that when compared to controls, men with coronary artery disease tend to have: lower total testosterone levels and free androgen indices, more abdominal fat, higher blood sugar and insulin levels (Dunajska et al 2004).
Dr. Anthony’s Notes: Vitamin D has about 100 other beneficial body functions outside of it's impact on testosterone. Make sure you take the active Vitamin D3 (not D2 – from plant sources!) It’s also advisable to get 20 minutes of sunshine daily (weather permitting) – without sunscreen. Verdict: this is one of the natural testosterone supplements that work. Best Food Sources of Vitamin D3: Wild Alaskan Salmon (#1), Sardines, Eggs How To Take Vitamin D3: Using 3000-5000IU of Vitamin D3 per day is a good safe, research supported dose. Your physician can also test your blood for D3 levels for more precise monitoring.
Ginger has been used as medicine for centuries due to its potent antioxidant potential. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties which makes it best for natural therapeutics. It improves the sexual function and testosterone levels by stimulating the luteinizing hormone. It also enhances the sperm count, which makes it useful to solve infertility issues.
The use of anabolic steroids (manufactured androgenic hormones) shuts down the release of luteinising hormone and follicle stimulating hormone secretion from the pituitary gland, which in turn decreases the amount of testosterone and sperm produced within the testes. In men, prolonged exposure to anabolic steroids results in infertility, a decreased sex drive, shrinking of the testes and breast development. Liver damage may result from its prolonged attempts to detoxify the anabolic steroids. Behavioural changes (such as increased irritability) may also be observed. Undesirable reactions also occur in women who take anabolic steroids regularly, as a high concentration of testosterone, either natural or manufactured, can cause masculinisation (virilisation) of women.