When you're under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone,6 presumably because, from a biological standpoint, testosterone-associated behaviors (mating, competing, aggression) may have lowered your chances of survival in an emergency (hence, the "fight or flight" response is dominant, courtesy of cortisol).
First, it’s important to note that these tactics and practices to boost testosterone naturally probably won’t work with men who have hypoandrogenism. If the glands and cells responsible for producing testosterone are damaged or defective, no amount of eggs or sleep will help you raise testosterone levels. You’ll likely need to use testosterone replacement therapy to get your T levels to a healthy place.
While researchers in Brisbane, Australia, found that while Testofen (“a standardized [fenugreek] extract and mineral formulation”) significantly improved the sexual arousal, orgasm, and the general quality of life of participants, it did not remarkably increase testosterone above normal levels. Participants who took Testofen were more satisfied with their energy, well-being, and muscle strength than those who took the placebo.
These results have been echoed in clinical trials. A meta-analysis of 24 RCTs looked at weight loss caused by diet or bariatric surgery: In the diet studies, the average 9.8% weight loss was linked to a testosterone increase of 2.9 nmol/L (84 ng/dL). In the bariatric-surgery studies, the average 32% weight loss was linked to a testosterone increase of 8.7 nmol/L (251 ng/dL).
Unlike women, who experience a rapid drop in hormone levels at menopause, men experience a more gradual decrease of testosterone levels over time. The older the man, the more likely he is to experience below-normal testosterone levels. Men with testosterone levels below 300 ng/dL may experience some degree of low T symptoms. Your doctor can conduct a blood test and recommend treatment if needed. They can discuss the potential benefits and risks of testosterone medication, as well.
Let’s do a quick review of what I shared in the introduction to this series. August of last year was a tough month for me, primarily because of a huge and grueling project we were in the midst of here on the site. I was stressed out and my sleeping, healthy eating habits, and workout regimen all suffered. At the end of the month I got my testosterone levels tested and found that my total T was 383 ng/dL and my free T was 7.2 pg/mL – close to the average for an 85-100-year-old man.
Meat. Meat, particularly beef, provides our bodies with the protein it needs to create muscle (more muscle = more T) and the fats and cholesterol to make testosterone. My meat topping of choice was sliced up chuck steak. I grilled two of them on Monday and it lasted me until the next Monday. Every now and then I’d slow-cook some ribs or brisket to use as my meat topping. My philosophy was the fattier, the better.
Any day that you don’t get 20 minutes of direct sunlight on your skin, you want to supplement with 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3. If you get your blood levels tested and you’re extremely low — below 50 IUs — you typically want to do 5,000 IUs twice a day for three months until you get those numbers up. You can do everything in the world, but if your vitamin D levels aren’t right, your testosterone levels will stay low.
There are studies that show Soy consumption in humans leads to lower sperm count, but unfortunately they did not look at testosterone levels in the study (40). This (41) particular study compared the estrogen production of men drinking soy protein to those drinking whey. After two weeks they found the estradiol levels were equal, however soy drinkers had LOWER Testosterone levels and HIGHER cortisol levels (both bad).
Having low T is associated with decreased sex drive and less muscle mass, and one new study even found that lower levels of testosterone may raise the risk of depression. Fortunately, strength training spikes T, and living a healthy lifestyle also goes a long way toward keeping your levels topped off. But there are some completely natural compounds that can help as well.
Ashwagandha is shown to be effective at reducing cortisol which in turn helps with testosterone production. There are also numerous studies showing the effects on improving testosterone in infertile men (ref 80). If you are using the Aggressive Strength product you don't need to supplement with ashwagandha as it's included in the test booster formula. Likewise if you're using Tian Chi (my daily herb drink).
If a young man's low testosterone is a problem for a couple trying to get pregnant, gonadotropin injections may be an option in some cases. These are hormones that signal the body to produce more testosterone. This may increase the sperm count. Hedges also describes implantable testosterone pellets, a relatively new form of treatment in which several pellets are placed under the skin of the buttocks, where they release testosterone over the course of about three to four months. Injections and nasal gels may be other options for some men.