The sex hormone testosterone is far more than just the stuff of the alpha male's swagger. Though it plays a more significant role in the life of the biological male, it is actually present in both sexes to some degree. Despite popular perceptions that testosterone primarily controls aggression and sex drive—although it does play a role in both of those things—research has shown that individual levels of testosterone are also correlated with our language skills and cognitive abilities. Testosterone occurs in the body naturally, but can be administered as a medication, too: its most common uses are in the treatment of hypogonadism and breast cancer, as well as in hormone therapy for transgender men.
A related issue is the potential use of testosterone as a coronary vasodilator and anti-anginal agent. Testosterone has been shown to act as a vasodilator of coronary arteries at physiological concentrations during angiography (Webb, McNeill et al 1999). Furthermore men given a testosterone injection prior to exercise testing showed improved performance, as assessed by ST changes compared to placebo (Rosano et al 1999; Webb, Adamson et al 1999). Administration of one to three months of testosterone treatment has also been shown to improve symptoms of angina and exercise test performance (Wu and Weng 1993; English et al 2000; Malkin, Pugh, Morris et al 2004). Longer term studies are underway. It is thought that testosterone improves angina due its vasodilatory action, which occurs independently of the androgen receptor, via blockade of L-type calcium channels at the cell membrane of the vascular smooth muscle in an action similar to the dihydropyridine calcium-channel blockers such as nifedipine (Hall et al 2006).
Cognitive abilities differ between males and females and these differences are present from childhood. In broad terms, girls have stronger verbal skills than boys who tend to have stronger skills related to spatial ability (Linn and Petersen 1985). It is thought that the actions of sex hormones have a role in these differences. Reviewing different cognitive strengths of male versus female humans is not within the scope of this article but the idea that cognition could be altered by testosterone deserves attention.
Epidemiological studies suggest that many significant clinical findings and important disease states are linked to low testosterone levels. These include osteoporosis (Campion and Maricic 2003), Alzheimer’s disease (Moffat et al 2004), frailty, obesity (Svartberg, von Muhlen, Sundsfjord et al 2004), diabetes (Barrett-Connor 1992), hypercholesterolemia (Haffner et al 1993; Van Pottelbergh et al 2003), hypertension (Phillips et al 1993), cardiac failure (Tappler and Katz 1979; Kontoleon et al 2003) and ischemic heart disease (Barrett-Connor and Khaw 1988). The extent to which testosterone deficiency is involved in the pathogenesis of these conditions, or to which testosterone supplementation could be useful in their treatment is an area of great interest with many unanswered questions.
I am also suspect of the fact that men 100 years ago had testosterone levels of 800-2000 ng/dL. The truth is that there are men today that are stronger and more muscular than the men from 100 years ago. Sure the “average man” of today is less than the “average man” of prior generations, but this is because we sit around in offices all day, and then come home to sit on the couch and watch tv…little to no activity.
‘Testosterone boosting’ products - found online, or in health food or body-building shops, these products claim to boost testosterone levels if you buy them. The majority of these products will not have the effect you want and are not worth spending money on. Any of these products that do have a real effect may have a form of prescription medication in which is both dangerous and illegal.
Fenugreek is often found in Indian, Turkish, and Persian cuisine. Multiple studies have found it to improve testosterone levels, and in particular, sexual performance. Scientists at Babu Banarasi Das University and King George’s Medical University in India have found that fenugreek improved testosterone levels. Testosterone levels increased for 90% of the volunteers, sperm morphology (the size and shape of sperm) improved for 14.6%, and more than 50% of volunteers experienced improvements in mental alertness, mood, and libido.
Nearly 1 out of every 4 men over age 50 experience the pain of losing the ability to perform sexually as a result of erectile dysfunction (ED). Common causes of ED are atherosclerosis, diabetes, prescription drug use (namely high blood pressure, depression, and allergy drugs), and—you guessed it—low testosterone. Supplements that may help include the following:
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Longjack, also known as Tongkat ali and pasak bumi, is a shrub hailing from Southeast Asia purporting to improve libido. It’s gaining traction in the scientific community for potentially increasing testosterone levels, and researchers at South Africa’s University of the Western Cape found that longjack improved testosterone levels and muscular strength in physically active seniors (a population with typically low testosterone).
Consume vegetable carbohydrates and healthy fats. Your body requires the carbohydrates from fresh vegetables rather than grains and sugars. In addition to mono- or polyunsaturated fats found in avocados and raw nuts, saturated fats are also essential to building your testosterone production. According to research, there was a decrease in testosterone stores in people who consumed a diet low in animal-based fat.11 Aside from avocados and raw nuts, ideal sources of healthy fat that can boost your testosterone levels include:
Dr. Anthony's Notes: When evaluating the efficacy of a product, it’s tough to balance the currently available human research with thousands of years of anecdotal evidence of efficacy. Tongkat Ali is a perfect example. All of the current studies are on animal models (not humans) – this DOES NOT mean that Tongkat Ali doesn’t work with humans. It simply means more research is needed. Personally, the strong experience of thousands of men (myself included) using this herb can confirm it’s libido enhancing effects. Also, this herb is DAMN BITTER. It makes Maca powder seem like a walk in the park. Hide in a smoothie or you will be sorry haha! How To Take Tongkat Ali: 200-300mg (of a 100:1 extract) 1-2 times per day. If you are using the raw powder (recommended below) that is NOT encapsulated, definitely hide the powder in a fat burning smoothie like the “Fit Father Fat Burning Shake Recipe” we recommend in FF30X. Again, I cannot understand how damn nasty this powder tastes. Beware!