- 1 Section A
- 2 Functions of Testosterone
- 3 Testosterone Production
- 4 The Problem With Low Testosterone
- 5 Aromatization
- 6 Section B
- 7 Testosterone Boosting Techniques and Activities
- 8 Aromatase Inhibitors
- 9 Stress Hormones and Testosterone:
- 10 Environmental Toxins
- 11 Burst Training
- 12 Vegan and-or Advanced Mediterranean anti-inflammatory Diets
- 13 Section C
- 14 Holistic Protocol
- 15 Discussion
- 16 Conclusion
- 17 References
Naturally produced testosterone plays a very important role in male/female metabolic function. Low testosterone is a chronic epidemic that is threatening the very survival of Humanity. During the last 40 years, men in general have lost close to fifty percent of their sperm count. In this Page, I will first describe testosterone’s functions and mention a few deleterious effects that results from having low testosterone. (Section A) Thereafter, I will conclude with multiple ways to boost testosterone holistically (Section B) and what a holistic testosterone enhancement protocol looks like. (Section C)
Functions of Testosterone
Testosterone is an anabolic steroid hormone that plays a critical role in metabolism, sex drive, muscle building, sport peak performance, mood regulation, memory, cognitive function and longevity. Normal testosterone levels play an important role in maintaining optimal weight as well as reducing risk of degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, & certain cancers. (1, 2, 3).
Women produce testosterone but in significantly lower amounts than men. Testosterone receptors in women are located in the nurturing section of the brain while for men, testosterone receptors are located in the “hunting” part of the brain. In man, testosterone is produced in the testes and adrenal glands while women produce this molecule in the adrenals & ovaries. On average, for the mainstreamers, testosterone is known to peak in the early twenties and then drop about 10% with each successive decade. Current estimates are that 30 percent of American men are affected by hypogonadism—T levels below 300 ng/dL. Average T levels have been dropping in men over the past 40 years.
For holistic people who thrive on a plant-strong diet, testosterone is much more abundant than in meat eaters (See below).
Mainstream post-menopausal women lose the function of their ovaries and are at risk for low testosterone later in life. With inadequate testosterone, women are at much greater risk for developing osteoporosis/osteopenia and other chronic diseases.
Top: This decline, called andropause, is for the average male living a non-holistic lifestyle. Men living a holistic lifestyle necessarily have higher testosterone levels, see below for the evidence. For mainstream unholistic males, andropause starts around 40 years old and decline on average about one percent per year.
The Problem With Low Testosterone
Most men, in particular mainstream men who do not live holistically lose from 1 percent to 1.5% of their testosterone production each year beyond 30. Men who lose a greater proportion of their testosterone enter the phase know as andropause (4).
The Alliance for Aging Research has indicated that one third of American men over the age of 39 have reported two or more symptoms of low testosterone (5). Symptoms of male andropause include lowered libido, decreased muscle mass, increased abdominal fat accumulation, depression, lack of drive and accelerated aging. In a large study of 858 males over 40, men with low testosterone had an 88% increase risk of death compared with those who had normal levels (6).
Aromatase is an enzyme that is found in estrogen producing cells located in the adrenal glands, ovaries, placenta, testicles, brain and fat tissue. Higher levels of aromatase in the body convert testosterone and progesterone into estrogen. This process of converting androgenic hormones into estrogens is called aromatization. Obesity and environmental toxins are among the suspected causes if only because excess body fat increases the action of aromatase enzymes in men’s bodies. Aromatase transforms testosterone into estrogen, causing a man’s T levels to drop even further. Environmental toxins may damage men’s testosterone-making machinery, beginning in the very earliest stages of development in the mother’s body.
In this perspective, elevated aromatase activity and estrogen dominance are some of the most common factors associated with breast, uterine and ovarian cancers in women (7). Prostate, colon and breast cancer in men are also associated with estrogen dominance.
Testosterone Boosting Techniques and Activities
With more and more xeno-estrogens in plastics and fake food and artifical hormones in animals, estrogen dominance has become an epidemic. Eating a plant-based diet with natural aromatase inhibitors like quality wine and stinging nettles can resolve this issue.
Stress Hormones and Testosterone:
Chronic stress is one of the biggest factors that must be addressed in order to boost testosterone. The body produces stress hormones and in particular high cortisol when faced with chronic chemical, physical, & emotional stressors. The more cortisol is produced, the less the body is able to activate the sex hormones.
In this perspective, the testicles produce an enzyme called 11ßHSD-1 which protects testosterone molecules from the effects cortisol. During times of prolonged stress and chronically elevated cortisol, the 11ßHSD-1 enzyme gets depleted. (8, 9).
Additionally, high stress hormone production reduces the amount of testosterone production through a process called pregnenolone steal. Elevated stress will also increase aromatase activity and convert testosterone into estrogen creating a state of estrogen dominance (10).
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, calm socialization, sleep, visualization, earthing, among other techniques, can help to reduce stress.
Xenoestrogens, artificial hormone mimicking substances, are linked to lower testosterone levels. These xenoestrogens are found in tap water, plastics, home cleaning agents, deodorants, soaps, make-up & body lotions (12).
Many medications also contain heavy amounts of synthetic xenoestrogens as well. Avoiding these sources along with a diet rich in fiber and phytonutrients that help the body eliminate these toxic substances is recommended.
High intensity exercise is crucial to boost testosterone (13). Exercises should be explosive in nature and maximize the resistant overload on the muscles. Large muscle groups that are involved with squats, deadlifts & burpees are some of the best testosterone boosting exercises. The training session should be short (5-30 mins) and have very little rest periods between sets.
Vegan and-or Advanced Mediterranean anti-inflammatory Diets
An anti-inflammatory diet is also key. This should be loaded with phytonutrient rich fruits and vegetables abundant in flavonoids, anti-oxydants, polyphenols and the like. Refined grains and sugars stimulate higher levels of insulin and cortisol.
For the sex hormones, fats and cholesterol are critical, if only because an abundance is need to build the double walled cells made from phospholipides. These fats impact cell messaging by acting as enzyme and hormone regulators (11).
The nutrition plan should consist of ample amounts of good fats such as avocado, coconut, & olive oil. Saturated fats, cholesterol, conjugated linoleic acids and essential omega 3 fatty acids from vegan sources and-or a mediterranean type diets
A study published in the British Journal of Cancer compared IGF-1 levels in vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters. (13 A) Insulin-like growth factor-1, known as IGF-1, is a hormone that is necessary for proper growth in children, but is now understood to be a major contributor to the growth of tumors in both men and women over the age of 40. The study recruited 696 men: 226 meat-eaters, 237 vegetarians and 233 vegans. In addition to comparing IGF-1 levels, the researchers also looked at the differences in testosterone levels between the three groups. (Allen NE, Appleby PN, Davey GK, Key TJ. Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but normal bioavailable androgens in vegan men. Br J Cancer. 2000;83:95–7.)
The Results: After adjusting for important variables, such as age, smoking status, and even vigorous exercise, the vegan participants of the study had, on average, 16% more testosterone than the meat-eaters, and 10% more than the vegetarian group. After adjusting for body mass index as well as SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), the carnivore and vegetarian groups had very similar levels of testosterone, while the vegan group maintained higher levels.
Even more revealing was the fact that vegan men had a significant 9% lower IGF-1 concentration compared to meat-eaters, and 8% lower compared to vegetarians. It is believed that an 8-9% difference is large enough to significantly reduce the risk for prostate cancer. An earlier study found that men that develop prostate cancer have IGF-1 levels that are just 8% higher than men who remain healthy. The researchers concluded the following:
“The results did not support the hypothesis that meat-eaters have higher levels of bioavailable androgens [testosterone] than non meat-eaters. No differences in hormone levels were found between meat-eaters and lacto-ovo-vegetarians, suggesting that vegetarian diets may not alter prostate cancer risk, but the relatively low IGF-I levels in vegans might reduce their risk of prostate cancer.” (Cf. Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Giovannucci E, Gann PH, Wilkinson P, Hennekens CH and Pollak M (1998) Plasma insulin-like growth factor-I and prostate cancer risk: a prospective study. Science 279: 563–566
The results of this study are consistent with decades of scientific research that have shown why individuals on a whole plant-based diet have significantly lower rates of cancer than both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Whey protein though is more controversial. (14) Another piece of evidence that shows that testosterone increases when animal foods are removed from the diet can be found via mouse click here..
While an advanced Med Diet that has under 5 percent qualify and humanely raised animal foods like raw goat cheese may be testosterone friendly, most animal-based foods actually increase estrogen in the body, one consequence of which lowers testosterone and hormonal cacophony due to the estrogen coming from animals that have growth factors and hormones our bodies weren’t meant to consume
No wonder than that an increasing number of elite athletes as well body builders are switching to a plant-based diet to gain competitive advantage. The forthcoming movie. “Game Changer” will highlight this piece of allegation. In addition, vegan diets can also down regulate accelerated aging pathways like mTOR, thanks to which vitality and hormonal resilience are more resilient. The second best diet is the Mediterranean Diet.
1) Good Sleep: It is critical to sleep well in order to produce healthy sex hormones. Inadequate sleep will result in elevated stress hormone production and lowered testosterone.
2) Anti-Inflammatory mostly plant-based Diet: Focus on good fats, anti-oxidants and lots of fiber and vitamins B for proper methylation and used estrogen removal.
3) Intermittent Fasting: Fasting 16 to 20 hours is one of the best ways to boost testosterone. The more restrictive the eating window, the better. This will allow autophagy to kick-in, thanks to which the body will be in a position to better repair itself.
4) High Intensity Exercise: High intensity training, especially resistance training boosts testosterone. Large muscle group exercises like squats, lunges, bench press, T-bar rows, pull-ups, overhead press are recommended, once the person is sufficiently hydrated and warmed up. The more muscle tissue that is intensely stimulated, the more testosterone production will go up. Short rests between workouts is essential.
5) Low Intensity Movement: A sedentary lifestyle depletes testosterone but so does over-training. In addition to the 30 minutes intensive session, throughout the day, one can get on a tread mill or commit to low-intensity movement such as walking, light cycling, ping pong and other forms of play.
6) Saunas and Cold Showers: Cold showers also boost testosterone production and improve metabolism, detoxification and brain function. Start your shower with warm/hot water and turn it to cold for the last 30-60 seconds while pumping the muscles and creating a big shiver as the muscles contract. That will help to boost internal heat and boost testosterone production. Saunas are also great, both for detox and the production of heat shock proteins.
7) Optimizing Vitamin D: Low vitamin D3 is associated with low testosterone production (15). Increasing one’s vitamin D through good amounts of regular sun exposure and/or taking a high quality vitamin D3/K2 supplement is recommended.
8) Zinc and Magnesium: Zinc and magnesium levels need to be optimized. Both of these nutrients are key for testosterone production. Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest sources of both zinc and magnesium. Additionally, green drinks and super green powders or smoothies can also be indicated.
9) Reducing Estrogen Load: Avoiding foods with xenophytoestrogens and consuming lots of cruciferous veggies and in particular broccoli sprouts which have tons of I3C and DIM helps to detoxify bad estrogen metabolites that cause problems with estrogen/testosterone balance. Raw and steamed crucifers (brocolli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts) are indicated as are broccoli sprouts, as these are much richer in sulphorophane than other cruciferous vegetables.
10) Deep Breathing: Deep breathing can help calm an overactive sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system and relax the body. This lowers stress hormone and enhances the production of sex hormones like testosterone that are needed for growth and repair.
11) Spinach and Garlic: Spinach contains its own type of plant based steroids called phytoecdysteroids. These unique compounds protect the spinach plant from plant-parasitic nematodes. Spinash also helps to balance blood sugar, stabilize stress hormone and boost testosterone (16, 17). Garlic has been shown to improve testosterone output on a high protein diet (18). Since a testosterone boosting nutrition plan should naturally be higher in quality whole plant based foods, it makes sense to use lots of garlic as well.
12) Aswaghanda, maca and ginseng: These adaptogenic herbs have been shown to reduce stress hormone, increase DHEA and boost testosterone levels.
13) Testosterone boosting superfood synergy: For a biochemical pathway to be properly activated, the synergy of key nutrients are often needed. In this perspective, testosterone activation benefits from certain amino acids in conjunction with zinc, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and a mostly plant-strong diet.
14). Pumpkin Seeds. Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc, a crucial mineral needed for optimal testosterone levels. Zinc keeps the sex organs healthy and promotes a healthy metabolism that assists with the conversion of certain hormones. Like with magnesium, bioavailable zinc is needed as a co-factor in hundreds of enzymatic processes. Avoiding phytic rich foods when consuming pumpkin seeds is indicated since this acid hinders zincs and magnesiym’s absorption. They’re also great sources of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce more serotonin, which helps balance your hormones even further including melatonine, the sleep hormone. These alkaline green seeds are also one of the most overlooked sources of plant-based protein, iron, and are great sources of healthy omega-3 fats.
15. Coconut. Coconut’s a great food to boost human muscle-growth, promote lean body mass, and balance the body’s hormones including testosterone. It’s a great source of healthy saturated fats, which most people think they need to avoid, but when eaten from plant-based sources, is actually helpful in moderate amounts. Saturated fats are necessary for testosterone production and they support the body’s ability to make cholesterol without having to consume added dietary cholesterol from animal-based foods. A few tablespoons of raw coconut butter, shreds, coconut milk, or fresh coconut pulp are all that is needed to support the body with this healthy source of fat. It’s still a good idea to limit all sources of saturated fats to less than 10 percent of the daily diet. So a coconut oil mono diet would not be a good idea.
16). Maca. Maca is a super food for boosting and normalizing or improving your hormone (Source). It can boost the libido and improve mood in both men and women, and is safe, efficient and cost friendly way for reducing stress levels that can interfere with healthy testosterone levels. Maca is also great for boosting energy to help with exercise, which boosts testosterone in return. When lifting weights, testosterone levels get naturally boosted, which makes maca a great superfood to use on all counts. Working out and maca also both support the body’s production of growth hormones that supports your metabolism and keeps the body youthful.
17). Avocado. Another libido-boosting food, avocados have healthy fats and high levels of vitamin B6, both of which reduce cortisol and improve testosterone and gastric production. They also support the metabolism and overall mood function. Avocados’ fats also reduce high levels of unhealthy cholesterol levels (LDL) that interferes with the production of testosterone. Animal-based fats raise high levels of the small oxidized LDL while plant-based fats lower this deleterious LDL and improve levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and the needed larger LDL. For more plant-based foods that can spur the production of healthy endogenous cholesterol, mouse click here.
18). Chia Seeds. Chia seeds directly boost testosterone levels in the body due to their amazing essential fatty acid (EFA) profile. They’re a great source of omega-3 fats, along with other anti-inflammatory fats. Chia seeds are also a great source of potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium that support human metabolism, blood pressure, blood sugar, and mood. These nutrients are also necessary for optimal energy and hormone production in the bod (Source). Hemp seeds are also amazing for your hormone levels and they contain more protein, iron, and magnesium than chia seeds do.
Other super foods to support the body’s hormones that contain omega-3 fatty acids, key amino acids, vitamins and minerals are almonds, walnuts, cashews, flax seeds, olives and red wine, given its aromatase inhibition effect, inter alia. One can also add more vegan libido-boosting foods to one’s diet to improve romantic relationships, if only because sexual gymnastics also produces an abundance of testosterone and other resilience-building hormonal and neuro-peptides like oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins.
Most athletic individuals and concerned mainstreamers will have recourse to synthetic testosterone, including those who are aged and even less aged, if only because the onslaught of industrial and indoor pollution has massacred the male population’s sperm motility and sperm count while undermining the sexual hormones of both genders. Many people are also using bio-identical testosterone, from functional and integrative doctors, including via topical application for that extra boost. However, one of the major drawbacks for both mainstream and integrative medicine’s patients is that exogenous testosterone will produce signaling molecules that will tell the body to reduce its own production. Hence, the shrinking of the testicles, a medical epi-phenomenon called “testicular atrophy”. (21) While there can be beneficial effects with TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), there can also be other deleterious side effects. (See the Institute’s workshop).
On the other hand, in holistic medicine, by respecting Nature’s design, the holistic health recipient’s testicles do not shrivel up like those who take TRT. Furthermore, for the vast majority of the elderly and less elderly who adopt the holistic lifestyle, the production of testosterone is higher than in the mainstream. (22) Furthermore, the higher testosterone, the better the longevity outcome and the more elderly men catch up to elderly women in terms of lifespan outcomes.
“Men with higher testosterone levels show reduced markers of inflammation and metabolic syndrome and decreased risk of mortality for all causes independently from the overall health status” (Source) (23)
According to the Happiness Medicine Institute’s clinical experience and knowledge, testosterone decline is not inevitable with age. Older women and men in excellent health can maintain their hormone levels. What appears to account for this testosterone dip is modern society’s pollution, EMFs (electro-smog), chronic stress, prescription drugs, soil depletion and “civilization” diseases. A group of Scientists from the University of Sydney partially corroborated this claim for men.
‘’What we found was, when you consider all the possible influences, age had no effect on testosterone levels in these very healthy men,” says researcher David Handelsman, MD, PhD, director of the ANZAC Research Institute at the University of Sydney. (…) “It’s more likely that lowering of testosterone is a consequence of illnesses men acquire as they get older, like cardiovascular disease and obesity.” (24)
For those who live holistically and who are super healthy, (25) there appears to be no problem to produce enough testosterone until the end of one’s lifespan. Furthermore, being a rejuvenation hormone, free testosterone will also be a synergistic factor that will affect other longevity processes within the health enthusiast’s biological evolution.
Ch. Joubert (HM Institute Director)
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5. Survey Highlights – Low Testosterone Link Here
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13 A. Allen NE, Appleby PN, Davey GK, Key TJ. Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but normal bioavailable androgens in vegan men. Br J Cancer. 2000;83:95–7.
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21. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Many men undergoing TRT experience testicular atrophy. This is because TRT can stop the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Without GnRH, the pituitary gland stops making luteinizing hormone (LH). Without LH, the testicles stop secreting testosterone, leading to smaller testicle. (Source)
22. “Okinawan elders may have higher levels of sex hormones, including natural DHEA, estrogen, and testosterone than similarly aged Americans, suggesting that the Okinawans are physiologically younger…” (Source) Current estimates are that 30 percent of American men are affected by hypogonadism—T levels below 300 ng/dL. Average T levels have been dropping in men over the past 20 years. They are about 16 percent lower in men aged 65-69 than they were in 1993. Obesity and environmental toxins are among the suspected causes. Excess body fat increases the action of aromatase enzymes in men’s bodies. Aromatase transforms testosterone into estrogen, causing a man’s T levels to drop. Environmental toxins may damage men’s testosterone-making machinery, beginning in the very earliest stages of development in the mother’s body.
23. G. A. Laughlin, E. Barrett-Connor, and J. Bergstrom, “Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 68–75, 2008. (Source)
24. The Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting, June 4 to 7, 2011, Boston. And, David J. Handelsman, MD, PhD, director, ANZAC Research Institute, University of Sydney, Australia (Source)
25. A drop in testosterone levels can be caused by different illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, COPD or other lung disease, or pituitary gland problems. Genetic causes of low testosterone in men include the diseases Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Myotonic dystrophy. Another disorder that can cause low testosterone is hemochromatosis, which makes the body store too much iron. “Low testosterone can also result when something happens, like trauma or steroid use, that prevents the testes from making the hormone,” says Bruce Gilbert, MD, PhD, an adjunct clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of reproductive and sexual medicine at the Smith Institute for Urology of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Other causes of low testosterone include pituitary gland tumors, HIV infection, and radiation treatment or chemotherapy for cancer. Doctors categorize causes of low testosterone as primary or secondary. “Primary hypogonadism stems from a problem in the testicles,” Samadi says. “This could be from a developmental issue, injury to the testicles, or radiation or chemotherapy treatment. In secondary hypogonadism, the testicles are normal but function improperly because of a problem with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland.” (Source)