First of all, I want to clarify that the following article is based on a multitude of studies that I have been able to read recently, the problem of studies is that some contradict the truths of others and even more so when there may be behind these economic interests.
Today I would like to talk about Testosterone, an essential hormone for the human being and in the sporting aspect with a tremendous anabolic power.
The testicles release testosterone in men and the adrenal glands in women. The release of testosterone is controlled by luteinizing hormone (LH), secreted by the pituitary gland, a gland located at the base of the brain. Testosterone has several effects, and androgens consist of changes in the sexual organs, tone of the voice and increased body hair, as well as psychological effects, such as increased aggressiveness. Anabolic effects consist of faster muscle development and more excellent recovery. Hence its use in the sport for decades, looking for ways to get better sports results, either doing some more repetition (which will lead to higher muscle growth), trying to win a few tenths to the stopwatch, etc. Athletes eager for success and frustrated to see how their competitors exceeded them in their different competitions since it is difficult and immensely sacrificed to get to the top by your means, so many athletes decide to enter the dark world of doping, full of dangers and irreversible consequences. Many opt for testosterone, which as we said before, has excellent anabolic power.
Athletes who use testosterone get very positive results because they can train more frequently and more intensely. Studies show that testosterone also has effects on protein synthesis. The researchers obtained results in which the protein synthesis doubled during the five days following an injection of testosterone, while there was no degradation.
However, the effects are usually brief since abnormal testosterone levels block other hormones such as cortisol and estrogens. At the end of the “cycle” of testosterone, the body tends to return to a homeostasis or balance, and higher levels of both hormones (catabolic) are generated, so that strength and muscle size are rapidly lost. This must be stopped, with a post-cycle therapy, so you should always walk between drugs. We all have endogenous testosterone (our own manufactured by the body), but is it possible to increase it naturally to expand our benefits?
As we have spoken, the human body always tends to find a balance to maintain a proper functioning, and it is challenging to increase our testosterone manufacturing to increase our muscle mass significantly, I would almost dare to say that we should do it is to worry about trying to maintain our natural levels, which are affected by our modern life rather than going crazy to get in which way we can increase it. There are hundreds of studies that talk about the power of many substances to raise levels, but if we had to take them all, we would need to expand our pantry. Although some are worth highlighting since they have been spoken more than once about them and there are proven positive results. Everything must be said, not all are supplements, the lifestyle we lead also interacts, and it is not necessary to supplement unless we are not able to reach adequate levels of one or another substance with our diet to achieve our goal, it is this case to try to Increase our testosterone levels.
How to prevent our testosterone levels from dropping
- The first and I think it is the most important I think it would be to control stress and sleep problems since it is something that we can put a solution on and reduces testosterone levels even by 30%. Both are directly related to each other, stress increases cortisol and cortisol has been repeatedly shown to be associated with low testosterone levels. Just as reducing our quality of sleep increases cortisol and estrogen levels, which will lead to loss of strength, muscle mass and fat storage (although that would be another point). The more you sleep, the higher the amount of testosterone. Are you looking for a simple way to increase your testosterone? Turn off your TV, tablet, mobile, etc. and go to bed! Lack of sleep is also associated with point 2 and 3.
- Overweight. Those extra pounds are strongly correlated with lower testosterone.
- Metabolic syndrome insulin resistance and diabetes, both lead to decreased testosterone levels. Insulin resistance occurs in a pre-diabetic scenario in which your body pumps more insulin than your body needs — related to point 1.
- Alcohol consumption, Studies clearly show excessive alcohol consumption for a prolonged period will lead to low testosterone. The ethanol in beer or any other alcoholic beverage will decrease the P45 enzyme system in the liver, allowing estrogens to stay longer in your body. And the more estrogen, in general, the less testosterone.
- Toxins. It is almost impossible for an inhabitant of modern cities to escape from them at least some exposure to these chemical agents, which include pesticides and excitotoxins.
- Recent research by Epidemiology found that there is a correlation between exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos and the decrease in testosterone levels. The researchers examined how fertility and testosterone concentration decreased significantly. Therefore the equation is straightforward.
- Why do these chemicals cause so many problems? Well, the problem is that many of them are endocrine switches. Some of these substances, for example, mimic estrogen, taking over the receptors. In the case of chlorpyrifos, researchers believe that it can alter the luteinizing hormone, which is responsible for the production of testosterone in men. Although some organizations have provided us with a list of what are the foods that suffer the most contamination, being realistic, the only way to avoid pesticides is to buy organic products. Below you will find a list of the different types of fruits and vegetables most dangerous to our health (depending on the number of pesticides present in each of them).
- Overtraining. Hours and hours in the gym, one day and another as well. Your monitor chasing you throughout the room to make another series, IS THAT 20 SERIES ARE NOT SUFFICIENT! , and also early the next day to work, parties, commitments, etc. WHEN DO WE STOP? If a little exercise is good, more will be better. Every time you feel less energized and fail in the gym, and outside it, you are overtrained. It would have been preferable to train two days a week, and your progress would not have stopped, now you are forced to leave the gym with no return date. Remember QUALITY, NOT AMOUNT.
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How to help raise testosterone levels
There are many references and pages written about this topic. I will focus on supplements or only life actions that can help us maintain or raise testosterone levels to some extent. Remember that naturally, the production of testosterone will not rise incredibly, but any help is well received for the natural athlete who only depends on their resources.
- Sex. More than one day will have made my day, if this simple way, practising sex significantly increases testosterone levels, improves possible sexual dysfunction, helps you sleep better and even reduces stress hormones. But be careful the addiction is not good either since in ejaculation it seems that much Zinc is lost, which is related to proper testosterone levels.
- Improving point 1 of the upper section, we will take another step forward.
- Weight lifting. Some studies show that weightlifting briefly but intensely increases testosterone levels. Although there are researchers who recognize such elevation, they suggest that it is only transitory and does not have an important role in post-exercise anabolism. But it has been shown that weightlifting for years has slowly raised the base level of testosterone. In these studies that you will find below, eight elite weightlifters were carried out for two years, and the conclusion was a steady increase in the level of testosterone.
- The diet. Everything must be said, trying to increase your testosterone levels through food is a real headache, since it is a very complex hormone. At this point, I have encountered many controversies and contradictions. A diet high in protein reduces testosterone levels because it is also accompanied by an increase in cortisol levels (poor travel companion) probably due to metabolic processes directly related to the increased protein load. Diets high in carbohydrates and low in proteins have been the most effective in terms of the increase in testosterone, reducing fibers and fats keeping them around 30% (preferably saturated and monounsaturated, an excess of polyunsaturated also seems to make lower levels). Therefore, the ideal for training days would be to reduce proteins to 0.8-1gr / kg and that they had saturated fat (eggs are a good option), increase carbohydrates, but not exaggeratedly, because high levels of insulin reduce testosterone, reduce fibers to about 25 grams, more or less and total calories a little below our caloric balance. But be careful that the protein is essential for the recovery of muscle damage, so it is then necessary. All this is very relative and as I said before it is not so simple, since testosterone fluctuates throughout the year and day, so there are months in which the nutritional proportions will change to get the most out of training. This is what we talk about in chronobiology.
- Beware of sugar. A large amount of blood sugar can lower your testosterone. For example, sugary drinks that we like so much reduce testosterone levels up to 25% for hours.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C in large doses could affect the response of cortisol under heavy loads of exercise. And as we said earlier, the increase in cortisol favours the reduction of testosterone. Because of this, vitamin C can easily lead to an indirect increase in testosterone levels. A recent study provided several runners with 500 to 1500 grams a week before the race. Those of 1500 grams suffered a notable reduction in their cortisol levels. Vitamin C in fair amounts can bring various benefits to your body, such as skincare.
- Vitamin D. This would be solved if we took more sun since our body can manufacture it through a pro-vitamin found in the skin and allows us to obtain it when we are exposed to the sun’s rays. But our civilized life under the shadow of skyscrapers and other buildings and course clothes, do not allow us this option too much, only in the summer. Therefore a good option would be the supplementation of this or a correct diet that will enable us to obtain this precious vitamin, of which we dedicate an article exclusively.
- The researchers found that its action is due to two mechanisms: 1) Calcium balance and 2) Regulates aromatase. The primary purpose of vitamin D is to control the amount of calcium in our tissues as well as being vital to our bones and neurons and heart rate. For example, research showed that by administering calcium to rats, they could partially restore their hormonal levels. In any case, it is necessary to emphasize that the total restoration was not achieved with the exclusive use of this vitamin since it also affects the activity of aromatase and this is the enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen.
- The results of studies on this vitamin were so precise that its connection seemed obvious, but they needed to confirm the results in a study conducted on humans. This occurred a decade later, where 2,990 men with signs of heart problems were analyzed (Angioplasty, for example). These researchers showed that their theory was correct: Men with lower levels of vitamin D had smaller amounts of testosterone and men with more Vitamin D had a better measure of testosterone.
- D aspartic acid. This amino acid has great potential. A recent study of 23 young men showed that 33% of them improved their testosterone level. The same thing happened in a study done years ago in rats, with the same result.
- Magnesium. It is a very economical supplement that can generously increase your testosterone. Magnesium In addition to being very cheap, a study in middle-aged men showed that it increased their testosterone and IGF-1 levels. Also, magnesium is an essential part of hundreds of processes in our body. It is thought that the physiological mechanism behind the relationship between magnesium and testosterone is related to the increase in oxidative stress due to the deficiency of this mineral, which creates a pro-inflammatory state. It has been found that testosterone levels and IGF-1, are relative to the antioxidant capacity of the blood, so when the inflammation is high, the secretion of these hormones is slowed down.
There were many more supplements such as ZMA, very popular among the regulars at the gym and with surprising results in the first investigations but at the same time discredited. Later, because of the scientific community and its studies regarding the increase in testosterone, only some type of result seems to be obtained in people with very little or almost no “reserve” of zinc in the body (perhaps due to excessive ejaculation). Although it is noteworthy that helps to fall asleep. (10)
What to say is that even if you are one of the people who are not interested in increasing testosterone by not looking for a muscular body, for example, highlight that low levels of this hormone are associated with many diseases, including the risks for the hardening of arteries, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, insulin resistance, depression, weight gain, osteoporosis, anemia and cognitive problems just to get started
Foods rich in zinc
Pipes, meats in general, egg yolk, crab, garlic, salmon, oysters, etc. these are just a few examples.
Nuts are a great source of this mineral, prawns and dried figs. Although it is convenient to administer it together with calcium, since it acts synergistically with calcium in the body, favouring its fixation and preventing it from accumulating abnormally, such as deposits in the joints.
Foods rich in vitamin D
Cod liver, Tuna (fish), egg, mushrooms, liver and our precious and free (for now) sun.
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