Before presenting how I managed to quadruple my testosterone level, I will outline the reasons for my predicament. I will then explain core concepts on how to optimize testosterone levels using a natural route. There is no reason why you will not be able to attain similar results. Persevering through tough times helps build up a strong core. The body is extremely resilient and able to rebound from endless circumstances. Do not let Low Testosterone stand in the way of success.
I experienced testosterone levels as low as 221 ng/dl when I was 18 years old. My free testosterone was 7.1 ng/dl at the time.
Generally, this is the age when testosterone levels should be at a peak considering puberty began for me at the age of 13. I was under chronic and sustained stress at the time, which created a shift in energy to support the demands of the adrenal glands. My reproductive system function crashed and cortisol levels increased to deal with the inflammation present within the body.
After a two year bout of persistent anxiety, my mental and physical energy greatly diminished. I then came to grips with the reality that I had to face. I knew that my hormone levels were depressed as I experienced the following list of symptoms...
Low sex drive
Susceptibility to cold
Calm The Storm
I focused on improving my overall health by targeting the glandular system such as the liver, thyroid, adrenal glands, etc. My first focus was to reduce stress levels or remove external events that trigger a stress response. Because the stress was the main contributor to my low testosterone, I would need to eliminate stress to rebound my levels.
Six years later, I managed to increase my total testosterone levels to 938 ng/dl by eating a balanced, varied diet full of healthy fats and antioxidants. My free testosterone increased to 15.4 ng/dl. I focused on brief, periodic, and rigorous resistance training and moderate cardio activity.
Manage Adrenal Fatigue
Ashwagandha is an herb renowned to support the adrenal glands due to its function as an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body build up resistance to stress. It shows some promise with regard to increasing testosterone levels. If the adrenal glands work too hard due to overtraining or lifestyle-related stress, then excess energy is shifted to deal with the inflammation arising from the stress. This causes a surplus of cortisol, which is catabolic in excess.
Cortisol can cause muscle atrophy and create glucose to derive enough energy for countering stress. Inevitably, stress causes energy to shift away from the endocrine system resulting in diminished testosterone levels. Adrenal fatigue is a major problem because youthful hormones such as DHEA deplete along with testosterone. Ensuring the body is receiving enough b-vitamins is critical to maintaining adrenal health and longevity.
Blood Work Results
Once I understood that stress was the culprit and worked to mitigate it, I focused on optimizing the overall organ system. Each organ works in synergy to transmit signals required for hormone production.
The liver deals with the job of filtrating the bloodstream, which aids nutrient flux and oxygen flow to the brain. The brain controls the function of all other organs, so it is very important to remove toxins within the bloodstream to prevent inflammation throughout the body. Moreover, it helps metabolize estrogen and other important hormones and enzymes to balance the reproductive system.
Organ Health and Estrogen Metabolism
Another function of the liver is to break down fats because bile is a by-product of liver cells secretion (cells that line the liver secrete bile salts that convert to bile acid as it is released into the intestinal tract). Bile helps eliminate toxins from the intestinal tract. This is essential for estrogen metabolism. If toxins stress the liver, then estrogen increases, which puts a strain on the thyroid gland.
High estrogen limits the conversion of inactive t4 thyroid hormones to the active t3 hormone. Thus, estrogen promotes fat build-up by lowering the metabolic rate. Fat is the building block of testosterone, so it is imperative to strive to attain a healthy liver and gallbladder. I recommend consuming choline-rich food (eggs, beef liver) because it is very crucial for liver fat metabolism and brain health. Moreover, I recommend taurine to support bile output because it helps increase the processing of fats to optimize testosterone.
Focus on moderating the macro-nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. All macro-nutrients support optimal testosterone levels. For instance, protein converts to amino acids which supports multiple processes throughout the body including the healing of tissue. Healthy fats nourish the brain and aid cholesterol production. Carbs fulfill the energy demands of the body through the glycogenesis cycle). Consuming nutrient-dense foods facilitates optimal health in general.
Excessive protein leads to higher ammonia production (protein is nitrogenous), which will cause more work for the liver. Eventually, liver function is compromised, resulting in higher inflammation. Moreover, low protein consumption increases SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) output and indirectly increases cortisol. This is because the body needs amino acids to heal.
Too many carbohydrates cause high triglycerides and fatty liver, which will lower testosterone. Low carbohydrate intake (long term) can indirectly increase cortisol because the body cannot spare energy reserves to deal with inflammation present within the body.
A high-fat diet can contribute to liver damage since fat is difficult to process, and will also facilitate bile stagnation and inflammation. A low-fat diet will lower testosterone indirectly by reducing cholesterol production and decreasing detoxification via bile flow.
Notice the pattern? Excess or limited macronutrients promote higher inflammation levels, leading to higher cortisol. Excessive cortisol is catabolic, which will cause muscle degradation and reduced testosterone output.
My Diet Prior to Blood Work Result
My main diet before my blood work result (testosterone = 938 ng/dl) was as follows:
Grass-fed whole milkshakes including avocados, coconut sugar, and bananas
Brussel sprouts (estrogen detox)
white button mushrooms (estrogen detox)
As shown, I focused on obtaining a balanced diet supplying the essential macro-nutrients to support optimal testosterone levels. Grass-fed beef exhibits a higher omega 3/omega 6 ratio, implying that it is less inflammatory relative to grain-fed beef. Most of the items on the list were organic.
I'd recommend purchasing leaner meats or organic meat when possible because pesticides are fat insoluble. This means that pesticides concentrate in the fatty tissue of animal products, which can pose problems to the liver over time.
By adding vegetables such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and white button mushrooms, this effect can be offset. White button mushrooms are a potent aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase is an enzyme heavily concentrated in fat cells which converts testosterone to estrogen. Another well-known aromatase inhibitor, mangosteen, contains compounds called xanthones.
My main carbohydrate source was white rice, which is easy to digest and assimilate. Higher carbohydrate consumption has been linked to stronger thyroid function. This study explains why carbohydrates support the conversion of inactive t4 into active t3 thyroid hormone. A typical ratio for optimal testosterone production is a 2:1 ratio between carbohydrates and protein.
Micronutrients are equally important to sustain the longevity of the body. Obtaining a wide variety of foods within the diet ensures that nutrient deficiencies do not arise. Berries, citrus fruits, beef liver, avocados, etc, all provide a wide array of nutrients to support optimal testosterone production.
The Fountain Of Youth
Circulation is a critical driving force to maintain and increase testosterone levels to healthy limits. To maximize circulation, focus on eliminating inflammation throughout the body by consuming an array of antioxidants from various sources such as berries, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables. Pomegranate juice concentrate is a great addition as it helps assist with plaque reduction.
It also has been shown to increase salivary testosterone in men by 24 %. Improved circulation from exercise and a balanced diet will promote reduced recovery time, which will allow the body to support higher testosterone levels. The increased nutrient flux and oxygen flow will greatly support the organ system. Cardiovascular activities are very beneficial for supporting optimal blood flow to the vital organs. The following shows that leg contractions help move blood flow against the force of gravity.
If you want to restore youthful hormones such as Testosterone, DHEA, and Growth Hormones, then let the fountain of youth guide you.
The sun not only optimizes vitamin D levels, but it stimulates the optic nerve which can help increase the efficiency of the pituitary gland (known as the master gland for hormone production). Vitamin D levels are significantly correlated with higher total and free testosterone
I believe sunbathing for an hour per day led to my surge in testosterone (938 ng/dl). Supplemental magnesium helped the conversion of vitamin D into its active form. I consumed copious amounts of magnesium taurate (magnesium + taurine) for this purpose. Taurine is essential for regulated heart health, stress levels, and bile output.
The following study explains the role of magnesium in converting vitamin D into its active form to optimize testosterone levels. Healthy cholesterol levels are also needed to support optimal vitamin D levels. Vitamin K2 (Mk4) is a critical nutrient that works in synergy with magnesium and vitamin D. It helps transport calcium from the arteries into the bone and connective tissues. This means vitamin K2 helps prevent osteoporosis and tooth decay. Furthermore, low vitamin k2 supply has been shown to yield low testosterone levels.
Liver's Role in Testosterone Production
Liver health and longevity are essential to living a clean life. The liver regulates functions such as hormone metabolism, cholesterol synthesis, detoxification, filtration of blood, digestion, bile production, muscle recovery, etc. The liver being a master hormone gland is an understatement. Cholesterol is the building block for testosterone. The liver supports cholesterol utilization and efficiently to support testosterone output.
There is a synergistic relationship between all organs. The hypothalamus of the brain supports the secretion of luteinizing hormone, which enters the Leydig cells of the testes to induce the pathways necessary for testosterone production. Cholesterol initiates the process, so it is imperative to obtain healthy fats in the diet to maintain a healthy cholesterol balance. The liver works very hard to keep cholesterol in balance. Maintaining a healthy liver is critical for optimizing the gonadal pathways for steroid hormone secretion.
To help minimize the burden on the liver, a nutrient called choline can maximize its efficiency by preventing fatty liver disease. Fatty liver is a commonality in today's society. Food and alcohol, in excess, are the culprits of this pandemic. Glycogen, which is a stored form of glucose is distributed in the liver, muscle tissue, and brain as a source of energy. Insulin draws glucose from the bloodstream to the liver, where an enzyme called glucagon converts the glucose to glycogen. Once stored, the brain and muscle tissue can utilize it for energy and recovery. Now, you may ask...
Why Does Choline Support Testosterone Production?
The answer lies in its ability to help the liver burn visceral fat and eliminate inflammation. Visceral (internal fat) comes from excess glycogen storage and inefficient glucose metabolism. There is an indirect relationship between visceral fat and testosterone output. For instance, the liver needs space to sustain its pumping action. Visceral fat removes the space that the liver requires to filter the bloodstream. Inflammation is caused by a build-up of toxins within the bloodstream. If liver functions poorly, then detoxification pathways such as the methylation cycle is reduced.
Methylation is a very important biochemical process within the body. it helps regulate hormone metabolism and creation, detoxification, neurotransmitter output, and energy production.
B vitamins are essential for carrying out the methylation process and preventing a build-up of homocysteine- a byproduct of the cycle. Consuming sufficient protein as a source of Methionine helps the body create samE (S-adenosylmethionine), a methyl donor which initiates the methylation cycle. The liver helps convert methionine to samE.
Choline, a vital nutrient, helps prevent liver decay due to the burdens of the body. By removing visceral fat, the liver can keep the blood clean and less viscous. Toxins promote damage to the outer lining of blood vessels, which further constricts arteries and increases the likelihood of metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Maintaining proper circulation is critical for nutrient flux and oxygen demand. The brain always needs a continual stream of oxygen to support all biochemical processes, including testosterone production. Another question to consider is...
What is the Connection Between Cortisol and Testosterone?
Cortisol is a vital hormone that is necessary for regulating the gluconeogenesis cycle. Cortisol can tap into protein reserves to create glucose for the body to function. This is the sole reason we wake up with a set level of glucose within the bloodstream. Without cortisol, our bodies would go into shock due to hypoglycemia. Another vital function of cortisol is to help eliminate inflammation running rampant within the body.
There is a direct relationship between inflammation and cortisol. Lowering inflammation helps prevent excess cortisol production. Stress is another route that contributes to excess cortisol production.
In excess, cortisol can break down muscle tissue to distribute more glucose to maintain the energy demands to deal with inflammation. Adding muscle mass helps increase the glycogen reserves to minimize fatty liver build-up. This is because a higher energy reserve is required to support more muscle mass. Excess cortisol counters this, ultimately resulting in inefficient glucose metabolism.
Prolonged inflammation causes metabolic disorders such as diabetes to appear. Multiple studies have shown that there is a negative relationship between cortisol and testosterone, meaning excess cortisol can dampen testosterone output. To counter such a scenario, consume choline-rich foods when possible.
Good sources of choline are beef liver, egg yolks. poultry, and some beans. If you frequently consume alcohol, choline supplementation will help increase the liver regeneration process.
Taurine: The Missing Nutrient
Taurine is an essential nutrient for optimizing testosterone production. There are two pathways in which taurine can support the secretion of testosterone.
The first pathway involves the ability of taurine to support bile synthesis. The gallbladder secretes bile into the intestinal tract to emulsify fats (break fats down into smaller components) for optimal absorption. If fat digestion is poor, then inflammation increases. Fat is the building block for cholesterol, which is the building block for testosterone. We understand that fat supports testosterone, but it must be efficiently broken down to utilize the benefits.
The second pathway is the synergistic relationship between taurine and magnesium. Magnesium is shown to lower SHBG levels, which results in higher free (unbound) testosterone. Taurine helps transport magnesium ions into cells to induce a physiological response. If taurine increases the uptake of magnesium, then shbg will be decreased more efficiently. The good news is that magnesium taurate (magnesium + taurine) can be taken to restore cellular magnesium levels, which can increase free testosterone output.
Rigorous Split Work Out Routine
Putting too much strain on the body over a large surface area causes a huge burden on the liver. The liver secretes enzymes to deal with the inflammation present due to micro-tears in muscle tissue. To counter this issue, a split work out routine allows all muscle groups to be targeting while each group receives more rest. Moreover, excess muscle inflammation triggers cortisol secretion, which will further degrade muscle tissue for glucose. The targeted muscle groups were as follows:
Chest, back, and triceps
Shoulders, biceps, forearms, and abs.
Each session involves rigorous resistance training of short duration to maximize the stimulation required for testosterone production and minimize the overall strain on the body. A 15-minute session on the elliptical bike preceded each resistance training session. This ensures that cortisol levels are kept in check.The body eventually adapts to the level of stimuli, so exercise duration can progressively increase. Over-training results in lethargy and fatigue due to inflammation. To prevent such possibility, consuming sufficient carbohydrates and easily digestible protein will aid in the recovery process. Moreover, vitamin C helps minimize any spikes in cortisol.
Time For Recharge
Sleep is essential for recharging the entire body for optimal performance. The following study reported a 10 to 15% decrease in morning testosterone of healthy young men when the sleep period was reduced to 5 hours per night for one week. The brain will receive less oxygen when sleep deprivation occurs. Moreover, reducing the efficiency of the brain compromises organ function, resulting in decreased testosterone levels. It is important to try and maintain 7-8 hours of sleep per night for optimal testosterone production.
If you suffer from insomnia, attaining sunlight daily could help since the sun increases serotonin production.Magnesium is also beneficial for regulating proper sleep because it helps relax the muscles and central nervous system.
My Supplemental Stack
I used the following list of supplements on my journey to increase my testosterone levels 4-fold. I needed to restore balance and correct necessary deficiencies due to the anxiety episode that persisted for two years. These supplements helped me regain composure and rebound my testosterone levels to the upper limit of the scale (221-->938 ng/dl). The results are never immediate. It takes patience, perseverance, and acceptance to overcome any obstacle standing in the way of the peak.
Outlined below is the daily supplemental routine that I used to quadruple my testosterone levels.
Early morning, consume multivitamin, vitamin D3/K2 (5-10 drops), and magesnium taurate with a mix of water, L choline (1 gram), and pomegranate concentrate (1-2 tbsp).
Repeat the pomegranate and L choline mixture once per day. Add mangosteen extract to the mix for estrogen detox. Mangosteen contains xanthones, which have strong anti-aromatase properties.
Before going to bed, take ashwagandha, vitamin D3/k2 (5-10 drops), and magnesium taurate to assist with sleep, stress relief, and digestion of fats.
Note: 5,000 IU of vitamin D3(10 drops) is well tolerated if magnesium and vitamin K2 are included. Always consider your daily needs. If you obtain enough sunlight, then vitamin D3 will not be needed. Instead, I included vitamin K2 separately in the stack. Any support is greatly appreciated. It will help me create higher quality content while improving your overall experience.
What I've learned from this whole process is that testosterone is a very fragile hormone. Two years of stress was all it took to dampen my levels below the reference range (250-916 ng/dl). By restoring my adrenal gland function with ashwagandha and nourishing the organ system, my body was able to rebound back to youthful levels. The detoxification pathways, blood circulation, nutrient uptake, digestion, and metabolism need to be in check to achieve optimal testosterone levels. You can succeed in the same way I managed to if you follow these principles. My journey may have seemed insurmountable at first, but I persisted with extensive research and patience.
Welcome to my site. I am Mark Hurley and I enjoy researching topics relating to Physiology, Psychology, Philosophy, and Mathematics. I have successfully reversed hormonal deficiency due to stress and created this blog to share with you what I've learned on my road to recovery.