Men are less manly than they used to be.
Our modern lifestyles.
From the plastics and chemicals in our products to the estrogens in our food - everything around us is robbing us of our natural testosterone production.
So you're probably wondering:
"How can I naturally increase my testosterone levels without having to rely on expensive (and potentially dangerous) pills, pellets, gels, or injections?"
To answer this question I came up with 60 proven action steps that will optimize your hormones and radically elevate your energy, libido, and drive in the process.
Let's do this.
What you eat impacts your testosterone levels more than anything else.
If you don't eat right nothing else you for increasing testosterone will matter.
The wider your waist, the lower your testosterone (1).
In other words:
All that extra fat around your belly is literally making you more feminine.
Getting lean has been the single most important factor in my journey towards natural testosterone optimization:
The golden-rule of fat-loss is simply to consume fewer calories than you burn in any given day.
Here's a simple formula to estimate your calorie intake for 1-2 lbs of fat-loss per week:
Your Calorie Goal = 10-12x your Bodyweight (in lbs)
11 should work well for most guys.
Keep in mind that this formula, like all formulas, is just an estimate. Use it to determine a baseline, track your progress, and adjust.
We’ve been told for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
We’ve been taught that eating many small meals throughout the day is the key to a fast metabolism and burning fat.
These notions, however, are quickly being laid to rest as the benefits of intermittent fasting have become too many to ignore.
As per the effects on testosterone:
The following are two popular methods you can use to get started with intermittent fasting today:
Method #1 - The Just Skip Breakfast Method
Skip breakfast and push your first meal back 4-6 hours after waking.
Method #2 - The 16/8 Method
Fast for 16 hours and eat all your meals within an 8-hour window.
Further reading: The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting
By skipping breakfast Terry Crews maintains a lean and muscular physique year-round:
When subjects were switched from a diet providing 40% of its energy from fat to a diet providing 20% of its energy from fat, their testosterone levels took a dip (9).
Similar results were observed in another study which found fat intake to be associated with significantly higher testosterone levels (10).
Why is this the case?
Because testosterone is literally formed from dietary cholesterol (11).
If you don't eat enough fat, you're literally depriving your body of the fundamental building blocks it needs to produce optimal levels of testosterone.
Calculating your fat intake:
Daily Fat Intake = At least 0.20 x Daily Calorie Intake
The Institute of Medicine recommends adults to get 20-35% of their total caloric intake from fat (12).
The quantity of fat matters, but so does the quality.
Stick with natural sources like:
Protein is considered the holy grail amongst bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts.
"Higher protein intake means more muscle growth," goes the adage.
But broscience aside, there is some actual science that reveals the adverse hormonal effects of too much protein:
Researchers brought in 12 resistance-trained men and observed how different dietary nutrients affected testosterone and cortisol concentrations.
Higher protein intake correlated with lower testosterone levels (13).
In another study, researchers compared the effects of a low-protein, high-carb diet versus a high-protein, low-carb diet on hormone concentrations (14). After 10 days, the subjects on a high-protein, low carb diet had 26% lower testosterone levels. The subjects on a high-carb, low protein diet had 40% lower SHBG and 37% lower cortisol levels.
This is not to say that a low-protein diet is the way to go - protein is essential for muscle growth and recovery.
The point is not to overdo it by sipping on protein shakes all day long leaving out no room for carbs and fats.
Calculating your protein intake:
Multiple review papers have pointed to the fact that 0.82 grams per pound of bodyweight is the upper limit at which protein intake affects body composition (15).
Protein Intake = 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight.
For more on this topic, check out this in-depth review by Bayesian Bodybuilding.
When combined with 3-days of intensive exercise, male subjects on a low-carbohydrate diet (30% of total energy) experienced a 43% decrease in their testosterone to cortisol ratio (16). This drop was not observed in the control group who got 60% of their total energy from carbs.
Cortisol is the hormone your body releases during times of stress and it holds an inverse relationship with testosterone - higher cortisol equals lower testosterone and vice versa (17).
Eating a high(ish) carb diet will allow you to train hard and heavy without paying the price of elevated cortisol levels taking a hit on your testosterone (20).
So how many carbs should you eat?
Well, that depends on whether you are physically active and lift weights or sedentary and overweight.
Sedentary and overweight people will do better on a low-carb diet when attempting to lower body fat.
Calculating your carb intake:
Daily Calories from Carbs = Total Calories - Calories from Fat - Calories From Protein
Daily Carb Intake (in grams) = Daily Calories from Carbs / 4
Magnesium status is an independent predictor of testosterone levels in men (21).
As it turns out:
Magnesium deficiencies are amongst the most common micronutrient deficiency (second only to vitamin D) in developed countries.
Recent estimates show that 46% of Americans fail to get an adequate amount of magnesium through their diet (22).
You can't have optimal T without having optimal magnesium levels.
How to get more magnesium:
The following are 10 of the most magnesium rich foods according to the USDA (23):
It is said that 18th century ladies man, Casanova, ate 50 oysters every single morning to increase his sexual stamina.
He was on to something.
10 magnesium rich foods:
Animals brought into a factory farmed environment are introduced to:
There is no conclusive evidence that links the consumption of factory farmed meat to lower T (or any other health problems).
But keep in mind that most of the research done in this area is funded by the food industry giants themselves.
Why buy Grass-Fed:
How to buy Grass Fed Beef:
The best option is to get it directly from a farmer.
The other option is to buy it at a local food or grocery store.
If you go for the second option, beware of misleading labels - here's the complete guide to interpreting meat labels.
Don’t make it more expensive than it needs to be. Try out cheaper cuts or ask your farmer about a meat CSA.
I have always found it difficult to include more vegetables in my diet, until I started juicing them.
Juicing vegetables removes their indigestible fiber and allows more nutrients to be absorbed compared to eating them whole.
Plus, I add an apple and lemon into the mix so it doesn’t taste all that bad.
How to make an anti-estrogenic juice:
You are much more likely to follow through on your intentions if you have a plan in place to fulfill them.
Having a meal plan doesn't mean strict dieting - it means knowing what you're going to eat rather than waiting last minute and opting for what's convenient.
Use these recipes for some meal inspiration and follow the step-by-step process outlined below.
How to create your T-boosting meal plan:
Step 1 - Calculate your calorie intake (refer to tip #1)
Step 2 - Calculate your dietary fat intake (refer to tip#3)
Step 3 - Calculate your protein intake (refer to tip#4)
Step 4 - Calculate your carbohydrate intake (refer to tip#5)
Step 5 - Go to eatthismuch.com
Step 6 - Enter your calories.
Step 7 - Click generate.
Step 8 - Click on "My Nutrition Targets," enter your macronutrient numbers, and click "Save changes"
Step 9 - Click "Regenerate"
If you're serious about optimizing our hormones and building a physique that's lean, strong, and muscular, then you have to implement lifting weights as a regular part of your life.
Testosterone is the primary hormonal driver of muscle growth (34).
In a study out of Spain, subjects experienced a 37% increase in testosterone levels after just 12 workout sessions (35).
More muscle on your body also translates to a faster metabolic rate, i.e. you burn more calories at rest.
More Muscle = More Calories Burned At Rest = Lower Body Fat = Even Higher T.
The more muscles you stimulate within a particular training session, the greater the anabolic response you'll experience after the workout is over (36).
This means more deadlifts and less bicep curls.
A bicep curl only stimulates the tiny two heads of the bicep curl. Deadlifts work everything from the legs, to the lower back, and all the way up to the traps.
Focus your workouts around gaining strength in big compound movements:
1. Bench Press
4. Overhead Press
5. Barbell Row
With a WBT split you stimulate all your major muscle groups within a single workout.
A study performed by Schoenfeld reveals why Whole Body Training is the way to go (37):
Here's a sample split to help you get things started:
Beginner Whole-Body Training Split:
1. Barbell bench press: 2-4 sets, 8-10 reps
2. Pull-ups: 2-4 sets, 8-10 reps
3. Dumbbell shoulder press: 2-4 sets, 10-12 reps
4. Barbell squat: 2-4 sets, 8-10 reps
5. Triceps press down: 2-4 sets, 10-12 reps
6. Standing barbell curl: 2-4 sets, 10-12 reps
7. Calf raise: 2-4 sets, 12-15 reps
8. Leg raise: 2-4 sets, 15-20 reps
Reverse pyramid training (RPT) is, hands down, the most effective method I've come across for gaining muscle and strength.
With RPT you are progressively lightening the load with each subsequent set while increasing the amount of reps, i.e. your first set is the heaviest after which you continue to decrease the load while increasing the amount of reps.
The magic of RPT is that you're lifting near your true strength potential - and that is where your gains are maximized.
Most people train in the opposite way - they start with their lightest set and progressively increase the weights. The problem is that, by the time they get to their heaviest set, their muscles are already fatigued.
Example of reverse pyramid training in action:
Warming up for RPT entails keeping reps low to avoid fatigue and keeping weight heavy to activate the nervous system.
A study out of the British Journal of Medicine found that men who ran long distances had lower testosterone levels in the long-term than even the non-athletic control group (38).
Traditional steady state cardio elevates cortisol and is not as effective for fat-loss as once thought.
Maybe you’ll burn 300 calories from 30 minutes of jogging on the treadmill, but what about the other 23 and a half hours of the day?
Most of the calories you burn in a day are not from activity but from metabolic rate.
And the best way to increase metabolic rate is by increasing your lean muscle mass.
If you enjoy long steady-state cardio, follow these steps to ensure minimal damage to your endocrine system:
Tip #1 - Keep a wide gap between your cardio session and your strength training session.
Tip #2 - Limit your cardio work to 3 days per week at a maximum of 45-minutes per session.
Tip #3 - Do your cardio in a fasted state.
For the scientific research behind these tips, check out this article.
HIIT has been shown to have a positive impact on testosterone (39).
HIIT is a proven way to burn more fat (40).
HIIT means to cycle short bouts of high intensity work with longer bouts of recoup.
Here's how to get started with HIIT:
Sample HIIT Interval:
The same interval can also be performed on a stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical.
Looking at the biomechanics of the human body, it's evident that we've been uniquely tailored (through evolution) to walk in an upright position (41).
Research points to the fact that we have evolved to get a minimum of 3-5 miles of walking per day (42). This is why so many people have gotten amazing results with the 10,000 steps per day program (10,000 steps = 5 miles).
Walking 10,000 steps per day is a good number to reach, but you don’t have to start there.
Walking is not about burning calories so much as it is about stimulating blood flow, flushing oxygen, and balancing your endocrine, digestive, and neuromuscular systems.
Why first thing in the morning?
Because it will boost your energy, help with fat-loss, and improve your cardiovascular health.
Here's how to get started:
Tracking is a proven way to get better at something.
When we track our steps in a day, we walk more.
When we track our food, we make healthier food choices.
When we track our workouts, we get stronger and stronger and stronger.
Two studies out of the British Medical Journal tell us that muscular strength is inversely associated with death from all causes (43) and that objective measures of physical capability are predictors of all cause mortality (44).
Here's how to lift very heavy weight over time:
Step #1 - Keep a training journal using a good old notebook and pen, or take notes on your smartphone.
Step #2 - Every time you're in the gym, write down how much weight you lifted for how many reps, for each exercise, and how you felt afterwards.
Step #3 - Refer to your previous week's stats and aim to get either 1-extra rep or increase the weight by the next increment.
Week 1 - Bench Press: 3 sets of 6 with 185 lbs
Week 2 - Bench Press: 3 sets of 7 with 185 lbs
Week 3 - Bench Press: 3 sets of 8 with 185 lbs
Week 4 - Bench Press: 3 sets of 6 with 190 lbs
By following this 3-step process, you'll never be second guessing yourself with what weights you should choose.
If you follow the tips above, you'll consistently have an eye on progress and will be pushing hard in every single workout.
If you keep it up, however, there is a point where residual fatigue will build up and your workouts will yield diminishing returns. This is a state referred to as "non-functional overreaching."
If pushed too far, the built up fatigue will begin to tap into your body's recuperative abilities and eventually lead to overtraining (45).
In a state of overtraining your body has been exposed to a stressor that it is unable to adequately recover from. This means significantly elevated cortisol and decreased testosterone.
We want to make sure that never happens.
Some signs of overtraining:
Sign #1 - Stagnation in progress.
Sign #2 - Excessive fatigue and an inability to complete your workouts.
Sign #3 - Difficulty falling asleep..
Sign #4 - Joint pain.
Sign #5 - Decreased libido.
If you experience any of these symptoms over an extended period, it's imperative that you reduce the intensity of your workouts.
Stop training to failure and make sure that you're eating enough calories.
Why do you want to increase your testosterone levels?
What will your life look like once you achieve optimal T?
These are important questions to answer because having a clear vision will allow you to align your short term decisions with your long term goal.
Remember that testosterone plays a large part in determining your level of assertiveness, motivation, and energy. Keep this top of mind so that you're consistently taking right action.
Take out a pen and paper and complete the following journal exercise:
Step 1 - In the last couple of months, how have you perceived yourself:
Step 2 - Is that really who you see yourself being in the future?
Step 3 - How will optimizing your testosterone change how you look, feel, and behave in those situations?
Step 4 - If you could describe yourself in one sentence - a sentence that would capture who you are at your best in the future - what would that sentence be?
Amy Cuddy and her team at Harvard University did a study on how “high power” and “low power” body language affected the hormone concentrations of 42 students.
They found that the students who assumed a “high power” pose for just two minutes had significantly higher testosterone levels and lower cortisol levels (46).
Cortisol is nicknamed the “stress hormone” and it holds an inverse relationship with testosterone:
More Cortisol = Less Testosterone.
High power posing is a one-two punch that increases confidence and improves your ability to deal with stress by causing an instant spike of testosterone.
Here's how to implement power posing into your life:
Step #1 - First thing in the morning (after brushing your teeth and using the toilet) stand like this:
Step #2 – Inhale deeply to a count of 4, hold for 2, and exhale for 6.
Step #3 – Repeat 10 times.
In just 2 minutes you will have boosted your T levels to the point of becoming more energized, relaxed, and ready to take on the new day.
Here's Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk:
When you’re stressed, your body elevates cortisol production and suppresses testosterone.
Cortisol, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone that requires dietary cholesterol as a building block.
During times of stress, the cholesterol in your system is more likely to be converted into cortisol rather than testosterone.
Here's a quick beginner's guide to meditation:
Getting started with meditation can be as simple as focusing on your breath for 5 minutes.
Step 1 – Locate a place where you will not be disturbed.
Step 2 – Choose a comfortable position. Decide whether you want to sit on a seat (sofa, chair) or on the floor (crosslegged).
Step 3 – Maintain a straight but relaxed posture.
Step 4 – Check the time and set an alarm for 6 minutes later.
Step 5 – Keep your hands on your knees and roll your shoulders back.
Step 6 – Breathe in deeply through your nose and close your eyes gently as you exhale.
Step 7 – Breathe in to a count of 4, hold for 2, and exhale for 6. Repeat until the alarm.
When you lift heavy weights, it causes tiny microscopic tears in the muscle fiber and inflammation in the target muscle tissue. Cold water immersion counteracts both of these things (53).
This is why athletes regularly take ice baths.
The direct link between cold showers and higher T levels, however, is inconclusive.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not important.
A big reason there isn’t any evidence is because no research has been done in this field.
Well, because cold water is not really a marketable product; it’s cheap and most everybody already has access to it.
Research is largely driven by financial incentive.
This is when anecdotal evidence becomes important, and there is no shortage of that.
Here's a quick guide to help you get started with cold showers:
Week 1 – Enjoy a warm shower for as long as you like and end it with 30 seconds of cold.
Week 2 – Start with 30 seconds of a cold shower, then enjoy a warm shower for as long as you like, and end it with 30 seconds of cold.
Week 3 –Start with a 1 minute cold shower, then enjoy a warm shower for as long as you like, and end with 1 minute of cold.
Week 4 - Same as week 3, but try to take a 5 minute cold shower on one day of the week.
Week 5 and beyond - 5-minute cold showers while working your way up to 10 minutes.
Picture the quintessential lumberjack.
He has broad shoulders, thick forearms, and a thick beard covering his face:
Being a lumberjack has long been considered amongst the manliest of professions and, as it turns out, there is actually science to back this up.
Researchers went into the Amazon to observe the influence that chopping wood had on the salivary testosterone levels in 63 indigenous men. One hour of chopping trees was enough to increase testosterone levels by an average of 48.6% (56). Tree chopping increased testosterone to a greater extent than competition (soccer).
To mimic the movement of chopping wood, try out sledgehammer training:
Step 1 - Purchase a sledgehammer.
Step 2 - Find a tire.
Step 3 - Swing the sledge.
Check out this ultimate guide to sledgehammer training for more.
This can be a touchy topic, especially if you treasure the time you spend rubbing one out.
I've had friends get angry with me when I bring this up:
Watching porn literally changes your brain (57).
In a review paper titled Neuroscience of Internet Pornography Addiction, researchers found frequency of porn usage to be linked with brains that are less active, less connected, and have less grey matter (the area associated with self-control and decision making) (58).
Although the direct relationship between porn and testosterone has not been studied, I'm sure you see how porn can damage your confidence, motivation, and relationships.
Here's a bulletproof method to quit watching porn for good:
Step 1 - Go to stickk.com
Step 2 - Click "Register," enter your details and click "continue"
Step 3 - Type your commitment, i.e. "I commit to quitting porn," and click "Go"
Step 4 - Put some money on the line
Step 5 - Add a referee
Step 6 - Stick to your word or else...
Sexual activity affects testosterone more than initial testosterone affects sexual activity (64).
In fact, having sex can increase testosterone by as much as 72% (65).
60 year old men who have higher levels of sexual activity have significantly higher T levels (66).
Sexual activity with another person (rather than with your hand) involves interpersonal touch, feelings of dominance, pheromones and other factors of the sort that all contribute to increasing testosterone.
How to spark up your love life is beyond the scope of this article, but check this article out for ideas.
Men are competitive by nature and testosterone is what fuels our desire to win (67).
Even just watching competitive sports increases T (70).
Here's how to make competitive sports a regular part of your life:
Step 1 – Go to meetup.com.
Step 2 – Sign up for an account.
Step 3 – Type the sport you want to play into the search bar.
Step 4 – Browse through the meetups.
Step 5 – Choose the meetup that suits you.
We all know the importance of staying hydrated, but the truth is:
Most of us don't drink as much water as we should.
When you feel thirsty, that is already a sign of your body being in a mild state of dehydration.
In one study, researchers observed the influence of three hydrated states (hydrated, dehydrated by 2.5% of body mass, and dehydrated by 5% of body mass) on exercise-induced hormone concentrations. They found that the less waters the subjects drank, the greater the cortisol elevated and the lower the testosterone response from exercise (74).
Here are some tips to help you drink more water:
In the culture of hustle and grind, sleep has become considered more a luxury than a necessity.
With sayings such as "you can sleep when you're dead" and "sleep is for the weak" it's no wonder that so many of us seek pride over the fact that we need such little sleep.
It is impossible for your body to produce optimal levels of testosterone without getting optimal amounts of sleep (75).
The following are 9 simple tips that will significantly improve the quality of your sleep and ensure that you experience a surge of testosterone every single night.
Getting a good night's sleep is a proven way to boost your immunity, balance your hormones, speed up fat-loss, boost your energy and even improve your cognitive function.
Testosterone production peaks during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep (78).
There is no exact recommendation for the amount of time you should spend outdoors because the amount of vitamin D produced from sunlight depends on the time of day, where you live, and your skin color.
A general recommendation is to:
Stay in the sun for about half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink.
Here's how to get more sun in your day-to-day life:
If you’ve ever woken up feeling extremely groggy and tired it’s probably because your alarm went off while you were in the middle of a deep REM sleep cycle.
Each sleep cycle lasts approximately 90 minutes. The first 30 minutes of a sleep cycle is light sleep.
How to figure out your sleep cycles:
Step 1 – Figure out how many sleep cycles you need.
Step 2 – Figure out what time you should be in bed.
Step 3 – Never snooze.
In one study, participants given caffeine up to six hours before going to bed showed a measurable disruptions in sleep quality. What's more is that the quality of sleep was measured in two ways. One was through the means of a sleep monitor and the other was through a diary kept by the participants. Consuming caffeine 6 hours before bed caused the participants to lose sleep by one hour as shown by the sleep monitor. But what's interesting is that this disruption was not noted in their diary. This can lead to a negative feedback loop whereby not getting enough sleep because of caffeine makes us tired the next day which makes us want more caffeine, which goes on to make our sleep even worse.
So why does this happen?
It's because caffeine has a half life of five to eight hours. That means that if you consume 200mg of caffeine at 2pm, there is still about 100mg of it circulating in your system upto 8 hours later. Caffeine is great and I enjoy it as a regular part of my life, but the key is to have it working for you to increase the quality of your life rather than it debilating us.
Tip #1 - Set a caffeine curfew
Most people will do well by setting their curfew to before 2pm. Personally, I'm sensitive to caffeine and don't consume any past 12pm.
Tip #2 - Cycle it
I like to go two days on and three days off. This allows it to clear from my system and truly experience the benefits of heightened awareness and focus.
Your smartphone, and all electronic screens for that matter, emit a blue light that disrupts your melatonin - the hormone your body releases in natural preparation for sleep.
When your melatonin production is interferred with your normal sleep cycle is disrupted.
Keep in mind that these digital screens (TVs, laptops, smartphones, iPads, etc) have only become a regular part of our lives over the past few decades. Compared to millions of years of evolution, our bodies have simply not adapted to deal with so much amounts of this stimulus.
Now of course technology has enhanced the quality of our lives and we've got work to do. But we have to learn how to manage it rather than let it disrupt the quality of our sleep and therefore our lives.
Tip #1 - Have a digital sunset
Tip #2 - Download the free f.lux application on your computer to reduce its blue light emission
Tip #3 - Enable night shift mode on your smartphone:
You already know that magnesium is a mineral that's crucial for testosterone.
But did you know that it's also a component that determines the quality of your sleep?
Adequate magnesium intake is related to a balance of blood sugar, relaxes tense muscles, and calms the nervous system. It's many functions is one of the reasons that so many people are deficient in it - because it gets used up so fast.
One of the prime symptoms of magnesium is chronic insomnia.
So topping up your magnesium is a one-two punch that optimizes your testosterone as well as increases the quality of your sleep.
How to top up your magnesium properly:
Magnesium supplements can work, but a lot of it is lost through the digestive process.
A far superior method is buy it as a lotion and rub it on your skin.
Keep the lotion on your bedside and apply it right before you hop into bed.
Having any source of light in your room can disrupt the quality of your sleep.
You skin actually has receptors that pick up light - so even wearing an eye mask is sometimes not enough.
Any source of light is being picked up by your receptors.
Exposure to light reduces melatonin response by over 50 percent.
Before the invention of the lightbulb, we were sleeping for an average of 10 hours per night. Today, the average person gets less than 7.
Here's what you should do:
Use your bedroom for two things and two things only. One is ofcourse sleep and the other is sex.
Humans are creature of habit and habitat.
If you set up your bedroom as a place where other activities can take place, then you're not creating an association in your mind that this place is a place you sleep.
Never bring work into bed.
What's comes to mind when you think of a sanctuary?
For me it's fresh air, a calm vibe, and green plants.
Here's how to make your room embody these characteristics:
Thermoregulation is a process your body goes through in preparing for sleep. It's when there's a natural drop in the core body's temperature. The problem occurs if the temperature of the environment is too high and that restricts your body's natural preparation for sleep.
Insomniacs have consistently been found to have higher core body temperatures.
Supplement with 4,000-6,000 IU of vitamin D3 upon waking until you reach blood levels of 55 ng/mL.
Ashwagandha is a herb that's been used for thousands of years in the ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine.
In Sanskrit, ashwagandha translates to "smell of horse," implying that ingesting the herb imparts the user with the strength and virility of a stallion.
Here's how to dose it:
Tip #1 - Go with KSM-66 ashwagandha, as this is the purest and most potent form of the herb.
Tip #2 - Supplement with 500-1000mg of ashwagandha daily with breakfast.
Tongkat Ali is a herb that's been used in parts of South East Asia as a male enhacement treatment.
There is evidence to show that supplementing with tongkat ali increases testosterone in infertile men (12) and men suffering from chronic stress (13). More evidence is needed to confirm whether it increases testosterone in men who don't suffer from these conditions.
If you decide to supplement with Tongkat Ali:
Tip #1 - Make sure the concentration is a 100:1 extract based on the active ingredient, eurycomamone.
Tip #2 - Spread a 200-300mg dose to two times a day.
Boron is a mineral that's naturally present in the Earth's crust and in some foods as well.
Mutiple studies have shown boron supplementation to be positive associated with testosterone (12, 13, 14).
The studies using boron range form using a dose between 5mg-10mg.
Mucuna Pruriens is a bean that grows from trees that contains L-DOPA, a precursor to dopamine.
The current research reveals that it is effective at raising testosterone levels in infertile men (12, 13).
Whether this effect carries over in otherwise healthy men, still remains to be seen.
How to take:
Start with 5g of Mucuna Prurients of dried powder is a dosage that has been used in the studies above.
Royal Jelly gets its name from the fact that it is a substance that's fed to larvae who are being prepared to be queen bees. The worker bees only eat it during the early stages of their life to stimulate growth and only the larvae being prepared for the queenship position eat it over an extended period of time.
The queen bee exclusively eats royal jelly.
Royal jelly is interesting because it actually contains testosterone.
The research regarding royal jelly's influence on humans is currently limited, but there is one study that shows a positive association (14). Rat studies show a significant positive influence as well (15).
Royal Jelly is promising, but more research is needed to confirm the extent of it's effect.
How to take:
There is currently not enough evidence that reveals an optimal dose but benefits have been observed using 50-300mg doses.
Shilajit is a substance that oozes from the mountainous layers of high mountain ranges like the Himalayas. Like ashwagandha, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Shilajit is still new to the west and, as such, the current research on it is limited. That being said, there is evidence that suggests a positive effect in both infertile (13) and healthy men (15).
How to take:
The optimal dose has not been determined, but the current research has been performed with 200mg of shilajit extract that contains a concentration of 50% of Fulvic acid.
200mg divided into two doses.
We went over above how you should have a caffeine curfew and not let it disrupt the quality of your sleep. If used correctly, however, caffeine can help with fat-loss, increase your performance during workouts, and boost testosterone.
The current research on caffeine and testosterone reveals that supplementing with it can enhance the T-boosting effect that comes from exercise (12, 13, 14). There is no saying whether this effect takes place without exercise.
How to take:
The amount of caffeine you should take depends on your tolerance. As a newbie, a 100mg dose should be enough for you feel the effects.
Fat-burning supplements usually contain a dose of upwards of 200mg while pre-workout supplements contain it at doses of 500mg and above.
The current research on it has used doses ranging from 4-6mg/kg of bodyweight.
Keep in mind that the effects you will feel from caffeine are all dependent on your tolerance. If you're hooked on it, then you may not even feel the effects.
Creatine is the most proven supplement on the market. A multitude of studies have shown the tremendous effects it can have on helping athletes increase muscular strength and performance.
Turns out, creatine's impact on testosterone is equally impressive. Athletes supplementing with creatine have consistently been found to have higher testosterone compared to athlets who don't supplement with it (12, 13).
How to take:
Forget all the different types of creatine and stick with creatine monohydrate. Not only is it the most reasonably priced but it is also the one that's most proven.
There are two options you have when beginning supplementation.
The first is loading protocol whereby you take 25 grams of it daily for the first 5-6 days, and follow up with a maintenance phase whereby you take 5 grams per day for the 3-weeks following (if you choose to cycle) or indefinitely.
Or you could just start with the 5 gram dose and maintain it as long as you want.
Carnitine is a compound that our body synthesizes from amino acids. As a supplement, it is often used as a cognitive enhancer and fat-loss beneficiary.
Androgen receptor sites are what testosterone attaches to in order to exert its influence. The two go hand-in-hand. Think of an androgen receptor as a lock and testosterone as the key - only with the two combined can the influence of androgens be opened up.
How to take:
There are a number of differnet forms of carnitine supplements. Acetyl-L-Carnitine is what's used for brain enhancemnt and L-Carnitine L-Tartrate is what was used in the studies cited above for its physical enahcnement.
L-carnitine is supplemented daily.
If you choose to go with L-Tartrate supplement with 1,000-4,000mg daily
A multivitamin is a supplement recommended for all men. With the industrialization of food, the quanitity that we eat has gone way up to the extent that we have more people dying now from eating too much than from eating not enough. But with the rise of obesity has also come the rise of a decrease in quality of food.
The food we eat is deprived of the very vitamins and minerals our body's require to function optimally. This can lead to many things, one of which, is sub-optimal testosterone production.
How to take:
About 50% of Americans take a multivitamin yet large portions of the population are still deficient in many key nutrients.
Before buying a multivitamin, read the nutrition label and make sure that it delivers as close to 100% as possible of the daily value (DV) for all of the following:
Simple sugars and refined carbohydrates are found in everything from breakfast cereals to pasta. Consuming these foods spikes your blood sugar and decreases your body’s insulin sensitivity.
Lower insulin sensitivity is strongly correlated with lower T levels (30).
In extreme cases, decreased insulin sensitivity can lead to obesity and diabetes (31).
Here's how to kick your sugar habit:
Step 1 – Know what to look for.
Step 2 – Scan ingredients.
Step 3 – Add it up.
Step 4 – Opt for fruit.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to quit drinking.
The key is to drink in moderation and drink the stuff that has a minimal effect on your endocrine system.
Drink within 0.3 grams of alcohol per pound of bodyweight no more than 2 times per week.
A “standard” drink in the United States is about 14 grams of pure alcohol. If you weigh 185 pounds, that would mean a maximum of 4 drinks (185*0.3/14), no more than twice a week.
If you drink hard liquor, drink it on the rocks or with a diet soda. Other than the effects of the alcohol itself, hard liquor has no further negative effects on testosterone.
Beer contains an ingredient called hops. Hops has strong estrogenic effects on the body. So strong, in fact, that it is being used in research to help women with menopause issues (48).
Red wine is the best, hard liquor is okay, and beer is the worst.
Red wine contains resveratrol, an ingredient that actually increases testosterone (47).
Plastics contain chemicals that mess with our hormones (38).
It is impossible to completely avoid plastics, but we can take steps to reduce our exposure to them.
Here's how to reduce your exposure to plastics:
Step 1 – Drink water out of a stainless steel or glass cup (like this one).
Step 2 – Replace plastic cooking utensils with stainless steel alternatives (like these).
Step 3 – Stop buying processed foods packaged in plastic.
Step 4 – Replace Tupperware with eco-friendly alternatives.
There is a ton of research that explores the influence of marijuana on hormonal parameters.
I've written an entire review article on marijuana and testosterone, but even though there is a ton of research, it points to different ends.
Based on my analysis of the research, the short-term effects of marijuana on testosterone are negative but over the long term this decrease levels out.
That being said, I do believe that marijuana can indirectly lower testosterone levels for most people. For example, if you're anything like me, then smoking a joint makes you lazy, unproductive and hungry. You're much more likely to skip out on your gym session and you're also much more likely to munch on a tub of ice cream. Over the long-term you can see how this can be damaging to both your testosterone and overall health.
If you struggle with a weed addiction, here's what to do:
Only smoke a joint after you're done with your tasks of the day.
Prescription drugs can be great when they're used to treat an acute illness or infection.
But when they're used excessively, that's when they're simply addressing symptoms while completely ignoring the underlying issue.
We live in a society that trades an ill for a pill.
If you go to your doctor, it's very unlikely that you'll come away from that appointment without a prescription of some med or the other.
Big Pharma is called "big" for a reason - there's a lot of money involved.
Not only do pharmaceutical companies pay doctors to prescribe their meds, but the curriculum in med schools are also sponsored by big pharma.
Look, at the end of the day:
Your health is your responsibility.
That's why it's important for you to know the effect that some common prescription meds can have on your testosterone.
The following are a list of prescription meds that significantly lower T:
From a nutritional stand-point milk seems like the ultimate superfood since it contains a combination of high quality protein, fats, and carbs.
But consider this:
Dairy cows are pumped full of exogenous hormones (49).
To keep them pregnant for longer and to have them produce more milk.
Today, 60-70% of the estrogens we consume come from milk and dairy (50).
In a Japanese study, men who drank 600mL of milk experienced significant increases in estrogen followed by a suppression of testosterone (51).
Here's what to do:
Option #1 - Replace dairy milk with almond milk in your morning coffee
Option #2 - Stir in a coconut creamer instead of dairy cream in your coffee and teas
Option #3 - If you love milk, then opt for skimmed or low-fat.
Flaxseed has picked up a reputation as a health food because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and some protein as well. But the reason flaxseed can lower your testosterone is because it's rich in lignans - a compound that has estrogenic effects on the body.
Flaxseeds are in fact the richest source of lignans compared to any food - with some studies showing that they have more than 800% of these compounds compared to other foods. Not only are these lignans estrogneic but they also lower testosterone, lower free testosterone, and block 5-alpha reductase (the enzyme responsible for coverting tetsosterone into the more potent form of DHT (12).
These oils did not exist pre-industrial evolution, yet olive oil we've been squeezing for thousands of years.
The average American get 20% of their total caloric consumption from soy bean oil.
The problem with these oils is that the omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio is out of whack. Omega 3's are anti-inflammatory and omega 6's are inflammatory. We need both to maintain regular function, but the ratio in these is 16:1. This is what causes massive amounts of inflammation and lowers testosterone.
Here's what to do:
Step 1 - Toss out your vegetable and soy bean oils.
Step 2 - Cook your food in olive oil.
Step 3 - Fry your eggs in butter.
Soy contains compounds that are structurally similar to estrogen. There's an endless debate about the effects that consumption of soy has on the male body.
Know what to look for:
Soybean oil, Asian food.
We literally couldn't produce white flour 150 years ago. The time before the industrial revolution, every grain of flour was stone ground which means that the germ and kernel were unable to be separated.
At the dawn of the industrial revolution, they figured out how to press the grain and iron it with iron rollers as to suddenly pop the germ out from the kernel and create the white flour.
The germ had omega-3 fatty acids and added nutrients. The thing is, though, that those nutrients are what made the flour spoil. So refined flour lasts much longer, but the effect that it has on your body is the same as that of sugar.
Replace the refined carbs in your diet for complex ones like kidney beans and starchy vegetables.
Licorice is extracted from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant.
The active ingredient in licorice is glycyrrhizinic acid, and that is where most of the trouble comes from.
In test-tube studies, glycyrrhetinic acid has been shown to block the production of testosterone (14).
In men, 4-days of licorice consumption was enough to lower testosterone levels by 44% (15). However, after the subjects laid off the licorice, their testosterone levels began to return back to normal.
Trans-fats are created in an industrial process that adds a hydrogen molecule to vegetable oil in order to make it more solid.
In other words:
Trans fats aren't even a food - they are an edible food like substance.
The reason trans fats are so common is because partially hydrogenated oils have a longer shelf life. Many restaurants use them to fry their foods because they don't have to be changed as often.
Eating trans fats raises your bad cholesterol (LDL), lowers the T-boosting good cholesterol (HDL), and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
How to avoid trans-fats:
Tip # 1 - Scan the nutrition label.
Tip #2 - Check the ingredients
Tip #3 - When eating out, skip the fired food and opt for grilled, steamed, or baked.
Xenoestrogens are man-made chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen on your body.
From personal care products (like your shampoo, lotion, and deodorant) to traditional house hold cleaners, xenoestrogens are everywhere. They wreak havoc on a man's body by disrupting hormonal balance and exerting an estrogenic influence
Endocrinologists put xenoestrogens on the forefront as one of the leading causes of why men are experiencing a drop in testosterone.
Here's how to limit your exposure to xenoestrogens:
Tip #1 - Use natural grooming products.
Tip #2 - Use chemical free, biodegradable laundry and household cleaning products.
Tip #3 - Use a chlorine filter on shower heads and filter drinking water.
Tip #4 - Limit exposure to gasoline
Each of the above methods are scientifically proven to naturally increase testosterone.
Carve out a few minutes and implement at least one of these strategies and move towards more energy, health, and well-being.
Master this area of your life and move towards becoming the man you can be.
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