Is It Low T? (Part 1 of 4)

This is part 1 in a 4 part educational post series on testosterone, focused on spreading some knowledge about how to increase your T and growth hormone naturally. I’m in the process of writing a complete program on the subject.

Pharmaceuticals are big business.

BIG business.

So I was absolutely not surprised when, a couple years ago, a pharmaceutical company named Abbvie jumped all over the somewhat recent trend of men experiencing low testosterone – packaging their ‘solution’ and branding the issue as an epidemic, conveniently funneling thousands and thousands of men into doctors’ offices, where they were handed prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy solutions & gels (Androgel, to be precise).

Boom, billions of dollars.

So what happened to all of the men, most likely many of you reading this article right now, who are on HRT? Well, your testosterone levels are likely back in the ‘normal’ range, in many cases on the low side still, depending on where you were starting from. That’s good, right?

Not exactly.

What happens if you stop using the gel?

Will your body naturally produce enough testosterone to keep your levels where they are?

Probably not.

So here’s the situation: you’re chained to rubbing an expensive smelly goo on your chest for the rest of your life – or at least as long as you care about getting a boner.

That’s no way to live.

The goo is a bandaid. What we need to do is get to the root of the issue, learn and understand the cause of the malaise, then take action based upon what we know. That’s the process I used several years ago to take my own T levels from basically nothing to way above normal – out of the medical reference range even.

The first thing the doctor gave me when I was diagnosed with the brain tumor (that was blocking testosterone production) was a prescription for Androgel. I took it for a few weeks, but decided to chuck it, and all of my other medications shortly thereafter, when I made the decision to uproot the problem directly and solve it with a natural solution. Best choice of my life.

That was a few years ago, and since then I’ve educated myself, then put that knowledge into action in my life. The results speak for themselves.

I’m very confident I will have high testosterone for my entire life because I now understand how to keep it that way. It will naturally decline with age, yes, but it will never reach the point of having to ever think twice about whether it’s negatively effecting my life in any way.

Right now my well being is high. So is my morning wood.

(Couldn’t resist)

I can put on muscle fairly quickly and stay at a low body fat percentage year round without any trouble. I sleep like a bear in hibernation every night and can grow a decent beard if I choose to (nothing like Sol’s or Brian’s though). I always gain strength and power in training (actually an important cause of the high testosterone, more on that later on) and  I’m pretty sure women can smell it.

Oh I also grew 2 inches in the meantime.

The task at hand for me at the moment is distilling this into a replicable process that you can use in your own life.

I’m a believer that things happen for a reason, and it would appear as though all the trouble I went through personally, and the years of self-experimenting, learning what works and what doesn’t, then my decision to become a blogger, may have just led us all right to this moment. So yep, I think I was meant to share this knowledge with the world.

Know this: medications and gels are not your only option.

You also don’t need to eat a dried tiger penis (apparently a common practice in ancient Chinese herbalism |o_o| ).

You can naturally increase your testosterone and growth hormone and then sustain your levels without “assistance”. It is a process, and will take anywhere between 6 months to 2 years most likely. But once you learn it and put it into action, you’ll be set.

In today’s post, we are going to begin the education process.

C.S. Lewis, one of my all-time favorite writers, once said the following with regards to education…

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.”

That’s the scenario I believe we are currently in. A desert.

The landscape is so void of any practical knowledge about this subject – it’s a shame. But now is as good a time as any to start watering the lawn.

A disclaimer: I’ve waited quite a while to write about this subject, even though I’ve been blogging for about 7 months already, mostly because, to me, writing about science is like pulling teeth. It’s painful and forced. I didn’t go to med school because, well, I’m over it. So please don’t be sad if my writing on this subject is not up to the academic rigor of a peer-reviewed journal. I’ll link to citations and studies as I need to, so all of this information is intellectually & practically sound. I’m just not going to cater to that sometimes loud .1% of people who love to nitpick insignificant details.

It’s time to begin building the foundation.

Let’s learn.

What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone. An androgen.

It is found in both males and females, and acts anabolically. While females naturally produce small amounts of testosterone, and have far greater sensitivity to the introduction of additional testosterone into their systems, males, clearly, are where testosterone is most prevalent (7-10+ times the natural amount of females), and in whom higher testosterone is most often desired.

It is secreted in the testicles of males, and ovaries of females, with small amounts also coming from the adrenal glands.

Androgens are steroid hormones, and can be produced naturally and synthetically. The presence of androgens in tissues that have androgen receptors promotes protein synthesis in those tissues, giving it anabolic influence.

Androgenic effects include much of what we consider to be human maturation, especially in sexual tissues/organs. For example, androgens heavily influence maturation of male secondary characteristics such as growth of the penis and scrotum, body hair, vocal sound depth, etc. Anabolic effects are characterized by things like muscle growth and strength, as well as bone maturation, increased density, and increased strength.

Testosterone gets to work, in both males and females, before we’re even born and carries out its influence heavily first during the sexual differentiation process, then into infancy, prepuberty, puberty, adolescence, and adulthood.

T plays a role in many processes in the body, one of the more prominently known being spermatogenesis.[1]

Without the presence of testosterone and/or the androgen receptor, spermatogenesis can’t proceed past meiosis (ie. you can’t produce sperm). [2] In non-sciency terms, you’re infertile.

So now that we know where testosterone is produced, let’s venture a guess at what may be the cause of low testosterone production.

There are two common culprits, and they’re medically recognized as primary and secondary hypogonadism.

The first, primary hypogonadism, is caused by deficient testosterone production in the testis. The boys aren’t working properly.

The second, secondary hypogonadism, is caused by hypothalamic-pituitary irregularities. They regulate your endocrine system. So for example, secondary hypogonadism can be caused when a piece of this puzzle isn’t functioning properly. I’m of the opinion that these processes (primary + secondary hypogonadism) do not operate independently, as evidenced by the strong influence of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland on the gonads directly.[3]

So in the end, it all comes back to brain health.

And therefore… gut health (if you haven’t yet read the No Gym, Perfect Body book that I give to all subscribers, you should. I go into some more detail about gut health and why it’s so important.)

Your gut is your second brain. And you can directly influence its health with what you put into your body for nutrition.

NOW we’re getting somewhere.

Testosterone Deficiency

Ever wonder what it would feel like to be castrated?

No?

Male rat studies, give us a nice glimpse.

Castrated rats will cease ejaculating within a few weeks of “the big event” – even when testosterone has been missing from their bloodstream for almost that entire time (it generally disappears within a few hours of castration).

That reality gives us a glimpse of how powerful testosterone actually is in terms of pervasivity. Testosterone influences processes in the body for weeks after production has ceased. The hormone’s effects take much longer to dissipate than the hormone itself.

When these castrated rats are treated again with exogenous (external/foreign) testosterone, they resume normal behavior, as though never castrated. Take it away, and they cease ejaculating once again. And the cycle continues.

Testosterone, therefore, has what is known as an ‘activational effect’ on the body, with its presence promoting certain behaviors.

This example perfectly illustrates how something like hormone replacement therapy can have almost immediate effects on your system, but alas, they’re transient, short lived, unless you continually apply the source back into the bloodstream.

Therefore, it’s not a solution – just a bandaid.

So what does low testosterone look like? How do you know if you have low T without going to get it tested?

You can’t know for sure without a formal test, but the following signs are good indicators of low testosterone:

  1. Poor erectile function (strength of ‘morning wood’ is a decent way to measure)
  2. Low libido
  3. Fewer erections
  4. Increased body fat and/or a difficult time losing it
  5. Low energy
  6. Low well-being (sometimes manifesting in depressive symptoms)
  7. Low or reduced muscle mass

These are just some of the common symptoms, but they’re broad, and could likely apply to many different causes, not necessarily just low testosterone. That’s the main problem I have with the widespread use of generalized symptoms linked to specific ailments (you can go on WebMD and enter your symptoms and either have a.) the common cold or b.) brain cancer, for example).

However, if you have all of these problems, and have for a considerable amount of time, then there’s a good chance your testosterone levels are not optimized.

And that is precisely what we’ll work on doing as we get further along in this article series

Tune in next week for part 2 of 4.

Works cited:

[1] Sharpe RM. Regulation of spermatogenesis. In: Knobil E, Neil JD, editors. The Physiology of Reproduction.New York: Raven Press; 1994. pp. 1363–1434. [2] McLachlan RI, O’Donnell L, Meachem SJ, Stanton PG, De Kretser DM, Pratis K, Robertson DM. Identification of specific sites of hormonal regulation in spermatogenesis in rats, monkeys and man. Recent Prog Horm Res. 2002;57:149–179. [3] Vadakkadath Meethal S, Atwood CS (February 2005). “The role of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal hormones in the normal structure and functioning of the brain”. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 62 (3): 257–70. doi:10.1007/s00018-004-4381-3. PMID 15723162.