Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of low testosterone are well understood and felt on a daily basis. These are the common symptoms that I see regularly in the office.
- Low Sex Drive / Libido
- Low Motivation
- Loss of Muscle Mass
- Low Everything Good
You Don’t Have What It Takes
Like any hormone in the body it requires a backbone of protein and fat to even make it. In order to turn Cholesterol (like all steroid hormones) into Testosterone you need to use cofactors (vitamins and minerals) to transform it from one hormone to another. You can image that a lack of raw material would result in supply chain shortages.
- Protein – My general recommendation is 1g/lb of lean body weight. If you don’t know this number just aim for 100g. As you age, your protein demand actually increases. Aside from already having a major kidney problem, then there is no reason to limit your intake here.
- Fat – You need at least 20-30g of fat in each meal. Try adding Kerry Gold Grass-Fed Butter or working more grass-fed beef into your diet. Saturated fat is REQUIRED to make Testosterone.
- Cofactors – Vitamin E and Zinc are the the two most common that I see.
It’s All in Your Head
Assuming you have all the required material to make adequate amounts of Testosterone, then the next most common driver of low Testosterone is your brain. Yes – your brain is in charge of most things and testosterone is highly sensitive to the HPA axis. The HPA axis is the communication between your “Hypothalamus -> Pituitary -> Adrenals.” Activation of this results in decreased Testosterone output. Stress is by far the most common inhibitor.
- Stress -> Blood Sugar
- Could be inflammatory -> Even more emphasis on Insulin
Stress hormones are called such because they increase due to some stress response. That can be from emotional (family, job), chemical (low blood sugar, inflammation), or physical (pain).
Avoid rapid fluctuations in blood sugar. I always say, control what you can control. It may be difficult to control your nagging mother or stubbing your toe, but you can eat better and start down regulating stress hormones. People in this category should focus on eating 3 meals spaced 5 hours apart with no snacking in between.
Get your emotional baggage under control with meditation, therapy, or some low intensity exercise like yoga. Excessive exercise can drive excessive stress hormone production.
Work on resolving chronic pain issues with a good manual therapist like a chiropractor, physical therapist, or qualified professional.
You’re Turning into a Soy Boy – Aromatization
If you have a surplus of raw material and you’re not dealing with major stress hormone issues, then you’re probably a “Soy Boy.” Repeated bombardment of insulin and inflammation results in excessive Estrogen production. In this case, you’re turning the major male sex hormone into the major female sex hormone. Soy is estrogenic and should be reduced assuming our goal is to drive Testosterone.
- Insulin Surges – Whether you are overweight or a fitness freak you could be driving insulin surges. Over time this can result in diabetes, but the acute results in low Testosterone output. Although from experience these people are already on the diabetic path.
IF YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT – DIABETIC – HAVE A FASTING GLUCOSE OVER 100
- Consider intermittent fasting (IF) to improve insulin resistance (IR). While I recommend breakfast for most people, IF can be a helpful tool to address IR. This could be an 8 hour eating window and a 16 hour fasting window.
- If you are don’t fit the above criteria, then default back to the first section on blood sugar. (Under it’s all in your head)