Monday , 15 July 2024
Home Ben Greenfield Corner Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally: Biohacking Men’s Health
Ben Greenfield Corner

Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally: Biohacking Men’s Health


Platelet-rich plasma injections into my crotch? Done.

Stem cell injections directly into my schlong? Yep.

Acoustic sound wave therapy? Multiple times.

Fully nude red light treatment, the infamous “gas station dick pills,” reduced ejaculation frequency, tantric sex, reverse orgasms, and a fancy digital penis pump? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

A few years ago, Men’s Health sent me on a global expedition to experiment with and report on everything a man could do to increase testosterone, size, orgasm quality, drive, and a host of other manhood-related parameters (you can read all about this whirlwind adventure here).

When writing this article, I discovered a few fascinating facts. For example, most testosterone-boosting pills you can buy online or at your local Walgreens, CVS, or pharmacy are comprised of shocking amounts of ephedra, caffeine, and sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) — essentially making them the equivalent of several cups of coffee and a pharmaceutical medication that must be heavily processed by your liver (admittedly, they also worked like gangbusters while making me feel as though my heart was going to explode).

Or this: it actually is possible to dramatically increase the size of one’s genitalia, if that’s your thing. But it is expensive and requires nerve blocks, needles, and awkward moments with legs splayed in front of the physician and their team.

You can even learn some pretty nifty bedroom tricks within just a few weeks that can keep you going for quite some time and provide a pleasure rate that I would rank as relatively high compared to just “plain ol’ sex.”(For more juicy information on turning up the heat, check out this podcast with sex and relationship specialist, Susan Bratton.)

Since writing that original Men’s Health article, I’ve extensively studied peptide science for hormone health, interviewed testosterone and peptide expert Jay Campbell multiple times (catch those interviews here, here, and here), and began researching and editing Boundless 2.0, in which I unearth a wealth of new information and insights on proven habits, foods, exercises, workouts, nutrients, and tools to boost testosterone.

As a result, I’ve discovered some new biohacks for testosterone and sexual performance that can help supercharge your manhood and revitalize your bedroom game.

But before jumping in, allow me to hearken back to my article, “The Ultimate Guide To Biohacking Your Testosterone: 17 Ways To Maximize Muscle-Building, Drive & Anti-Aging,” where I dished out this warning:

“Biohacking testosterone (AKA “T”) has been a hot topic the past few years. Er, decades. Er, centuries. Perhaps technology and social media have just made what men and women have possibly pursued since the dawn of time just a bit more in our faces.

Just look at it: YouTube is full of T-optimizing videos and channels, iTunes has entire podcasts devoted to drive and testosterone, broscience forums are chock full of T advice from around the planet, there are entire T-boosting websites jam-packed with linkbait and ads and…

…don’t even get me started on supplement companies, who mostly source cheap herbs from Asia, shove them into a bottle, and produce a very, very sexy website designed to get you to empty your wallet to pop some magical T-boosting pill.

And yeah, you can find plenty of research articles on optimizing T and even a bunch of books and e-books have been released. I have read and studied all of them and beyond. Honestly: I am a consummate geek. I spend my entire day studying, reading, researching, writing, tinkering, and experimenting.

And these apparently promising supplements, pills, and tricks sound good, but simply don’t work. Yep… they don’t work, or they raise your T so miniscule-ingly low that you’re spending hundreds of your hard-earned dollars on pretty much next-to-nothing when it comes to an actual significant boost. You would be shocked at the amount of bloodwork I see that shows me men and women who are doing everything they read on the internet to boost testosterone with barely a bump in total or free levels of this hormone.”

In other words, any time you dive into an article or listen to advice on testosterone boosting, please proceed with caution. If possible, quantify your results with self-testing using blood or urine (the latter being the gold standard for a thorough hormone evaluation), and exercise caution, especially with supplements and herbs.


The Basics: Notoriously Missing Nutrients That Drastically Affect Testosterone Levels

Let’s begin with the basics — no fringe, hard-to-find Amazonian superfoods here — but rather simple supplements you can hunt down just about anywhere. A big credit to the folks from the Examine Research Digest for doing the research on the following nutrients, which actually have rigorous scientific research behind them on both safety and efficacy for boosting testosterone and/or sexual performance. At the end of this article, I’ll include a few helpful links for these supplements and the versions that I use.

1. Magnesium

Supplementing magnesium can help normalize testosterone levels. A diet comprising magnesium-rich foods (such as fish, nuts, beans, and green leafy vegetables) renders supplementation unnecessary, at least for testosterone normalization, however, hard-charging athletes or heavy sweaters may need extra magnesium.

The standard dose is 200mg of elemental magnesium once a day, though I use up to 500mg per day, typically taken in the evening because magnesium can have a sedative effect. Avoid taking calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, since high amounts of these minerals will compete for absorption.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D has long been researched in the context of male fertility. Vitamin D receptors can be found in sperm cells, and vitamin D may also play a role in the production of steroid hormones. Vitamin D deficiency is common, especially in people whose exposure to sunlight (without clothes or sunscreen) is limited.

The darker your skin, the longer you need to expose yourself to sunlight to synthesize enough vitamin D.  Vitamin D can be synthesized by sunlit skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) or ingested (D2 and D3). It then travels to the liver, where the liver converts vitamin D to its more active form: 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The kidneys then convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D into the very potent form of vitamin D called calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D).thorn vitamin d

Ideally, take 2,000–3,000 IU (50–75mcg) of vitamin D3 with a meal containing fat, either year-round or only during the colder, darker months, when you are least likely to synthesize enough vitamin D from sun exposure. Doses higher than 3,000 IU may be warranted in cases of severe deficiency or non-response at lower doses, as ascertained by a blood test. Keep in mind that 10,000 IU/day for three months has been shown to be toxic, and also keep in mind that vitamin D should ideally be consumed along with vitamin K2.

If you’re looking for a few quick ways to boost your vitamin D intake, I recommend an absorbable form like cholecalciferol or, even better, the calcifediol found in the supplement d.velop. Additionally, my friend Kelly Starrett turned me onto this Sperti Vitamin D lamp that gets you very high doses of vitamin D with just 5 minutes of exposure!

3. Zinc

Zinc is an important mineral for general health and is often marketed as a testosterone booster. Similar to magnesium, however, zinc supplementation can only help when low testosterone levels are linked to a zinc deficiency. If your body has enough zinc, taking more will not benefit you.

As a matter of fact, over time, high doses of zinc can irritate the gastrointestinal tract. They can also cause a copper deficiency since zinc kickstarts the process of creating metallothionein, a protein that binds zinc but also other metals, notably copper. The bound metals then leave the body as waste products. Even higher doses of zinc can also damage the liver and kidneys.

Zinc requirements vary according to diet and level of activity. Sedentary people who do not sweat much and eat enough meat might not need to supplement zinc at all, and should otherwise limit themselves to 10–20 mg/day (15–25 mg/day for vegetarians and vegans). Athletes and other people who sweat a lot (which results in zinc loss) can take 25–30 mg/day. Zinc should be taken with meals to prevent potential nausea. I avoid excess zinc and get smaller amounts each day by taking a comprehensive multivitamin by Thorne, which also gives me Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, boron, and a few of the other basic nutrients you’re reading about.

4. DHEA

The hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) circulates throughout the body and can be called to make other hormones, notably testosterone and estrogen. Supplemental DHEA can support normal testosterone levels; this effect is especially reliable in the case of age-related low testosterone (use code Greenfield15 to save 15% on DHEA from Quicksilver Scientific).

It’s pretty simple: you just take 25–50 mg of DHEA once a day with a meal. Please note that if you compete in any sports sanctioned by WADA, USADA, the NCAA, etc., DHEA is banned for use in competition.

5. Creatine

Creatine is a molecule naturally produced in the body (and can be found in some foods, mostly meat, eggs, and fish). It stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine releases energy to help cellular function during stress, leading to strength gains from creatine supplementation and brain, bone, muscle, and liver benefits.kion creatine

When you supplement with creatine, you’re tapping into a natural mechanism that your body uses to produce hormones like testosterone and estrogen. This not only helps you build lean muscle and enhance power output (which is why a lot of athletes use it) but it also provides neuroprotective and cardioprotective effects.

Speaking of hormones, creatine has been shown to play a role in influencing androgen levels. Studies have demonstrated that supplementing with creatine can lead to an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels and the DHT:testosterone ratio. For those hitting the gym, combining creatine with a resistance training program can further elevate testosterone levels.

A study in male amateur swimmers also noted that a creatine loading phase (20g daily for six days) was able to increase testosterone levels by around 15% relative to baseline. I do not load with creatine but rather — due to the host of benefits from creatine — simply take 5g year round, with no cycling or loading phases. I’ve followed this strategy since my collegiate bodybuilding days — all you need is plain old, budget-friendly creatine monohydrate… nothing too fancy. I currently only use Kion Creatine — derived from Creapure, a micronized form of creatine monohydrate that’s colorless and odorless. This form of creatine has highly enhanced solubility, so it mixes well with water, juice, smoothies, or just about anything you toss it into.

6. Boron

Like magnesium and zinc, boron is a dietary mineral. Some studies have also noted an increase in testosterone levels, including among young men who took 10mg of boron per day. It is not recommended to take more than 20 mg/day.

So those are the basics: magnesium, vitamin D/K, zinc, DHEA, creatine, and boron…

…oh, and should you wonder why I did not give a lick of attention to actual food or macronutrients, it’s because I already addressed food and carbohydrate/fat/protein percentages here (and below is an anecdote from that article):

“The bottom line is this: for optimal testosterone production you shouldn’t go too low in calories (nor too high), shouldn’t consume too much protein (under 2g/kg), or eat too little carbs and too little saturated and mono-unsaturated fats.

For me personally, the optimal ratio for T production seems to be on a 2500 kcal/day slight deficit diet with 98 kg bodyweight looks like this:

  • 1.8g protein/kg of body weight (1.8g x 98 = 176.4 grams = 720 kcal)
  • 40% of total calorie intake fat (1000 kcal = 111 grams)
  • Rest of the daily energy needs from carbohydrates ( 780 kcal = 195 grams)”

Anyway, you can click here to read the rest of that article, which is a perfect companion to the one you’re reading right now.


The Slightly More Fringe: Herbal Add-Ons To Impact Both Testosterone & Sexual Performance

Again, a big head nod to the folks at Examine Research Digest for decoding which “fringe supplements” work and which don’t. The following six add-ons will give you the most bang for your buck should you wish to toss some extra goodies on top of the basics you just read about above.

1. Maca

Multiple studies show that maca, a root vegetable, enhances drive in both men and women, and this effect keeps improving for 8 weeks before plateauing. Maca can serve to treat sexual dysfunction caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It can also mildly benefit men with erectile dysfunction from other causes.

Moreover, preliminary animal evidence suggests that red maca might improve prostate health and reduce anxiety. Maca does not interact with any major hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen, or DHEA. For ideal dosing, take 1.5–3g of maca root powder once a day with breakfast (to improve sexual performance, there is no difference between red, black, or yellow maca).

2. Cocoasex enhancing ice cream insta post

Low nitric oxide (NO) levels can cause blood vessels to narrow, leading to poor circulation, which can result in erections that are softer and more difficult to maintain (you can read more about that here). Like the flavonoids in grape seed and pine bark, epicatechin and other flavonoids in cocoa can help support NO levels, thus improving blood flow and alleviating this type of erectile dysfunction. Simply take 1g of cocoa polyphenols by consuming about 30g of cocoa powder or 40g of dark chocolate with a 75% cocoa content (FYI, neither milk chocolate nor white chocolate is a good source of polyphenols).

For a fun date night dessert that combines cocoa, plus many of the testosterone boosters mentioned in this article, my “Screamin’ Sex Ice Cream” (featured in Boundless Cookbook) is a delicious way to kick off a night you won’t forget. Check out my Instagram post on how to make it!

3. Eurycoma Longifolia

Eurycoma longifolia is also known by several other names, such as longjack and tongkat ali. Preliminary evidence supports its traditional use as a sexual performance enhancer for both men and women, and research also shows the use of Eurycoma longifolia as a male fertility enhancer.

In men suffering from infertility or severe erectile dysfunction, this herb does not seem to increase testosterone, or only does so to a small extent. However, it may increase the desire to mate, as demonstrated in rodent models. To supplement Eurycoma longifolia, take 200–300mg daily.

4. Fenugreek

In Ayurvedic medicine, fenugreek is called methi (its Hindi name) and is used notably to increase virility. While the leaves and seeds are both used, most supplements favor the latter. When supplemented by healthy men, high doses of fenugreek appear to significantly increase sexual drive and satisfaction. A small increase in testosterone has been noted in some studies. Interestingly, fenugreek has the property of causing bodily fluids (saliva, semen, sweat, urine, etc.) to smell like maple syrup. Ideally, take a fenugreek supplement standardized to contain 300mg of saponins, at a dosage of 300–600mg per day.

5. Pycnogenol

Low nitric oxide (NO) levels can cause blood vessels to narrow, leading to poor circulation, which can result in erections that are softer and more difficult to maintain. Like the flavonoids in cocoa, procyanidins and other flavonoids in pine bark and grape seeds can help support NO levels, thus improving blood flow and alleviating this type of erectile dysfunction. Pycnogenol, a patented pine bark extract standardized to 65–75% procyanidin, is the best-studied source of procyanidins.

Grape seed extracts are cheaper, but their benefits to blood flow are less reliable and could take longer to develop (up to one month). To improve blood flow, Pycnogenol is a better choice than a grape seed extract, but neither option is as potent as cocoa or can boast as much supporting evidence. To supplement Pycnogenol, take 100–200 mg once a day with a meal.

6. Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus terrestris has long been marketed as an herbal testosterone booster, with no supporting evidence. This herb does significantly enhance sexual drive, though, which may indirectly increase testosterone via the effect of a higher frequency of sex. To supplement Tribulus terrestris, take 200–450mg of an extract standardized for 60% steroidal saponins once a day with a meal.


The Gym: Workout Strategies To Optimize Testosterone

Although there are, as I mentioned earlier, entire industries built up around herbal and pharmaceutical pills, capsules, lotions, injections, superfoods, and other methods for increasing testosterone, in this section you’re going to get six simple workout strategies for increasing testosterone without actually swallowing any questionable supplements.

Workout Tip #1: Sprint

Multiple studies have shown that you can boost your testosterone levels by sprinting. In one study, testosterone levels increased significantly for people who performed a series of very short (but intense) six-second sprints — and testosterone levels remained high even after those people had fully recovered from the sprint workout.

So how can you implement the strategy of sprinting to increase testosterone?

Try performing several sprints on the treadmill after you’ve lifted weights at the gym, or just head out into the backyard, a park, or your neighborhood block and do a few sprint repeats on your days off from weight training. You can even do your sprints on a bicycle or elliptical trainer. Try to include 5–10 short sprints when you do a sprint workout, sprint no longer than 15 seconds, get full recovery after each sprint (generally 3–4 times longer than you actually sprinted), and do a sprint workout 2–3 times a week for optimal results.

Workout Tip #2: Lift Heavy Stuff

While you can do high reps with low weights or low reps with high weights, studies have shown that it definitely takes heavy weights to significantly boost testosterone. Full-body, heavy exercises like squatsdeadliftsbench presses, and Olympic lifts should ideally be used, at 85-95% of your 1RM (or one repetition maximum). You need to do 2–3 full body weight lifting workouts per week to get good testosterone-boosting results (in tip #5, I’ll give you a sample workout).

If you’re a beginner or new to weight training, don’t let this concept of heavy lifting scare you away. You can simulate many of these exercises on weight training machines until you’re strong and skilled enough to perform the free weight barbell or dumbbell versions.

The ARX, short for Adaptive Resistance Exercise, is my go-to for building strength and boosting testosterone. This innovative equipment combines single set-to-failure and superslow training for efficient strength training or rehab. It biohacks strength training by providing computer-controlled, motorized resistance that matches your force, ensuring a perfect rep every time. The ARX OMNI (which I own) offers a variety of motions like squats, deadlifts, pulldowns, rows, overhead presses, and chest presses, while the ARX ALPHA focuses on leg presses, chest presses, rows, calf raises, and torso extensions and flexions. With as little as one 15- to 20-minute workout per week (I use it twice a week for 20 minutes), you can see significant strength, bone density, and muscle-building results. For more information on the most efficient exercise and muscle-triggering machine I’ve ever used, check out my podcast with Mike Pullano, ARX’s Chief Product Officer.

Workout Tip #3: Use Longer Rest Periods

Scientists have studied the effects of very short rest periods on testosterone and found that longer rest periods of around 120 seconds between sets are better for building testosterone (although you can still build other hormones, such as growth hormone, with shorter rest periods).

Considering what you’ve just learned about lifting heavy weights, this makes sense — since the shorter your recovery periods, the less weight you’re going to be able to lift. However, it can seem like a waste of time to be sitting on your butt for three minutes between each exercise.

So if your goal is to increase testosterone, I recommend that you maximize your time at the gym by doing alternate activities during these long rest periods, such as stretching, or better yet, exercises that don’t stress the same muscles you just worked.

For example, you can do one heavy set of bench presses, recover for just 30–60 seconds, then do one heavy set of squats. Go back and forth until all your sets are done, and you’ll get twice as much done in half the time, while still getting the testosterone-boosting benefits of lifting heavy and taking long rest periods.

Workout Tip #4: Do Forced Reps

To do a forced repetition, you perform a weight lifting exercise for as many reps as you can and then have a partner (a “spotter”) assist you with completing several additional repetitions (anywhere from 1–5 extra reps).

Research shows that this type of forced rep set generates more testosterone than simply doing as many reps as you can do by yourself.

It’s best to do forced reps with a multi-joint, large motor movement exercise. For example, you can do a warm-up set of barbell squats, then, with a partner, a personal trainer, or someone you ask at the gym to help you, choose a weight that allows you to do 5–6 repetitions on your own, but requires an assistant to get another 3–4 reps done after that, for a total of 8–10 reps. You can repeat this for anywhere from 2–6 sets.

While you don’t need to perform forced reps for every workout or set that you do, if you’re trying to increase testosterone, it can be especially helpful to do your last set of any exercise as a forced rep set.

Workout Tip #5: Use Your Legs

In another study that investigated the hormonal response to weight training, participants were split into an arm-only training group and a leg-plus-arm training group. Testosterone increases were significantly higher in the group that added lower-body training to their upper-body training.

While it can be tempting, especially for guys, to focus on exercises like biceps curls and bench pressing, you’ll notice far better results for lean muscle mass, energy, sex drive, and fat loss when you include multi-joint leg exercises such as lunges and squats into your regimen.

So here’s an example of a full-body workout you could do three days per week to boost testosterone:

  • Warm-up
  • 4 sets of 8 repetitions bench press, paired with 4 sets of 8 repetitions squats
  • 4 sets of 8 repetitions deadlifts, paired with 4 sets of 8 repetitions pull-ups
  • 6 sets of maximum 10-second sprints
  • Cool-down

At the end of this article, I’ll include another sample workout.

Workout Tip #6: Avoid Chronic Cardio

Long-endurance sports such as cycling seem to lower testosterone in the same way that weight lifting and weight training seem to increase it. For example, one study found that testosterone levels were significantly lower in cyclists than in age-matched weightlifters or even an untrained control group. Some researchers have concluded that this type of low testosterone in endurance athletes is an adaptation that gives cyclists or runners a competitive advantage — since the extra muscle mass from testosterone would probably slow you down.

So if you’re trying to boost testosterone, avoid long jaunts on the treadmill, and accept the fact that if you’re going to run marathons or do an IRONMAN triathlon, you may have to settle for slightly lower testosterone levels. If you want to discover more about this concept, you can check out my interview with Mark Sisson.


Biohacking Testosterone: Tools and Tricks That Actually Work

OK — you’ve got your head wrapped around foods, basic supplements, fringe supplements, and workout strategies.

Now, let’s turn to biohacking tools and toys that have great efficacy for boosting testosterone, sperm count, drive, etc. (and if you dig this biohacking stuff, definitely also check out the article “The Ultimate Guide To Biohacking Your Testosterone: 17 Ways To Maximize Muscle-Building, Drive & Anti-Aging“).

1. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)

A study done on rats’ gastrocnemius muscle (calf) found that electrical stimulation induced a rapid increase in the number of androgen receptors in the early parts of the stimulation. This led to an increase in muscle mass by enhancing the muscle sensitivity to androgens. Another study conducted in humans showed that electrical stimulation of volunteers’ meridian points (which basically means electro-acupuncture) increased their concentrations of total testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) without affecting luteinizing hormone (LH) or follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) (secreted from the pituitary gland). In terms of actually figuring out how to self-administer electro-acupuncture, I’d recommend looking into a device called the “NES scanner” which will scan your body and show you where to apply the electrical stimulation, and for actual electrical muscle stimulation on specific muscles, I’d recommend this article on how to use electrostim (and a whole lot more).

2. Red Light or Low-Lever Laser Therapy

You can get the highly entertaining, nitty-gritty details on this strategy in the Men’s Health article entitled “I Put a Giant Red Light on My Balls to Triple My Testosterone Levels” (and yes, the featured image on this post is me posing with my personal giant red Joovv light).Ben greenfield's weekly roundup for May 25th

Red light, near-infrared light (NIR), or low-level laser therapy has been used to treat various conditions from pain and muscle aches to wound healing, skin conditions, osteoarthritis, and even depression. These effects are usually local, but near-infrared light has also systemic effects via the circulation of blood. For more details on these effects, you might want to read this super comprehensive article on red light and NIR.

The basis for stimulating testosterone production by shooting red light and near-infrared light (yep, especially on your testicles) lies in the mechanism of how red (or infrared) wavelengths work inside the cell. The key is that they stimulate ATP production in Leydig cells, thus increasing the energy available for the cells. This means more testosterone production. There might also be other mechanisms, which are speculated on the “Red Light Man” site:

“Another potential mechanism involves a separate class of photoreceptive proteins, known as ‘opsin proteins. The human testes are especially abundant with various of these highly specific photoreceptors including OPN3, which are ‘activated, much like cytochrome, specifically by wavelengths of light. Stimulation of these testicular proteins by red light induces cellular responses that may ultimately lead to increased testosterone production, amongst other things, although research is still in the preliminary stages regarding these proteins and metabolic pathways. These types of photoreceptive proteins are also found in the eyes and also, interestingly, the brain.”

According to a few studies done on rats, the positive effects on testosterone production are enormous. For example, a Korean study found that low-level laser therapy (LLLT) with a wavelength of 670nm (which is on the border of visible red light and infrared light) 30 minutes per day showed a significant increase in serum testosterone by the fourth day of the treatment without any harmful tissue penetration. Ultimately, a few best practices for red light include:

  • Overall, red or infrared light from an LED source is generally thought to be a safe therapeutic method
  • Avoid heating the testicles, since the heat will destroy sperm cells and have a negative effect on the Leydig cells
  • Avoid blue light and UV light exposure on testicles (blue light inhibits ATP production in mitochondria)

Want more? Listen to my podcast on photobiomodulation here and then take a look at the red light that I personally use and swear by: the JOOVV.

The JOOVV produces light in the perfect 600–800nm frequency used in research and does not put you at risk of frying your precious balls. You just turn it on and — you guessed it — squat over it a bit or stand it against a wall and shine it across thine gonads as you work at, say, a stand-up workstation.

3. Cold Thermogenesis

In the 1820s, a German farmer named Vincenz Priessnitz started touting a new medical treatment called “hydrotherapy,” which used cold water to cure everything from broken bones to erectile dysfunction. He turned his family’s homestead into a sanitarium, and patients flocked to it in the hope that his cold water cure could help them. The first hydrotherapy facility opened up in the U.S. in 1843, right when the sanitarium craze hit America. By the end of the 19th century, over 200 hydrotherapy/sanitarium resorts existed in the United States, the most famous being the Battle Creek Sanitarium founded by John Harvey Kellogg.

There is no straightforward evidence that cold therapy can raise testosterone levels. But indirect evidence definitely exists. One study investigated serum levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), growth hormone (GH), and prolactin in men after a two-hour stay in a cold room (10 degrees Celsius). There were no significant changes in the serum concentration of adrenalin, T3, T4, testosterone, TSH, or LH. The serum level of noradrenaline increased from 4.5 to 6.3 nmol L1 (P < 0.01) and those of cortisol, GH, and prolactin fell by 20%, 87%, and 48% (all P < 0.01). This means that by lowering cortisol, you would probably have more of the raw material for testosterone production and less stress response.

The indirect research evidence by in vitro (and animal) studies on optimal testicle function provides information that the ball sack (yes, that’s my highly technical term) should be kept cool (under 35 Celsius or 95 Fahrenheit) for optimal testosterone production. Heat exposure to testicles has been shown to reduce testosterone levels in rats.

Also, an observational study done on over 6,000 men showed that sperm quality and volume were greater in the wintertime. This is due to stimulation by FSH and LH secreted from the pituitary gland, which stimulates testosterone synthesis and secretion. There are also anecdotes from old-school Chinese and Russian powerlifters who iced their balls after training and before a competition. Apparently, their goal was to increase performance and testosterone function.

To improve testicle function, you can do these things:

  • Take cold baths and showers
  • Wear loose boxers or go ”commando” to keep optimal temperature for testicles and to avoid compression
  • Sleep naked or wear just loose pajamas (no undies)
  • Sleep in a relatively cold room temperature
  • Don’t sit unless it is necessary

For more insights on cold thermogenesis, you can check out these resources:

4. Platelet Rich Plasma Injections (PRP)

In the article “I Got a Shot In My Dick For Stronger Erections, and I Have Zero Regrets,” I describe the PRP injection known simply as “The P-Shot.”

Should your eyebrows now be raised, please allow me to add the term P-Shot to your vernacular. Named for the Greek god of virility, Priapus, the P-Shot involves harvesting your own plasma-enriched growth factors in your blood and injecting them into specific areas of the penis. The process involves drawing a small amount of blood from the arm and then transferring it to a centrifuge, where it spins for about 10 minutes to separate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and the platelet-poor plasma (PPP). The PRP is then taken from the tube and reinjected into the penis, which ostensibly stimulates blood flow and makes the penis appear larger and rejuvenated (there is also a version for women called the O-Shot.)

This might sound crazy to you, but it’s actually not: for years, athletes like Tiger Woods have been getting PRP shots in other parts of their body to recover from injury, and Kim Kardashian famously received a variation of the therapy when she got a vampire facial in 2013. While some evidence suggests that the benefits are marginal at best, considering how popular PRP has gotten, I knew I had to try it, and I report on the results here.

If you want to get this therapy done yourself, I’d recommend you contact the folks at GAINSWave. You should know that it pairs quite nicely with the acoustic sound wave therapy mentioned in the next tip. The good folks at GAINSWave have offered you a discount of $150 when you request an appointment from any provider, across the country, found here.

5. Acoustic Sound Wave Therapy

Also provided by the team at GAINSWave, this pairs quite nicely with the P-Shot (along with the use of a digital penis pump, which they provide to you after the one-two acoustic sound wave therapy + P-Shot combo). You can get more details in the article “I Got Stronger Erections By Blasting My Penis With Sound.”

The science behind the technology involves something called low-intensity shockwave therapy. Shockwave therapy has existed in modern medicine for decades and has primarily been used as a treatment for lipoatrophy (localized loss of fat tissue) and to break up kidney stones using high-frequency acoustic waves.

About fifteen years ago, researchers in Europe realized that by using lower-intensity acoustic pulse waves, they could also apply these same waves to the penis without damaging the skin or organs. Based on this trendy breakthrough of kidney doctors blasting their gonads with sound waves, physicians were eventually able to treat erectile dysfunction at its root source: poor blood flow.

When the acoustic pulse waves are applied to the penis (or the vagina), they supposedly break up micro plaque and also create a micro-inflammatory process that releases nitric oxide, a vasodilator, and the same chemical induced via the consumption of stuff like Viagra or Cialis. Over the course of eight to twelve weeks after the procedure, new blood vessels in the genitals are supposed to grow, a process known as “neovascularization.”

Scientific studies suggest that this therapy might be more effective than other treatments, including medications and really expensive penis pumps. But thanks to the overcrowding of the sexual performance industry by pharmaceutical and supplement companies, there were no standardized protocols, machines, or training programs until Dr. Richard Gaines (my former podcast guest here and here) of the GAINSWave clinic designed his own patented method of bringing this technology to the masses. As a bonus, these same shockwaves also may supposedly “wake up” dormant stem cells in the penis, leading to improved erectile function and enhanced tissue growth. In other words, GAINSWave therapy may also increase the size of the penis.

Same as the P-Shot/PRP injection listed above, if you want to get this therapy done yourself, I’d recommend you contact the folks at GAINSWave for a $150 discount when you request an appointment from any provider, across the country, found here.

6. Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields

Electromagnetic fields emitted from various sources (mobile phones, microwave ovens, Wi-Fi, etc.) have been reported to have causative effects on biological systems such as inflammation, radiation, and hyperthermia. All of these can disrupt the seminiferous tubules and reduce the Leydig cell population and testosterone concentration (studies done in rats). A host of research on this issue exists in the new book The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs: How to Fix Our Stupid Use of Technology, which I’d highly recommend you read if you care about not just your fertility, but your health overall.

As a way to fix this issue, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF therapy) has been used successfully to treat various health conditions ranging from bone healing and pain relief to balancing the neuroendocrine system (including hormone production and melatonin levels). A study conducted on male Wister rats showed that PEMF therapy helped rats bounce back from microwave radiation in terms of testosterone production and combat oxidative stress. In fact, rats’ testosterone levels went a bit higher than before the microwave radiation exposure after they were treated with PEMF for 60 days.

What does this mean for you?

Many folks keep their mobile phones in their pockets, quite close to testicles or ovaries. It is actually a fact that mobile phones emit microwaves that are harmful to normal tissues when kept very close to the skin. Several studies have shown relationships between mobile telephone use and reduced sperm count and sperm quality. The negative effects are highly likely to extend to reduced testosterone levels in men.

So the takeaway is this: if you know that you are being exposed to external microwaves, Wi-Fi, and cell phones, the use of a small PEMF device like the FlexPulse, the CELLER8 (use code BGL to save 10%), or a more general device for whole-body treatment like HigherDOSE’s PEMF mats (use code BEN for 15% off), is likely to revive testosterone levels.

7. Peptides

When it comes to biohacking testosterone and enhancing manhood, peptide stacks are emerging as powerful tools. Peptides are short chains of amino acids that play crucial roles in regulating various functions in the body, including hormone production. They can help optimize testosterone levels, sperm count, and drive, through their actions on the endocrine system.

As my friend, repeat podcast guest (listen to those shows here, here, and here), and expert in testosterone and peptides, Jay Campbell, explains on his website:

“First, peptides can directly impact the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and stimulate testosterone synthesis. These types of peptides support the release of hormones that play major roles in increasing serum testosterone levels, including GnRH, LH, and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Second, peptides can boost growth hormone levels in the pituitary gland, increasing LH and FSH levels and thereby leading to a boost in testosterone.ben-using-peptides

Third, peptides may play a role in preventing the conversion of testosterone into estrogen, particularly in individuals with excess body fat. When a man is fat, inflamed, and/or insulin resistant, high aromatization (overproducing estrogen) can send a negative signal to the pituitary gland, reducing its ability to produce LH, FSH, and testosterone, instead of making more.”

If you’re looking to boost your T levels, Jay suggests taking these peptides:

  • Kisspeptin-10: Stimulates the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which in turn stimulates the production of testosterone
  • Gonadorelin and Sermorelin: Encourages the pituitary gland to produce more LH, which signals the testes to produce testosterone
  • Ipamorelin and CJC-1295: Growth hormone-releasing peptides (GHRPs) that can indirectly boost testosterone levels
  • GHRP-6 and GHRP-2: Also GHRPs that may have similar effects on testosterone levels
  • MK-677: Indirectly increases testosterone levels by stimulating the release of GH and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), both of which can have positive effects on testosterone production
  • AOD-9604: Peptide fragment that has been studied for its potential to promote fat loss and improve metabolic health, which can indirectly benefit testosterone levels
  • Tesamorelin: Investigated for its potential to improve cognitive function and mental health, which are important aspects of overall well-being and can indirectly impact testosterone levels

For more information on peptides and where to buy them, you can check out my handy Peptides Resources Page — a compilation of the best articles, podcasts, and trusted peptide sources.


The Habits: Mistakes You’re Probably Making That Impact Testosterone and Fertility

Mistake #1: Underestimating The Nasties of Plastic

If you listen to my podcast entitled “Estrogeneration: How Estrogenics Are Making You Fat, Sick, And Infertile,” you’ll hear about how deleterious exposure to endocrine disruptors in plastics, food, and water truly can be for your body — including your precious testosterone.

Endocrine disruptors are synthetic chemicals or natural substances that can alter the endocrine system. I talk about plenty of these in my article “How To Detox Your Home.” Many of the endocrine disruptors are either directly negatively affecting testosterone production or acting as estrogen mimics (known as xenoestrogens). These are mainly found in plastics, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, toys, pesticides, preservatives, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. They have also been linked to many other health problems like cancer, decreased fertility, metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, and diabetes.

So first, avoid these substances, period.

  • BPA (Bisphenol A)
    • Found in plastics; can lower testosterone levels significantly and cause erectile dysfunction
  • BPS (Bisphenol S)
    • Marketed as a ”safer” alternative to BPA found in thermal receipts, plastics, and household dust.
    • Has the same negative endocrine effects as BPA
  • Phthalates
    • Found in plastics and cosmetics
    • Men having high phthalates in the urine have lower testosterone levels
  • Parabens
    • Found especially in sun lotions, moisturizers, shampoos, toothpastes, and in other cosmetics as a preservative
    • Function as a xenoestrogen in the body elevating estrogen levels in men (and women)
  • Triclosan & triclocarban
  • Benzophenones (BP-1, BP-2, and BP-3)
    • Found mainly in sunscreens functioning as UV filters
    • Can possibly lower testosterone by antagonizing androgen receptors (in English, blocking the receptor sites) and blocking enzymes converting other androgens to testosterone

The number one way to reduce your exposure to these endocrine disruptors is to avoid the use of plastics as well as you can with the following strategies:

  • Switch plastic cups to glass or steel cups and bottles (glass would be optimal)
  • Store leftover food in glass jars
  • Acquire a good tap filter that filters all contaminants and endocrine disrupters (e.g. reverse osmosis and activated charcoal filters)
  • Use only organic and natural ingredient cosmetics
  • Avoid junk food and prefer organic food
  • Avoid the use of detergents and flame retardants (and other possible endocrine-disrupting chemicals)

You get the idea. After all, it’d be quite ironic to wash down your expensive testosterone supplements with a plastic cup of unfiltered water, wouldn’t it?

Mistake #2: Thinking “Avoid Chronic Cardio” Means “Don’t Move Too Much”

As mentioned earlier, chronic cardio and heavy endurance workouts are definitely not a friend of optimizing testosterone. It has been shown in various studies that sedentary men who engage in regular physical activity instantly raise their testosterone levels, and do it quite significantly. Too much endurance training has been shown to lower testosterone levels. One interesting fact is that in endurance athletes, low T is an independent factor (possibly impairing testicular function) which is not even related to chronically elevated cortisol levels.quickest way to lose weight

But being physically inactive is also quite harmful to testosterone production, and avoidance of chronic cardio does not mean that you avoid low-level, hunter-gatherer-gardener-esque physical activity woven throughout your day. For example, a 12-week period of increased physical activity in a group of obese men showed a significant increase in testosterone levels independent of accompanied weight loss induced by a mild calorie deficit. This means that a basic low-level physical activity like walking is an independent testosterone-boosting factor!

Hence, this is why you’ll constantly find jumping jacks, burpees, kettlebell swings, pull-ups, and treadmill walking spread throughout my day — although you’ll rarely find me “jogging” for long periods of time or hanging out on the elliptical trainer for anything other than a brief sprint.

Mistake #3: Eating Too Darn Often

Besides optimizing testosterone production for optimal actual hormone signaling, you also need to have a good amount of androgen receptors in your body. Intermittent fasting (AKA avoiding the standard, ho-hum broscience advice to suck down a maltodextrin and fructose shake after every workout and to eat plenty of steak before bed) is, in fact, one of the most researched ways to increase your androgen receptor density.

The easiest way to prime your androgen receptors for optimal testosterone uptake is intermittent fasting. Simply skipping your breakfast and pushing the first meal of the day as far as you can is a method that works very well. A small study showed that a fast of 12 to 56 hours improved testosterone response up to 180% in lean, but not in obese men. Another study found that after a 10-day water fast, testosterone showed a downward trend of approximately 15–20%. When re-feeding after the prolonged fast with normal meals, the participants’ testosterone levels went up significantly higher than before the fasting baseline values. One guy even went from around 600 ng/dl to 1600 ng/dl! The explanation for this phenomenon is that fasting primes your body to be more receptive to testosterone, which means higher androgen receptor sensitivity.

Warning: If you are under chronic stress and have super high cortisol levels all day long, a prolonged 16+ hour fast might not be your thing. Also, please, please, please do not interpret intermittent fasting to be synonymous with calorie deprivation. It is not, and long-term calorie deprivation may, in fact, decrease testosterone levels. Intermittent fasting simply means that you compress all your calories into shorter feeding windows — meaning you might perhaps eat 3000 calories between 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., rather than between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Make sense?

Mistake #4: Thinking You’re Immune To EMF

As the book The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs: How to Fix Our Stupid Use of Technology reveals, a whole lot of young couples these days are unable to conceive naturally — about half of them in the highly wired city of Mumbai, India. Research has shown that using a laptop directly in the lap, especially in conjunction with Wi-Fi, is associated with a decrease in sperm count and motility while causing sperm DNA damage.

Cell phone users at 4+ hours per day have a 40% lower sperm count (by the way, men with the highest sperm count enjoy a mortality rate 43% lower than men with the lowest counts.)” Exposing rats to the cell phone frequency of 900MHz for 2 hours a day for 45 days leads to a reduction in testosterone levels. Exposed rats had T levels of 176ng/dl — compared to the non-exposed rats levels averaging 505 ng/dl. In 2013, researchers found links between cell phone use and erectile dysfunction.

Nuff said. You get the idea. Freaking put down your phone, disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and understand that every second spent around so-called “non-native EMF” is likely not doing you any favors in the sexual department.

Mistake #5: Ejaculating Too Much?

According to the Eastern philosophy of Tao, men who regulate their ejaculation frequency and retain their semen will grow strong, have a clearer mind, maintain high levels of testosterone, sperm, and semen — and therefore will have a stronger sexual appetite. Tao teaches that ejaculation frequency should be regulated to permit a man’s body to rebuild the sexual energy between ejaculations before it is used up again. That doesn’t mean you can’t have sex. You’re just not supposed to orgasm every time you do.

The most common system is to limit ejaculation frequency to every few days, although there is an actual ejaculation frequency recommendation based on age, which is as follows:

20s: all you want
30s: 3–4x/week
40s: 2–3x/week
50s: 1–2x/week
60+: once a week depending on health

One popular theory among Tao practitioners is ejaculation based upon the frequency of intercourse, with ejaculation occurring only two or three times out of every 10 sexual encounters. One Tao theorist, Sun Simiao, recommends ejaculation no more than once every 20 days for men over 50 and no more than once every 100 days for men over 60. From a practical standpoint, you “injaculate” rather than ejaculate by squeezing the same muscles you’d squeeze if you were trying to stop the flow of urine, while “breathing the energy” up your spine. And if you get too close? Jam your fingers and apply pressure into your perineum, the soft tissue between your scrotum and your anus.

The nice part about this technique is that the cost is free, aside from the tranquilizers you might need to keep from transforming into a pent-up, angry, moody, aggressive, blue-balled man on those days you decide to have sex but not ejaculate. In addition, according to researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health, ejaculating at least 21 times a month may reduce a man’s prostate cancer risk. And if you’re trying to conceive a child, multiple studies have determined that sperm counts are typically highest two to three days after ejaculation, though more recent research has also shown that daily masturbation shouldn’t affect your chances of a pregnancy.

Mistake #6: Ignoring The Power Of Sex

In my episode “How To Get Fit For Sex” with my friend and relationship coach Jordan Gray, we delve into the idea that you should only prioritize being fit enough for good sex, but also the idea that sex is, in and of itself, a fun fitness activity and powerful way to boost your testosterone and initiate a very positive feedback loop.

One of Jordan’s specialties is tantric sex — a slow, intimate form of sex that leads to a better connection with yourself and your partner. While there is no one singular way “to do” tantric sex, the simplest way is to slow down, control your breathing, and be cognizant of your body in every moment. When it comes to becoming multi-orgasmic as a man, cultivating this skill is simpler than you might think.

Set aside some time to masturbate yourself to arousal, and then consciously raise and lower your arousal level, alternating between 9 and 5 on a scale of 10. Consciously use your breathing to circulate the sexual energy throughout your body. Do this for 30 to 60 minutes a couple of times per week and you will become intimately aware of your ejaculatory point of no return. Once you’re familiar with this arousal zone, you’ll be able to ride the edge of this orgasmic precipice and experience “multiple orgasms” in no time. But let’s be clear: don’t think of each orgasm as a 10 after 10 after 10, but rather, ride the edge of a 9.5 for seconds (and eventually minutes) without having to pause for a break.

If you want to become proficient in the art of being multi-orgasmic, this generally takes anywhere from one to three months of consistent practice, and in addition to checking out Jordan Gray’s website, I also recommend you read the excellent book The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know.


Summary

Whew. I know that was a lot.

So should you find your head spinning and your crotch becoming dizzy just thinking about implementing what you’ve learned, let’s now step back and simplify with an example of what a “day in the life” of optimizing your testosterone would actually look like.

Morning:

-Breakfast: Include plenty of good fats such as avocado, eggs, olive oil, coconut milk, and the like. Also, consume — preferably along with breakfast — the following supplements*:

-5g creatine

-2000IU vitamin D/vitamin K blend

-20mg zinc

-50mg supplemental DHEA 

-10mg boron

-30g cocoa powder

-2g maca root extract

For added effect, you can take these optional supplements:

-500mg fenugreek extract

-200mg Pycnogenol 

-200-300mg Eurycoma longifolia

-300mg Tribulus

Throughout day:

Engage in as many EMF mitigation strategies as you can, with the simplest strategies being keeping your phone in airplane mode (unless you’re actively using it), keeping your laptop off your lap (or using an anti-radiation pad when you do), and keeping the Wi-Fi signal off devices when ethernet is available.

Definitely detox your home, and it is probably also a good idea to audit your workspace for EMF with an acoustimeter or hire a building biologist (check out my podcast with Brian Hoyer) if you really are serious about optimizing your environment. I cannot recommend any more highly that you read this book on EMF mitigation strategies.

Also, throughout your day, be cognizant of stress so that your testosterone:cortisol ratio stays high. You can also practice relaxation breathwork such as deep nasal breathing and belly breathing, laugh and smile, get outdoors, and pay attention to the two chapters of stress mitigation strategies in my book Beyond Training. Finally, make it a point to be around people, especially women, as the mere presence of females can increase testosterone (and no, porn definitely does not count and may, in fact, be deleterious for hormonal balance).

Afternoon workout:

Here is what a sample testosterone-optimizing workout looks like — following the recommendations above of longer rest periods, lifting with the legs, etc. This workout requires a gym or access to some weights such as barbells or dumbbells. It’s quite simple. With as heavy a weight as you can lift with good form, you do 5 sets of 5 reps of:

-Benchpress
-Deadlift
-Back squat
-Shoulder Press
-Clean

During the 90-second to two-minute recovery period between each set, you perform easy mobility exercises or core exercises, such as opposite-arm and opposite-leg extensions, planks, side lunges, jump rope, etc. You could simply do this twice per week, and if you have a partner, pyramid up in weight for each set so that by the final set, you are forced to require assistance with each lift.

Evening:

Maximize nitric oxide by consuming foods with dinner such as arugula, spinach, beets, carrots, red onions, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, extra virgin olive oil, pomegranate, cubed watermelon, dark chocolate, and red wine. At least a couple times a week, plan a specific time to have sex and set aside the moment to really make it count so that you can practice the techniques from The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know, such as reverse orgasm, tantric, or reduced ejaculation frequency. Finally, take 400–500mg of magnesium before bed and/or smear your arms/legs with a good magnesium topical lotion.

Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for me about testosterone-boosting and anything I discussed in this article? Leave your comments below and I will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question





Source link

Related Articles

Ben Greenfield Corner

Twins Debunking Fitness Myths with Diet & Exercise Experiments

Affiliate Disclosure Reading Time: 8 minutes What I Discuss with Ross &...

Ben Greenfield Corner

The Weekly Roundup: Your Go-To Guide For Everything You May Have Missed This Week & More! 7/5-7/11

Welcome to Ben Greenfield’s Weekly Roundup! In this weekly post, I share...

Ben Greenfield Corner

Mastering the Minimum Dose of Exercise

July 9, 2024 “You ready?” I nodded and gulped. The guy in...

Ben Greenfield Corner

The Weekly Roundup: Your Go-To Guide For Everything You May Have Missed This Week & More! 6/28-7/4

Welcome to Ben Greenfield’s Weekly Roundup! In this weekly post, I share...