low cortisol and low testosterone, body comp
** I posted this in the Odds and Ends page, but I thought I may get more responses on this forum**
So I recently went to the doctor for lab work and it turns out I have low testosterone and low cortisol. I'm a 19 yr old male and she said the testosterone levels were that of an aging man. She is a naturopath and loved my diet and lifestyle, and said that it is likely an issue with nutrient absorption in my gut that isn't allowing my adrenals to function properly. So that sucks.
Anyway, I do strength training 4x week and don't really do much cardio or high intensity stuff (which turns out to be a good thing as they stress adrenals more). I eat a lot of red meat, and moderate carbs mostly from root vegetables. While I'm happy with my current weight (5'6" and 165 lbs-- a little high but I have super broad shoulders), my body composition upsets me. I feel like for someone who is young, lifts heavy weight often, and eats super clean, my body composition should be better. Am I wrong to think that my low levels of testosterone and low levels of cortisol are hurting my attempts at having a better body comp? Current body fat is around 17%, and I used to be pretty overweight at about 30% body fat (2+ yrs ago). Also, has anyone fixed either low cortisol or low testosterone and noticed improved body comp? Thanks y'all!
A couple questions... What were your test results? Why are you going to a Naturopath? Are you planning on seeing a GP? What is your diet like, calories, macros, foods..
Originally Posted by primalsun
Yes low test will have a significant impact on body comp. You are 19 so this is pretty serious and you should go to a doctor and get retested. Also get tested for Thyroid, Estrogen, Mineral deficiencies and a metabolic comp.
Most ND's (naturopathic doctors) are general providers (GP's). Its tough (read: nearly impssible) to find an MD (guess this is your only definition of "doctor") that will treat a young kid in a holistic manner without relying heavily on drugs. Personally I would not even consider an audience with an MD unless it was for something that they are good at (emergency care/infections).
Originally Posted by Zach
To OP: I think you made a good choice. What does your ND recommend in terms of improving nutrient absorption? Basically sounds like you may need to heal your gut for better absorption. But, you didn't list your diet. Are you primal?
I think what Zach is getting at is, see an MD not so much for treatment, but to find out WHY a supposedly healthy 19yo male has critically low testosterone. There could be a serious medical problem causing this.
OTOH, what kind of strength training are you doing? I will tell you this, when I can get under a heavy barbell reliably, I notice higher levels of aggression, and more frequent morning wood. Both indicators of higher testosterone production.
Heavy squats, plenty of protein, saturated fat, and a caloric surplus, supplement with zinc, and get plenty of sleep.
But see a doctor, too.
Thanks everyone for the replies!
My levels are 319 ng. I see a naturopath because every doctor who I've ever seen in my life has immediately tried to pump me ful of drugs that I don't trust (my dad is a pharmacist, and I've seen what overprescribed drugs can do to people). So I chose a natural doctor to try and find out whats wrong, and how to fix it through supplementation or lifestyle, or if its serious more extreme measures.
Calories fluctuate between 2000-2600/day; I'm primal with a heavy emphasis on meat as its the only thing thar gives me the "charge" i need to get through the day. I do gain fat realllly easily so while I don't generally restrict
calories, I try to keep them in the 2300/day range. My thyroid looks OK, and her main concern is my adrenal glands. The blood work I had done wasn't a full panel, so this month i'm getting everything checked and then we'll work from there.
Also, the lifting I do is mainly only squats, deadlifts, bench press, and shoulder press with some accessory exercises thrown in. I just don't feel that buzz most people feel when they left. A few weeks ago I PR'd by 10 lbs on my squat and I didn't even crack a smile or think too much about it. I was just kind of like "cool" and everyone around me was like uh, you can get excited. I honestly just want to feel like a young guy!
Could you share your cortisol levels with me ?
I have hypopituitarism so I had to deal with low T levels as well (300 ng/dl when I'm "normal" and very very very low when I crashed due to weights lifting and low fat diet, around 20 ng/dl which led me to be in a VERY VERY degraded state).
I'm injecting T enanthate 125 mg every week but I have many many problems with my adrenals atm.
Young self-caring Paleo-eater from France.
(So please forgive the strange way I tend to express myself in your beautiful language )
At the risk of agreeing with Zach..... I totally agree on this point. Naturopaths are general practitioners in that they treat the whole body but they are still not "real" doctors. The underlying cause of the problem could be something way beyond what herbs and supplements and weight training can fix. Best to find out for sure.
Originally Posted by CE402
Hahahaha! Going to an MD to get find the real reason for a health crash! Pretty much the opposite of my experience. Naturopaths ARE doctors and my first choice for one. I only see specialist MD's like my neurosurgeon after a car accident.
That said, OP, I doubt this is just a result of leaky gut. You're going to need some herbs, like adaptogens and . Don't be afraid to find a different N.D., if this one doesn't get you to your goals. An ND, L.Ac would be ideal. I go to school with them and most are absolutely brilliant and have a much broader and deeper knowledge than just nutraceuticals.
Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf both discuss testosterone levels so check their archives.
Your average GP shouldnt even be able to prescribe anything related to hormones, most are idiots in this area, i mean idiots. Many naturopaths have degrees is anti aging, their understanding of hormones is far superior in this case.
Originally Posted by Paleobird
You guys are off your rocker if you would send a 19 year old male with clinically low testosterone levels to a ND before a MD. Of course a GP wont di the prescriptions, he will send him to a Endo which is where he needs to go. I mean "nutrient absorption in gut causing weak adrenals"? That sounds pretty quacky to me. Plus if this kid has insurance, go get the real stuff instead of wasting thousands of dollars. NDs can be just as corrupt or worse when it comes to unnesseary prescriptions.
Originally Posted by codered5