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Thread: low cortisol and low testosterone, body comp

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  1. #1
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    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**

    Hey guys,
    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!

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    Quote Originally Posted by primalsun View Post
    ** I posted this in the Odds and Ends page, but I thought I may get more responses on this forum**

    Hey guys,
    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..

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    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..

    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).

    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?

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    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.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CE402 View Post
    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.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleobird View Post
    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.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by codered5 View Post
    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.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    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.
    Yeah, Zach. I'm afraid the doctor bashing has become almost a knee jerk reaction around here. Yes, there are some who are CW idiots and should retire. That doesn't mean all of them are like that. The same for naturopaths. Some are great and some just want to push the supplements the same as the doctors are accused of doing with the meds.

    Doctors (the real ones) have a lot of knowledge and experience. Naturopaths have a different knowledge set. What is wrong with using both?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    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.
    You are going off a lot of assumptions instead of checking on facts. ND's are absolutely doctors. In many states, they can prescribe pharmaceuticals. Have you ever bothered to look at the ND curriculum? They have just as much A&P, organ systems, biochemistry, etc. as MD's, nearly as much training in pharmacology and hundreds of hours more in nutrition, neutraceuticals, and herbs. You can look at one college here. There are even ND's that special in endocrinology. If you actually read scientific literature, you'd know that leaky gut is accepted in conventional science. I'll do a kindergarten flow for you: leaky gut > high inflammation > high cortisol production > depleted adrenals and down regulated cortisol receptors.

    Now, OP, do I think this is the only cause of your low testosterone? No. You may have misunderstood your doc in that this may be baseline treatment to get your endocrine system back to optimal functioning and then see where your levels are.
    Last edited by jkr; 12-11-2012 at 05:54 PM.

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    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!

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