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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 22, 2010

A Primal Primer: Testosterone

By Mark Sisson
368 Comments

If you’ve been reading recently you know I’ve been on a hormone kick recently. That sexy looking molecule to the right and the hormone du jour: testosterone. Testosterone is the principal anabolic and sex hormone in humans, responsible for sexual desire and function, muscular hypertrophy, densification of bones, and hair growth. Compared to females, males famously produce about ten times the amount of testosterone, but females are far more sensitive to its effects. Though testosterone is largely responsible for those traits and characteristics that are considered “masculine” – physical strength, body hair, dominance, and virility – both sexes require it for proper sexual and physical development. In mammals, males secrete it primarily from the testicles (about 95% of the total amount, in fact) and women secrete it from the ovaries. A modicum is produced in the adrenal glands in both sexes.

Testosterone plays an important role throughout every stage of a person’s life:

Prenatally, testosterone – along with dihydrotestosterone, a more potent anabolic hormone – is partly responsible for the formation of the male genitalia. It helps determine gender identity (with society bringing up the rear later in life, of course) and it spurs development of the prostate and seminal vesicles.

In early infancy, boys’ testosterone levels rise, almost to puberty levels, only to plummet at 4-6 months. We’re still not entirely sure what the rise means and what all that testosterone is doing, but it’s definitely doing something. One theory is that the brain is being “masculinized.”

Immediately prior to puberty, testosterone begins to rise in both boys and girls. Childhood is departing, replaced by budding pubic hair, the beginnings of body odor, growth spurts, oily hair and skin, and that ridiculous peach fuzz above the lips that every eleven year-old male tries to cultivate and claim as facial hair. Bones mature and the arm pits grow hair.

 

During puberty, testosterone enjoys a massive increase.  Most of you reading this probably recall those awkward, exciting change-filled times: new odors, inconvenient fluctuations in the functionality and appearance of certain organs, strange new outlooks on the opposite sex. Good times. Thanks, testosterone!

 

In adults, testosterone’s effects on growth and development have largely manifested and maintenance becomes its province. Libido is preserved for both men and women and erection strength and frequency are regulated by testosterone. Muscles resist wasting thanks to T (and even grow larger).

I would be remiss if I failed to mention testosterone’s chief antagonist: cortisol. Cortisol, as you know, is one of the stress, fight-or-flight hormones. It kept us alive and our wits about us under short-term life-or-death situations for much of our evolution. Unfortunately, when cortisol is constantly elevated – as it often is in the sleep-deprived and chronically-stressed – testosterone is muted. Cortisol is catabolic (breaks tissue down), while testosterone is anabolic. Excessive levels of cortisol produce insulin resistance, fat gain, and muscle wasting, while testosterone promotes muscular hypertrophy and lean mass gains. Cortisol contributes to metabolic syndrome, while testosterone helps alleviate it.

Ironically, serum testosterone status seems to predict the cortisol response of people faced with victory or defeat. High T men and women who “lost” released more cortisol, the stress hormone; when they “won,” less cortisol was released. Low T folks’ cortisol changes did not depend on winning or losing. I guess that’s a downside to high T levels, technically, but it’s to be expected. I’m reminded of the Jimmy Cliff classic, “The bigger they come, the harder they fall”.

Low serum concentrations of testosterone are also independently associated with higher mortality rates in men, even when you consider other risk factors and preexisting health conditions.

Testosterone is important in the formation of bones, as I mentioned earlier, but it’s also crucial for the maintenance of bone density, especially in the elderly.

Testosterone aids in protein synthesis, effectively helping rebuild muscle fibers with amino acids. It can preserve existing mass or build upon it, creating more.

So, testosterone is important, and even vital, if you want to build (and keep) strong bones and muscles, maintain a healthy, active sex life, and live long and well into old age – but how do we make sure we’re making enough?

In 1889, a Harvard University professor by the name of Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard injected himself with a “rejuvenating elixir” containing the extract of dog and guinea pig testicle, reporting increased vigor and feelings of well-being. Traditional Chinese herbalists would often prescribe dried tiger’s penis for impotence, and ancient Greek Olympians feasted on goat and lamb testicles to boost stamina and athletic performance. Clearly, even before testosterone was specifically identified, the ancients (and not-so-ancients) knew that the loins were involved in vigor, strength, and stamina.

Their (our) fixation on consumption of genitalia and genitalia extractions to correct deficiencies in strength, vigor, sexual stamina, and general “well-being” sounds intuitive, in a folksy, endearing sort of way. Does it make sense to eat bull testicles to restore one’s manhood and increase available testosterone?

Not really. Testosterone doesn’t pool up in one’s testicles. It’s not a static reservoir waiting in reserve to be disseminated throughout the body. It’s a hormone that the testicles (in men) and ovaries (in women) produce. That mouthful of fluid you got when biting into a roasted sheep’s testicle on your Greek vacation wasn’t pure, liquid testosterone – sorry. In order to get testosterone, you have to produce it (or inject it, but that’s an entirely different post) endogenously. And if you want to manipulate the amount of testosterone you have available, you can do it the same way you manipulate other hormones, like insulin, leptin, growth hormone, and cortisol. You tinker with your diet, your exercise, and your basic daily lifestyle.

Lift Heavy Things

Resistance training is a potent stimulant of testosterone production, so be sure to lift heavy things every now and again. If you want to tinker even further, messing around with rest intervals between sets can stimulate different hormonal responses. In one study, resting 90 seconds between squat and bench press sets boosted post-workout T levels the most, followed by rest periods of 120 seconds. Resting 60 seconds increased growth hormone the most and T the least.

Sprint

In young men, a short six-second bout of sprinting increased serum total testosterone levels. Levels remained elevated during recovery. Interestingly, testosterone was also correlated with lactate levels in the blood. It would be even more interesting to know if any training that causes lactate levels to rise would also increase testosterone.

Avoid Excessive Cortisol

Since cortisol antagonizes and reduces free testosterone levels, and stress promotes the release of cortisol, avoiding stress becomes crucial for maintaining or boosting T levels. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, every night (which in and of itself increases testosterone levels). Avoid overtraining, especially in the Chronic Cardio arena, which may affect T levels and reproductive function. And be sure to take time to chill out and relax (read a book, go for a walk, play).

Get Sun, or Take Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D, already associated with bone and muscular strength, also positively correlates with testosterone levels in men. Back in February, the vitamin D/T link got a decent amount of media attention.

Eat Clean, Pastured Animal Products

Toxic substances called dioxins have been shown to interfere with the male reproductive system, including production of testosterone. While concentrated sources of dioxins include Agent Orange (which I’m sure you’re already avoiding), we obtain most of our dietary dioxins through conventionally-raised animal products, especially animal fats and dairy (dioxins accumulate in fat). If you’re going to be eating fatty cuts of meat or using dairy, try to go for pastured, grass-fed animals to reduce your exposure and lessen the negative impact on your testosterone levels.

Eat Saturated and Monounsaturated Fat

A low-fat, high-fiber diet reduced serum and free testosterone levels in middle-aged men. T usage wasn’t affected, but T production was reduced. Another look at male athletes found that both saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and cholesterol intakes were positively correlated with resting testosterone levels. PUFA intake was barely associated with increased levels.

Avoid Foods that Regularly Spike Your Blood Glucose Levels

Researchers found that 75 grams of pure glucose – and the resultant spike in blood sugar – was enough to drop testosterone levels by as much as 25% in a random grouping of healthy, prediabetic, and diabetic men. Now keep in mind how rapidly many SAD carb choices (pasta, cereal, bread, etc) convert to glucose upon digestion…

Get Adequate Zinc Intake

A zinc deficiency predicts lowered testosterone in men (eat your shellfish), but heroic supplementary doses of the mineral don’t boost T levels beyond normal in men with adequate dietary intake.

All in all, testosterone is an incredibly important hormone for health, longevity, and vitality – in both men and women. Leading a Primal life, free of excessive stress and peppered with smart, intense workouts, full of healthy animal fats and plenty of vitamin D, should be enough to promote adequate amounts of testosterone coursing through your veins. It may sound a bit redundant at times (advice: live Primal!), but what can you do when a common, uniting thread seems to run through almost every aspect of human health. It almost writes itself.

TAGS:  Aging, hormones

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368 Comments on "A Primal Primer: Testosterone"

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Matt
Matt
6 years 3 months ago

First. Sorry. Had to.

mike
6 years 3 months ago

why?

Rodney
Rodney
6 years 3 months ago

Would it be possible to have the moderators automatically remove the “first” comments that obviously add nothing to the comments section? I would also include responses to such comments (like this one) as it obviously adds nothing either.

While I am sure the “first” posters’ mommies would be duly proud, that isn’t enough reason to allow them to continue junking up the comments here.

I will not make this request again, or bother to reply to attention-seeking behavior. Sorry for wasting everyone’s time.

Ben
Ben
6 years 3 months ago

Uh oh! Comment section drama! Someone could use a little more testosterone…

mike
mike
6 years 3 months ago

LOL, You started it Ben!

Ben
Ben
6 years 3 months ago

It’s true!!! What have I done!?!?

Yes!!
Yes!!
4 years 9 months ago

I totally agree. Totes mi-goats.

Suvetar
Suvetar
6 years 3 months ago

Men…
All about men…typical.
Why would mother nature just completely screw over females in every aspect of life?
We are the ones life depends on…
It doesn’t make any sense.

Russ Hutto
6 years 3 months ago

“So, testosterone is important, and even vital, if you want to build (and keep) strong bones and muscles, maintain a healthy, active sex life, and live long and well into old age”

That seems pretty inclusive to both genders to me 🙂

Suvetar
Suvetar
6 years 3 months ago
So how do women exactly produce testosterone besides the ovaries? What if a woman had her ovaries taken out? How do these tribal women all over the world keep their bone density? Many of them don’t lift heavy things, they never sprint either. Like the tribes of the island of Tanna (saw that series on NatGeo) I am on a quest to figure out the best possible way to not have osteoporosis EVER. And this post about MEN and their high testosterone which is THE hormone to keep bone density isn’t helping much. Perhaps the RAW primal diet would be… Read more »
Macha
Macha
6 years 3 months ago

They don’t lift heavy things? Really? What about children? Or food?

It’s not like women don’t have testosterone. They just don’t have as much as men.

Shawn
Shawn
6 years 3 months ago

If you had read the article youd see that some is also made in the adrenal glands.

Also, tribal women who live a more hunter gatherer lifestyle are almost sure to have a more active lifestyle than most westernized cultures, you just need the stimulus.

Youll never catch a tribal person sitting down at leisure surfing the apple, i guarantee you that.

Jonathan
Jonathan
6 years 3 months ago

I don’t think you’re going to find many tribal women that are missing their ovaries.

Many cultures, women are “beasts of burden” and lift heavy stuff all the time and I think chasing kids down counts for sprinting.

Kary Golding
Kary Golding
4 years 7 months ago

To avoid osteoporosis…

Maintain healthy levels of estrogen, especially important after menopause.

Stay active (avoid a sedentary lifestyle)

Maintain healthy eating habits (avoid eating disorders)

Get Vitamin D (sunlight is best) suplements help.

Avoid alcohol in excess.

Avoid hormone treatments.

Keep a healthy body weight (not too heavy or light)

Don’t smoke.

Get plenty of calcium.

Dr mike
4 years 6 months ago

In the old days people would hunt for food. They also grew there own gardens minus all the cemicals. Also they worked and played hard. But most important with all that being said a good nights sleep is very important. Raw food is ok to eat but i must warn you animals have germs so if your going raw it must be a fresh kill. Stay away from all drugs unless your doctor gives it to you. Also make time for sex daily in the morning if applicable.

Marcus Iralius
Marcus Iralius
4 years 4 months ago

It also notes that women are much more sensitive to testosterone, equalizing the playing field.

Ben
4 years 3 months ago

Yams will replace female harm one levels. So go to your local cafeteria and load up on yams(sweet potatoes). This Is good therapy to avoid bone loss in women. And effeminate men too(men who have hormone imbalance). There are lots of scientific studies that support this data.

snowflowr82
snowflowr82
1 year 2 months ago

Progesterone helps women’s bone density! Something to look into as well

ambar aerobics
4 years 3 months ago

testosterone increase when u are doing workout ,resting n eating healthy food .

Bender
Bender
4 years 22 days ago

Yams reduce effeminacy in men??what on earth do you mean “Ben”?
Utter hogwash……and why would people want to do that anyway.

James
5 years 2 months ago

Thats rubbish. Women depend on men if it wasn’t for men women would die out. We need each other. dont talk rubbish

native man
native man
4 years 4 months ago

native women tend to gather morning wood. sex in the morning is very important to a woman’s health. swallowing in the evening also gives women all the necessary protein and hormones to maintain good bone density.

Alvin Sr
Alvin Sr
4 years 1 month ago

LOL. If I read it on the internet it must be true.

Eva
Eva
4 years 15 days ago

Wow, how chauvanistic!! Funny though.
As a native woman, I was like OH no, at first, as morning sex is something I don’t like to take part in too often.

ROCK
ROCK
3 years 5 months ago

You must live on a different continent….
All of the women I’ve known are NOT morning people. They are SLEEP people. If I wanted sex in the morning it better be after 10a.m. on a weekend….

Dennis
Dennis
5 years 11 minutes ago

“Mother”? nature. perhaps Father nature has been working under a sir name all these years…

Mike
Mike
4 years 19 days ago

Father Sun, Mother Nature. Equal partners in giving life to the human race.

david
david
2 years 6 months ago

State the world is in its a pity either bothered with the human race
at all

Andrew
Andrew
4 years 2 months ago

Sexist much? Just apply everything it says on how to boost t levels. Just because you’re a women doesn’t mean you can’t eat these foods or lift heavy or any of that nature..
I could complain about how most stores in the mall are “all about women.. typical.” But i find that there are places other than the mall to shop for men’s clothing of my personal interest.
There are ways around everything. Remember that.

Eva
Eva
4 years 15 days ago

I have to say, I admire your response!

Norm
Norm
4 years 10 days ago

what r u talking about? Just cuz men produce more testosterone? women are the givers of life..the care takers of the family.men got to be more physically active to take care of his queen.if it weren’t for this mankind wouldn’t have evolved thus far.These days women want to be all they can be and i don’t argue with that but come on..we can’t bear children and women can’t produce testosterone.That might be why we come to an em pas in todays society.

Jimmy John
Jimmy John
3 years 10 months ago

Your a stupid woman… With a cat’s brain.

Ossian
Ossian
3 years 10 months ago

I’m sorry, but to be honest, you’re hardly likely to find a man on an article about maintaining/increasing oestrogen levels complaining that it’s all about women…

Amy
Amy
3 years 8 months ago

The purpose of life to; surve and replicate. that’s it.

You are required for replication.
Men are required for survival.

RB2
RB2
3 years 6 months ago

Who is screwing you over? A number of times this article has mentioned how T is used in both the male and female bodies…..Stop being a victim.

Jamie
Jamie
3 years 6 months ago

Although there are many health benefits to healthy testosterone levels (in both males and females), estrogen is also pretty amazing. One of the reasons why men are more likely than women to get dementia when they age is that estrogen has neuro-protective functions.

ROCK
ROCK
3 years 5 months ago

Of course it’s about men. The article’s demographic targeted men.
2nd. Why do you think Mother Nature screwed you over? Are you doing your part? ARe you eating right, getting the proper amount of exercise and sleep?
Yes, life depends on the female, but don’t forget it takes a sperm too. And don’t tell me a man can’t raise a child.
Honey, life isn’t all about YOU.

Daniel Doty
3 years 5 months ago
False taking of credit…typical of all humans, male & female. Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3-5; 128:2-4; Deuteronomy 7:12-14), not the result of human behavior, although certain human behavior was designed to play a participatory role. Just an additional thought, have you ever seen a woman who could give birth without the existence of men or participation at some point by men (or what is provided through the life of men)? Life depends on God, not mankind, male and/or female. God’s creation is wonderful: Psalm 139:13-16 We are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. And who said mankind is replete… Read more »
Rodley
Rodley
3 years 3 months ago

So… if women are the ones that life depends on, then why do women even need men?
Oh yeah!
because it takes a man AND a woman to have a child. you’re obviously an idiot who got lost on her way to a feminist page.
if you don’t wanna read an article about men, then DON’T.
it’s an article for men so what do you expect.
do you see guys going on page about keeping estrogen levels up and saying what you just said (except about women)
Just, stfu and let people learn about their own body management

fredflintstone
fredflintstone
2 years 7 months ago

It makes perfect sense. This was Gods pox on women for eve picked the apple from .tree of life.

john
john
1 year 8 months ago

umm this is an article about testosterone- relax

Todd
Todd
6 years 3 months ago

So would a carb-refeed result in lowered testosterone levels for that day?

Spence
Spence
6 years 3 months ago

You are the ones that life depends on….you’re exactly 50% of the equation, no more, no less.

It’s pretty clear you did not read the article

Caitlin
Caitlin
6 years 3 months ago

Actually, females are more than 50%, if you’re counting the full equation. I’m just basing this on the fact that everyone has their mother’s mitochondrial DNA. You can’t make a person with just DNA. You need a cell with all the goodies in it. That comes from your mom. And then the 40 weeks following conception as well…

Not to negate men’s contribution. It’s extremely important! I mean, it must be hard to hunt when you’re more than four month pregnant. So, maybe it is 50/50, depending on how you look at it!

Shawn
Shawn
6 years 3 months ago
No, its 50/50 like was said. Youre fancy egg with its goodies isnt worth anything if it doesnt get fertilized. Who cares if there is more to an egg than sperm, if you could never exist without either? Its 50/50….period. The article was for both men and women, just as estrogen plays a role in men as well. Mark can you maybe do a post on Estrogen just to keep some of the more insecure women from going coocoo for coco puffs? As far as the bone density thing goes, if you eat a primal diet i doubt youll have… Read more »
Keith
Keith
5 years 2 months ago

Thank you Shawn. That was a nicer version of what I would have said.

Alvin Sr
Alvin Sr
4 years 1 month ago

If you look into it, females can reproduce without a male contribution. However they can only create female offspring. There is no male contribution in cloning. ….
…. Just saying..

bayne
bayne
4 years 1 month ago
There’s a reason men rule the world. The only reason women have a say in things in modern times is because men allow them to have a say. Men are naturally stronger, faster, smarter and more reasonable than women. You can’t disagree with this, this is why men and women compete separately in athletic activities, women just couldn’t keep up. It’s also the reason why men have always ruled the world. The only things men need women for are pleasure and procreation. Of course, it’s also nice to have them make you sammiches and clean up after you but as… Read more »
Kishore
Kishore
6 years 3 months ago

Mark, what can we do nutrition or supplement wise to avoid excessive conversion of T in to estrogen and thus having lower free T? Thanks.

Dan
Dan
4 years 7 months ago

Look into Chrysin cream. I found a chiropractic doctor, in California, how would prescribe it from Apex Energetix (I’m in PA). It is called Testanex. My Testosterone was measured at 48. With one month of using the chrysin cream, it measured 278. Chrysin inhibits an enzyme from breaking down the T. Keep in mind that it must be topical, not digested. Hope this helps. – Dan

lorin
lorin
3 years 9 months ago

Dear Dan.
Interesting information.How much cost this Chrysin cream?
Thanks.Lorin

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

Over a year ago, I found out that my 53-year-old female body was not producing testosterone. My muscles were wasting and I was gaining body fat – 46% at the highest. With no testosterone, we ladies will not be able to build muscle no matter how much weight we lift!

I now have a testosterone pellet surgically implanted in my hip once every four months by my doctor. I am losing body fat and gaining muscle. Last summer, thanks to T, I gained 7 pounds of muscle in just four months!

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

Not to mention that with no T, there is NO libido!

Avishek Saha
4 years 3 months ago

yes and with no estrogen, there is no libido either! fascinating! estrogen is awesome for males! As testosterone is for females.

Oliver
Oliver
3 years 11 months ago

Awesome, really nice that it has helped you a lot.

I used a natural testosterone booster to fight my declining testosterone product ( I am a 42 year old male)
I Testoturbo by a company called explicit nutrition it helped me a lot.

Primal Toad
6 years 3 months ago

Just another reason to go primal – it boosts your sex drive!!

I could come up with 1000 reasons why someone should go primal. Well, on that thought I will get started actually. 🙂

lovestoclimb
6 years 3 months ago

Mark, these last few posts have been amazing! Thanks for investing your time and effort in creating posts like this. Pure Gold!

Jeff
6 years 3 months ago

Mark-

I’ve also read in the past that alcohol consumption decreases testosterone levels. Any recent research to indicate this is the same or to indicate how much alcohol decreases testosterone?

Jean-Patrick
6 years 3 months ago

You did not mention it, but being in a dangerous place can up your Test levels.

For example, males in jail often have higher test levels than non-criminal people.

kctex
kctex
6 years 3 months ago

That’s interesting. I would think it would be the opposite — that being in the midst of danger would up your cortisol level as “fight or flight” kicks in…

Jean-Patrick
6 years 3 months ago

Well, I may be wrong, but I believe cortisol kicks in when you are in the face of immediate danger. In a dangerous environment, high t levels seems to be important. It ensure you keep your enemies away. Ever noticed how most of the guys in jail are muscular? It makes you look and feel good.

Then again, that is what I read. May be Mark can shed some light on that.

Sean Donahue
6 years 3 months ago

The fight-or-flight response does lead to a temporary increase in physical performance, but being stuck in the sympathetic nervous state burns out the adrenals and throws off the entire endocrine cascade, and thus sabotages the body’s ability to regulate testosterone (as well as causing systemic inflammation, leading to dangerously high or low immune responses, etc.)

Alvin Sr
Alvin Sr
4 years 1 month ago

I think that is true for men who are confident and don’t stress easily , or repeat jailbirds who basically know what to expect in jail.

Forest
Forest
3 years 4 months ago
I could be wrong, but i think you have it backwards. Men don’t get a higher testosterone level because they’re in jail, but rather, men END UP in jail due to the behavioral effects of having or gaining a high testosterone level (ie. increased aggresion) I’ve done a little research myself, and if you want to be kinda steriotypical you could say that the trade-off for the physical health and performance offered by having a high T level is developing a bad personality or personality traits. To be fair though, studies on this particular subject should be taken with a… Read more »
mike
mike
6 years 3 months ago

Excess Test can also lead to violent behavior and agresive tendencies. You could make the argument that those men were too high to begin with.

Alvin Sr
Alvin Sr
4 years 1 month ago

Only if you’re predisposed to violent behavior. That’s like saying high levels of T promotes infidelity

Brad
Brad
6 years 3 months ago

@Kishore- to avoid excessive conversion of T to E, you must use aromatase inhibitors. Natural supplements would be high doses of Resveratrol (think red wine) (min 300mg/serving) and even Green Tea. Chemicaly, you would hav to get into things like Arimidex, but that’s last resort. Check out the research articles on LEF.org. (no affiliation for me, just good info)

@Jeff- alcohol has estrogen-like effects on the body. I don’t have any stats/research, but what does estrogen do to the body that alcohol does as well? Yup, man-boobs and other female-pattern fat-storing.

Sean Donahue
6 years 3 months ago

In most cases these effect as I understand them are more the result of the estrogenic effects of Hops on beer drinkers than the effects of alcohol itself. Though alcohol certainly impairs liver clearance of hormones which contributes heavily to hormonal imbalances.

Barefoot_explorer
Barefoot_explorer
6 years 3 months ago

Is there any danger of getting too much testosterone as a woman? I have heard of women losing their fertility from exercising too much. If you look at Olympic athletes they always have tiny breasts and hips. Is this due to testosterone? I know that the Primal Blueprint does not advocate this much training, I am just wondering what the guidelines are for testosterone as a a woman. How do I know if I have the right amount? Do I need to be careful while pregnant and/or nursing? Thanks!

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

Women will not over-produce testosterone, generally speaking. Those muscle-bound athletes are the rare exception, not the rule. As a woman, do not be afraid to lift like a man.

claire
claire
6 years 3 months ago

Lift like a man – that’s so funny! I have seen some men lift with pretty poor form!!
How about “lift like a champion” instead?

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

Ha! Okay, let me modify that statement:

Lift like a man who lifts correctly, and not like a little girl who is afraid to lift for fear of getting big muscles! LOL!

Alchemyguy, Science Bulldog
Alchemyguy, Science Bulldog
6 years 3 months ago

Holy mother of mercy, I watched some 20-something kid totally hack job some deadlifts today that made me cringe and fear for his back.

On women; you won’t ever, ever look like those olympic athletes unless you have the genetics and you turn your life over to training like one. It’s really a non-issue.

Cassie
Cassie
6 years 3 months ago
In April I started a 4 day a week bootcamp after a long sedentary stint. My period stopped for 6 weeks. I believe that exercise caused an increase in my testosterone and caused the absence of my period. My body finally adjusted when I cut back a day of hardcore working out and I’ll probably feel comfortable adding more exercise when my period regulates itself again. Female bodybuilders and gymnasts often have decreased breast size and few or no menstrual cycles, but if you aren’t working out THAT often and to THAT level, I doubt a woman could have too… Read more »
Phil-SC
Phil-SC
6 years 2 months ago

I am admittedly not a medcial professional, but my readings have led me to believe that a women is not going to get too much testosterorne from exercising and diet, even lifting heavy.

HOWEVER…if you want to see what happens when this does go awry for women, just take a look at some of the first women body-builders who were “doing the juice”. They look almost like men, even in the face. Today’s female figure athletes don’t have this look, because they saw what very excessive testosterone supplementation does to the female body.

Sean Donahue
6 years 3 months ago

Excellent post!

I would add that in cases of low Testosterone removing highly estrogenic plants like Soy and Hops from the diet can be important in normalizing Testosterone levels.

Aralia nudicaulis, “Wild Sarpsarilla” root can also be helpful both in normailizing testosterone levels (adjusting up or down) and in reducing cortisol by regulating and nourishing the adrenals.

trackback

[…] Original post by Mark Sisson […]

tess
tess
6 years 3 months ago

i also take maca, to increase both T and P, and help control E.

Oliver
Oliver
6 years 3 months ago

As far as I know T also needs to be RELEASED at some point (a fight, have sex, etc). because too much T is going to make you overly aggressive, lowered focus (though its high focus w/ good levels of T) and some other stuff I have noticed (and been told).

Any thoughts Mark/other?

Sara
6 years 3 months ago

I can definitely see how reduced frequency of sex could lower someone’s focus….

Sean Donahue
5 years 2 months ago

Oatstraw infusions will help to free bound testosterone.

St. John’s Wort will aid in its clearance by the liver.

As long as the liver is functioning properly and the channels for clearing hormones are not overloaded the body will modulate its own testosterone levels properly

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

At the age of 64, my husband was found to have critically low T. He now takes an injection of T once per week, and he has to take Arimadex twice per week, to keep from having high estrogen. I would be interested to know what else he could do to keep from having to take the Arimadex…

Tom
Tom
6 years 3 months ago

Check out resveratrol. It supposedly has an anti-estrogen effect plus other good effects.

Michael
Michael
6 years 2 months ago

Green Tea and Button Mushrooms have been shown in trials to reduce Estrogen.

Alexa
Alexa
6 years 3 months ago

as far as the guys in jail having more testosteron…it’s a chicken and the egg situation. it could be that those with higher testosterone tend to be more violent and commit more crimes. like men who are XXY instead of XY are more likely to commit crimes….

nathan
6 years 3 months ago

Or their bodies increase testosterone because they in a constantly hostile environment?

Jason
Jason
4 years 1 month ago

It’s because they lift weights all the time cause all they got.

Peggy
Peggy
6 years 3 months ago
Being 50 with the ovaries winding down & all, the female side of T is of interest. What else can we do (besides RSL’s hip pellet) to keep up some T in our systems? sounds like another “women’s issues” column (or week) is about due… @barefoot_explorer – the reason those female athletes lose fertility is usually tied in to their amt of body fat, etc. Also, overly fit (overly trained?) women tend to lose their womanly shape- alot of our curves are fat. Also interesting to note is the women who do produce too much T on their own: those… Read more »
Uncephalized
Uncephalized
6 years 3 months ago

I would surmise, based on the post, that regular strength training, good sleep, and a Primal diet would be the prescription for older women to keep high T-levels and preserve libido, the same as for young men looking to put on muscle or whatever.

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

Well, hope springs eternal! Declining hormones, including T, cannot be kept high with healthy living. And depending on your point of view, you either need to balance your hormones to young healthy levels to promote continuing health, or let them decline and get sick. I have decided to replace my hormones with natural, bio-identical ones. I take progesterone, T and thyroid.

Darron
Darron
4 years 12 days ago

I in need of some serious help, my t level is 106.5 barley on the scale, i’ve taken 3 t shots from my doctor of 150, and my level is unchanged, what can I do?

native man
native man
4 years 4 months ago

frequent sex and g-spot stimulation greatly reduces anxiety in women. for bone and muscle density, women should swallow frequently to make sure they’re getting proper levels of nutrients.

Terry
Terry
4 years 10 days ago

There are 4 billion women in the world. Why waste our time arguing with those that hate men. Also, why waste time with her egg (4 billion to choose from) – keep her type barren and lonely. Sleep only with the good women…

fishin-frog
fishin-frog
6 years 3 months ago

Serious question. Can a vasectomy affect testosterone production?

Jamie
6 years 3 months ago

Good question. I looked at this a few months back as I was considering a vasectomy. The information about is relatively hazy, but I was able to find one piece of information that suggested testosterone is partially transmitted along the epididymis (sp?) and could be affected when it is cut. That was enough for me… if it ain’t broke – don’t break it!

Curtis
Curtis
6 years 3 months ago

If you want some information about vasectomy from the other side of the aisle look for the vasectomy group on Yahoo. Lot’s of these guys say their T levels have plummeted and with the expected side effects.

Not scientific – but it is far from a ‘completely safe’ procedure.

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago
Many men who become naturally deficient in testosterone ponder the relationship between having a vasectomy and testosterone levels if thinking about boosting their testosterone levels with testosterone replacement therapy. The connection between vasectomy and testosterone production may influence their decision as to whether to have a vasectomy or not. The correlation between having a vasectomy and testosterone levels is somewhat in dispute. Although some facts about the relationship of having a vasectomy and testosterone production seem to be commonly accepted, other studies of vasectomy and testosterone levels have reached different conclusions. Research on the matter, however, generally agrees that if… Read more »
Peggy
Peggy
6 years 3 months ago

It has been my observation that guys who have had vasectomies showed no symptoms of reduced T 😉

LOU
LOU
2 years 8 months ago

I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU IT IS ALL IN THIER MINDS IT SURE DIDN’T EFFECT ME WHEN I GIT MINE

Justin
Justin
2 years 7 months ago

I had a my tube done 20 years ago, by a female Dr Cannon (funny & true), and my drive is as good as ever it was… even at 63!

Susan Campbell
6 years 3 months ago

If only us women had an increase in testosterone as a result of exercise. I think that’s what gives guys the edge when it comes to fat loss. It’s definitely the reason they can grow bigger muscles then us.

Anyway, when my female clients want to lose fat I always tell them we have to focus on growth hormone instead, since we can control its release with many of the factors listed in this blog.

Jamie
6 years 3 months ago

One wonders if the USDA’s drive to increase n-6 PUFA & decrease SFA intakes is a means to chemical castration of the population?!

claire
claire
6 years 3 months ago

Great article!
I am interestd in the link between Sugar spikes and T levels – but the link provided was a dead end! Does anyone know how I can find the original research paper?
Thx!

cathyx
cathyx
6 years 3 months ago
I’m hoping someone who is well versed in mechanics of hormones, diet and physical fitness would explore/explain the workings of all these on a woman’s body as she approaches menopause. (Mark- hint, hint) I know several women who are approaching mid forties whom I exercise with, who have said that they are starting to gain weight even though nothing has changed in their eating habits and physical fitness. I myself have gone through this, I’m a few years older than them. Even cutting back on the calories and exercising more doesn’t help very much. I’m certain that it has everything… Read more »
RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

I found the book “Ageless” to be invaluable in addressing these very issues.

I had all those issues, and it was very frustrating! I feel better now!

James
James
6 years 3 months ago

I have to jump in here since I specialize in hormones. What you are asking is in depth but the short answert is yes, hormones influence your entire body both directly and indirectly. If you are eating Primal and working out but notice they are not helping there probably is a hormonal imbalance resulting from adrenal fatigue. See most comment below on the “pregnenalone steal.”

Jamie
6 years 3 months ago
Cathyx, I’m sure as you know that with menopause, oestrogen levels decline, and as a result women lose much of the protection that oestrogen otherwise afforded them. This includes the pattern of fat deposition. With the decline in oestrogen and a relative increase in the testosterone:oestrogen ratio, many women start to take on more of a male pattern of fat depostition, i.e. increased abdominal fat storage. Unfortunately, this can be several years in the making. A poor diet might have been consumed for many years but the results smewhat masked by the protection of oestrogen. Losing that oestrogen dominance can… Read more »
James
James
6 years 3 months ago
Mark since you are on a hormone kick, you have to discuss the pregnenalone steal and adrenal fatigue. Since we are talking about testosterone, if someone has low testosterone the quesiton is why. More times than not it is due to the pregnenalone steal. The mother hormones pregnenalone gets “stolen” to make cortisol (by progesterone) to combat stress. This process makes the pathway of pregnenalone to DHEA to the sex hormones less viable thus resulting in low testosterone and estrogens. You can lift all you want, eat all you want but if this is happening, it trumps everything else. Repairing… Read more »
dave p
dave p
6 years 3 months ago

James, I like your thinking. Suggestions on repair of the adrenal glands?? Pregnenalone supplementation for men?? Ideas??

C2H5OH
C2H5OH
6 years 3 months ago

I would REALLY like to know how to lower estrogen levels in men’s body without using pills

C2H5OH
C2H5OH
6 years 3 months ago

I mean prolactin -.- Sorry

Xander
Xander
6 years 2 months ago

Be a man!

Edward
Edward
6 years 3 months ago

You mention getting adequate zinc. Is that from eating organ meats like liver? Or is just red meat enough?

Also would supplements like Zinc from Standard Process be a good idea?

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[…] post by Mark Sisson […]

nathan
6 years 3 months ago

The fact that insulin drops testosterone levels surprised me. As a weight lifter it is pretty common to purposely spike my insulin after a tough training session.

I have heard from several sources that testosterone in men has been dropping steadily for decades now. I wonder if this correlates to the increase of carbs and subsequent insulin spikes in the diet of the masses?

Or if it is due to all the strange toxins in today’s foods? Or both?

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6 years 3 months ago

[…] Testosterone […]

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[…] A Primal Primer – Testosterone – Mark’s Daily Apple […]

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[…] A Primer on Testosterone […]

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6 years 3 months ago

[…] How to increase you testosterone naturally. […]

Doug
6 years 3 months ago

A couple of other testosterone killers to mention are:

1. Endocrine disrupting chemical exposure via industrial pollution, and

2. Estrogen.

Estrogen is a potent testosterone inhibitor. When combined with high levels of insulin, most men are doomed to sporting a rockin’ set of man-boobs

http://www.healthhabits.ca/2009/08/12/hormones-problem-areas-and-your-body-fat-map-part-2/

Avishek Saha
4 years 3 months ago

Right.

So let’s just make sure we have NO ESTROGEN WHATSOEVER BECAUSE ESTROGEN IS A FEMININE HORMONE. TAKE AROMOTASE INHIBITORS!

NOT.

Too many men have this ridiculous unsubstantiated fear of estrogen, not recognizing its potent MASCULINIZING EFFECTS.

http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2009/10/8199/estrogen-plays-key-role-male-brain-development

ALso men don’t seem to realize that estrogen is crucial for a functioning libido. Low estrogen = low libido. If you have high testosterone, chances are you have healthy good estrogen levels and good libido due to aromatization, an essential part of steroid mehcanics.

richard
richard
6 years 3 months ago

Jimmy Cliff….”the harder they come..the harder they fall…one and all”…!

Farley
Farley
6 years 3 months ago

I lift heavy 3-4 days a week, sprint 1-3 days a week and take zinc supplements with 5000 IU of vit D, and calcium before bed. The trifecta…

Waking up like a teenager with morning wood. LOL. That wasn’t happening 45 pounds ago on my sad SAD diet.

Primal living and Testosterone baby!

garymar
garymar
6 years 3 months ago

“morning wood”, ha ha! We didn’t have that expression when I was a teen (I’m 56). When I came back to the US after a long time living abroad (before the internet), an acquaintance and I were discussing the sizes of our respective fireplaces and how to stack the wood inside them, and I innocently asked, “So how long is your wood?” Everybody around us cracked up laughing.

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

How old are you, Harley?

Farley
Farley
6 years 3 months ago

I’m 39 years old, so still a bit young but nonetheless my poor diet and obesity resulted in low testosterone levels and high blood pressure. my blood pressure hit 150/105 which put me promptly on the primal path.

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

Well, good for you! I was interested in your age to see if you were sayng that “going Primal” at an tyoical age for Andropause (50-60+) caused your testosterone to return to youthful levels.

Thanks!

Sergey
Sergey
5 years 1 month ago

i have the same feeling
i am 37 , just dropped 25 kg , going primal , lifting weights +IF

The hormones are boiling . the sex drive is enormous.
i attribute it to loss of fat that was transfering my testosteron to estrogen.

Fred
Fred
3 years 10 months ago

First!

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[…] blog, Mark’s Daily Apple, last night. The two blog posts I really got into were a primer on how to increase testosterone naturally and another on vitamin D, sun exposure and dosage. The reason this was so interesting to me is that […]

Tony Phillips
Tony Phillips
6 years 3 months ago

You just gotta ask yourself does it give you Wood?

RSL
RSL
6 years 3 months ago

Interesting article on testosterone, estrogen and andropause:

http://lowcarbbetterhealth.blogspot.com/2010/06/estrogen-not-just-for-women.html

Mark
Mark
6 years 3 months ago

WOW – great stuff – If I order now for only $49.95 (plus S&H) can I get a book too?

sangita
sangita
6 years 3 months ago

Rocking post – rocking comments!!

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[…] Primal Primer: Testosterone […]

Paramjit
6 years 3 months ago

That is a very comprehensive review of the testosterone hormone. Great information about the effect of rest intervals during strength training and how tweaking that can boost growth hormones or testosterone.

Erik
Erik
6 years 3 months ago

The day I started working my legs HEAVY i.e. (Squats, Presses, Deadlifts, Lunges etc.) is the day I started gaining muscle everywhere. It was the missing link in my routine. Thanks T!!

Alicia Kirschenheiter
6 years 2 months ago

The thing that stands out for me about this article is the correlation of cortisol and stress. In an effort to be well, I think learning to adapt, accept or advoid stess is key. For me, exercise has always been able to help relieve the stress of the day. Great article.

Crystal
Crystal
6 years 2 months ago
I am hoping to gain greater balance in my hormone levels, and the first steps I have been taking is to go Primal as much as possible and quit with the birth control pills which was an 8 year course of convenience that may have been a hindrance to progress in the weight management and muscle gain department. I just stopped the pills… and I try my best to keep my carbs under 100g/day. My last problem is a stressful job that probably has produced more than its fair share of cortisol and exhausts the hell out of me, which… Read more »
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[…] Mark’s Daily Apple gives us all the information we want to know and need to know about testosterone. […]

mark tyrrell
6 years 2 months ago
Another influence on testosterone levels in both men in women might be social status. Increased pecking order position seems to result in heightened levels of testosterone production. Again this may be a chicken or egg scenario. If you status increases will your T level increase or does your status increase because of higher pre-existing levels of T. Both and either probably. Higher social status has also been linked to increased longevity “In the UK, a famous study called the “Whitehall Study” which examined government workers (all of whom had the same type of health care), found that the higher someone… Read more »
warren
warren
6 years 2 months ago

I have read that cetain foods boost T-levels. I think it was Salmon, Celery, Avocados… not sure about this. Anyone?

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