Eight Ways To Lower Your Testosterone Levels
Disclaimer: This post is completely tongue-in-cheek and is intended to illustrate what NOT to do if you want to keep your T levels high. It is not aimed at people that have a medical need to lower their testosterone.
Today I want to look at eight easy ways to get rid of that pesky hormone known as testosterone.
What Is Testosterone?
I’m sure most of us here know that testosterone is the primary mammalian male sex hormone. While it is a male sex hormone, ladies you have some testosterone coursing through your veins as well, about 1/40th to 1/60th as much as the average male. For that reason, this article is important for you too. I mean, you don’t want to have male sex hormones do you?
For those wondering what role testosterone plays in the body, here are just a few of the irritations brought about by this hormone: enhanced libido, increased energy, increased production of red blood cells and protection against osteoporosis. And who would want all of that stuff? Not me! Read on to learn the ways you can make sure you keep your testosterone levels as low as possible, ensuring a lack of sex drive and low energy levels.
Given that I focus predominantly on nutrition as a means of health around here, I figured diet is a good place to start when we’re looking to decrease our testosterone levels.
It’s Soy Good!
The soy-fed marmosets had comparatively lower testosterone levels and higher numbers of Leydig cells per testis.my emphasis]
These results suggest that in adult males, genistein induces the typical estrogenic effects in doses comparable to those present in soy-based diets, while in neonatal animals, considerably higher doses are required to show estrogen-like activity.[my emphasis]
Total and free testosterone concentrations were inversely correlated with soy product intake after controlling for the covariates, but these correlations were of border line significance (r = -0.25, p = 0.05 and r = -0.25, p = 0.06, respectively).
“The tofu (soy) meal produced a significant increase in the level of sex-hormone-binding globulin.” Habito, R.C., et al. (2001). Postprandial changes in sex hormones after meals of different composition. Metabolism. 50:505-511.
Low Fat Diet = Healthy, Right?
Well, we already know that fat is going to clog up your arteries and bring you to a quick death. Now it looks like it’s going to drive up your testosterone too! So get rid of as much fat from your diet as possible.
We conclude that reduction in dietary fat intake (and increase in fiber) results in 12% consistent lowering of circulating androgen levels without changing the clearance.
Further, make sure the fat you do eat (it’s unfortunate that we can’t avoid all sources of fat, isn’t it?) is polyunsaturated rather than monounsaturated and especially not that deadly saturated fat. Studies have shown that when total fat, monounsaturated fat, and saturated fat intakes increase, so does testosterone.
Avoid Sins Of The Flesh
No, not those sins of the flesh. I’m talking about eating flesh. Studies show that eating animal protein is correlated with increases in testosterone. We can’t have that! So leave the cow, lamb, chicken, and pork for those meat-eating heathens and stick to a meat-free diet. It works for the Seventh Day Adventists:
Plasma levels of testosterone and estradiol-17 beta were significantly lower in the SV [Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarian] than in the omnivores. Additionally, the plasma levels of testosterone and estradiol-17 beta of the combined groups (SV, SNV, and NV) revealed a significant negative relationship with their crude and dietary fiber intakes.[my emphasis]
We already know that soy helps with reducing our testosterone levels, so replace that nasty meat with some good ol’ soy.
Blood concentrations of sex hormones did not differ after the two diets, but the mean testosterone:oestradiol value was 10 % higher (P=0·06) after the meat diet. SHBG was 3 % higher (P= 0·07), whereas the FAI [free androgen index] was 7 % lower (P=0·06), after the tofu diet compared with the meat diet.
Remember Your College Days
Hey, if a little alcohol is good for the body, a lot must be really good, right? Well, here’s some good news…long-term alcohol abuse will lower your testosterone levels. Not only can you cause your liver to store fat (hey, you store it everywhere else, why neglect the liver?), but you can tamper with your sex hormones.
Now see, in the very short-term, one study found that a subset of people (or rather rats) get a small increase in testosterone even when intoxicated. Luckily, for the rest of us, there is up to a 44% decrease in testosterone after five drinks. If you’re an overachiever, go full bore: Chronic alcohol consumption has a detrimental effect on male reproductive hormones and on semen quality. It seems that alcohol has this effect by promoting the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
We can’t expect diet to do all of the heavy lifting. It’s important to also incorporate some lifestyle factors in our efforts.
Smoke a Doobie…Or A Cigarette
Hey, while we’re drinking like we’re in college, we might as well incorporate a bit more fun. How about a bit of toke? All it takes is one joint (I have to laugh at the term “marijuana cigarette”) to depress testosterone in the short-term. If illegal drugs aren’t your cup of tea, you can just resort to cigarettes. The toxic effects of cigarettes directly affect the Leydig cells, those responsible for creating testosterone, resulting in decreases in plasma testosterone.
Edit: In the comments, Keenan has pointed out that the information on marijuana may not be correct. It appears the jury is out and there is conflicting data on whether pot has a measurable effect on testosterone levels. Older studies show an effect. Some newer studies show little or no effect. Some newer studies show an effect. I’ll leave it at that. Your decision on what to do with the info.
I’ll Rest When I’m Dead
We all know that fitness is a result of what you do in the gym or on the trail/track. Obviously if a little fitness is good, a lot of fitness is better. And since a little exercise will give you a little fitness, then a lot of exercise will give you a lot of fitness. Who needs to rest? Allowing your body to rest enough between workouts will never let us attain that awesome state of “overtrained”.
Numerous studies have shown that never stopping to rest your body will help to lower your testosterone levels via overtraining:
- “These results indicate that overtraining reduces testosterone levels, which is highly correlated with an increase in levels of cortisol.”
- “The human reproductive system also is adversely affected by overtraining syndrome, with luteinizing hormone (LH) levels decreasing when the athlete is overtrained. In women, LH decrease is associated with decreased percent of body fat and associated decreased levels of estrogen. Overtraining in females is often manifested by amenorrhea. In men, decreased LH results in decreased testosterone and a resultant inability to build muscle mass.” – A Review of Overtraining Syndrome
- “the base LH levels of the marathon runners tended to be higher, and the base levels of free testosterone lower than in untrained controls.” – Influence of 6-week, 6 days per week, training on pituitary function in recreational athletes
Of course “overtraining” is specific to the individual, so you’ll need to just keep working out more and more until you start to feel the effects.
Freak Out About Everything
The body’s response to increased stress is to release cortisol, the stress hormone. Since cortisol is important to biological functions like glucose metabolism, blood pressure regulation, insulin release, immune function, and the inflammatory (healing) response, let’s make sure we have as much of it as possible.
Since increased cortisol (and in fact, all glucocorticoids) brings with it decreased testosterone, we want to make sure that we make a mountain out of every molehill we come across. Someone cut you off in traffic? Curse, rant, rave, flip that $#*!% off. Coworker screw up? Ha! We don’t make mistakes in the office, so let them have it! And if your spouse says something that could possibly be offensive, but probably wasn’t intended to be, make sure you take it the wrong way.
Catch The Late Show…And The Late, Late Show
Bah! Sleep…who needs it? When you’re sleeping, it’s really hard to get anything done. And if you ever want to get ahead at the office, you know you should check your email just one more time before hitting the sack. Good news! While you’re staying up, watching Letterman and Kilborn, responding to a few more vendor emails, and generally burning the candle at both ends, you’re also lowering your testosterone levels.
This study showed that older men experience the same testosterone declines seen in younger men when quality and quantity of sleep decline:
Based on bivariate correlation and multiple linear regression analyses, the amount of nighttime sleep measured by polysomnography independently predicted the morning total and free testosterone levels.
And since most nighttime testosterone is released during the late stages of the non-REM sleep cycle and the early part of the REM stage of sleep, any other steps we can take to screw up our sleep are important. For instance, alcohol will keep you from hitting good REM sleep and cause more Stage 4 sleep. Leaving the TV on is probably also a good idea to make sure there are some flickering lights.
Of course, the best bang for your testosterone-lowering buck is going to be to combine several of these behaviors. This will ensure that you reduce your body’s excretion of testosterone as much as possible. And when you’re really trying to cause your body to change, it’s important to hit it from as many angles as possible. We want to beat testosterone into submission so we ensure as little sex drive, muscle mass, and fertility and as much erectile dysfunction as possible. And I suppose if, for some strange reason, you’re not into that kind of stuff, you should probably do the exact opposite of what is on this list.
What other ways do you know of to decrease this pesky sex hormone?
Disclaimer: If you’re too dense to pick up on the dripping sarcasm in this post, my disclaimer is that I can’t think of any reason that one would want to intentionally lower their testosterone levels. This post was intended to illustrate what NOT to do if you want to keep your T levels high.