A Total Lifestyle Approach toSupporting Your Testosterone Levels
Do you think declining T-levels are something you don’t need to worry about? If you’re over 25 (yes, 25!) you might be in for a surprise.
Current research suggests that testosterone levels in North American men are declining. Even if you are in good shape, you are not immune from one or more environmental factors that lower bioavailable free-testosterone. In fit individuals, dieting, intense training, and age (especially if you are over 30) significantly impact free-testosterone levels. Because of the profound effects of T-levels on strength, protein synthesis, recovery
, appetite, energy
, and aggression, the need to keep testosterone high in the normal range is imperative for weight-training athletes. Basic T Science
Testosterone is an androgenic anabolic steroid hormone that is derived from cholesterol and secreted by the testes and adrenal cortex (in small amounts) in males. In a basic sense, testosterone production is stimulated by luteinizing hormone (LH) released from the anterior pituitary, in a negative feedback loop. Thus (under normal healthy conditions) as testosterone levels decline, LH increases to stimulate increased testosterone production.
Testosterone is the undisputed king of muscle-building hormones, and for good reason! Being an anabolic agent, testosterone supports protein synthesis, which makes it a key player in muscular development. Beyond supporting processes integral to muscle growth, having optimal blood testosterone levels also maintains the male reproductive system, which helps keep your sex drive running like a fine tuned engine. As well, relatively high testosterone levels in males give rise to the “manly” secondary sexual characteristics (e.g., body and facial hair, aggression, deep voice, etc.).
A normal healthy young man produces about 7 to 10 mg of testosterone per day, of which less than 5% is derived from adrenal secretions. Notably, testosterone in the blood is largely bound to plasma proteins with only a small fraction being purely bioavailable free-testosterone. What is the Difference Between Free, Bound, and Total Testosterone?
When having your blood testosterone levels tested, you will likely receive two values on your report: total testosterone and free testosterone. Your total testosterone measures all (i.e. free and bound) testosterone in the blood, so this number tends to be orders of magnitude higher than free testosterone values. This is because most circulating testosterone is bound to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), with a smaller fraction bound to albumin, and the smallest proportion of testosterone being completely free.
Specifically, the largest fraction of blood testosterone is bound to SHBG and is considered non-bioavailable since it cannot interact with testosterone receptors in the body. Free testosterone and albumin-bound testosterone are the most bioavailable fractions of testosterone in the blood, with albumin-bound testosterone being slightly less bioactive. However, since albumin binds testosterone weakly, it becomes free testosterone in the capillaries (the smallest blood vessels and the site of molecular exchange in all of our organs and muscles). How Can You Naturally Boost Your T-Levels?
Without going into great detail here, it should be noted that if you’re taking anabolic steroids to artificially jack up testosterone levels, you’re endangering your health. This outcome is diametrically opposed to your ideal goal, which is a sustainably healthy and impressive physique founded on a base of overall wellness. Fortunately, you don’t have to resort to short-term artificial fixes to support hormonal function. There are plenty of natural strategies you can adopt as part of a total lifestyle approach to testosterone-function support that are sustainable and effective.1) Train Smart
An article published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
illustrates that load volume is the most important factor stimulating free testosterone increase. In the study, the authors concluded that completing 10 reps at 75% 1RM, and 2 minutes rest between sets resulted in the most volume over the course of a complete workout and the greatest testosterone release. So what was taught in the 60s is still correct. OVERLOAD for growth! To ensure that you're getting the utmost productivity from every workout, a superior pre-workout performance maximizer is always a good idea. For reasons that will soon become clear, BioQuest's AndroFury
is the way to go here, because it contains not only a highly synergistic matrix of energy catalysts, but also a full-spectrum, protodioscin-rich botanical compound designed to support T-levels. How important is that protodioscin-rich main ingredient? Read on to find out.
Rest is also REALLY important. Overtraining throws off the body’s anabolic-catabolic balance. In such cases, cortisol levels (among other things) increase and testosterone levels decrease which severely hinders your muscle-building goals. Create a well-designed, periodized training program that includes adequate rest (check out ProSource’s vast library of training guidance and information
here). Above all, listen to your body to avoid over-training. 2) Maintain Healthy Body Fat
According to the literature, high body fat is most detrimental to testosterone production in males. One reason for this is that testosterone is converted to estrogen by aromatases (enzymes) that are produced (in part) by fat cells. So, with high body fat more of your testosterone is converted to estrogen. Unfortunately, plummeting T levels coupled with increasing estrogen levels results in decreased anabolism and increased body fat storage (a vicious cycle that can lead to obesity). Thus, maintaining healthy body fat levels is essential to optimizing hormonal balance and muscular development. This doesn't mean that you have to maintain sub 10% body fat year round, but you should aim to keep yourself around the 15-17% range in the “off season.” Here, you owe it to yourself to check out a premium-quality weight-loss supplement like BioQuest's BetaStax Elite
. This ultimate thermodynamic supplement contains a clinically validated PureWay-Slim® weight-loss technology that helped test subjects achieve, on average, more weight loss in two weeks than other leading weight-loss compounds achieved in eight weeks. BetaStax Elite also contains a matrix of supporting weight-loss technologies as well as a complex of premium-grade energy catalysts.3) Maintain a Healthy Diet That Includes Fats
If high body fat is testosterone’s enemy, then it follows that maintaining a healthy diet is testosterone’s friend. However, in an effort to keep T-levels high, your diet must be balanced, have adequate calories, and must include fats. If you are dieting for fat loss, then make sure you are not undergoing extreme caloric restriction, which the body perceives as a stress. As well, eat a variety of foods, including vegetables, to ensure you take in an abundance of T-boosting micronutrients like vitamin D and zinc. In terms of fat consumption, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
reported that a diet with fat content exceeding 100g per day resulted in significantly decreased SHBG and increased free testosterone in healthy male subjects. When subjects were put on a low-fat diet (<20g of fat per day), the authors reported that blood cholesterol levels decreased and SHBG increased, leading to decreased free testosterone.
When incorporating fats into your diet plan, make sure to focus on ingesting healthy fats. You should ingest an equally balanced combination of essential, monounsaturated, and saturated fats. Essential fats (like omega-3 found in fatty fish—e.g., salmon) have been shown to improve muscle recovery, enhance muscle growth, decrease inflammation, and help burn fat. ProSource’s Omega-1250
can be very helpful in this regard. Omega-1250 is a super-potent Omega-3 blend, featuring the highest-quality standardized dosages of EPA and DHA which can play a role in reducing post-workout catabolism, support healthy blood-lipid levels, and even provide immune support.
In addition, monounsaturated and saturated fats that are found in beef, dairy, and whole eggs have been shown to support high testosterone levels in athletes. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend consuming half your body weight (in pounds) in grams of fat per day (e.g., a 200lb athlete would consume 100g of fats throughout the day). 4) Maintain a Healthy Sleep Pattern
The importance of sleep to overall health cannot be overstated. Sleep deprivation is a significant stress that impacts many body systems/functions, especially hormonal balance. Achieving consistent and high-quality deep sleep night after night will keep catabolic hormones (like cortisol) low and anabolic hormones (like testosterone) high. We recommend getting 8 to 10 hours of quality sleep per night and avoid stimulants (like caffeine) and alcohol several hours before bedtime. 5) Manage Stress
Daily chronic stress tends to elevate cortisol, increase body-fat storage, and induce fatigue, all of which negatively impact free testosterone levels and health. Learning to effectively manage time can reduce stress significantly (and you will sleep better). You can get more out of your day by waking up early and following a daily agenda. If time management isn’t a problem, then look to other stress reducing options (like yoga).6) Moderate Alcohol Consumption
It goes with out saying that alcohol consumption provides no support to your fitness goals. Nonetheless, a majority of the population enjoys the odd libation. If you drink, do not over do it (i.e. no more than 2 measured servings of alcohol in a day). Over consumption of alcohol results in poor quality sleep, decreased energy, increased body fat, missed workouts, and decreases in free testosterone. 7) Supplement With a Natural Testosterone Booster
Here's where we get back to protodioscin (as referenced above). Today’s most potent natural testosterone boosting compounds are botanical extracts called steroidal saponins and glycopeptides. To bodybuilders and strength athletes the most important saponin is protodioscin, which (when administered in high concentration) promotes the greatest anabolic effects.
Although animal research has illustrated profound positive effects of protodioscin rich botanical extracts on total and free testosterone, human studies are still ongoing. Indeed, the industry is only now beginning to recognize the need for large, peer-reviewed, published randomized control trials using standardized high potency compounds. At this point, it can be argued that up until now conflicting data from humans is likely a result of studies using compounds with differing (and low) concentrations of steroidal saponins, especially protodioscin. In support, a relatively recent publication clearly illustrated that the concentration of protodioscin in herbal extracts is greatly influenced by the geographical origin, quality, and standardization procedures of raw materials.
Of all the T-boosters available, the one that stands out in terms of research and potency is AndroTest by ProSource
. ProSource’s R&D team is comprised of Ph.D. level scientists, which use the most stringent state-of-the-art laboratory procedures and certified Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). To formulate AndroTest, they used only the most potent raw materials and an advanced 4-phase multiple extraction method. In contrast to conventional alcohol extraction methods, 4-phase extraction reduces the involvement of solvents and high heat, which yields significantly higher purity, reduces residual solvents in the final product, and reduces thermal damage to active compounds.
With such stringent levels of quality control, AndroTest
is the only full spectrum protodioscin-rich botanical super compound standardized to contain a minimum of 80% total steroidal saponins, 60% total furostanol saponins, with 40% protodioscin and 28% steroidal glycopeptides---a level of potency that is not offered by any competitor. Little wonder then, that in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical study, AndroTest produced statistically significant increases in total testosterone levels, averaging 59.88% over baseline, with some subjects showing total increases as high as 275% over baseline, as well as major increases in free testosterone reaching up to 218% over baseline.
Based on independent case studies we hypothesize that AndroTest
works by at least two mechanisms:
- Increased LH to signal the testes to produce and secrete more testosterone—this increases total testosterone.
- Decreased SHBG levels in the blood to decrease SHBG-bound testosterone—this increases bioavailable free testosterone levels.
If you’re an athlete on a tight budget, you may also want to consider ProSource’s TribuTest
product, which offers a powerful, ultra-pure extract of genuine Bulgarian Tribulus terrestris (processed to yield a highly bioactive 40% steroidal saponins) at a very affordable price.Conclusion
There are no quick fixes when it comes to achieving your physique and performance goals. The best strategies employ a number of different methods operating in tandem, supporting and reinforcing the effects of each in sequence. The same is true of supporting maximized testosterone levels. Address the big picture (training, sleep, diet, supplementation) and think in the long term, and success will be yours!Read more about AndroTest here.Read more about TribuTest here.Read more about AndroFury here.Read more about Omega-1250 here.Scientific References
Ahern T, Wu FC. New horizons in testosterone and the ageing male. Age Ageing. 2015 Mar;44(2):188-95.
Oliver JM, Kreutzer A, Jenke S, Phillips MD, Mitchell JB, Jones MT. Acute response to cluster sets in trained and untrained men. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015 Jul 17. [Epub ahead of print]
Crewther B, Cronin J, Keogh J, Cook C. The salivary testosterone and cortisol response to three loading schemes. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Jan;22(1):250-5.
Cardarelli R, Singh M, Meyer J, Balyakina E, Perez O, King M. The association of free testosterone levels in men and lifestyle factors and chronic disease status: A north Texas healthy heart study. J Prim Care Community Health. 2014 Jan 26;5(3):173-179.
Fui MN, Dupuis P, Grossmann M. Lowered testosterone in male obesity: mechanisms, morbidity and management. Asian J Androl. 2014 Mar-Apr;16(2):223-31.
Reed MJ, Cheng RW, Simmonds M, Richmond W, James VH. Dietary lipids: an additional regulator of plasma levels of sex hormone binding globulin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1987 May;64(5):1083-5.
Dinchev D, Janda B, Evstatieva L, Oleszek W, Aslani MR, Kostova I. Distribution of steroidal saponins in Tribulus terrestris from different geographical regions. Phytochemistry. 2008 Jan;69(1):176-86.
Wilborn C, Taylor L, Poole C, Foster C, Willoughby D, Kreider R. Effects of a purported aromatase and 5α-reductase inhibitor on hormone profiles in college-age men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010 Dec;20(6):457-65.
Use as directed. Read all product label instructions and warnings thoroughly before use. A 4-week study of healthy males showed a 59.75% average increase in free testosterone compared to baseline and 59.88% average increase in total testosterone compared to baseline. Consult a health care professional before beginning any weight loss program. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.