Greetings, ladies and gentlemen! In the previous video, I intentionally omitted the “ladies” part, and one woman rightfully pointed out that women also have testosterone levels, albeit much lower than men.
Let’s do a quick recap. Remember the crucial rule: To make progress, you must initially measure your TOTAL T and FREE T levels. Recheck these levels every 3 months to track your status and decide if advancing to the next level is necessary. You’ll only move on to Level 2 if, after a 3-month implementation of Level 1, your TOTAL T and FREE T levels remain the same or decreased. If they increase, even by a small margin, stick with Level 1 and continue measuring every 3 months until they stabilize or start to drop.
So after you’ve tried Level ONE according to above rule but T-levels stayed the same or even dropped, then you are ready to start implementing Level TWO. Note: Never drop Level ONE. It forms the base.
Now, without further delay, let’s delve into Level 2.
Quick summary of the Second Level’s 4 Steps
Step ONE – Steer clear from Intermittent Fasting.
This is a rather intriguing topic and many guys is going to want to stone me here! But I got science on my side, let’s hope it is enough of a shield!
If we rewind two years, intermittent fasting (IF) would have been included on the list for boosting T-levels. There were a couple of smaller scientific studies conducted prior to 2022, notably Aksungar 2007 and Moran-Howes 2019, which suggested that IF “might” have a positive impact on testosterone levels. However, a definitive scientific study in 2022 (titled “Effect of Intermittent Fasting on Reproductive Hormone Levels in Females and Males: A Review of Human Trials,” available at (https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/11/2343) changed the landscape completely. This study left no room for doubt: if your goal is to raise your T-levels, you should steer clear of intermittent fasting.
In this study, they specifically examined young, fit, and physically active men to assess the effects of IF on their testosterone levels. Both Total T and Free T levels decreased with the implementation of IF. Additionally, older men who follow IF may risk lowering their basal metabolic rate, making it easier for them to gain weight in the future.
This brings us back to the crucial STEP 3 of Level One: adopting the right dietary approach to nourish your body for optimal T-levels. Making incorrect dietary choices can further hinder your T-levels. Feel free to schedule a SINGLE CONSULTATION with me for assistance in establishing the appropriate diet and eating regimen to optimize your T-levels.
Step 2: Lower your cortisol and stress levels.
Cortisol isn’t inherently a “bad” hormone. In fact, short-term, normal increases in cortisol levels due to acute stress can lead to a temporary boost in testosterone levels. It plays a vital role in the body, particularly in metabolism and the immune system. However, problems arise when cortisol’s natural daily cycle, which typically involves higher levels in the morning that gradually decline throughout the day, is disrupted. This disruption can be caused by excessive stress or a lack of sleep, among other factors, resulting in a constant high level of cortisol.
Sustained high cortisol levels can have a negative impact on your Total T and Free T levels. Many scientific studies have confirmed this link between consistently elevated cortisol levels and reduced testosterone levels in men (you can find a complete list of these studies at the end of this article). Specifically, I would like to reference the study by Hackett G et al., 2016.
The key takeaway is that managing your stress levels is essential. Learn relaxation techniques, find healthy ways to release stress, and consider activities like joining a boxing club. For me, personally, intense gym workouts provide an effective stress release outlet.
Here’s a concise list of approaches to address constant high-stress levels:
- Follow a well-balanced diet centered on whole foods.
- Ensure you get adequate sleep, as discussed in Step Three below.
- Completely eliminate alcohol and nicotine from your routine.
- Cultivate and maintain strong social connections.
- Consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
- Explore supplements like Ashwagandha, which may help regulate stress (you can find various scientific studies on this at the end of the paper). Check out my Supplements Orders Page to see where you can buy Ashwagandha.
- Identify and minimize stressors in your life. If a particular interaction with someone is causing stress, consider reducing or eliminating it from your life.
- In severe cases, consult a healthcare professional to discuss potential anti-anxiety medications.
Step THREE – target 8 hours quality sleep per night.
It’s quite straightforward. If you aim for optimal T-levels, you should aim for approximately 7-8 hours of sleep. A scientific study published in 2015 (you can find it here: [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/] – “Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men” unequivocally demonstrated that reducing your sleep duration from 8 hours per night to 5 hours resulted in a 15% decline in testosterone levels. Sleep is undeniably vital for maintaining optimal T-levels. Take a moment to reconsider how you allocate your time and make sure you get no less than 7 hours of high-quality sleep each night.
Step FOUR – Vitamin D/D3 levels & T-levels
Here’s a straightforward matter to address. In the past, there was a belief that maintaining optimal Vitamin D/D3 levels significantly affected a man’s testosterone levels. Several smaller scientific studies seemed to support this idea, but there were also numerous conflicting findings that demonstrated no such correlation.
However, in 2023, a comprehensive scientific study re-evaluated the outcomes of all these previous studies based on specific criteria. This study (you can access it here: [https://www.cureus.com/articles/184417-association-between-vitamin-d-deficiency-and-testosterone-levels-in-adult-males-a-systematic-review#!/] unequivocally demonstrated that there is no discernible correlation between vitamin D/D3 levels and male testosterone levels. It’s important to note that Vitamin D remains a crucial nutrient for the body and can lead to health complications when severely deficient. But when it comes to male testosterone levels, its impact is minimal to non-existent. This dispels yet another belief.
So let’s conclude Level TWO of the T-Boosting Protocol.
- Avoid intermittent fasting and stick to a normal 3-6 meals caloric controlled diet with a 40/30/30 macro (protein/fat/carbs).
- Ensure a reduction in cortisol and stress levels.
- Aim for 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep every night.
How to verify that Level TWO is working?
In the realm of scientific methods, it’s vital to validate specific factors both before embarking on your journey and after your dedicated 3-month endeavor in Level TWO. To gauge your progress, it’s essential to evaluate your TOTAL TESTOSTERONE and FREE TESTOSTERONE levels before starting. This initial assessment serves as a direct indicator of any potential changes.
– For TOTAL T levels, the reference range is 270 ng/dL to 1070 ng/dL. Your goal is to raise it above 800 ng/dL.
– As for FREE T levels, the typical range spans from 9 ng/dL to 30 ng/dL. Your aim is to exceed 24 ng/dL.
If you notice an increase in these levels, continue with your regimen and schedule another assessment after an additional 3 months. However, if you find that your progress has stalled, and your levels remain below the target levels mentioned above, it’s time to advance to Level THREE.
By implementing these three components of the second level of the T-Boosting Protocol, you take your initial step in the journey to naturally and effectively boost testosterone levels. Stay tuned for upcoming videos and articles in this series where we’ll delve deeper into the science behind each aspect. Remember that by following a systematic and scientifically-supported approach, you’re on the path to enhance your testosterone levels and reach your fitness goals.
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Wish you all happy training and virile testosterone levels!
Gert Louw (me at age 59)
SCIENCE STUDIES USED FOR THIS ARTICLE
Intermittent Fasting and testosterone relationship
Effect of Intermittent Fasting on Reproductive Hormone Levels in Females and Males: A Review of Human Trials: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/11/2343
Aksungar et al. (2007): This study, published in the journal European Journal of Endocrinology, investigated the effects of Ramadan fasting (a type of intermittent fasting) on hormone levels in men. It found that testosterone levels increased during the fasting period but decreased during the non-fasting period.
Moran-Howes et al. (2019): A study published in the journal Nutrients explored the effects of intermittent fasting on overweight and obese men. The results showed a modest increase in testosterone levels after 8 weeks of intermittent fasting.
Cortisol and testosterone’s relationship
Björntorp P, et al. (1996): This study investigated the effects of prolonged stress and elevated cortisol levels on testosterone levels in men. The researchers found that prolonged stress, which was associated with increased cortisol secretion, led to decreased testosterone levels in men. [Source: Björntorp P, et al. “Androgen secretion and peripheral metabolism in endocrine paresis.” Metabolism. 1996 Oct;45(10 Suppl 3):47-51.]
Maninger N, et al. (2009): This study examined the impact of chronic social stress on cortisol and testosterone levels in male rhesus monkeys. The results showed that social stress led to elevated cortisol levels and a subsequent decrease in testosterone levels. [Source: Maninger N, et al. “Chronic social stress leads to alterations in circadian and stress-induced hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in rhesus monkeys.” Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Oct;34(9):1376-85.]
Hackett G, et al. (2016): A review of multiple studies on the relationship between cortisol and testosterone levels in men found that chronic stress and elevated cortisol were associated with reduced testosterone production. This review highlights the importance of addressing stress as a factor in testosterone regulation. [Source: Hackett G, et al. “Testosterone, the metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease in men.” J Sex Med. 2016 Nov;13(11):1577-1596.]
Wright CE, et al. (2005): This study explored the effects of chronic psychological stress on cortisol and testosterone levels in men. The researchers observed that chronic stress led to elevated cortisol levels and reduced testosterone levels, suggesting a negative impact of stress on male hormone balance. [Source: Wright CE, et al. “The effects of psychological stress on the production of adrenal steroids in normal subjects and patients with major depressive disorder.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Aug;90(8):4566-72.]
ASHWAGANDHA and cortisol relationship
Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012): This double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of Ashwagandha on stress and anxiety in adults. The results indicated that Ashwagandha supplementation led to a significant reduction in stress and anxiety scores compared to the placebo group. [Source: Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. “A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.” Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 2012, 34(3), 255–262.]
Auddy, B., et al. (2008): This study investigated the anti-stress and adaptogenic properties of a specific Ashwagandha extract. The researchers found that Ashwagandha supplementation led to a significant reduction in cortisol levels, which is a marker of stress. [Source: Auddy, B., et al. “A standardized Withania somnifera extract significantly reduces stress-related parameters in chronically stressed humans: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, 2008, 11(1), 50–56.]
Gannon, J. M., et al. (2019): This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study explored the effects of Ashwagandha supplementation on stress and anxiety in healthy adults. The results suggested that Ashwagandha led to significant reductions in stress and anxiety scores and improved overall well-being. [Source: Gannon, J. M., et al. “Supplemental Ashwagandha improves well-being, sleep, and stress resilience.” Nutrafoods, 2019, 18(3), 34–47.]
Pratte, M. A., et al. (2014): In this systematic review, the authors analyzed multiple clinical trials on Ashwagandha’s effects on stress and anxiety. The review concluded that Ashwagandha appears to have a positive impact on reducing stress and anxiety. [Source: Pratte, M. A., et al. “An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2014, 20(12), 901–908.]
Sleep patterns effect on T-levels in men
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/ – Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men
“Sleep-related problems and urologic symptoms” – Published in The Urologic Clinics of North America, 2011.
“The impact of sleep duration on men’s health” – Published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2012.
“Sleep duration and testosterone levels in men” – Published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2011.
“Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men” – Published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 2011.
“Association between sleep disturbances and testosterone levels in men” – Published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 2013.
“Sleep quality and testosterone levels in young adult men” – Published in PLOS ONE, 2015.
“Testosterone and sleep-related erections” – Published in Sleep, 2002.