There are so many theories on boosting testosterone, and if you’ve followed my articles you will realize that often times that taking testosterone up to even the maximum levels for humans (about 1200ng/dl) fail to yield a response to muscle mass!
WHEN LEVELS ARE HIGHEST
As shown in the chart below, testosterone levels are highest when a man is about 14-17 years old and starts to decline after that.
At these levels we likely see two different effects going on. First, we see an increase in HYPERPLASIA, which is the creation of new muscle cells. Thus, the cells created easily during this time period are kept for long periods of time usually until one’s 50’s. That’s why you see some young men carry muscle mass for life. Hyperplasia creates new muscle cells in response to testosterone, differentiating myotubules (immature cells) into full on muscle cells in response to both training and other growth factors.
HYPERTROPHY is when these newly created muscle cells are filled with protein in response to training and work. HYPTROPHY is a complex process where by muscle cells are recruited with Acetyl-Choline to do work and this work then creates signaling molecules like LACTATE which then create a response in the body to increase testosterone and other androgens along with reducing myostatin and other muscle reducing molecules.
Testosterone is simply one factor in creating muscle and reducing fat but it seems to be the most important factor in many biological processes. It appears that males with higher testosterone levels exhibit more dominance over others in large populations when studied in chimps. Cortisol levels do not have a negative effect on dominance, which means to us in some people, cortisol has a greater effect than others in reducing “maleness”.
Additionally, cortisol seems to lower testosterone levels in humans and the release of stress hormones that lead to cortisol production lower testosterone and more importantly the effects of testosterone in the body. According to Schalson in his paper in Adrenals: “These data are consistent with the following conclusions: 1) The decrease of plasma testosterone levels, observed in men after ACTH administration, is not observed after metyrapone induced ACTH increase. This confirms that it is related to cortisol levels rather than to ACTH itself. 2) Glucocorticoids act directly on testicular biosynthesis since they do not induce any change in LH secretion and since dexamethasone reduces testosterone response to HCG.”
Which means that it appears that cortisol reduces testosterone levels and perhaps other glucorocorticoids reduce testosterone. What can be done to blunt this effect in high stress men who want to look and feel their best?
STRATEGIES TO DECREASE CORTISOL AND INCREASE ANDROGENS
I suggest that a 3 point plan to reduce cortisol, pulse other inti-inflamatory factors and boost androgen levels are the best approach to supplementation for the modern male. A standard supplement plan would look like this:
Reduce Cortisiol Activity With DHEA
Using a DHEA supplement like LG Sciences M1D-Andro can help to reduce cortisol levels in the body by increasing circulating levels of 5-DHEA. 5-DHEA reduces cortisol activity and has these other benefits:
- Acts as a weak androgen (a male hormone) with anabolic and anti-catabolic activity.
- Can convert to testosterone especially when married to aromatase inhibitors.
- Blunts immune suppression caused by excess cortisol levels in response to stress.
- Acts as a weak estrogen in bone and other tissues (estrogen is a cofactor in muscle mass).
- Improves cardiovascular status by positively impacting cholesterol and LDL levels
- Increases muscle mass and decreases percentage of body fat in older males.
- May help the thyroid conversion of T4 to the more active T3 which increases fat burning.
- Antagonizes cortisol which can reduce muscle mass.
M1D-Andro contains 90mg of 5-DHEA along with Arimistane and some additional cofactors.
Reduce Cortisol with PS
Phosphatidylserine can also reduce cortisol effects and should be part of any supplement program. 900Mg per day seems to be a sweet spot for cortisol reduction and PS is best taken right before a workout. PS can also help with mental acuity and clarity, which is a good thing when lifting weights, allowing better focus in the gym.
Reduce Cortisol With Black Tea
According to Andrew Steptoe, UCL Department of Epidemiology and Public Health “The tasks triggered substantial increases in blood pressure, heart rate and subjective stress ratings in both of the groups. In other words, similar stress levels were induced in both groups. However, 50 minutes after the task, cortisol levels had dropped by an average of 47 per cent in the tea drinking group compared with 27 per cent in the fake tea group.”
This means that in addition to your daily 96-128oz of water per day, throw in plenty of black tea, which can blunt cortisol in response to stress and perhaps even weights. This is the CHEAPEST way to reduce cortisol and eliminates the need for expensive PS supplements. Tea tastes great and may help burn fat in other ways!
SUPPLEMENT WITH OTHER ANDROGENS AND TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS
Finally, to boost your testosterone levels to the maximum levels, it’s great to throw in some prohormones along with testosterone boosters and aromatase inhibitors. I theorize that it’s possible with modern prohormones to achieve a “zero shut down” strategy when you pair a strong booster of testosterone with prohormones.
Our suggestion of course is Rise and Swell by Liquid Labs along with Novedex XT from Gaspari Nutrition and finally 100mg of 1-DHEA as a means to boost androgen levels along with M1D Andro to boost 5-DHEA levels.
This “perfect” beginners cycle would look like this:
- Rise and Swell – upon waking
- M1D Andro – 3x Per day with Meals
- 1-Andro – 3x Prior to Workouts
I believe that this supplement plan will allow up to 12 weeks of supplementation without need for PCT and a break (although it’s great to take PCT if you have any concerns).