PART 1: TESTOSTERONE AND DHT
Everyone is always asking me online and in person, “How do I increase testosterone levels,” or “What do I TAKE to increase testosterone levels.” One problem with these questions is that testosterone is only one piece of a delicate puzzle that is our hormones in the male body. There is another hormone called DHT that is up to 10x more anabolic than testosterone and is responsible for well-being, concentration and brain health, energy, sex drive, and confidence. Insulin is another powerful hormone that has a tremendous affect on body composition, fat loss, strength and muscle gain. Being able to optimize these hormones will do worlds of good for the male physique. I will address DHT and insulin more later on. Another problem with this thinking is that increasing testosterone is only trying to cure the “symptoms” and is not addressing the cause. We all love to just take a pill and have everything go away. That is our culture in the western world, and it is a sad thing. The same guys that are worried about their “T” levels also have a stressful job, a nagging wife, terrible sleep quality, and shaky diets. No wonder you feel like shit! Taking a pill will not fix your life into a magical dream world where your boss is all of a sudden mother Teresa and your wife turns into a loving and caring Meghan Fox. Most of the men that I talk to are brainwashed to think that if they raise testosterone than they will be a sexual god and a beast in the gym. This is not the case. Hormonal balance is what we need to strive for. Testosterone is only one piece of the pie. Keeping the right ratios of testosterone to estrogen, decreasing insulin resistance, optimizing DHT, DHEA, and androstenedione ratios. I know this sounds complicated but if you continue reading you will find that hormonal optimization is not only relatively simple, but it is one the best decisions a man can make in life. Hormonal balance and optimization is the #1 priority when a man wants to increase vitality, energy, sex drive, confidence, healthy aggression, muscle gain, fat loss, and achieve a healthy drive and lust for life.
DHT has been given a bad rep. There is a common misconception that it may lead to enlarged prostate and possibly prostate cancer. Modern science has since contradicted this belief and DHT is making its way back into the spotlight. See, DHT is responsible for manly traits. In fact, testosterone is actually a DHT prohomormone which means testosterone converts into DHT along with a couple other things. When a man reaches an elevated DHT level he will experience a sense of well-being, drive, strength, decrease in estrogen, and a huge boost in the bedroom. Taking substances like Proscar, Finasteride, etc. will lower your DHT levels and in turn make you feel like shit. In Europe, they offer a DHT gel but in the USA, you cannot buy it without a prescription. There are a few PHs that convert to DHT that are legal and non-toxic. Those products are Forerunner 5-Alpha Test, AMS Epi-1 Test, and LG’s EpiAndro. These products are very effective in increasing DHT levels in the body but will also be suppressive. This means that when you come off these products you will have a rebound affect where you may have to run a post cycle therapy (PCT) to help restore natural hormone levels. Other than these options, eating a clean diet, keeping testosterone elevated, and staying away DHT suppressing drugs will help your body optimize itself. Basically, for the body to naturally optimize DHT, we have to optimize the other hormones that work towards that process.
Testosterone is great, but only on an individual basis. This means that different levels will be beneficial to different men. People respond differently. Testosterone does a lot of good for your body including keeping your heart healthy, maintaining and building muscle, increasing vigor and sex drive, confidence, decreasing body fat, and increasing mental clarity. The problem with testosterone is that it also converts to estrogen via the aromatizing process. An increase in testosterone will also increase your estrogen, which can lead to water retention, emotional instability, impotence, tiredness, and high blood pressure. Your body is already tuned to a point so maxing out testosterone levels is not always the best approach. On the other had, freeing up unused testosterone, AND keeping estrogen levels on the lower end, is one of the best ways to receive more of the benefits from hormones that you already have. There are two measurements of testosterone in the body called Free and Total. Total is the amount of testosterone that is in your body. Free testosterone is the stuff that your body can actually use. So as men, free testosterone is the only number we care about. We want out testosterone to be free to do all its manly goodness. The best natural way to increase testosterone lies in a combination of habit changes. Exercising regularly, having sex, and eating healthy are some of the most important things in maximizing testosterone. A high percentage fat diet has been shown to increase testosterone in men. I usually eat around 35%fat, 45%protien, and 20% carbs. I find that I do much better and have more energy on a high fat/low carb diet. Zinc has also been shown to increase free testosterone levels. Zinc blocks the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Zinc Citrate is the best “version” for absorption. I take zinc everyday and have been for three years now. It’s really cheap and you can find it anywhere.
This concludes Part 1 of my Hormonal Optimization Series. In Part 2 I will discuss the most anabolic hormone in the body, insulin and how to make it work in your favor. I will also be covering estrogen control and DHEA optimization.
As you go through your week, in all facets of life and your daily stresses, remember to treat the cause and not the symptoms.
Optimizing Male Hormones
Until next time.