We all know that as men we have more testosterone than women. We know that women have more oestrogen than us. But did you know that men and women need both testosterone and oestrogen to function optimally? What I’m hoping to detail out for you here is what optimal function actually is. What should it feel like, how you should be performing and whether or not you need to be getting tested for T (testosterone) levels. Chances are that you really should be especially as you head into and past your mid-30s.

Functions of Testosterone and Oestrogen.

Testosterone Oestrogen
Regulates fertility Helps maintain body temperature
Builds muscle Enhances feel good neurotransmitters
Helps to make protein in the liver Improves skin through collagen levels and regeneration
Distributes fat Helps prevent bone loss
Red Blood Cell production Helps to take stored cholesterol in the liver to the blood stream to balance levels
Libido Reduces acne
Bone mass Sperm health
Sperm production and motility
Hair growth

As you can see there are a lot of things the sex hormones do other than just making us horny and wanting to shag or wank. Let me just explain a couple of the points above in the table and why they’re important to understand and have functioning well.

Neurotransmitters send chemical messages across the synapses in the brain. Neurotransmitters help you feel good and upbeat. Help you focus, help you control your portion sizes, help to calm you down and send you to sleep. The majority are made in your gut and the rest are made in and utilised in the brain. Increases or decreases in oestrogen have been linked with depression in men and women.

Red blood cells are needed to transports all kinds of things around the blood. No red blood cells equals no life it really is that simple. If your T (testosterone) is low, RBC production is low, it means you can make or transport nutrients around the body. End result is increased fatigue, potential iron deficiency anaemia and headaches to name a few.

Getting cholesterol out the liver is important because you need cholesterol to make sex hormones.

Confidence is a big thing here as well. It’s not really listed in many studies that I’ve read because confidence is difficult to quantify and people can lie when it comes to emotions. But one thing that I’ve noticed anecdotally is that the leaner a man gets, the more he wants sex and the more his confidence radiates off him. It doesn’t need to be a loud in your face kind of confidence, just a deep rooted feeling of “I am really happy with myself right now and I’m loving life” kind of confidence.

The meat and bones of testosterone and oestrogen are to make you horny. To encourage males and females to reproduce and continue their genetic lines. It just so happens they also do a lot of other bits too.

How are the sex hormones made?

It’s important to know this because if you know how something is made. It means you know what to do in order to keep making it. You also know what can interrupt the production and utilisation of the sex hormones as well. Below is a flow chart diagram stating with cholesterol at the top. Then going through the pathways in which to go onto make testosterone and estradiol or E2 (oestrogen). At every stage where you see an arrow there are chemical reactions taking place. Each of these chemical reactions need vitamins and minerals to work effectively.

If you’re not eating enough fruits or veggies, its makes these chemical reactions much less efficient. As a result, you start pulling minerals from other areas of the body to start making these hormones.

Source: https://slideplayer.com/slide/7464412/

As you can also see right in the middle is cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone in the body and trumps all other hormones when we find ourselves in a stressful situation. Let me get into a bit more detail.

Stress and Sex, a fiery relationship.

There is a huge relationship between elevating cortisol enough to be aroused and ultimately blow your load. But not so much that it causes inflammation and the fight or flight response.

Let me explain a little about how this works, because there is a lot of conflicting information. As well as people who don’t really understand what’s happening when it comes to the nervous system and stress.

The over simplified way to think about the nervous system is that it splits into 2 branches.

The autonomic and the somatic, the autonomic then subdivides again into the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems.

C.N.S – central nervous system from the brain stem at the base of the skull downwards.

P.N.S – Peripheral nervous system.

The sympathetic system is what produces the fight or flight (beast mode) response and the parasympathetic is all about the rest and digest state. Ideally speaking you want to be in a balance between beast mode and rest and digest. Your focus should be to be in a more parasympathetic state. With the ability to ramp things up and get into beast mode when you need it. But be able to recover just as quickly. I wont go into the detail of which branch of the nervous system you need to be in for sex because it’s massively complex. But to summarise it, you need to be in a parasympathetic start with to get turned on and arounsed. You need to move into beast mode and sympathetic state during sex to cum. You need to be able to return to rest and digest after.

These interactions are vastly complex and Im not going to detail with these. If you want that detail however, pick a copy of Why Zebra’s dont get ulcer by Dr Robert Sapolsky. The man know all there is to know about stress, sex and just about everything known to man.

How the nervous system does its job.

Your sympathetic nervous system kicks into action whenever your body perceives a stressful stimulus. Stubbing a toe, playing sports, someone jumps out at you, a bill hits your doorstep, then the boss emails you and says they need to see you. All of these things whether actually physical or mental in nature, will fire up the sympathetic nervous system and start prepping your body for survival. When your body and brain are exposed lots of small stressors the body’s main focus is to rev everything up ready for action. But then when nothing physical actually happens, it needs to clear out all the raised adrenaline, blood sugar and cortisol in the blood.

Like I said before, your body will prioritise a message and sign of stress and a need for survival over everything else. It’s like in a game of football, you need to score to win but if the other teams attack is better than yours then you shift priority to defending. You can only go forward and attack the other team when you’re not defending. This is the same deal with your hormones. Stress is your defence and the other team are the source of that stress. Sex hormones are your midfielders and forwards, they’re still on the pitch but can’t actually function and do their job of scoring. Not until you’ve got the ball and can turn off the defence tactics and move into attack.

This is exactly how stress will dominate every other function in the body. All the time that you’re stressed and putting yourself under stress and pressure, you’re defending. Pushing the production of the stress pathway. Only when you start to destress and move into a chilled out, rest and digest state, will your testosterone and oestrogen start to actually do their job. It might not be the case that your body is under producing sex hormones, it might be the case that you’re so stressed out. You’re not actually giving your body time to allow sex hormones out because you’re always defending.

Wind this situation back to caveman days, if you were getting chased by a lion. The top priority for your body is to fuel the muscles that power speed and get you out of danger. Not to flood the body with hormones to make you horny and want to get it on. All those mental stressors make your body react in the same way as if you were being chased by a lion.

Underproduction or over stressed?

The only way that you’ll know the answer to this question is going and get your blood work tested. Chances are very slim that your GP will order the tests you need to identify low T levels. You’d have to go in there and mention every sign and symptom associated with low testosterone. Then they should order the tests. There is every chance that you’ll need to seek out a private doctor and pay for the tests yourself. But they could well provide you with an amazing set of data that will change the rest of your life. Finding out if you’re under producing testosterone and then going on a course TRT, (testosterone replacement therapy) could be the best thing you can do for your health. TRT isn’t for everyone and it is all completely lab result AND symptom dependent. A good forward thinking doctor will assess your symptoms as well as your blood levels.

I’d recommend getting hold of Jay Campbells book “The definitive testosterone replacement therapy manual.” Jay is one of the world’s leading authorities when it comes to testosterone research and dosing for TRT. You can find his book here.

Using testosterone for health doesn’t have a good reputation among the medical community or men in general. The preconceived stereotype is the massive body builder who injects super physiological doses to get massive. Not the average man who is low on his T levels and just wants to be healthy. There is no stigma of women using oestrogen as a hormone replacement therapy. There should not be any stigma of men using medically prescribed testosterone replacement therapy either.

How much Testosterone should you have?

This is where lab levels can let you down if you don’t have a forward thinking doctor. Let me explain why.

Labs and doctors work of ranges there is an upper range and a lower range. When it comes to testosterone there are a few different tests that you could be put through. The main ones that you will need are free testosterone, SHGB (sex hormone binding globulin) and a high sensitivity estradiol test, but it needs to be a male specific one.

When it comes to testosterone levels according to LabCorp from July 2017. The ranges for men aged 18-39 should be 264-916 ng/dL (nanogram per decilitre) for non-obese males. What’s worrying here is that they have actually lowered these ranges! Before July 2017 the ranges were 348-1197 ng/dL. Travison TG, Vesper HW, Orwoll E, et al. Harmonized reference ranges for circulating testosterone levels in men of four cohort studies in the United States and Europe. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2017;102(4):1161-73.

Here is the problem, let’s say you’re a 33 year old male, you get a testosterone test. The reason you’ve got the test is because you have no energy, brain fog, you’re moody, your joints hurt, and you’re getting man boobs and wider hips. Your gym performance and strength is going down. The results comes back and your level comes in at 300 ng/dL. As far as your doc is concerned there isn’t a problem with your testosterone levels. The reason they think there is no problem is because you’re within normal ranges. This is what’s known as subclinical hypo-testosterone. The same thing can happen with other hormones as well. You can be within the lab ranges but also be showing every single sign and symptom of low levels of that particular hormone.

A huge problem that’s happening now is that testosterone is getting lower and lower generation by generation.

A population-level decline in serum testosterone levels in American men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan;92(1):196-202. Epub 2006 Oct 24

Take note of the 1987-1989 level at the age of 45, around 540 ng/dL. With the new lab ranges from LabCore. You can be 30 years old, have the same testosterone level as a 70 year old and you’re normal… if you’re 30 years old and have testosterone levels at 490 ng/dL you’re at the same level as a 50 year old man in the 1995-1997 time frame.

How to boost testosterone naturally.

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This list isn’t going to be sexy but it’s going to be very, very effective!

  1. 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This is always top of my list because it’s free and a relatively easy to implement. There are so many articles online about the benefits of sleep. The physical and mental repair that your body does every night cannot be ignored!
  2. Lose body fat! Aromatase is an enzyme that coverts testosterone into oestrogen and it love to hang around in body fat. Less body = less aromatase = increased available T levels.
  3. Exercise and build lean muscle. This a key part to indulging your male impulses and having that element of competition and actually letting yourself be a little primal. I speak from experience when I say this. Allowing this kind of activity in the gym, allowing yourself to lift heavy and let aggression out of your body will only benefit you. I know I’ve always lifted better after an argument or disagreement with anybody.
  4. Eat a clean diet. Meats, veggies and clean carbs. Never ever underestimate the power of a clean diet. By removing a lot of processed food out of your diet you’re removing a lot of inflammation causing foods. That raised inflammation feeds more cortisol and white blood cell response. Thus giving your body the hormonal signal of stress again which means stop attack and bring everybody to defend. If we use our football analogy again. Clean carbs are things like, rice, oats, grains, beans, lentils and potatoes. Organic is always best if you can.
  5. Destress yourself! Managing your stress is also going to play a key role in your testosterone. As you’ve seen earlier, if you’re stressed your body will prioritise survival over reproductive function. Managing your stress is not an easy thing do I’d suggest you get hold of a copy of my eBook f*ck off I’m stressed where I cover this in a bit more detail. Use this link and discount code MENSCOACHING for 50% off.

Wrapping it all up.

I appreciate there has been a lot of knowledge and detail here, but trust me this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sex hormone management. Key takeaways for you are these.

You need to have both testosterone and oestrogen under control and in the right ratio’s to be healthy as well as horny.

Stress is going to be your number one killer and suppressor when it comes to testosterone.

Body fat is going to be your second. This means if you’re stressed out and carrying too much body fat. The chances are that you’re going to under producing T or converting too much of it to Estradiol and as such showing signs and symptoms of low T.

Lifestyle management and clean eating are your 1st go to’s. Then if symptoms still persist seek out a progressive forward thinking TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) specialist doctor.

The two people that I follow for all things testosterone knowledge can found with these links.

https://jayccampbell.com/

https://ali-gilbert.com/

For your own help with all things testosterone based before you head to the labs. Get in contact today and let me help you lose fat and gain muscle to start boosting T levels naturally.

Thanks for reading and making it this far.

Dean.