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We have being doing a series of posts on the best natural ways to increase your testosterone levels.
We’re doing this because we’re faced faster rates of testosterone level decline across all men than other time in known history.
Doctors are treating men now in their 20s and 30s for issues related to Low T, when it the past, they were only treating men in their 50s, 60s, and beyond.
The reality is that men of today have approximately 20% less testosterone across the board as compared to an equal sampling of men just 20 years ago! If you go back further in the time, the delta would be even greater.
We’re facing a very serious issue in today’s modern times, and we need to get really proactive about it and take aggressive action to fight this widespread decline in T levels because testosterone is the hormone that makes men uniquely male and masculine.
Not only that, but testosterone provides so many interconnected health benefits for men, making it much more than the male sex hormone.
It’s not an understatement to say that testosterone is one of the most critically important hormones of all men.
If there are natural ways to increase testosterone that are scientifically proven to do so, then we want to write about them and arm you with that knowledge.
Likewise, if there are things that are hurting killing our T levels, we’re going to write about those too, because by removing the negatives, it will automatically increase the positives.
That leads us to today’s topic which is all about stress, and how chronic high stress can absolutely obliterate testosterone levels.
Types of Stress
Today we’re going to show you how and why chronic high stress kills testosterone, and we’re going to offer up some ways that you can get a better handle on stress and manage it, so that it doesn’t cause so much harm on your T levels as well as all the other negative health risks that come along with it.
First, I wanted to get clear on the definitions of what we’re talking about as it relates to the kind of stress that damages testosterone levels.
From a macro point of view, there seems to be two categories of stress:
Short Term Stress
This is typically categorized as “fight or flight” stress. These are typically situations that require a hormonal response of glucocorticoids to either rise up to the occasion and take action (fight) or get out of the burning building (flight) asap.
The bottom line, there are situations and challenges that come up in daily life that are short term, and they require some extra fight or flight action to resolve the issue.
In these situations, your body will naturally produce a hormone which is nicknamed “the stress hormone”, called cortisol. For short term situations that require extra energy, focus, mental acuity, etc., cortisol is the perfect hormonal response, and it provides a tremendous benefit to our bodies to help with that particular situation.
Long Term Stress
Long term stress is the kind of stress that gets our bodies into trouble, and among other things, this is where our testosterone levels really take a big hit.
What is long term stress? From a definition point of view, I would say that it is situation or factor in your life that is causing you to produce excess cortisol on a prolonged and extended basis.
What kinds of situations or life factors would be in this category?
Imagine that you’re in an extremely difficult marriage where you’re not getting along at all, and you see no light at the end of the tunnel that anything will get better anytime soon.
Maybe you’re struggling making ends meet financially. You might be living paycheck-to-paycheck where the bills are piling up, you never seem to have enough money to meet your financial obligations much less do anything extra like go out for family dinner or family vacation. To make it worse, maybe you don’t see how you can make more money or maybe you have a spouse that complains that you’re doing enough to support the family.
You could be in a job that you HATE, and the thought of going to work each day either makes you sick to your stomach or maybe it makes you so angry and constantly puts you in a bad mood all the time. You may feel trapped by it because it pays well enough to support your family’s lifestyle and you don’t think you could find something you’re passionate about that could pay the same amount.
These are examples of situations that have a long term, day after after reality attached to them. It’s not a short term situation, it’s a nagging, hurting, stressful daily occurrence and it usually doesn’t have a real end in site. That removes hope from the situation, and when hope is removed, it puts your mental and emotional being as well as your physical body at risk.
Without even talking about how excess cortisol physically affects testosterone levels, just look at the negative domino effect of long term high stressful situations.
People in these situations tend to sleep more poorly. Lack of quality sleep can cut testosterone levels in half.
Some people tend to drink more. Excess alcohol consumption has been shown to decrease testosterone levels.
When you lose hope, you tend to get depressed and you lose motivation to do things like working out. We know that lifting weights and high intensity interval training can skyrocket testosterone levels. Most of the time, exercise like this goes away when you’re chronically stressed out and lose hope because you just don’t feel like it. You don’t have the motivation and frankly, you just don’t have the energy.
One of the biggest negatives is that people chronically stressed tend eat like crazy, and not only do they eat a ton, but the food choices they make are typically the worst food choices possible. They’ll eat foods that high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, and they’ll end up producing excess estrogen which will CRUSH testosterone levels. Not only that, they’ll gain weight, and we already know that the more overweight you are, the lower your testosterone levels are.
Again, we haven’t even talked about the physical detriment to your body and testosterone levels that excess cortisol production causes. These things I just mentioned were natural byproducts to chronic long term stressful situations.
How Excess Cortisol Kills Testosterone and Hurts Your Body
Let’s talk a bit about how cortisol kills your T levels and does a lot of damaging things to your body.
In order for cortisol to synthesize, it needs to bind with a cholesterol molecule. Guess what, the biosynthesis of testosterone requires that same cholesterol molecule.
What happens with prolonged cortisol production is that it uses up that essential molecule for its own production, and essentially starves the testosterone hormone from getting it, thus killing the production levels of testosterone.
Study after study shows a high & low relational effect between cortisol and testosterone that says the higher the cortisol level, the lower the testosterone level. It’s really that simple and straightforward.
Additional Negative Health Risks From Excess Cortisol
Even if excess cortisol had no negative impact on testosterone levels, you would definitely want to keep this under control because not only does it kill T levels, but check out all these other negative health risks and side effects of excess cortisol production:
- Breaks down muscle tissue
- Decreases metabolic rate
- Increases weight and visceral (belly) fat
- Increases insulin resistance
- Increases onset of diabetes
- Increases cravings (especially for bad sugary junk foods)
- Increases leaky gut syndrome
- Increases blood sugar
- Increases the breakdown of bone (osteoporosis)
- Decreases the brain’s frontal lobe activity (memory, mood, concentration, etc)
- Suppresses the pituitary gland (which signals other glands to produce hormones like hgh and testosterone)
This is why it’s so important to get a handle on whatever situations are going on in your life that are causing you chronic stress, which means excess cortisol production.
Video: Negative Effects Of Cortisol
In my research of the effects of cortisol on testosterone, I came across this video of Dr. Bryan Walsh. He does such a good job of explaining the how and why behind the various negative effects of excess cortisol production.
Tips To Reducing Chronic Stress and Excess Cortisol
I think it’s helpful to spread the word the about the dangerous effects of chronic stress and excess cortisol because it arms you with the knowledge you need to fight the war on your T levels.
So one part of the battle is understanding what things are harming your T levels.
The part is understanding and implementing effective ways of reducing stress, and thus, reducing cortisol.
Here is a list a few powerfully effective things you can do to reduce stress and protect your testosterone levels.
- As much as you may not have the energy or motivation, you HAVE to workout and get your high intensity interval training and weightlifting in. It will make you feel so good by releasing endorphins and dopamine into your system as well as increase testosterone and growth hormones.
- Make sure that you really try and give your body the rest and sleep it needs to recover and replenish testosterone levels.
- Maintain multiple good healthy relationships with people that you can talk to and release many of the trapped feelings you may have inside
- Don’t let your food choices go off the rails. Eat good powerful testosterone boosting foods. It not only increases testosterone, but helps you lose weight.
- Keep whatever it is that you have as your spiritual core strong. Faith and spirituality can be a very powerful stress reducer.
- Get a professional massage. It is one of the most relaxing experiences ever.
- Implement meditation. Meditation is proven to be one of the best ways to completely relax and reduce cortisol production.
- Take a complete break, put on some great headphones and just jam to some of your favorite music. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes or so, it can completely change your mood and make you feel so much better.
- Remember to take the time to play and do fun things that are completely separate from the daily grind. Look into getting involved with hobbies on your own or as a family. Bottom line, remember to incorporate fun back into your life.
- Don’t forget to take a great testosterone booster supplement. The good ones are specifically made to combat excess cortisol and increase testosterone levels.
Stress and Testosterone Summary
What we learned today is chronic and prolonged stress can just be devastating to our testosterone levels and also our other major body functions as well.
It’s easy to overlook this topic and marginalize it as a normal part of life that everyone has to deal with.
That’s true, we all deal with some level of stress in our lives, but the difference is first understanding what stress can do to our body, and the next thing is actually doing something proactively to reduce the negative impact it on our testosterone levels and body as a whole.
Just put this one in your knowledge arsenal and take action to lessen the impact it has on your body and your life!
Mike is our resident personal trainer specializing in men’s health & fitness. He is an avid enthusiast when it comes to understanding and implementing the best strategies & tactics for optimal healthy living, and he is completely obsessed with how to achieve peak performance levels.