Here’s how your body makes testosterone:
Cholesterol –> pregnenolone –> androstenedione –> testosterone
Yes, seriously. Many deodorants, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, shaving creams, and other grooming products contain hormone disruptors.
So check the labels on your toiletries for:
Phthalate. In addition to being a nightmare to pronounce, phthalates mimic estrogen and accumulates in your fat cells.
Parabens. Check for methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben – all four are estrogenic, and they’re all common preservatives in bath products.
If you’re using products that contain phthalates or parabens, toss them in favor of natural options. It’s especially important to use a good deodorant, because the pores in your armpits absorb chemicals easily. (This goes for women also, esp. for breast cancer risk)
And never, ever use antiperspirant deodorant. When you stop yourself from sweating, you’re blocking your body’s natural detoxing system. Plus, most antiperspirants use aluminum to stop your sweat. Aluminum has links to dementia, especially Alzheimer’s. Antiperspirant is also what causes yellow underarm stains.
Two natural deodorant brands that really work are Herban Cowboy and Fat Face, and EO makes excellent lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. I love Mother Dirt for bacteria-friendly shampoo and soap.
Get your supplements in order
Vitamin D and zinc are both essential to testosterone production. A year-long study looked at the vitamin D and testosterone levels of 2299 men. It found that men with vitamin D levels above 30 nmol/L had more testosterone and lower levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds to hormones so your cells can’t use them, and if you have too much of it, your testosterone levels drop. Men with vitamin D deficiency had lower testosterone and higher SHBG levels.
The other interesting thing about the study: men’s testosterone levels were lowest in March (at the end of winter) and highest in August (at the end of summer). Sunlight affects your vitamin D production, so you have seasonal dips and peaks. Get a blood test to check your levels, and if you’re low, take a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement.
Take a look at your zinc levels while you’re getting your vitamin D checked. Zinc deficiency can also cause low testosterone. If you’re low on zinc, try eating more grass-fed red meat, and maybe a few oysters now and then. You can also take a zinc supplement – the dose will depend on how deficient you are, if you’re deficient at all.
Sugar is to testosterone what kryptonite is to Superman. Eliminating sugar is probably the single most powerful way to increase your health and endurance, in part because sugar absolutely devastates your testosterone levels (but not all carbs do, especially under heavy training.) In one study of 74 men, a 75g dose of sugar – about the equivalent of a bottle of soda – decreased serum testosterone by 25% in under an hour, and levels stayed low for at least 2 hours. Sugar also attacks your immune system's white blood cells, decreasing the amount in your bloodstream, which then makes you more susceptible to airborne diseases (flu, colds).
You may find this hard to believe, but some common breakfast foods like Kellogg’s corn flakes and Graham crackers were invented 100 years ago to lower male libido. Kellogg and Graham believed that male sexual desire was the root of society’s problems, so they set out to make bland foods that would take away libido (this is absolutely true; look it up). That low fat, grain-based thing absolutely works wonders for lowering testosterone.
So if your testosterone levels come back lower than normal for your age group, before you ask your doctor to give you a prescription for more, review this information again, correct the things you have been doing that aren’t helping, and retest your levels in 6-8 weeks. The results may surprise you.