Woo boy. The past three months have been a wild ride indeed – specifically for my nether regions.
If you happened to have thumbed through the most recent January 2018 edition of Men’s Health magazine, then you may have noticed that for the past 3 months, the good folks at Men’s Health have sent me on a global expedition to do everything a fella could possibly to do increase testosterone, size, orgasm quality, drive and a host of other manhood related parameters.
Platelet rich plasma injections into my crotch? Done.
Stem cell injections directly into my schlong? Yep.
Acoustic sound wave therapy? Multiple times.
Fully nude red light treatment, the infamous “gas station dick pills”, reduced ejaculation frequency, tantric sex, reverse orgasms and a fancy digital penis pump? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.
And I discovered a few fascinating facts. For example, most testosterone boosting pills you can buy online or at your local Walgreens, CVS or pharmacy are comprised of shocking amounts of ephedra, caffeine and sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) – essentially making them the equivalent of several cups of coffee and a pharmaceutical medication that must be heavily processed by your liver (admittedly, they also worked like gangbusters while also making me feel as though my heart was going to explode).
Or this: it actually is possible to dramatically increase the size of one’s genitalia, if that’s your thing. But it is expensive and requires nerve blocks, needles and awkward moments with legs splayed in front of the physician and their team.
You can even learn, within just a few week’s time, some pretty nifty bedroom tricks that keep you going for quite some time at what I would rank as a relatively high pleasure rate compared to just “plain ol’ sex”.
But lately, I’ve discovered some new biohacks for testosterone and sexual performance that I did not have the time or space to include in that article. And so, without further ado, since it’s been awhile since I released the extremely popular and still highly applicable article “The Ultimate Guide To Biohacking Your Testosterone: 17 Ways To Maximize Muscle-Building, Drive & Anti-Aging.“, I figured it is high time to revisit the topic of testosterone optimization and to reveal what I’ve most recently discovered when it comes to the most proven habits, foods, exercises, workouts, nutrients and tools to boost testosterone.
But before delving in, allow me to hearken back to that original testosterone biohacking article, where I dished out this warning::
“Biohacking testosterone (AKA “T”) has been a hot topic the past few years. Er, decades. Er, centuries. Perhaps technology and social media have just made what men and women have possibly pursued since the dawn of time just a bit more in our faces.
Just look at it: YouTube is full of T-optimizing videos and channels, iTunes has entire podcasts devoted to drive and testosterone, broscience forums are chock full of T advice from around the planet, there are entire T-boosting websites jam-packed with linkbait and ads and…
…don’t even get me started on supplement companies, who mostly source cheap herbs from Asia, shove them into a bottle, and produce a very, very sexy website designed to get you to empty your wallet to pop some magical T-boosting pill.
And yeah, you can find plenty of research articles on optimizing T and even a bunch of books and e-books have been released. I have read and studied all of them and beyond. Honestly: I am a consummate geek. I spend my entire day studying, reading, researching, writing, tinkering and experimenting.
And these apparently promising supplements, pills and tricks sound good, but simply don’t work. Yep…they don’t work, or they raise your T so miniscule-ingly low that you’re basically spending hundreds of your hard-earned dollars on pretty much next-to-nothing when it comes to an actual significant boost. You would be shocked at the amount of bloodwork I see that shows me men and women who are doing everything they read on the internets to boost testosterone with barely a bump in total or free levels of this hormone.”
In other words, any time you dive into an article or listen to advice on testosterone boosting, please proceed with caution, if possible self-quantify your results with blood or urine testing (the latter is the gold-standard of hormone evaluation), and be especially careful with supplements and herbs.
The Basics: Notoriously Missing Nutrients That Drastically Affect Testosterone Levels
Let’s begin with the basics – no fringe, hard-to-find Amazonian superfoods here – but rather simple supplements you can hunt down just about anywhere. A big credit to the guys from the Examine Research Digest for doing the research on the following nutrients, which actually have rigorous scientific research behind them on both safety and efficacy for boosting testosterone and/or sexual performance. At the end of this article, I’ll include a few helpful links for these supplements and the versions that I use.
Supplementing magnesium (Mg) can help normalize testosterone levels. A diet comprising magnesium-rich foods (such as fish, nuts, beans, and green leafy vegetables) renders supplementation unnecessary, at least for the purpose of testosterone normalization, although hard-charging athletes or heavy sweaters may need extra magnesium. The standard dose is 200 mg of elemental magnesium once a day, though I personally use up to 500mg per day, typically taken in the evening because magnesium can have a sedative effect. Avoid taking calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, since high amounts of these minerals will compete for absorption.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D has long been researched in the context of male fertility. Vitamin-D receptors can be found on sperm cells, and vitamin D may also play a role in the production of steroid hormones. Vitamin D deficiency is common, especially in people whose exposure to sunlight (without clothes or sunscreen) is limited. The darker your skin, the longer you need to expose yourself to sunlight to synthesize enough vitamin D. Vitamin D can be synthesized by sunlit skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) or ingested (D2 and D3). It then travels to the liver, where the liver converts vitamin D to its more active form: 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The kidneys then convert 25-hydroxyvitamin D into the very potent form of vitamin D called calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D). Ideally, take 2,000–3,000 IU (50–75 mcg) of vitamin D3 with with a meal containing fat, either year round or only during the colder, darker months, when you are least likely to synthesize enough vitamin D from sun exposure. Doses higher than 3,000 IU may be warranted in cases of severe deficiency or non-response at lower doses, as ascertained by a blood test. Keep in mind that 10,000 IU/day for three months has been shown to be toxic, and also keep in mind that Vitamin D should ideally be consumed along with Vitamin K2. Finally, my friend Kelly Starrett recently turned me onto this Sperti Vitamin D lamp that gets you very high doses of Vitamin D with just 5 minutes of exposure per day!
Zinc (Zn) is an important mineral for general health and is often marketed as a testosterone booster. Similar to magnesium, however, zinc supplementation can only help when low testosterone levels are linked to a zinc deficiency. If your body has enough zinc, taking more will not benefit you. As a matter of fact, over time, high doses of zinc can irritate the gastrointestinal tract. They can also cause a copper deficiency, since zinc kick-starts the process of creating metallothionein, a protein that binds zinc but also other metals, notably copper; the bound metals then leave the body as waste products. Even higher doses of zinc can also damage the liver and kidneys. Zinc requirements vary according to diet and level of activity. Sedentary people who do not sweat much and eat enough meat might not need to supplement zinc at all, and should otherwise limit themselves to 10–20 mg/day (15–25 mg/ day for vegetarians and vegans). Athletes and other people who sweat a lot (which results in zinc loss) can take 25–30 mg/day. Zinc should be taken with meals, so as to prevent potential nausea. I personally avoid excess zinc and get smaller amounts each day by taking a comprehensive multivitamin by Thorne, which also gives me Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, boron and a few of the other basic nutrients you’re reading about.
The hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) circulates throughout the body and can be called to make other hormones, notably testosterone and estrogens. Supplemental DHEA can support normal testosterone levels; this effect is especially reliable in case of age-related low testosterone. It’s pretty simple: you just take 25–50 mg of DHEA once a day with a meal. Please note that if you compete in any sports that are sanctioned by WADA, USADA, the NCAA, etc. that DHEA is banned for use in competition, and you must not take it if you fall into any of those categories.
Creatine is a molecule naturally produced in the body. It stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine releases energy to aid cellular function during stress. This effect causes strength increases after creatine supplementation, and can also benefit the brain, bones, muscles, and liver. Most of the benefits of creatine are a result of this mechanism. Creatine can be found in some foods, mostly meat, eggs, and fish. Creatine supplementation confers a variety of health benefits and has neuroprotective and cardioprotective properties. It is often used by athletes to increase both power output and lean mass.
Creatine has been shown to influence androgen levels. Three weeks of creatine supplementation has been shown to increase dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, as well as the DHT:testosterone ratio. Creatine supplementation has been shown to increase testosterone levels when taken alongside a 10-week resistance training program. A study in male amateur swimmers also noted that a creatine loading phase (20g daily for six days) was able to increase testosterone levels by around 15% relative to baseline. I personally do not load with creatine but rather – due to the host of benefits from creatine – simply take 5g year round, with no cycling or loading phases.
Like magnesium and zinc, boron is a dietary mineral. Some studies have also noted an increase in testosterone in men, even in young men, including an increase in the testosterone levels of young men taking 10 mg of boron per day. It is not recommended to take more than 20 mg/day.
So those are the basics: magnesium, Vitamin D/K, zinc, DHEA, creatine and boron…
…oh, and should you wonder why I did not give a lick of attention to actual food or macronutrients, it’s because I already addressed food and carbohydrate/fat/protein percentages here (and below is an anecdote from that article):
“The bottom line is this: for optimal testosterone production you shouldn’t go too low in calories (neither too high), shouldn’t consume too much protein (under 2g/kg) or eat too little carbs and too little saturated and mono-unsaturated fats. For me personally, the optimal ratio for T production seems to be on a 2500 kcal/day slight deficit diet with 98 kg bodyweight looks like this:
-1.8g protein/ kg of bodyweight (1.8g x 98 = 176.4 grams = 720 kcal)
-40% of total calorie intake fat (1000 kcal = 111 grams)
-Rest of the daily energy need from carbohydrates ( 780 kcal = 195 grams)”
Anyways, you can click here to read the rest of that article, which is a perfect accompaniment to the one you’re reading right now.
The Slightly More Fringe: Herbal Add-Ons To Impact Both Testosterone & Sexual Performance
Again, a big head nod to the guys at Examine Research Digest for decoding which “fringe supplements” work and which don’t. The following six add-ons will give you the most bang-for-your-buck should you wish to toss some extra goodies on top of the basics you just read about above.
Multiple studies show that maca, a root vegetable, enhances drive in both men and women, and this effect keeps improving for 8 weeks before plateauing. Maca can serve to treat sexual dysfunction caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It can also mildly benefit men with erectile dysfunction from other causes. Moreover, preliminary animal evidence suggests that red maca might improve prostate health and reduce anxiety. Maca does not interact with any major hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen, or DHEA. For ideal dosing, take 1.5–3 g of maca root powder once a day with breakfast (for the purpose of improving sexual performance, there is no difference between red, black, or yellow maca).
Low nitric oxide (NO) levels can cause blood vessels to narrow, leading to poor circulation, which can result in erections that are softer and more difficult to maintain. Like the flavonoids in grape seed and pine bark, (-)-epicatechin and other flavonoids in cocoa can help support NO levels, thus improving blood flow and alleviating this type of erectile dysfunction. Simply take 1 g of cocoa polyphenols by consuming about 30 g of cocoa powder or 40 g of dark chocolate with a 75% cocoa content (FYI, neither milk chocolate nor white chocolate is a good source of polyphenols).
3. Eurycoma Longifolia
Eurycoma longifolia is also known by several other names, such as longjack and tongkat ali. Preliminary evidence supports its traditional use as a sexual performance enhancer for both men and women, and evidence also supports the use of Eurycoma longifolia as a male fertility enhancer. This herb does not seem to increase testosterone, however, or only to
a small extent in men suffering from infertility or severe erectile dysfunction, but may increase testosterone in infertile men, and significantly increases the desire to mate in rodent models. To supplement Eurycoma longifolia, take 200–300 mg daily.
In Ayurvedic medicine, fenugreek is called methi (its Hindi name) and is used notably to increase virility. While the leaves and seeds are both used, most supplements favor the latter. When supplemented by healthy men, high doses of fenugreek appear to significantly increase sexual drive and satisfaction. A small increase in testosterone has been noted in some studies. Interestingly, fenugreek has the property of causing bodily fluids (saliva, semen, sweat, urine, etc.) to smell like maple syrup. Ideally, take a fenugreek supplement standardized for 300 mg of saponins, at 300-600mg/day.
Low nitric oxide (NO) levels can cause blood vessels to narrow, leading to poor circulation, which can result in erections that are softer and more difficult to maintain. Like the flavonoids in cocoa, procyanidins and other flavonoids in pine bark and grape seeds can help support NO levels, thus improving blood flow and alleviating this type of erectile dysfunction. Pycnogenol, a patented pine bark extract standardized to 65–75% procyanidin, is the best-studied source of procyanidins. Grape seed extracts are cheaper, but their benefits to blood flow are less reliable and could take longer to develop (up to one month). To improve blood flow, Pycnogenol is a better choice than a grape seed extract, but neither option is as potent as cocoa or can boast as much supporting evidence. To supplement Pycnogenol, take 100–200 mg once a day with a meal.
6. Tribulus Terrestris
Tribulus terrestris has long been marketed as an herbal testosterone booster, with no supporting evidence. This herb does significantly enhance sexual drive, though, which may indirectly increase testosterone via the effect of higher frequency of sex. To supplement Tribulus terrestris, take 200–450 mg of an extract standardized for 60% steroidal saponins once a day with a meal.
The Gym: Workout Strategies To Optimize Testosterone
Although there are, as I mentioned earlier, entire industries built up around herbal and pharmaceutical pills, capsules, lotions, injections, superfoods, and other methods for increasing testosterone, in this section you’re going to get six simple workout strategies for increasing testosterone without actually swallowing any questionable supplements.
Workout Tip #1: Sprint
Multiple studies have shown that you can boost your testosterone levels by sprinting. In one study, testosterone levels increased significantly for people who performed a series of very short (but intense) 6-second sprints – and testosterone levels remained high even after those people had fully recovered from the sprint workout.
So how can you implement the strategy of sprinting to increase testosterone? Try performing several sprints on the treadmill after you’ve lifted weights at the gym, or just head out into the backyard, a park, or your neighborhood block and do a few sprint repeats on your days off from weight training. You can even do your sprints on a bicycle or elliptical trainer. Try to include 5-10 short sprints when you do a sprint workout, sprint no longer than 15 seconds, get full recovery after each sprint (generally 3-4 times longer than you actually sprinted), and do a sprint workout 2-3 times a week for optimal results.
Workout Tip #2: Lift Heavy Stuff
While you can do high reps with low weights or low reps with high weights, studies have shown that it definitely takes heavy weights to significantly boost testosterone. Full body, heavy exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and Olympic lifts should ideally be used, at 85-95% of your 1RM (or one repetition maximum). You need to do 2-3 full body weight lifting workouts per week to get good testosterone-boosting results (in tip #5, I’ll give you a sample workout).
If you’re a beginner or new to weight training, don’t let this concept of heavy lifting scare you away. You can simulate many of these exercises on weight training machines until you’re strong and skilled enough to perform the free weight barbell or dumbbell versions.
Workout Tip #3: Use Long Rest Periods
Scientists have studied the effects of very short rest periods on testosterone and found that longer rest periods of around 120 seconds between sets are better for building testosterone (although you can still build other hormones, such as growth hormone, with shorter rest periods).
Considering what you’ve just learned about lifting heavy weights, this makes sense – since the shorter your recovery periods, the less weight you’re going to be able to lift. However, it can seem like a waste of time to be sitting on your butt for 3 minutes between each exercise.
So if your goals are to increase testosterone, I recommend that you maximize your time at the gym by doing alternate activities during these long rest periods, such as stretching, or better yet, exercises that don’t stress the same muscles you just worked.
For example, you can do one heavy set of bench presses, recover for just 30-60 seconds, then do one heavy set of squats. Go back and forth until all your sets are done, and you’ll get twice as much done in half the time, while still getting the testosterone boosting benefits of lifting heavy and long rest periods.
Workout Tip #4: Do Forced Reps
To do a forced repetition, you perform a weight lifting exercise for as many reps as you can, and then have a partner (a “spotter”) assist you with completing several additional repetitions (anywhere from 1-5 extra reps).
Research shows that this type of forced rep set generates more testosterone than simply doing as many reps as you can do by yourself.
It’s best to do forced reps with a multi-joint, large motor movement exercise. For example, you can do a warm-up set of barbell squats, then, with a partner, a personal trainer, or someone you ask at the gym to help you, choose a weight that allows you to do 5-6 repetitions on your own, but requires an assistant to get another 3-4 reps done after that, for a total of 8-10 reps. You can repeat this for anywhere from 2-6 sets.
While you don’t need to perform forced reps for every workout or set that you do, if you’re trying to increase testosterone, it can be especially helpful to do your last set of any exercise as a forced rep set.
Workout Tip #5: Use Your Legs
In another study that investigated the hormonal response to weight training, participants were split into an arm-only training group and a leg-plus-arm training group. Testosterone increases were significantly higher in the group that added lower body training to their upper body training.
While it can be tempting, especially for guys, to focus on exercises like biceps curls and bench pressing, you’ll notice far better results for lean muscle mass, energy, sex drive, and fat loss when you include multi-joint leg exercises such as lunges and squats into your regimen.
So here’s an example of a full body workout you could do 3 days per week to boost testosterone:
- 4 sets of 8 repetitions bench press, paired with 4 sets of 8 repetitions squats.
- 4 sets of 8 repetitions deadlifts paired with 4 sets of 8 repetitions pull-ups.
- 6 sets of maximum 10 second sprints.
At the end of this article, I’ll include another sample workout.
Workout Tip #6: Avoid Chronic Cardio
Long endurance sports such as cycling seem to lower testosterone in the same way that weight lifting and weight training seem to increase it. For example, one 2003 study found that testosterone levels were significantly lower in cyclists than age-matched weightlifters, or even an untrained control group. Some researchers have even concluded that this type of low testosterone in endurance athletes is an adaptation that gives cyclists or runners a competitive advantage – since the extra muscle mass from testosterone would probably slow you down.
So if you’re trying to boost testosterone, avoid long jaunts on the treadmill, and accept the fact that if you’re going to run marathons or do Ironman triathlon, you may have to settle for slightly lower testosterone levels. I delve into this concept quite a bit in a recent interview with Mark Sisson “How To Escape Chronic Cardio & Carbohydrate Dependency & Become A Fat Burning Beast.”
Biohacking Testosterone: Tools & Tricks That Actually Work
OK – you’ve got your head wrapped around foods, basic supplements, fringe supplements and workout strategies. Now let’s turn to biohacking tools and toys that have great efficacy for boosting testosterone, sperm count, drive, etc. (and if you dig this biohacking stuff, definitely also check out the article “The Ultimate Guide To Biohacking Your Testosterone: 17 Ways To Maximize Muscle-Building, Drive & Anti-Aging.“)
1. Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)
A study done on rat’s gastrocnemius muscle (calf) found out that electrical stimulation induced a rapid increase in the number of androgen receptors in early parts of the stimulation. This led to an increase in muscle mass by enhancing the muscle sensitivity to androgens. Another study conducted in humans showed that an electrical stimulation of volunteers’ meridian points (which basically means electro-acupuncture) increased subjects’ concentrations of total testosterone and DHEA-S without affecting LH or FSH (secreted from the pituitary gland). In terms of actually figuring out how to self-administer electro-acupuncture, I’d recommend looking into a device called the “NES scanner” which will scan your body and show you where to apply the electrical stimulation, and for actual electrical muscle stimulation on specific muscles, I’d recommend this article on how to use electrostim (and a whole lot more).
2. Red Light or Low-Lever Laser Therapy
You can get the highly entertaining, nitty-gritty details on this strategy in the Men’s Health article entitled “I Put a Giant Red Light on My Balls to Triple My Testosterone Levels” (and yes, the featured image on this post is me posing with my personal giant red JOOVV light).
Red light, near infrared light (NIR) or low-level laser therapy has been used to treat various conditions from pain and muscle aches to wound healing, skin conditions, osteoarthritis and even depression. These effects are usually local, but near infrared light has also systemic effects via circulation of blood. For more details on these effects, you might want to read this super comprehensive article on red light and NIR. The basis for stimulating testosterone production by shooting red light and near-infra red light (yep, especially on your testicles) lies on the mechanism how red (or infrared) wavelengths work inside the cell. The key is that they stimulate ATP production in Leydig cells, thus increasing the energy available for the cells. This means more testosterone production. There might be also other mechanisms, which are speculated in ”Red Light Man” site:
“Another potential mechanism involves a separate class of photoreceptive proteins, known as ‘opsin proteins’. The human testes are especially abundant with various of these highly specific photoreceptors including OPN3, which are ‘activated’, much like cytochrome, specifically by wavelengths of light. Stimulation of these testicular proteins by red light induces cellular responses that may ultimately lead to increased testosterone production, amongst other things, although research is still in the preliminary stages regarding these proteins and metabolic pathways. These type of photoreceptive proteins are also found in the eyes and also, interestingly, the brain.”
According to a few studies done on rats, the positive effects on testosterone production are enormous. For example a Korean study found out that low-level laser therapy (LLLT) with wavelength of 670nm (which is in border of visible red light and infra-red light) 30 minutes per day showed significant increase in serum testosterone by fourth day of the treatment without any harmful tissue penetration. Ultimately, a few best practices for red light include:
- Overall, red or infrared light from LED source is generally thought to be a safe therapeutic method
- Avoid heating the testicles, since the heat will destroy sperm cells and have a negative effect on the Leydig cells
- Avoid blue light and UV light exposure on testicles (blue light inhibits ATP production in mitochondria)
Want more? Listen to my podcast on photobiomodulation here and then take a look at the red light that I personally use and swear by: the JOOVV. The JOOVV produces light in the perfect 600-800nm frequency used in research, and does not put you at risk of frying your precious balls. You just turn it on and – you guessed it – squat over it a bit or stand it against a wall and shine it across thine gonads as you work at, say, a stand-up workstation.
3. Cold Thermogenesis
In the 1820s, a German farmer named Vincenz Priessnitz started touting a new medical treatment called “hydrotherapy,” which used cold water to cure everything from broken bones to erectile dysfunction. He turned his family’s homestead into a sanitarium, and patients flocked to it in the hope that his cold water cure could help them. The first hydrotherapy facility opened up in the U.S in 1843, right when the sanitarium craze hit America. By the end of the 19th century, over 200 hydrotherapy/sanitarium resorts existed in the United States the most famous being the Battle Creek Sanitarium founded by John Harvey Kellogg.
There is no straight-forward evidence that cold therapy can raise testosterone levels. But indirect evidence definitely exists. One study conducted in 1988 in Finland investigated serum levels of thyroid and adrenal hormones, testosterone, TSH, LH, GH and prolactin in men after a 2-h stay in a cold room (10 degrees Celsius). There were no significant changes in the serum concentration of adrenalin, T3, T4, testosterone, TSH or LH. The serum level of noradrenaline increased from 4.5 to 6.3 nmol L1 (P < 0.01) and those of Cortisol, GH and prolactin fell by 20, 87 and 48% (all P < 0.01). This means that by lowering cortisol, you would probably have more of the raw material for testosterone production and less stress response.
The indirect research evidence by in vitro (and animal) studies on optimal testicle function gives us information that the ball sack (yes, that’s my highly technical term) should be kept cool (under 35 Celsius or 95 Fahrenheit) for optimal testosterone production. Heat exposure on testicles has been shown to reduce testosterone levels in rats. Also, an observational study done on over 6000 men showed that sperm quality and volume were greater in the winter time. This is due to stimulation by FSH and LH secreted from the pituitary gland, which also stimulate testosterone synthesis and secretion. There are also anecdotes from old school Chinese and Russian powerlifters who iced their balls after training and also before competition. Apparently, their goal was to increase performance and testosterone function.
Do these things to use cold thermogenesis to improve testicle function:
- Take cold baths and showers
- Wear loose boxers or go ”commando” to keep optimal temperature for testicles and to avoid compression
- Sleep naked or wear just loose pajamas (no undies)
- Sleep in a relatively cold room temperature
- Don’t sit unless it is absolutely necessary
4. Platelet Rich Plasma Injections (PRP)
In the article “I Got a Shot In My Dick For Stronger Erections, and I Have Zero Regrets“, I describe the PRP injection known simply as “The P-shot”.
Should your eyebrows now be raised, please allow me to add the term P-shot to your vernacular. Named for the Greek god of virility, Priapus, the P-shot involves harvesting your own plasma-enriched growth factors in your blood, and injecting them into specific areas of the penis. The process involves drawing a small amount of blood from the arm, then transferring it to a centrifuge, where it spins for about 10 minutes to separate the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and the platelet-poor plasma (PPP). The PRP is then taken from the tube and re-injected into the penis, which ostensibly stimulates blood flow and makes the penis appear larger and rejuvenated (there is also a version for women called the O-shot.)
This might sound crazy to you, but it’s actually not: for years, athletes like Tiger Woods have been getting PRP shots in other parts of their body to recover from injury, and Kim Kardashian famously received a variation on the therapy when she got a vampire facial in 2013. While some evidence suggests that the benefits are marginal at best, considering how popular PRP has gotten, I knew I had to try it, and I report on the results here.
If you want to get this therapy done yourself, I’d recommend you contact the folks at GAINSWave, you should know that it pairs quite nicely with the acoustic sound wave therapy below, and the good folks at GAINSWave have offered any of my readers a discount of $150 when you request an appointment from any provider, across the country, found here.
5. Acoustic Sound Wave Therapy.
Also provided by the team at GAINSWave, this pairs quite nicely with the P-shot (along with the use of a digital penis pump, which they provide to you after the one-two acoustic sound wave therapy + P-shot combo). You can get more details at the article “I Got Stronger Erections By Blasting My Penis With Sound“.
The science behind the technology involves something called low-intensity shockwave therapy. Shockwave therapy has existed in modern medicine for decades and has primarily been used as a treatment for lipoatrophy (localized loss of fat tissue) and to break up kidney stones using high frequency acoustic waves. About fifteen years ago, researchers in Europe realized that by using lower intensity acoustic pulse waves, they could also apply these same waves to the penis without damaging the skin or organs. Based on this trendy breakthrough of kidney doctors blasting their gonads with sound waves, physicians were eventually able to treat erectile dysfunction at its root source: poor blood flow.
When the acoustic pulse waves are applied to the penis (or the vagina), they supposedly break up micro plaque and also create a micro-inflammatory process that releases nitric oxide, a vasodilator and the same chemical induced via the consumption of stuff like Viagra or Cialis. Over the course of eight to twelve weeks after the procedure, new blood vessels in the genitals are supposed to grow, a process known as “neovascularization.” Scientific studies suggest that this therapy might be more effective than other treatments, including medications and really expensive penis pumps. But thanks to the overcrowding of the sexual performance industry by pharmaceutical and supplement companies, there were no standardized protocols, machines, or training programs until dear Dr. Richard Gaines (my former podcast guest here and here) of the GAINSWave clinic designed his own patented method of bringing this technology to the masses. As a bonus, these same shockwaves also may supposedly “wake-up” dormant stem cells in the penis, leading to improved erectile function and enhanced tissue growth. In other words, GAINSWave therapy may also increase the size of the penis.
Same as the P-shot/PRP injection listed above, if you want to get this therapy done yourself, I’d recommend you contact the folks at GAINSWave. They have offered my readers a $150 discount when you request an appointment from any provider, across the country, found here.
6. Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields
Electromagnetic fields emitted from various sources (e.g. mobile phones, microwave ovens, wi-fi’s etc.) have been reported to have causative effects on biological systems such as inflammation, radiation and hyperthermia. All of these can disrupt the seminiferous tubules and reduce the Leydig cell population and testosterone concentration (studies done in rats). A host of research on this issue exists in the new book “The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs: How to Fix Our Stupid Use of Technology“, which I’d highly recommend you read if you care about not just your fertility, but your health overall.
As a way to fix this issue, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF therapy) has been used successfully to treat various health conditions ranging from bone healing and pain relief to balancing the neuroendocrine system (including hormone production and melatonin levels). There exists a very recent study conducted on male Wister rats, which showed that PEMF therapy helped rats to bounce back from microwave radiation in terms of testosterone production and to combat oxidative stress. In fact, rats’ testosterone levels went a bit higher than before the microwave radiation exposure after they were treated with PEMF for 60 days.
What’s this mean for you? Many folks keep their mobile phones in their pockets quite close to testicles or ovaries. It is actually a fact that mobile phones emit microwaves that are harmful to normal tissues when kept very close to the skin. A number of studies have shown relationships between mobile telephone use and reduced sperm count and sperm quality. The negative effects are highly likely to extend also on reducing testosterone levels in men.
So the takeway is this: if you know that you are being exposed to external microwaves and wi-fi’s and cell phones, the use of a small PEMF device (locally on or near your testes) or a more general device for whole body PEMF treatment, is likely to revive testosterone levels.
The Habits: Mistakes You’re Probably Making That Impact Testosterone & Fertility
Mistake #1: Underestimating The Nasties of Plastic
If you listen to my podcast entitled “Estrogeneration: How Estrogenics Are Making You Fat, Sick And Infertile“, you’ll hear about how deleterious exposure to endocrine disruptors in plastics, food and water truly can be for your body – including your precious testosterone.
Endocrine disruptors are synthetic chemicals or natural substances that can alter the endocrine system. I talk about plenty of these in his latest “How To Detox Your Home” article. Many of the endocrine disruptors are either directly negatively affecting testosterone production or acting as estrogen mimics (known as xenoestrogens). These are mainly found in plastics, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, toys, pesticides, preservatives, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They have also been linked to many other health problems like cancer, decreased fertility, metabolic syndrome, hypothyroid and diabetes.
So first, avoid these substances, period.
- BPA (Bisphenol A)
- Found in plastics; can lower testosterone levels significantly and cause erectile dysfunction
- BPS (Bisphenol S)
- Marketed as a ”safer” alternative to BPA found in thermal receipts, plastics and household dust.
- Has the same negative endocrine effects as BPA
- Found in plastics and cosmetics
- Men having high phtalates in the urine have lower testosterone levels
- Found especially in sun lotions, moisturizers, shampoos, toothpastes and in other cosmetics as a preservative
- Function as a xenoestrogen in the body elevating estrogen levels in men (and women)
- Triclosan & triclocarban
- Found in antibacterial dilutants, soaps and hand sanitizers
- Can lower testosterone levels in men by disrupting biosynthesis of testosterone in Leydig cells
- Benzophenones (BP-1, BP-2 & BP-3)
- Found mainly in sunscreens functioning as UV filters
- Can possibly lower testosterone by antagonizing androgen receptors (in English, blocking the receptor sites) and blocking enzymes converting other androgens to testosterone
The number one way to reduce your exposure to these endocrine disruptors is to avoid the use of plastics as well as you can with the following strategies:
- Switch plastic cups to glass or steel cups & bottles (glass would be optimal)
- Store leftover food in glass jars
- Aquire a good tap filter that filters all contaminants and endocrine disrupters (e.g. reverse osmosis & activated charcoal filters)
- Use only organic & natural ingredient cosmetics
- Avoid junk food and prefer organic food
- Minimize the handling time with receipts or use gloves
- Avoid the use of detergents and flame retardants (and other possible endocrine disrupting chemicals)
You get the idea. After all, it’d be quite ironic to wash down your expensive testosterone supplements with a plastic cup of unfiltered water, wouldn’t it?
Mistake #2: Thinking “Avoid Chronic Cardio” Means “Don’t Move Too Much”.
As mentioned earlier, chronic cardio and heavy endurance workouts are definitely not a friend of optimizing testosterone. It has been shown in various studies that sedentary men who engage in regular physical activity instantly raise their testosterone levels and do it quite significantly. Too much endurance training has been shown to lower testosterone levels significantly. One interesting fact is that in endurance athletes, low T is an independent factor (possibly impairing testicular function) which is not even related to chronically elevated cortisol levels.
But being physically inactive is also quite deleterious to your testosterone production, and avoidance of chronic cardio does not mean that you avoid low level, hunter-gatherer-gardener esque physical activity woven throughout your day. For example a 12-week period of increased physical activity in a group of obese men showed significant increase in testosterone levels independent of accompanied weight loss induced by a mild calorie deficit. This means that a basic low-level physical activity like walking is an independent testosterone boosting factor!
Hence, this is why you’ll constantly find me sprinkling jumping jacks, burpees, kettlebell swings, pull-ups and plenty of time on my walking treadmill spread through the day – although you’ll rarely find me “jogging” for long periods of time or hanging out on the elliptical trainer for anything other than a brief sprint. Even for my long Spartan races and triathlons, I primarily do short, high intensity training as reflected in programs I’ve written such as Tri-Ripped, Triathlon Dominator and Obstacle Dominator.
Mistake #3: Eating Too Damn Often
Besides optimizing testosterone production for optimal actual hormone signaling, you also need to have a good amount of androgen receptors in your body. Intermittent fasting (AKA avoiding the standard, ho-hum broscience advice to suck down a maltodextrin and fructose shake after every workout and to eat plenty of steak before bed) is, in fact, one of the most researched ways to increase your androgen receptor density.
The easiest way to prime your androgen receptors for optimal testosterone uptake is intermittent fasting. Simply skipping your breakfast and pushing the first meal of the day as far as you can is a method that works very well. A small study showed that a fast of 12 to 56 hours improved testosterone response up to 180% in lean, but not in obese men. Another study found out that after 10 day water fast, testosterone showed a downward trend of approximately 15–20%. When re-feeding after the prolonged fast with normal meals, the participants’ testosterone levels went up significantly higher than before the fasting baseline values. One guy even went from around 600 ng/dl to 1600 ng/dl! The explanation for this phenomenon is that fasting primes your body to be more receptive to testosterone, which means higher androgen receptor sensitivity.
Warning: If you are under a chronic stress and have super high cortisol levels all day long, a prolonged 16+ hour fast might not be your thing. Also, please, please, please do not interpret intermittent fasting to be synonymous with calorie deprivation. It is not, and long-term calorie deprivation may, in fact, decrease testosterone levels. Intermittent fasting simply means that you compress all your calories into a shorter feeding windows – meaning you might perhaps eat 3000 calories between 10am and 7pm, rather than between 7am and 10pm. Make sense?
Mistake #4: Thinking You’re Immune To EMF
As the book “The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs: How to Fix Our Stupid Use of Technology” reveals, a whole lot of young couples these days are unable to conceive naturally – about half of them in the highly wired city of Mumbia, India. Research has shown that using a laptop directly in the lap, especially in conjunction with WiFi, is associated with a decrease in sperm count and motility while causing sperm DNA damage.
Cell phone users at 4+ hours per day have a 40% lower sperm count (btw, men with the highest sperm count enjoy a mortality rate 43% lower than men with the lowest counts”. Exposing rats to the cell phone frequency of 900MHz for 2 hours a day for 45 days leads to a reduction in testosterone levels. Exposed rats had T levels of 176ng/dl – compared to the non-exposed rats levels averaging 505 ng/dl. In 2013 researchers founds links between cell phone use and erectile dysfunction.
Nuff said. You get the idea. Freaking put down your phone, disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and understand that every second spent around so-called “non-native EMF” is likely not doing you any favors in the sexual department.
Mistake #5: Ejaculating Too Much
According to the eastern philosophy of Tao, men who regulate their ejaculation frequency and retain their semen will grow strong, have a clearer mind, maintain high levels of testosterone, sperm and semen—and therefore will have a stronger sexual appetite. Tao teaches that ejaculation frequency should be regulated to permit a man’s body to rebuild the sexual energy between ejaculations before it is used up again. That’s doesn’t mean you can’t have sex. You’re just not suppose to orgasm every time you do.
The most common system is to limit ejaculation frequency to occur every few days, although there is an actual ejaculation frequency recommendation based on age, which is as follows:
20s: all you want
60+: once a week depending on health
One popular theory among Tao practitioners is ejaculation based upon the frequency of intercourse, with ejaculation occurring only two or three times out of every 10 sexual encounters. One Tao theorist, Sun Simiao, recommends ejaculation no more than once every 20 days for men over 50 and no more than once every 100 days for men over 60. From a practical standpoint, you “injaculate” rather than ejaculate by squeezing the same muscles you’d squeeze if you were trying to stop the flow of urine, while “breathing the energy” up your spine. And if you get too close? Jam your fingers and apply pressure into your perineum, the soft tissue between your scrotum and your anus.
The nice part about this technique is that the cost is free, aside from the tranquilizers you might need to keep from transforming into a pent-up, angry, moody, aggressive, blue-balled man on those days you decide to have sex but not ejaculate. In addition, according to researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health, ejaculating at least 21 times a month may reduce a man’s prostate cancer risk. And if you’re trying to conceive a child, multiple studies have determined that sperm counts are typically highest two to three days after ejaculation, though more recent research has also shown that daily masturbation shouldn’t affect your chances of a pregnancy.
Mistake #6: Ignoring The Power Of Sex
In my episode “How To Get Fit For Sex” with my friend and relationship coach Jordan Gray, we delve into the idea that you should only prioritize being fit enough for good sex, but also the idea that sex is, in and of itself, a fun fitness activity and powerful way to boost your testosterone and initiate a very positive feedback loop.
One of Jordan’s specialties is tantric sex – a slow, intimate form of sex that leads to a better connection with yourself and your partner. While there is no one singular way “to do” tantric sex, the simplest way is to slow down, control your breathing, and be cognizant of your body in every moment. When it comes to becoming multi-orgasmic as a man, cultivating this skill is simpler than you might think. Set aside some time to masturbate yourself to arousal, and then consciously raise and lower your arousal level, alternating between 9 and 5 on a scale of 10. Consciously use your breathing to circulate the sexual energy throughout your body. Do this for 30 to 60 minutes a couple of times per week and you will become intimately aware of your ejaculatory point of no return. Once you’re familiar with this arousal zone, you’ll be able to ride the edge of this orgasmic precipice and experience “multiple orgasms” in no time. But let’s be clear: don’t think of each orgasm as a 10 after 10 after 10, but rather, riding the edge of a 9.5 for seconds (and eventually minutes) without having to pause for a break.
If you want to become proficient in the art of being multi-orgasmic, this generally takes anywhere from one to three months of consistent practice, and in addition to checking out Jordan Gray’s website, I also recommend you read the excellent book “The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know“.
Whew. I know that was a lot.
So should your head be spinning and your crotch becoming dizzy just thinking about implementing what you’ve just learned, let’s now step back and simplify with an example of what a “day in the life” of optimizing one’s testosterone would actually look like. Here are three simple examples, broken into morning, daily and evening habits.
-2000IU vitamin D/vitamin K blend
-50mg DHEA (use only a pure version and don’t use if you’re competing in a sanctioned sport as it is banned)
-30g cocoa powder
-2g maca root extract
For added effect, take these optional supplements:
-500mg fenugreek extract
-200-300mg eurycoma longifolia
Note: I personally find most of these bases can be covered in a relatively simple format by taking the supplement Aggressive Strength and Estrogen Control with breakfast, along with this fish oil, this Thorne multi-vitamin and this Thorne creatine – and finally getting a good organic maca powder and organic cacao powder for a morning smoothie.
Engage in as many EMF mitigation strategies as you can, with the simplest strategies being keeping your phone in airplane mode unless you’re actively using it, keeping your laptop off your lap or using an anti-radiation pad when you do and keeping WiFi signal on devices off when hardwires ethernet is available. Definitely detox your home, and it is probably also a good idea to audit your workspace for EMF with an acoustimeter or to hire a building biologist if you really are serious about optimizing your environment. I cannot recommend any more highly that you read this new book on EMF mitigation strategies.
Also, throughout your day, be cognizant of stress so that your testosterone:cortisol ratio stays high: practice relaxation breathwork such as deep nasal breathing and belly breathing, laugh and smile, get outdoors, and pay attention to the two chapters of stress mitigation strategies in my book Beyond Training. Finally, make it a point to be around people, especially women, as the mere presence of females can increase testosterone (and no, porn definitely does not count and may in fact be deleterious for hormonal balance).
Here is what a sample testosterone optimizing workout looks like – following the recommendations above of longer rest periods, lifting with the legs, etc.: This workout requires a gym or access to some weights such as barbells or dumbbells. It’s quite simple. With as heavy a weight as you can lift with good form, you do 5 sets of 5 reps of:
During the 90 second to 2 minute recovery period between each set, you perform easy mobility exercises or core exercises, such as opposite-arm-opposite leg extensions, planks, side lunges, jump rope, etc. You could simply do this twice per week, and if you have a partner, pyramid up in weight for each set so that by the final set you are forced to require assistance with each lift. I have many workouts like this structured in a weekly format in my “Look Good Naked/Longevity” downloadable .pdf book.
Maximize nitric oxide by consuming foods with dinner such as arugula, spinach, beets, carrots, red onions, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, extra virgin olive oil, pomegranate, cubed watermelon, dark chocolate and red wine. At least a couple times a week, plan a specific time to have sex and set aside the moment to really make it count so that you can practice the techniques from “The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know”, such as reverse orgasm, tantric, or reduced ejaculation frequency. Finally, take 400-500mg magnesium before bed and/or smear your arms/legs with a good magnesium topical lotion.
Oh, and of course if you haven’t yet had a chance, be sure to pick up a few more tips as well as some juicy anecdotes of my own three month journey through testosterone and sexual performance optimization by reading the highly entertaining article “New Year, New Dick” in the January 2018 edition of Men’s Health.
Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for me about testosterone boosting and anything I discussed in this article? Do you have your own hormone optimization tips to add? Leave your comments below and I will reply!