How Low Testosterone Can Destroy Your Heart And What You Can Do About It.

Affiliate Disclosure

Hormones, Podcast

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

This year, popular media has been blowing up the news with reports that hormone replacement therapy like testosterone replacement therapy could cause increased risk of heart attacks.

But what they don't tell you is that low testosterone (in both men and women) can actually decrease your cardiac health, bigtime. And if you don't address low testosterone as you age, you not only pile extra stress on your heart, but you also get frail, lose muscle, gain fat, get impaired cognition, experience lower bone density, increased risk of type II diabetes, and many more serious issues.

There were also many, many other problems with the JAMA study that suggested testosterone replacement therapy could hurt your heart. And you'll learn about those problems – and much more about the link between your heart and your hormones – in today's podcast episode with Jon Benson.

Ten years ago, Jon Benson (pictured at right) was a somewhat typical American male: Overworked, over-stressed, and overweight. Benson's weight put him officially into the “obese” category and brought with it all the associated disease states such as high blood pressure, high inflammation, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, massive amounts of “stress fat” around the belly and chest region, and some serious heart issues.

But he's fixed himself. Jon is now a 4-time bestselling author on the subject of fitness and nutrition, including “Fit Over 40”, “7 Minute Body”, and “The Every Other Day Diet” – and testosterone plays a big role in his story.

Today you're going to learn all about Jon, and the crucial link between your heart and your hormones. During our discussion, Jon and I cover:

-How increasing testosterone improve cardiovascular health…

-The best way to test testosterone, and other hormones to test…

-What kind of total and free testosterone numbers you should look for…

-What to do about excess estrogens and aromatization…

-What the best and safest methods are for testosterone replacement therapy…

-The ideal herbs and supplements for increasing testosterone…

Resources we discuss in this episode:

Thorne Hormone Test (check on your testosterone, cortisol and much more)

Thorne Cardiovascular Risk test

Aggressive Strength herbal testosterone booster (that Ben takes)

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about the link between your hormones and your heart, or how low testosterone can destroy your heart? Leave your thoughts below!


Also published on Medium.

Ask Ben a Podcast Question




54 thoughts on “How Low Testosterone Can Destroy Your Heart And What You Can Do About It.

  1. Charlie Cross says:

    Hey Ben,

    do you still use Mike’s Test Booster? If so, have you always used the estrogenic control he sells aswell?

      1. Alex Kitt says:

        Hey Ben, do either of these effect hair growth? I’m on propecia and have been for a while, stopped me from trying any testosterone boosters before but since these are natural thought I’d give a try. Thanks.

        1. Alex, I always encourage people to talk with their doctors about any concerns they have with mixing medications/supplements.

    1. Stefanie Hilton says:

      Hey, can women take the Aggressive strength you mention?

  2. JohnnyNash says:

    Stay well clear off TRT.

    I’m 65 and was prescribed androgel by my physician around 6 years ago. Things were quite desparate at the time and I felt compelled to undergo the treatment because there were’nt any viable alternatives around at the time. After 3 months use, I began noticing tenderness around my nipples, and heart palpatations started to become more frequent. I mentioned this to my docotr, and god bless him, he stopped my TRT immediaty. Although I havent conducted a fullscale study, I probably know my body better than my doc does, I am convinced that androgel was affecting my irregular heart beat.

    I then turned to a testosterone supplement which I made sure was “herbal” in nature because I read so much about them. The product that I am using currently is easily one of the best testosterone boosters on the market . I can certainly vouch for that because I’ve been on it for that past year or so and the majoirty of my low testosterone symptoms are either less harsh or have disappeared altogther.

    I planning on havig my testosterone checked soon and I will no doubt update you guys!

    1. BigRiggg says:

      You must likely weren’t managing estrogen….

      And androgel is one of the worst methods of TRT. Injections are far superior. Sorry your little “study” doesn’t mean diddly.

  3. H20g8 says:

    Also, in a previous comment you stated, "Now…Aggressive Strength is 650mg total and only PART of that is Bulbine. It doesn't even come CLOSE to the amount they gave these rats…"

    However, the above linked website states that the concentrations given to the rats equate, in human terms, to roughly the same dosage amounts as one would take following Mike Mahler's exact instructions. Please see the exact quote from the examine.com website below:

    "Rat studies investigating how bulbine natalensis interacts with testosterone note that 50mg/kg (of a 10:1 extraction) appear to be the optimal dosage, and based on Body Surface Area Conversions,[1] this correlates into an estimated human dose of 8mg/kg or:

    550mg for a 150lb person
    730mg for a 200lb person
    900mg for a 250lb person

    These doses are currently only estimates, but they are within the range seen in the only industry funded trial on bulbine natalensis at this moment in time (which used 650mg).[2] "

    What are your thoughts on this?

    1. Three caps of Bulbine is around 650mg. Most people over 180 take that amount. Now that amount has been shown to be safe in human study looking at lipid levels as well as markers for kidney and liver health: http://prolensis.publishpath.com/science#findings

      1. H20g8 says:

        Thanks! So happy you are a nerd like me – a superfit nerd, that is. So, with the study classified as "short term" analysis and a period of 28 days of use studied, do you prefer to cycle 4 weeks on, 4 weeks off OR use some other cycling pattern personally?

        1. I do 5 days on, 2 days off during race season, then don't us it during off-season.

          1. H20g8 says:

            So, here's my question:

            I bought the Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster and the Estrogen Control Hormone Optimization. In fact, I bought two bottles of each.

            I am 6' 2" and 185 lbs.

            At my weight, Mike Mahler recommends taking 3 of the testosterone booster capsules per day and 2 of the estrogen control optimization capsules (if I remember correctly) and cycling 2 months on/1 month off.

            I am involved in triathlon and weightlifting just like you.

            So, would you have any issue with me taking 3 of the testosterone booster capsules per day at my weight (185 lbs) and 2 of the estrogen control optimization capsules per day while cycling the supplements 5 days on, 2 days off like you during a 9 month competition period (race season) followed by a 3 month period completely off of both supplements?

            Make sense?

          2. I got into exactly how I use both of those supplements in the "How To Increase Testosterone And Decrease Estrogen" segment of this podcast https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/03/312-h… Check it out.

          3. H20g8 says:

            I had already listened to it. I guess the real question is, "How long is your triathlon season?"

  4. H20g8 says:

    Based on the information provided by one of the previous commenters at the following link (http://examine.com/supplements/Bulbine+natalensis/), are you cycling the product as suggested by the website? Also, are you taking one per day or two per day? It would appear that the recommended dosage for best effects would be two per day when basing it on your bodyweight which is basically the exact same as mine. But, I was wondering if you are only taking one per day just to be extra safe. Also, the website doesn't appear to define recommended cycling parameters however.

    1. Yes, I cycle as suggested by the website, at two per day…

  5. Chuckfeerick says:

    Hey Ben,
    Are you still taking Aggressive Strength herbal testosterone booster?

  6. trainerwolf says:

    I was recently diagnosed with low testosterone. Currently I do HIIT training 3-4 times per week and try eat pretty healthy in the 40:30:30 macronutrient range. I'm looking into testosterone replacement along with other option and wanted to get some feedback on suggestions.

  7. FolsomH2O says:

    Thanks Ben. Tough choice.

  8. FolsomH2O says:

    Hello Ben. Hands down the best health and fitness info on the web. What are your thought on a similar herb called Tongkat Ali. It makes some of the same claims as Bulbine Natalensis.

    1. I list it among a few good anti-oxidant compounds that seem to make their way to the testicles after ingestion and exert protective effects.

    2. I briefly discussed it in a podcast awhile back and noted that it may indeed increase Luteinizing Hormone similar to bulbine…

  9. JonnySouter94 says:

    Hey Ben,
    I am really close to purchasing Mike Mahler's Aggressive Strength T-boosting formula. Have you seen prominent results with it from your own blood test results? Or if not, have you felt subjective improvement in energy, strength, drive etc.?

    Cheers Ben.

    1. Big difference in all of the above, actually. It is one of hte few ones that I actually recommend for those reasons, and testosterone has gone up considerably (high 300's to mid 500's!)

      1. JonnySouter94 says:

        Sorry Ben, but I am confused. Your first reply ^ seems to convey that you don't endorse Mike Mahler's T supplement, and then your latter reply does seem to tout Aggressive Strength T formula as beneficial. What are you attributing to your increase in T from high 300s to mid 500s? Clarification would be great Ben- I must be dumb..

        1. Sorry, I read wrong, didn't notice at first you were referring to Aggressive Strength! I do use it!

  10. kleinbc says:

    Hey Ben, I had my DHEA checked by a doctor recently after reading through Jack Kruse's Web site. (It's one of the tests he highly recommends getting as a clue to things being off. It falls in a normal range according to the lab, but I'm curious what optimal is? Do you want something higher or lower? Any guidance would be much appreciated!! Thanks!

    1. Below is a cheat sheet to help you begin exploring your own lab results. It’s from the FREE Biohacking 101 e-course with Jack Kruse, at JackKruse.com.

      Ratio of RT3 to Free T3 should be 20+; RT3 to T3 should be 10+.
      Low Ferretin can cause a high RT3; it’s an inhibitor of the T4>T3 by 5’ deoiodinase enzyme

      Adrenal / Pregnenalone Steal
      How’s your adrenal axis functioning?

      Normal cortisol to DHEA ratio should be 4:1 to 6:1 in most ASI labs

      Adrenal Fatigue
      Low Sodium / Potassium could indicate adrenal fatigue

      Leptin Resistance
      Leptin resistance stems from chronic inflammation in the body. You may be experiencing inflammation if:

      Highly sensitive CRP levels are up
      Vitamin D and DHEA levels are down

      Insulin Resistance
      You may be insulin resistant if:

      SHBG is in the bottom 10%
      You have high triglycerides

      Kreb Cycle Abnormalities
      You may have kreb cycle abnormalities if you have:

      Low CO2

      Parasite
      Potentially have parasites or allergies if:

      Eosinophils = 3+

      Virus
      Potentially indicates viruses if:

      Neutrophils 60+

      Lyme
      You may have lyme if:

      You have a high fibrinogen or platelet count

      Light:
      Indications that your circadian biology is good/strong:

      ASI: Normal total cortisol with correct diurnal pattern over normal DHEA level
      Good melatonin pattern (normal total melatonin with normal total cortisol with correct diurnal pattern) over normal DHEA level
      Free T3: 3.3+ above [men] & 3.0 or above [women]
      Pregnenolone: 150+
      Vitamin D3: 70-120

      Water:
      You are well-hydrated if:

      Bun/Creatine Ratio: =/< 10:1
      Progesterone: top quartile to top 10%
      Estradiol: top quartile
      Pg/E2 ratio: top Quartile or as close to 500:1 as you can get
      Testosterone: top quartile to top 10% (men); 35+ (women)

      Magnetism:
      You have good circadian biology from magnetism if:

      Bun/Creatine Ratio: =/< 10:1
      IGF-1: 225+ (men); 220+ (women)
      Progesterone: Top quartile to top 10%
      Estradiol: top quartline
      CO2: 25
      Pg/E2 ratio: top Quartile or as close to 500:1 as you can get
      Testosterone: Top quartile to top 10% (men) & 35+ (women)
      SHBG: 25 or below

  11. cletemg says:

    And thanks for the references!

  12. cletemg says:

    Will do, thanks!

  13. cletemg says:

    Ben, as usual great information!! I live here in good ol' Spokane and was hoping you recommend a practitioner in the are who is comfortable with addressing low T. My primary is good at prescribing BP meds, but when I asked about checking hormones he told be to eat Paleo (not bad advice) and all we be well. Any help is appreciated. Thanks

    1. Man, very tough in Spokane. I have yet to find someone good, but start here:

      -HealthProfs.com

      -FunctionalMedicine.org

      -Naturopathic.org

      -PrimalDocs.com

      -PaleoPhysiciansNetwork.com

      Let me know what you find.

      1. cletemg says:

        Ben,

        Thanks again for all your hard, I did find a great Dr. here in Spokane for HRT. Dr. Getz at Spokane Vitality. He is very dialed in and in our first hour long consultation he brought up most of what was mentioned in the podcast. He's also one of the lead MDs in the ER at our main hospital here in Spokane.

        1. Nice…that is very good to know. I will have to meet him someday!

  14. lemons79 says:

    I would like to reduce fibrin by donating blood but I travel every few months to countries that are on a restrictd list for donation (Central American countries). They're worried about malaria exposures….so what can I do?

    1. Proteolytic enzymes work very well against fibrin as well. Check out something like this http://www.pacificfit.net/items/capraflex

  15. MontanaJack says:

    I think one thing missing in comments on hormone replacement discussions and recommendations: many individuals who get on these medications have done something previously to suppress their normal production of testosterone, for example. Any combination of obesity, bad diet, etc., can and will have significant impact upon your hormonal systems, from over production of insulin, IGF-1 and cortisol to the suppression of growth hormone and testosterone. Even the vegan MDs such as McDougall and Fuhrman have reported restoration of normal hormonal levels, endothelial function, etc., by simply getting patients on a clean diet.

    Medications may also contribute to low "T", as the popular term goes along with prior use of steroids–bodybuilders are notorious for this issue.

  16. Mark8000 says:

    Great episode Ben!
    Are you familiar with the Danny Roddy / Ray Peat style diet to repair thyroid function testosterone etc? Would love to know your thoughts?
    Thanks man

    1. Yes, I agree with most of what these guys have to say!

      1. Mark8000 says:

        Thanks Ben, just wondering if (like me) keeping a full head of hair is a concern to you as you get older? Are there any links or any particular diet you would follow for this? On this particular episode Jon says that a high fat low carb approach is best for testosterone but Ray Peat/Danny Roddy is high Carb and protein? Any advice would be cool.
        Thanks!

        1. Nope, because as you lose hair it can be because of increased DHT, a very bioactive form of testosterone. So there is something the old "horny tough bald guy". I'd rather be bald and full of drive than hairy with man boobs. ;) High fat, low carb with heavy lifting, sprinting and occasional carb refeeds is best.

          1. Mark8000 says:

            Haha ok thanks man. Still, would be nice to be full of drive with hair *fingers crossed* (head shapes can vary u know lol)
            Anyways appreciate the reply

  17. Marathon Hopeful says:

    Hi Ben, I appreciate you podcast very much, it’s very helpful and informative. My question is regarding my lungs, it appears that ever since I recently started TRT and taken up running simultaneously, that I have an unusual set of symptoms. When I run for more than 20 minutes, even at a slow pace, I get a fair amount of phlegm that prevents me from breathing normally, so obviously I stop when this happens, in the phlegm, there are traces of blood. I’ve been to my cardiologist, asthma physician, hematologist as well as PCP, they cannot seem figure out what the deal is.

    I can actually use the rower or ski machine and get these same symptoms, BTW.

    I do have a little bit of a leaky prosthetic, porcine valve, and have been told I might have developed exercise induced asthma, I’m not sure how, I never had it before.

    Any ideas on what it could possibly be or how to direct me somewhere I might get some help?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

    1. Not sure what kind of TRT you're using, but it's highly likely you may be allergic to a filler or ingredient added to the lotion, injection or capsule. That's what I would suspect. Most folks who get asthma related issues do very, very well on a Paleo Autoimmune style diet: http://goo.gl/6MhqT

  18. JonnySouter94 says:

    Was my previous comment too elaborate Ben? :(

  19. JonnySouter94 says:

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for all your fantastic work and podcast material- I get excited every time I see you post a new one!

    I have a question regarding my own severe androgen deficiency, as a 19 year old former middle distance runner, and want to know how you would suggest maintaining a decent testosterone level whilst training for middle distance competition (if possible). I am in a major dilemma as several endocrinologists have been hard-pressed to identify an actual cause of my very low testosterone levels, so I am not that willing to go on TRT just yet. I have always eaten a balanced, whole-foods diet but was at one stage 59kg when I was running competitively (2012, and i'm 178cm tall)

    For 9 months now I have cut all forms of endurance training, whilst doing resistance training 3-4 times a week, and the occasional sprint, following Christopher Walker's protocols. Upon Chris' word I have also endorsed Intermittent Fasting every day up until roughly noon before my first big meal. So, I am up to 70kg now (8.5% BF), feeling stronger and slightly more confident, but unfortunately my latest blood test results confirmed plateaued testosterone (190; range: 300-1000). I REALLY miss the middle-distance racing however, but have been advised to steer clear of any chronic cardio for my hormonal circumstances.

    Do you think there is any way I could compete/train in middle distance events (800m-5km) whilst maintaining both hormonal health and a fairly muscular physique? Would you advise a 19 y.o to do this through TRT, or should I give it a bit more time (even though it's been 9 months)? Finally, do you advocate short-term intermittent fasting (~16/8) for testosterone enhancement?

    I would be overwhelmingly grateful if you were to provide some guidance for me in this challenging time. You are a real inspiration to me Ben, thanks a lot!

    1. I would first point you to the following articles and methods for increasing your T without TRT first and foremost: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/01/how-t…

      Look at the HORMONES – TESTOSTERONE BLEND on this page: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/05/ben-r…

      Did you listen to this podcast? https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/05/testo…

      More here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/247-c…

      And of course I talk about it in my new book as well, <a href="http://www.beyondtrainingbook.com” target=”_blank”>www.beyondtrainingbook.com and you can see some of it here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/04/stren…

  20. MillerTime1952 says:

    I've considered taking Mike Mahler's Aggressive Strength testosterone supplement, but I've read that the main ingredient, bulbine natalensis, has some serious side effects associated with it. I trust your recommendations, Ben, and I'd like to know your thoughts on bulbine natalensis and more about you experience with this supplement. Thanks!

    1. Hmm…what have you heard about bulbine?

      1. MillerTime1952 says:

        Evidently it can cause organ damage: http://examine.com/supplements/Bulbine+natalensis…

        1. From those studies:

          "The effects of aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis Baker stem at 25, 50, and 100 mg/kg of body weight for 14 days on the functional indices of liver and kidney as well as the histology of the rat organs were evaluated."

          "The effects of oral administration of aqueous extract of Bulbine natalensis Baker stem at daily doses of 25, 50, and 100mg/kg body weight on the reproductive function of Wistar rats were evaluated."

          Now…Aggressive Strength is 650mg total and only PART of that is Bulbine. It doesn't even come CLOSE to the amount they gave these rats…

          1. MillerTime1952 says:

            Thanks for that Ben!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *