Why is Testosterone and Male Fertility Declining?
Male sperm rates are on a white knuckle plummet. Recently, scientists discovered that male sperm counts have declined over 60% since 1973 in the western world.
That’s pretty startling, and terrifying if you ask me.
We can go through our normal complaints about men not being men anymore and how the university system is ruining men, or we can look for clues as to why this is happening.
And clues there are…
So allow me to jump onto my soapbox for a bit and give you some reasons why it’s going to be harder and harder for men to produce baby batter strong enough to make babies if we don’t change some crucial things in our lifestyles and environments.
BTW, if you’re reading this, on this blog, it means you’re a hard charging and hard to kill bastard who can make this world better. You’re the kind of person who needs to make babies because we need more people like you.
So let’s get into it…
A Lesson on Hormones
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all sciency on you, but to understand the tips I give in this article, you do need to have some rudimentary understanding about how hormones work.
We all know that hormones are important, but many of us place that importance simply in terms of “can I get a hard on or not.” Yes that is important, but it’s so much more than that.
Hormones basically guide everything about you. They guide your thoughts, how you look, how your brain functions, and they can have an impact on your genetics. The main hormones we normally speak of are testosterone and estrogen, but there are some others we also need to worry about here. We won’t go into major detail here, but this is a general idea of how hormones are made and how a deficiency in this process could seriously affect your fertility and your vitality.
As you can see from the chart above, it all begins with raw materials. Cholesterol is taken from the blood stream to produce pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is known as the mother of all hormones and it is a precursor to testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol.
In a highly oversimplified sequence for the purposes of this article, Pregnenolone then becomes progesterone, then DHEA, then Androstenedione, and then Testosterone.
This does not all happen magically and there is some hardware required for this sequence to occur. The first major piece of hardware is the brain. Your hypothalamus produces gonadotropin releasing hormone and your pituitary gland releases leuteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. Together, these hormones work synergistically to stimulate the leydig cells in your testes to produce testosterone.
As you can see, this system operates as a cascade, and as with any cascade, a breakdown anywhere can cause those juices to stop flowing.
So let’s move on to understanding how breakdowns can occur.
How Breakdowns in Testosterone Production Occur
Okay, so the overall theme you need to understand here is that a breakdown can occur anywhere along this stream. I said it before, I said it again and I will continue saying it. Here are 5 potential breakdowns that can happen.
1. Damage to the brain and the gut.
Any damage to the brain can cause inflammation that will inhibit the hypothalamus and pituitary glands from working as they should.
Inflammation can come from Traumatic Brain Injury, or it could come from total body chronic inflammation. While many of you are generally concerned about the rather over the former, understand that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may be far more ubiquitous than most of us believe, especially amongst veteran populations. As Dr. Mark Gordon mentioned on our podcast, TBI can actually occur from simple rattling in the brain as in working a jackhammer or a machine gun every day. This is why Dr. Gordon believes that what we think is PTSD in veterans is actually low level TBI!
If inflammation inhibits the hypothalamus and pituitary from working, the base hormone precursors that are needed to make testosterone and growth hormone will not be produced optimally enough.
One of the major symptoms of hormone deficiency is depression and suicidal ideation, which could also explain the high veteran suicide rate.
The other way that the brain could become inflamed is through total body chronic inflammation. Though this type of inflammation affects the whole body, it often has a common origin – the digestive system.
Your digestive tract and brain are connected via a long nerve called the vagus nerve. What this means is that anything that affects or inflames your digestive tract can affect the brain and the rest of your body. Overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria, leaky gut syndrome, and autoimmune disease can drive down your hormonal levels by inflaming your brain.
Heal the Brain
First things first, we need to do things that will take care of the brain. One of the greatest natural neuro-protectants available are Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s help to drive down inflammation and can seriously help the brain. Our guests Dr. Michael Lewis and Dr. Brant Cortright have both touted the benefits of fish oil for healing the brain and creating neurogenesis. In fact, Dr. Lewis brought someone out of a coma by pouring fish oil down his feeding tube.
The kind of fish oil counts here though and if you believe you have an inflamed brain, it is important that you get a high DHA fish oil like Nordic Naturals to get the structural healing that you will need.
Along with this, we recommend that you reduce your consumption of inflammation causing Omega 6 fatty acids. These generally come from plant or seed oils like canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil. Note that olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil do not have high levels of Omega 6 and are fine to consume. Also note that some of the oils that I said not to eat are recommended by doctors in the American Heart Association. God knows why, but it may have to do with the fact that the plant oils are all produced by manufacturers with strong lobby groups.You can hear more about that here.
Additionally, you should also take a product called N-Acetyl-Cysteine. This is a precursor to glutathione, which creates cellular turnover.
To get the pituitary kickin again, we recommend taking a product called Dynatropin that was created by Dr. Gordon as an inexpensive replacement for growth hormone therapy. This spray is revolutionary in that it provides a way to absorb the nutrients that will lead to pituitary stimulus without them getting deteriorated by your stomach acids. In the interest of disclosure, we are both wholesale and retail distributors of Dynatropin, but that is because it’s an awesome product.
Heal the Gut
Aside from protecting your brain, you’re going to want to protect your gut. I teach this extensively in our Keto Camp course and I consider it to be the most vital part of any health or wellness practice. The gut contains around 3 lbs of bacteria, and the quality of these bacteria determine the quality of your gut health. An overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria can lead to everything from depression to achy joints. It can also cause tons of inflammation leading to hormonal deficiency.
So the key here is to reserve as much real estate as possible for friendly bacteria. You do this by seeding the gut with polyphenol rich foods like fresh herbs, apple cider vinegar, and cacao. You also want to load up on green, leafy, vegetables.
Next you want to populate your gut with friendly bacteria by eating probiotic rich foods like kombucha, kimchi, raw sauerkraut, and kefir.
If you’ve taken anti-biotics over the last year or two you definitely want to add a live probiotic supplement to the mix at around 300 billion a day.
Following these tips will get your brain the support it needs to produce the hormones you want it to.
2. Over production of insulin
Another hormone of concern is insulin. Insulin has an important job in our body – bringing blood sugar down to manageable levels after we’ve eaten. It does so by shuttling glucose into muscle cells, liver cells, and fat cells.
I get into the metabolic affects of too much insulin here amongst other places, but what you need to understand here is that insulin up-regulates aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen.
Estrogen increases and along with it, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) increases. SHBG binds itself to testosterone and decreases the amount of free testosterone available. As this happens, the hypothalamus releases more Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone, leading to more testosterone production, but this also gets aromatized into Estrogen. This creates a vicious cycle that results in more fat stores, sexual dysfunction, and greater levels of total body chronic inflammation.
The greatest solution revolves around reducing insulin levels. This is done by reducing total calories, and for some people, the need for a low carbohydrate diet – like a ketogenic diet. Exercising regularly, and moving after meal are also extremely important for reducing insulin production.
3. Leydig Cell Failure
Leydig cell failure occurs when tissue in the testicles becomes inflamed. This can happen because of trauma or because of total body chronic inflammation. As this happens, it disrupts the conversion of raw materials like cholesterol into testosterone. Basically, inflammatory cytokines alter the growth of Leydig cells in your testes and they disrupt the gene transcription for T.
You’ll want to follow both the suggestions given for number 1 and number 2.
4. Excess Calorie Intake
This goes along the lines of number 2. Excess calorie intake can cause excess up-regulation of Alpha 5 Reductase. This is an enzyme that converts Testosterone to Di-hydro-testosterone (DHT). Higher DHT leads to baldness, man boobs, and less testosterone to make your swimmers.
The Solution: Again, it goes back to following what I laid out in issues 1 and 2.
5. Excess Stress
Ok, here’s a big one that most of us can’t avoid. When we are chronically stressed, this leads to an over production of cortisol – the stress hormone (everybody boo and hiss!).
Excess cortisol can lead to insulin resistance (leading to more insulin production), and lower production of Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle Stimulating hormone. This prevents your testes from being stimulated and it can shrivel those bad boys down to raisin size.
Overproduction of Cortisol can also lower Testosterone production through something called the Pregnenolone Steal.
Remember how I said Pregnenolone was the mother of all hormones?
Well too much stress can rob your stores of Pregnenolone from Testosterone production to create Cortisol.
Yup, that sucks.
The Solution: Are you ready for it?
Reduce your stress! I know I know, easier said than done.
But seriously, start with your sleep patterns. Make sure that you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. To get some awesome tips, check out this video. We were also lucky enough to have sleep expert and Navy Seal, Dr. Kirk Parsley on the podcast to discuss his strategies for better sleep You can find that here.
Fertility has become an issue here in the Western World. So much so that it’s making headlines everywhere. Don’t get left scratching your head or needing to rely on whatever multi-billion pharmaceutical they’re going to design to take care of this problem. Live healthy, train healthy, and take charge of your life with these fixes.
Now, go forth and conceive!