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Young, fit male with low sex drive and low T--Any Advice?

by (10)
Updated about 20 hours ago
Created July 23, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Hello all,

I recently went in to see my doc about low sex drive and, after a variety of lab tests, was told that my testosterone levels were "low-normal". I'm all right with that since I don't want to go on prescription treatment, but it seems to me that they are quite low for someone my age and activity level, and I don't believe it's normal at all to hardly notice when a very attractive woman walks by.

These were my lab values:

Age: 24 Height: 6'1" Weight: 170

Free Test: 6.2 ng/dl Total Test: 249 ng/dl

I've been pretty strict about limiting grains and dairy for the last two to three months and I almost always get 8+ hours of sleep a night. I have been waking up to pee in the night a lot more than I used to, which led me to believe it might be my cortisol. I have one cup of coffee in the morning before work and usually some form of tea while at work, but I almost never have trouble falling asleep. I've been taking tribulus terrestris just to see if it does anything (nothing so far), but is there anything else I can do that might bring me up a few notches?

Thanks.

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1811 · July 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Mscott's list pretty much covers what I do. I eat white potatoes and brown rice too (not paleo but it works well for me).

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455 · July 25, 2013 at 1:42 AM

I don't think the problem is with not enough carbs per se but the increased secretion of cortisol in order to maintain adequate blood sugar levels via gluconeogenesis. Increased cortisol = decreased testosterone. I wonder if some adaptogenic herbs like siberian ginseng and ashwagandha would help. Case in point - I've been VLC (high fat) for 9+ months and my testosterone levels have never been better. I do take ashwagandha a few times a week though.

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880 · July 24, 2013 at 7:27 PM

In general, if you're not trying to lose weight, starchy veggies should be fine, yes. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, squash are all good options. You could also try white rice, cooked in bone broth, as some people find that they can tolerate white rice, even if they can't do other grains. (I'd recommend going organic if you try it though; had a bad reaction to some cheap GMO rice a few months back that was eerily similar to when I cheated with gluten in the past).

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10 · July 24, 2013 at 6:24 PM

What sorts of carbs did you add in? I don't have a problem with it, but I'm really not interested in adding in grains again.

D1c3cb5651f2ffdfc5793600366b9761
10 · July 24, 2013 at 6:22 PM

What sorts of carbs would you suggest? I try to include a reasonable amount of fruit and some potatoes, but the options seem fairly limited. Would just more fruits and starches be okay?

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421 · July 24, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Not necessarily, but Interval Training has been proven time and again to increase Test in men... What you want to do is what your body tells you to do because muscle recovery is also very important to increased Test. Try adding more green leafy veggies and Ginger to your diet as well.

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88 · July 24, 2013 at 4:59 PM

that's true, though if he doesn't know whether his DHEA is low, it might be better to play it safe and find out before supplementing with it

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455 · July 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Jdoane: In my experience, DHEA only cascades into estrogen if supplementation pushes you out of normal range. If your DHEA levels are already normal and you supplement, then yeah, it probably will convert to estrogen. But, if DHEA is low and you supplement, it likely won't convert much if at all. I've been taking DHEA for months (due to chronically low DHEA) and my estrogen levels are super low. If anything, I could use a little more estrogen.

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10 · July 24, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I usually do this at least twice a week. Do you think I should do it more often?

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10 · July 24, 2013 at 3:32 PM

For exercise, I lift heavy three days a week with very little overlap between muscle groups and I do some other form of cardio on at least two days. This is usually intervals (burpees or sprints). I occasionally will run longer distances (2-3 miles), but no more than once every two weeks or so. I should also add that I work an office job, so I unfortunately spend a decent amount of time standing at my desk.

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10 · July 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Sure--Where to start...I eat very little dairy aside from Kefir and Kerrygold butter. Most mornings I have some combination of meat, Omega 3 enhanced eggs, and vegetables (most of the time peppers and onions). I eat a salad (usually heavy on chicken) almost every day for lunch with oil and vinegar for dressing and a small amount of nuts. Dinner varies--I try to switch it up between turkey, chicken, pork, chicken, and grass fed beef along with some sort of vegetable. This is also where I add in starches (either a banana or sweet potato).

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88 · July 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

DHEA is slightly more risky for supplemenation in males. I'm currently going through a period of VERY low Testosterone, and I was advised not to use DHEA by my endo because of it's tendancy to cascade into estrogen. This would be a slightly less serious problem in women, for obvious reasons, but for men, it can seriously halter recovery from critically low T levels.

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421 · July 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

I would say yes since you are using no drugs to do it...

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17359 · July 24, 2013 at 10:48 AM

+1 as DHEA is a precursor to both cortisol and testosterone (amongst other things.) Also google "The Pregnenolone Steal" for an explanation.

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17359 · July 24, 2013 at 10:47 AM

HIIT may be hormetic, but isn't homeopathic. :) Yes, HIIT will work.

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455 · July 24, 2013 at 3:47 AM

Always a good idea. I've done it 3 times!

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455 · July 23, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Wow, did you even read what I said? First of all, at no point did I tell him or even imply that he should take DHEA. If you want to test adrenal function, you test diurnal cortisol and DHEA. Everyone knows that. Secondly, your statement is wrong. DHEA has no negative feedback mechanism and supplementing it does not reduce the body's own production. "There does not appear to be a feedback loop for DHEA production." "Interestingly enough, DHEA is not regulated by a negative feedback loop in the body." "There doesn't seem to be an obvious feedback mechanism for DHEA."

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7292 · July 23, 2013 at 8:13 PM

Supplementing DHEA has been shown to reduce naturally occuring DHEA in humans. Not a good idea for longterm sustainability.

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7292 · July 23, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Tell more about your diet and exercise patterns.

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9 Answers

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17359 · July 24, 2013 at 10:50 AM

If you increase your saturated fat, you'll be able to make more, assuming that you don't have a pregnenolone steal going on due to chronic stress. Things like butter for example.

Yes, tribulus terrestris is a good way to signal DHEA to convert into testosterone, but be sure to also add a chelated zinc. ZMA is another thing you can do, but it can cause weird dreams and sleep disturbances.

If you have excess body fat, your fat cells will aromatise testosterone into estrodial (a form of estrogen) so taking DIM will help prevent that.

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455 · July 23, 2013 at 5:14 PM

What are your cholesterol levels?

You should check diurnal cortisol + DHEA. I recommend this test: http://www.canaryclub.org/advanced-saliva-hormone-profile.html

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84
17359 · July 24, 2013 at 10:48 AM

+1 as DHEA is a precursor to both cortisol and testosterone (amongst other things.) Also google "The Pregnenolone Steal" for an explanation.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · July 23, 2013 at 8:13 PM

Supplementing DHEA has been shown to reduce naturally occuring DHEA in humans. Not a good idea for longterm sustainability.

D396b126240f584bc358e6e4fd84e9e3
455 · July 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Jdoane: In my experience, DHEA only cascades into estrogen if supplementation pushes you out of normal range. If your DHEA levels are already normal and you supplement, then yeah, it probably will convert to estrogen. But, if DHEA is low and you supplement, it likely won't convert much if at all. I've been taking DHEA for months (due to chronically low DHEA) and my estrogen levels are super low. If anything, I could use a little more estrogen.

D396b126240f584bc358e6e4fd84e9e3
455 · July 23, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Wow, did you even read what I said? First of all, at no point did I tell him or even imply that he should take DHEA. If you want to test adrenal function, you test diurnal cortisol and DHEA. Everyone knows that. Secondly, your statement is wrong. DHEA has no negative feedback mechanism and supplementing it does not reduce the body's own production. "There does not appear to be a feedback loop for DHEA production." "Interestingly enough, DHEA is not regulated by a negative feedback loop in the body." "There doesn't seem to be an obvious feedback mechanism for DHEA."

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44
88 · July 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

DHEA is slightly more risky for supplemenation in males. I'm currently going through a period of VERY low Testosterone, and I was advised not to use DHEA by my endo because of it's tendancy to cascade into estrogen. This would be a slightly less serious problem in women, for obvious reasons, but for men, it can seriously halter recovery from critically low T levels.

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44
88 · July 24, 2013 at 4:59 PM

that's true, though if he doesn't know whether his DHEA is low, it might be better to play it safe and find out before supplementing with it

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12702 · July 24, 2013 at 4:51 PM

I'll second Grocket. A low carb, high protein diet (which sounds like how you eat) is well established to lower testosterone:

http://jap.physiology.org/content/82/1/49.full http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0024320587900865 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091182

Start eating a bunch of carbs and I'd big money your T will start moving its way up.

If you're not interested in going over to the dark (carb) side just yet taking magnesium might also help:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20352370

"Our results show that supplementation with magnesium increases free and total testosterone values in sedentary and in athletes."

D1c3cb5651f2ffdfc5793600366b9761
10 · July 24, 2013 at 6:22 PM

What sorts of carbs would you suggest? I try to include a reasonable amount of fruit and some potatoes, but the options seem fairly limited. Would just more fruits and starches be okay?

D396b126240f584bc358e6e4fd84e9e3
455 · July 25, 2013 at 1:42 AM

I don't think the problem is with not enough carbs per se but the increased secretion of cortisol in order to maintain adequate blood sugar levels via gluconeogenesis. Increased cortisol = decreased testosterone. I wonder if some adaptogenic herbs like siberian ginseng and ashwagandha would help. Case in point - I've been VLC (high fat) for 9+ months and my testosterone levels have never been better. I do take ashwagandha a few times a week though.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb
880 · July 24, 2013 at 7:27 PM

In general, if you're not trying to lose weight, starchy veggies should be fine, yes. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, squash are all good options. You could also try white rice, cooked in bone broth, as some people find that they can tolerate white rice, even if they can't do other grains. (I'd recommend going organic if you try it though; had a bad reaction to some cheap GMO rice a few months back that was eerily similar to when I cheated with gluten in the past).

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421 · July 23, 2013 at 5:04 PM

If you want to try a homeopathic method try High Intensity Interval Training. According to Doctors and trainers alike, this form of activity is supposed to increase testoserone levels in males. I believe any exersize will increase testoterone and libido, but apparently many studies have shown that T-levels and libido dramatically increase in males over 35 naturally when performing HIIT. I see no reason why it wouldn't help a 24 year old.

D1c3cb5651f2ffdfc5793600366b9761
10 · July 24, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I usually do this at least twice a week. Do you think I should do it more often?

235e74b9adb57eff80592f064e1d298b
421 · July 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

I would say yes since you are using no drugs to do it...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84
17359 · July 24, 2013 at 10:47 AM

HIIT may be hormetic, but isn't homeopathic. :) Yes, HIIT will work.

235e74b9adb57eff80592f064e1d298b
421 · July 24, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Not necessarily, but Interval Training has been proven time and again to increase Test in men... What you want to do is what your body tells you to do because muscle recovery is also very important to increased Test. Try adding more green leafy veggies and Ginger to your diet as well.

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1074 · July 24, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Stick with a high fat, moderate protein, moderate carb Paleo template with a good amount of red meat/eggs/sat fat. Lower your salt intake (causes inflammation, search salt and helper T cell inflammation). Avoid diet sodas (toxic + screws with serotonin) and caffeine (adrenal burn out). Moderate exercise is fine. your getting enough sleep.

Lastly, if you have a problem with porn/masturbation or over-sexing, you should cut that out. Really depletes your hormones and neurochemicals if you chronically satisfy yourself. no fap

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2506 · July 24, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Okay, let me jump on the carbohydrate bandwagon as well. Unless you have a really strong reason for going low carb (digestion issues, Candida overgrowth, trying to lose body fat) I think it is prudent to keep your carbohydrate intake close to 150 grams/day. I was doing about 75 grams/day for a year and it left me lethargic, low sex drive, and feeling cold (...although on the plus side I got very lean). Adding just 10-20 grams/day of carbohydrates can make the world of difference.

In his book 'Perfect Health Diet' Paul Jaminet goes on at length about the virtues of potatoes. You might want to simply add a portion of potatoes to your daily diet. Conversely he thinks carbohydrates from fruit (fructose) should be minimized. Along with many others on this forum I strongly recommend you read this book. The diet is best viewed as Paleo plus starchy veggies. It also has a great section on supplements.

_Lazza

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1811 · July 24, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Your diet seems to be pretty low carb. I would consider increasing carbs. Significantly if necessary. I went through this and would tag my response with "N=1" but there are plenty of stories on this site about people who ate pretty low carb that suffered from similar symptoms plus low energy/fatigue, cold hands and recovered from this approach. Hope this helps.

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1811 · July 25, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Mscott's list pretty much covers what I do. I eat white potatoes and brown rice too (not paleo but it works well for me).

D1c3cb5651f2ffdfc5793600366b9761
10 · July 24, 2013 at 6:24 PM

What sorts of carbs did you add in? I don't have a problem with it, but I'm really not interested in adding in grains again.

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150 · July 24, 2013 at 3:05 PM

This article may offer you some ideas on how to increase it: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/01/18/how-to-increase-testosterone-naturally/

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120 · July 24, 2013 at 2:34 AM

Get a spectracell micronutrient test.

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455 · July 24, 2013 at 3:47 AM

Always a good idea. I've done it 3 times!

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