More and more people are being affected by stress every day. In fact, in the US alone, 27% of all adults said they were “so stressed they couldn’t function on most days. Also according to the American Psychological Association, 76% of Americans have had negative health outcomes as a result of stress or anxiety.
Depending on their family or generation, men may have been told that stress is just part of being an adult, and that’s that. But among the negative impacts from stress that we already know about–heart disease–high blood pressure, headaches, obesity–there is mounting and compelling evidence that in men, stress can also be a major cause of low T. In this article, we’ll talk about the leading research into this field–and what we can do about it.
Vital Points to Keep in Mind
Forefront of Research
Before we begin, some of you who may have studied anthropology or biology at University may be wondering, “Wait, don’t all hormones go up during stress?” In part, you’re correct. In fact, one study found that medical students stressed over exams had higher salivary Testosterone. We must keep in mind, however, the difference between chronic and acute hormone reactions.
Acute, or short term, cortisol is actually a good thing. It’s the hormone partly responsible for the “fight or flight” bursts of energy when we’re in danger, and it’s what helps keep us awake when we’re up past midnight working against a deadline..
Too much cortisol, however, leads to chronic health issues, like high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and yes, much lower Testosterone.
In fact, the bedrock of hormonal research has proven that increased cortisol has a direct impact on lowering Testosterone production at the source. That is to say, long-term stress actually stops Testosterone production in the testes.
Stress and Sleep
It’s no surprise to anyone reading this article, but stress can really mess with our sleep. In fact, a third of respondents in the US reported sleep changes due to stress. And that sleep does more than simply recharge our muscles and brains; it’s also vital for hormone health.
Think that sleeping is for wimps? Think again. Sleeping for 5 hours a night for one week reduces Testosterone by over 10%, on average. And that’s among what researchers called “healthy young men.” If you’re over 40, or are carrying any extra weight, you can bet it takes even less sleep loss for even more Testosterone reductions.
Stress and Blood Sugar
As mentioned above, cortisol increases our blood sugar. Part of this is a response to our ancestors being chased across the Savannah and needing more energy. But in modern humans, it’s meant increased insulin resistance, and even type-II diabetes.
And, you guessed it, higher blood sugar and diabetes risk has a direct correlation to lower Testosterone. When our blood sugar and insulin resistance go up, our Testosterone goes down.
Stress and Obesity
At this point I’m sure you’re sensing a theme. If it’s in my header, it means there’s a connection. No difference here. Stress leads to weight gain. (The mechanics aren’t mysterious. Not only does our blood sugar go up, but so do our cravings for salty snacks, carbohydrates, and wanting to rest after stressful events are over.)
You’ve probably also sensed the theme–if it’s in the header, it kills your Testosterone. Right on cue, we have a study–representative of dozens of papers with the same conclusion–that men with obesity have higher rates of low-T.
How to Fight Back
There are a number of ways to keep stress from destroying your Testosterone, and all of them are within reach. We’ll go through each of them in turn.
It’s no secret that exercise reduces stress. In fact, Harvard University has a whole page discussing how effective regular activity is in reducing anxiety and stress hormones. Exercise also increases Testosterone. In fact, even low-impact and aerobic exercise can raise certain Testosterone markers.
As discussed earlier, getting better and more sleep can have a dramatic impact on Testosterone health. Whether it’s meditations tapes or a better mattress, sleep is key.
There are a few key ingredients in Testosterone boosters, like the Ashwagandha in TestoPrime, that are known to improve mood and lower cortisol. One study found that not only were self-reported symptoms of stress lowered with Ashwagandha, but so were blood levels of cortisol. And Ashwagandha has other T-Boosting properties in its own right.
There’s plenty more meat on this bone, if you’re willing to jump into the science. There are dozens of chemical reactions and processes related to stress, and each of them has a direct, and negative, impact on our Testosterone. The bottom line in the long run: more stress means less Testosterone.
Good news–there are things we can do about it. Whether it’s hitting the gym, setting a real sleep schedule, or finally pulling the trigger on that T-Booster you’ve been eyeing, there are proven ways to lower stress–and get your Testosterone health back on track.