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Continued from 6/11/14
By Dr. Mercola
Why I Recommend DHEA Over Testosterone Replacement
I personally do not use any hormone treatments as I have
been able to get my hormone levels within the healthy young
adult range using the protocols described above. However, if
you choose to use hormones it is really crucial to use
bioidentical versions. There are synthetic and bioidentical
hormone products out on the market, but I advise using
bioidentical hormones like DHEA if you opt for this route.
DHEA is a hormone secreted by your adrenal glands. This
substance is one of the most abundant precursor hormones in
your body. It is crucial for the creation of vital hormones,
including testosterone and other sex hormones.
Prior to puberty, your body produces very little DHEA.
Production of this prohormone peaks during your late 20's or
early 30's. With age, DHEA production begins to decline. The
adrenal glands also manufacture the stress hormone cortisol,
which is in direct competition with DHEA for production
because they use the same hormonal substrate known as
pregnenolone. Chronic stress basically causes excessive
cortisol levels and impairs DHEA production, which is why
stress is another factor for low testosterone levels.
It's important not to use any DHEA product without the
supervision of a professional. Find a qualified health care
provider who will monitor your hormone levels and determine
if you actually require supplementation.
Also, rather than using an oral hormone supplementation,
I recommend trans-mucosal (vagina or rectum) application.
Skin application may not be wise, as it makes it difficult to
measure the dosage you receive. This may cause you to end up
receiving more than what your body requires. Applying a
trans-mucosal DHEA cream to your rectum (or if you are a
woman, your vagina) will allow the mucous epithelial
membranes that line your mucosa to perform effective
absorption. These membranes regulate absorption and inhibit
the production of unwanted metabolites of DHEA. That said, I
do NOT recommend prolonged supplementation of hormones, even
bioidentical ones. Doing so can trick your body into halting
its own DHEA production and may cause your adrenals to become
Three Additional Supplements That Can Be Beneficial for
Symptoms of Low T
Another supplement that can address certain symptoms
commonly associated with low testosterone is saw palmetto.
This herb may also help increase testosterone levels by
inhibiting up-conversion to dihydrotestosterone. There are
about 100 clinical studies on the benefits of saw palmetto,
one of them being a contributed to decreased prostate cancer
risk. When choosing a saw palmetto supplement, you should be
wary of the brand, as there are those that use an inactive
form of the plant. According to industry expert Dr. Moerck,
what you want to look for is an organic super critical CO2
extract of saw palmetto oil, which is dark green in color.
Since saw palmetto is a fat-soluble supplement, taking it
with eggs will enhance the absorption of its nutrients.
There is also solid research indicating that if you take
astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto, you may
experience significant synergistic benefits. A 2009 study
published in the Journal of the International Society of
Sports Nutrition found that an optimal dose of saw palmetto
and astaxanthin decreased both DHT and estrogen while
simultaneously increasing testosterone.
Also, in order to block the synthesis of excess estrogen
(estradiol) from testosterone, there are excellent foods and
plant extracts that may help to block the enzyme known as
aromatase, which is responsible producing estrogen. Some of
these include white button mushrooms, grape seed extract and
Five More Ways to Naturally Increase Your Testosterone Levels
In addition to what I've already covered above (high
intensity exercise, intermittent fasting, saw palmetto, and
DHEA in conjunction with astaxanthin), the following
lifestyle strategies can also help you normalize your
testosterone levels, without resorting to hormone
Lose Weight by Optimizing Your Diet. If you're
overweight, shedding the excess pounds may increase your
testosterone levels, according to recent research.
Testosterone levels decrease after you eat sugar, which is
likely because the sugar leads to a high insulin level, which
is another factor leading to low testosterone. The most
efficient way to shed excess weight is to strictly limit the
amount of sugar/fructose and grains in your diet, and
replacing them with vegetables and healthy fats.
Ideally, keep your total fructose consumption below
25 grams per day. If you have insulin resistance and are
overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or high
cholesterol, you'd be well advised to keep it under 15 grams
In addition to eliminating or severely limiting
fructose, it will be vital to eliminate all grains (including
organic grains) and milk in your diet. Milk has a sugar
called lactose, which has been shown to increase insulin
resistance so it will be wise to avoid it if you are seeking
to lose weight. Replace these dietary troublemakers with
vegetables and healthy fats, such as organic pastured egg
yolks, avocado, coconut oil, butter made from raw grass-fed
organic milk, and nuts like almonds and pecans. Saturated
fats are essential for building testosterone.
Research shows that a diet with less than 40 percent
of energy as fat (and that mainly from animal sources, i.e.
saturated) lead to a decrease in testosterone levels. My
personal diet is about 70-80 percent healthy fat, and other
experts agree that the ideal diet includes somewhere between
50-70 percent fat. I've detailed a step-by-step guide to this
type of healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition
plan, and I urge you to consult this guide if you are trying
to lose weight.
Consume Plenty of Zinc: The mineral zinc is important
for testosterone production, and supplementing your diet for
as little as six weeks has been shown to cause a marked
improvement in testosterone among men with low levels.
Likewise, research has shown that restricting dietary sources
of zinc leads to a significant decrease in testosterone,
while zinc supplementation increases it -- and even protects
men from exercised-induced reductions in testosterone levels.
Your diet is the best source of zinc; along with
protein-rich foods like meats and fish, other good dietary
sources of zinc include raw milk, raw cheese, beans, and
yogurt or kefir made from raw milk. If you decide to use a
zinc supplement, stick to a dosage of less than 40 mg a day,
as this is the recommended adult upper limit. Taking too much
zinc can interfere with your body's ability to absorb other
minerals, especially copper, and may cause nausea as a side
Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels: Vitamin D, a steroid
hormone, is essential for the healthy development of the
nucleus of the sperm cell, and helps maintain semen quality
and sperm count. Vitamin D also increases levels of
testosterone, which may boost libido. In one study,16
overweight men who were given vitamin D supplements had a
significant increase in testosterone levels after one year.
To get your levels into the healthy range of 50-70
ng/ml, appropriate sun exposure is your best bet. If sun
exposure is not an option, a safe tanning bed (with
electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid
unnecessary exposure to EMF fields) can be used.
As a last resort, a vitamin D3 supplement can be
taken orally, but research suggests the average adult needs
to take 8,000 IU's of vitamin D per day in order to elevate
their levels above 40 ng/ml, which is the absolute minimum
for disease prevention. Furthermore, if you opt for a
supplement, you also need to make sure you're getting
sufficient amounts of vitamin K2, as these two nutrients work
together. In fact, vitamin K2 deficiency is frequently the
cause of symptoms associated with vitamin D toxicity, which
includes inappropriate calcification that can lead to
hardening of your arteries.
Have Effective Strategies to Address Stress: When
you're under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels
of the stress hormone cortisol, which actually blocks the
effects of testosterone.17 Chronic stress, and subsequently
elevated levels of cortisol, could mean that testosterone's
effects are blocked in the long term, which is what you want
to avoid. My favorite overall tool to manage stress is EFT
(Emotional Freedom Technique). It's a handy, free tool for
unloading emotional baggage quickly and painlessly, and so
easy that even children can learn it. Other common stress-
reduction tools with a high success rate include prayer,
meditation, laughter and yoga, for example.
Ancient Indian Herb, Ashwagandha, May Help: This
perennial herb is known as an adaptogen, which can help boost
stamina, endurance, and sexual energy. Research published in
201018 found that men taking the herb Ashwagandha experienced
a significant increase in testosterone levels. Ashwagandha
helps promote overall immune function, and can help increase
your resistance to occasional stress.19 It also supports
healthful levels of total lipids, cholesterol, and
triglycerides already in the normal range. While some
adaptogens are stimulants in disguise, this is not the case
with Ashwagandha. It can give your morning exercise routine
a boost, and when taken prior to bed, it can help you get a
good night's sleep as well. I recommend using only 100%
organic Ashwagandha root, free of fillers, additives and
excipients, to ensure quality.
Take Advantage of Your Body's Innate Ability to Self-Correct
The fact that testosterone prescriptions have tripled
over the past decade is a testament to the fact that men are
increasingly suffering from feeling less than their best.
Unfortunately, we still don't know for sure whether hormone
replacement therapy is entirely safe. Personally, I strongly
recommend implementing lifestyle strategies that are known to
optimize testosterone levels naturally before you do anything
If you're still deficient in testosterone after implementing
high-intensity exercise and strength training, along with the
dietary strategies detailed above and, ideally, intermittent
fasting, then you could try trans-mucosal DHEA. Again,
remember to confer with a qualified health care practitioner
and get your levels tested before supplementing with DHEA
or any other hormone, including testosterone.
Personally, I've been able to maintain both testosterone
and HGH levels comparable to that of men half my age, simply
by implementing high intensity exercise and intermittent
fasting, along with my standard dietary recommendations,
which apply to everyone, regardless of age or gender. You
have nothing to lose to give these strategies a try, and
everything to gain.
Thank You Dr. Mercola
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
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