T Nation

Cortisol and Testosterone

In the more distant past I was told that high cortisol robbed precursors from testosterone (pregnanolone?). Then more recently I’ve read articles that cortisol can’t literally take raw materials that would have gone to testosterone. Now, I’m currently seeing infomercials claiming that while cortisol doesn’t directly rob materials upstream from testosterone, that high cortisol a) signals the body to make less testosterone (possibly) and b) definitely reduces testosterone sensitivity. I’ve also seen some research that resistance training may lead to a medium term reduction in testosterone, but that it is not a problem since it raises testosterone sensitivity. Is it possible to get a clear explanation of these processes, which are legit and which are not?

On a side note, I tried melatonin for a stretch of time late in the day on training days to reduce cortisol levels. My testosterone blood levels rose over a six week period and that is after hanging around 500 total T, 70 free for a while. It had actually been lower when I was overusing caffeine, but I cut PM caffeine and it went from 250/40 to 500/70 over about 10-14 weeks. On the melatonin, it went to 670 after 6 weeks. The problem is that if I drop melatonin now, I start to have increased anxiety that takes about a week to get over, so I don’t know if it’s a good idea in the long term.

Curious if you are Type 3?
Also, how much melatonin made a difference?
I use glycine (8-10 gms), which works, but I only take it on workout days.

1 Like

Possible. I’ve tested as 1a and 3 but also assumed I might be 2a. Built muscle pretty easily. Sheiko type training works best which make sense for type 3. But I think I’m adrenaline sensitive and can get into over caffeinated rut and then I can’t train. High frequency trumps intensity or volume for me.

If my training stalls it’s usually from chronic over-stimulation, not muscular/structural stress or metabolic/energetic stress.

I have addictive tendencies and have given up nicotine, alcohol and ephedra over the years. I will take 3 mg an hour before bed and another if I wake up after midnight.

I am pretty strong (1250 pl total raw at 49 and 200 lbs) but don’t like endurance activities.

It’s a little hard for me to believe that I am not a classic type 2a actor though.

I’ve tried glycine. I think it worked but I hate the taste. I drink Mag-10 without any flavoring and LIKE it, but glycine makes me naseous.

Did you take glycine as is together with water?

I take glycine routinely, but always with something “sweet”. Usually casein, which is artificially sweetened, pre-bed.

If I add it to cottage cheese, yoghurt or quark I also add some fruit.

In either case, I find that the combination makes the standalone flavor imperceptible to me although your mileage may vary of course. And, glycine seems to accentuate the sweetness.

I feel like i dont have any feeling over anything the next day using melatonin, am i the only one who experience this ?

And i pretty like glycine too post workout and before sleep, thats my all year supplement…

I put it in my shaker with ~30 gms of whey and start sipping it half way through my workout.

I’ve also been told that if you use Melatonin regularly, your body stops producing it which I think is why I get anxious when I stop it.

1 Like

How much glycine have you been taking?


I personally believe that producing too much cortisol can lead to lower testosterone. It’s not that cortisol steals pregnenolone, but since both cortisol and testosterone are made from the conversion of the same “mother hormone” (pregnenolone) it makes sense that overproducing one could lead to lower level of the other due to the use of more of the “raw material”.

I think the mistake is believing that short term excess cortisol production instantly lowers testosterone. But I believe that cortisol levels that are chronically elevated will lead to lower testosterone levels.

How are you taking melatonin?

Tablet or liquid dropper. 300 mg 2 hours before bed and again if I woke up before midnight.

Seems if I take it too late that I have a little sleeplessness from it. I’m trying it out at just a gram now. I’ve tried it before but jumped right in at 3 grams and some issues. I need something to help bring the cortisol down.

Is that 300mg of active melatonin? Because a normal dosage is 1-6mg

Sorry. It’s 3 mg

Yeah that make more sense LOL

I’d try to go lower than that. Melatonin is in my opinion overdosed in the US. Here you can get at max 2 mg which I think makes sense since 0.5 mg will put most people to sleep effectively.
If you are taking 3 mg at bedtime an then 3 mg at night, I think you’re way above whats necessary, that’s why you probably get side effects. I read a good researched article once that made me aware of the fact that it’s not necessary to take more than a mg of melatonin, can’t find it right now.

Melatonin has a half life of 40 min. But I have a similar experience to yours. If I take melatonin (500 mcg) and don’t sleep at least 8 hours I’m tired the next day like crazy. I think the reason is the body’s clock which gets set off by that. I’m just speculating right now.

Melatonin is such a complex molecule. It gets produced in every cell in the body and has many effects, from antioxidative effects to stopping ACTH regulated Cortisol release to regulating sleep. It’s fascinating. I think Rakowski was onto something even though I dismissed his strategy in the beginning because I didn’t find the studies but after searching a while I found some good studies which could prove his point (not definitively but good enough to make that argument).