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Testosterone Increase Action Plan

Hi There,

First post here so thanks for any help in advance. First off just a bit of background. I am a 31 year old male. I have been in and out of the gym for the past 10 years or so, nothing serious, more like hobby. If I am honest with myself the last 5 years or so I have not looked after myself the best, partying, binge drinking on weekends, poor diet etc. As a result of this, I had jumped up in weight to just over 15 stone (I am 5ft9).

Knowing something had to be done, around Sept last year I l learned about the OMAD diet, so decided to eat one meal a day on most days (around 1200 cals) and with this started a pretty vigorous weights and cardio training schedule, where I would do weights and cardio around 5 times a week. Now I know this was not the best way to do this and would lead to me ‘burning out’ however at the time I was dropping weight drastically so just continued. I am not sure if this is relevant, however it is just before my symptoms started so thought I would tell you so you have the whole picture.

Around Feb/March time this year, I met a great girl and was happy as larry could be. I was still following the OMD diet and training like hell, and by this point was just a touch over 13 stone. It was at this time I started experience erections issues. Erections nowhere near as strong as they should be, and next to no ‘morning wood’ (this was previously normal last year etc). I didn’t think too much of this, I thought this may partly be down to performance anxiety with my new partner and just a blip, so I started taking PED5 inhibitors, and the erections with my partner were normal again, and I thought after a few months or so this would return to normal (I was still doing the diet and training regime).

Around June time the problem has not resolved itself, and at this time I started to panic, got extremely depressed about the situation and thought, why do I had to take these drugs to get an erection. The stress was unbelievable and for weeks on end I got no sleep. It was at this time I went to see my GP, who referred me for blood tests as he wanted to check my testosterone levels. I am not sure which test results are relevant, but the following were my levels for some of the tests…

Prolactin - 151 mu/L

Free T4 - 22.0 pmol/L

TSH - 1.24 mu/L

Testosterone - 6.6 nmo/L

The doctor confirmed my test was low, and wanted to conduct a more thorough test. In 2 weeks time, I have a test scheduled for Total and Free test, LH, FSH, Vit D and SHBG. I know test levels fluctuate, but knowing that reading was so low I researched what I could do about it naturally. Everywhere I have read has stated it will take time, and I realize with hormones it is not a case of just flicking a switch. I will of course post on here my results for those interested, but I just wanted to run you through what I have been doing, to see your thoughts and if there is anything else I can be doing. So here is my action plan…

  1. I have started a weight training programme 3 times a week focusing of whole body big compound movements., cardio is now only 2 times a week and moderate instead of long drawn out sessions.

  2. I have cut out alcohol, very rarely having a drink or two

  3. I am starting to try and manage my stress, focusing on a bit of meditation.

  4. I now have a clean diet, making sure to have plenty of good carbs along with healthy fats (nuts, olive oil, avocados, eggs etc)

  5. Making sure I get 8 hours or so sleep every night.

  6. Supplanting with Vitamin D, Ashwaganda, Zinc, Magnesium and Boron.

Just incase anyone was wondering I have never used any kind of androgynous hormones.

Thank you for those that have stayed with me throughout this essay! Any help or advice really is very much appreciated!

If you’re in the EU it is known EDC’s have been released in the environment disrupting hormone production and the cost is in the hundreds of billions.

You don’t fix things naturally at a TT of 190, this is indicating something is broken, this is basically the levels seen in 100 year old men.

The panic you’re experiencing is extremely low estrogen and is because of low testosterone, men experience this when over responding to estrogen blockers on TRT, I have experienced it firsthand.

Your TSH is excellent, it is the stimulating hormone for the thyroid gland, but is not a thyroid hormone. fT3 is the active hormone.

In the future you want to include reference ranges for all labs.

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IMO, your hormone issues are from adrenal fatigue, brought on by a long period of excessive stress, which all probably started with an extended dietary deficit.

You stated that you have since cleaned up the diet, so stay that course. Eat at least your bodyweight (in lbs) X 15 in total calories every day with a 40/30/30 p/c/f split, and try to eat the days calories split across 5-6 meals. Keep the exercise going.

You will be amazed how well your body can heal itself once you give it the proper tools to do so. It doesn’t sound to me like you’ve passed the point of no return, so I would put money on you being able to recover without drugs over time. I would try it for at least 6 months before I resorted to any other drugs.

Just my opinion though.

Inadequate energy intake in combination with strenuous exercise produces high stress levels and shuts your reproductive system down. No wonder that T is low.

You are on the right path to recovery. Adequate energy intake with nutrition rich food, moderate exercise and enough rest/sleep.

Hang in there for at least half a year before making any moves in the direction of TRT.

You might be interested in reading this

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988228/

Chronic Low Testosterone Levels in Endurance Trained Men: The Exercise- Hypogonadal Male Condition

Long-term effects of calorie restriction on serum sex hormone concentrations in men

What are your current calories ?? 1200 calories with weights and cardio might be your issue! I was very similar to you in my 20’s. I consumed low calories and walked around at single dig body fat levels for years ! Suddenly in my 30’s i lost my motivation, felt sleepy all the time, my workouts stalled, my endurance started to suck, my sex drive went away, and i started retaining fat. My issues were directly related to years of insane dieting and keeping my carbs low. Looking back i remember being on vacation where i would drastically increase my calories and my symptoms would go away. I would start by upping your calories big time.

Thanks for your response so far all, really appreciate any help. In regards to my calories, I stopped doing the OMAD diet back in May time, but only cleaned my diet up and focused on eating right for my test levels for the past 2 months or so. I am now consuming circa 3000 calories daily, paying attention to get in plenty of Carbs, Fats and Protein plus veggies, fruit etc. Strength training 3 times a week and aim to get 8 hours of good sleep every night.
I am going to stick in there and stay on track. I want to be able to give myself enough time naturally before considering TRT, so I was thinking I would give myself 6 months minimum, but more like a year. Of course if my levels remain low and these symptoms have not improved I will consider TRT, as that is what it is therefore, so would have no problem doing that if my body needed it. However, as these symptoms only started April time and not previously I am hoping with hard work, proper nutrition, good rest and good exercise, I can overcome this.

Your action plan sounds good. Keep us updated on how you progress.

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Hi guys,

So as I mentioned in my original post, I was due to have another test to get an up to date reading. So here are my results…

FSH - 4.1 u/L (1.4 - 18.1)
LH - 3.5 u/L (1.5 - 9.3)
SHBG - 18 nmol/L (17.0 - 66.0)
Test level - 7.6 nmol/L (5.72 - 27.35)
Free androgen index 42.2% (23.0 - 103.0)

I am continuing to follow my action plan, and I have increased my calories up to circa 3000 every day as of a few weeks ago.

Thank you all in advance for any help and input!

Specifically, if any of you guys could comment on my SHBG, LH and FSH levels, that would be great. Are they normal? Does that give any indication why my T levels may be low? Is there anything esle going on?

I know my T levels are obviously very low and I am working to correct that but I do not know anything about the others?
Thanks!

To me your LH & FSH are low normal meaning your brain is happy with the level of testosterone you have in your system. At least for LH I presume FSH is similar. Your test levels are really low so I’d say you have secondary hypogonadism. Your low SHBG is helping you out as that gives you a bit extra free test but you’re still right at the bottom of the range.

Personally I wouldn’t have high hopes of really upping you’re test levels to even mid range. If you’re giving it a shot good luck, but I’d start researching trt docs in your area or somewhere for telemedicine so in the event you aren’t successful you can be prepared to get trt going. It can take a while to dial in so I’d want to start sooner than later.

Your LH is right about where mine was pre-TRT, LH was 3.6 and FSH 4.6, TT was 97-146 ng/dL or 3.3-5.0 nmol/L and SHBG 14. As you can see we operate in a particular range never really staying in one place to long, our levels fluctuate day to day which is why you’re seeing different numbers every time you run labs.

Where you see an increase or improvement, I see a natural daily fluctuation. It’s not often I see men recover optimal levels naturally especially below 400 or 13 nmol/L.

Thanks for your replies.

I know my test levels are very low, and I am going to make an appointment with an endrocinologist to discuss. Like I previously stated, I have no issues on going on TRT if need be, I have symptoms of low T and I am sure I will feel much better with a normal range.

I know the chances of raising my levels to a high level may be a long shot, but I wanted to give it a go at least for 6 months, so then I could say okay I have given it a go, now I need TRT. Life is funny like that, I have had years of no symptoms of low T, generally been happy and no bedroom/libido issues etc, and then I met a great girl, and within a few months this all starts happening. Perhaps my levels were always borderline low, but not low enough to cause any symptoms, and the low deficit diet has just caused it to crash low enough for the symptoms to start.

Whilst I would want to increase my levels naturally, where I feel much better and symptoms clear, I am also conscious as to what life is going to be like for my partner and I if that doesn’t work and I stay with low T, a life with those symptoms would not be fun for either of us. My levels are very low as you stated, so if TRT is necessary for my health and therefore quality of life, I am all for it.

I will keep you all up to date as to my appointment, but I think 6 months of trying is a good timeframe, would you all agree? I am thinking, if in 6 months my levels are the same, then I should consider TRT? I will of course take your advice, and start doing some research into TRT and good TRT specialists in my area so that if need be, I will be ready to move forward with it at that time.

Thank you all

You need to improve your lifestyle and diet for sure man, but to increase these levels to sufficient symptom-resolution values naturally - just forget. Its a lost battle, me and many others with much higher levels have failed.

What I suggest you can try especially with this low SHBG is a clomid monotherapy - 12.5mg daily or 25mg EOD

Giving it an honest shot naturally over a couple of months definitelly sounds reasonable. Keep it going! Curious to see your improvements.

Thank you for all your help, I do appreciate any input.
I fully understand that I may indeed be wasting my time, and it may well be a battle I may lose, but I just feel like I owe it to myself to give things a go. I have no doubt I may have to go down the route of TRT, but at that point I can honestly turn around and say, I gave it a go and tried. I will certainly try, and keep you all updated on progress.

Please forgive my ignorance, but what would clomid do? Is it a long term or short term course and what is the goal by trying this? Is it an alternative to TRT?

Again, please excuse my ignorance. I am starting my journey in trying to educate myself in all this, and appreciate any help.

Thanks,

James

Clomid will stimulate your own t production. Its a medium term solution but no more than 3 years they say it can become toxic after that. Its a drug that unfortunately does not work fine with most men because it makes them feel bad.

Thank you all for your replies.

I know this is a very general and broad question, but just how low are my levels? I know it fluctuates as everyone is different, but if you had to suggest a normal range for a 31 year old male, where would they roughly sit? 15 to 20 nmol? Just how low is 7.6 nmol?

Either way, I have taken this advice on board. Whilst I am still going to try lifestyle improvements just to see if something happens, I have just set up an appointment with my GP (for an endocrinologist referral), and I am starting that process so I can be ready to jump onto TRT when the time comes, as this is looking increasingly likely, as living with these symptoms is just not worth it.

Thank you all.

Everything below 11 nmol/l is extremely low. Usually average is 15-20, optimal values begin above 23-25 like of course this is very individual because everyone has different sensitivity on androgen receptors and different SHBG level.

I personally felt like crap when my levels were 11-13 last summer, now they are 16-18 and I still feel bad.

I test in the same units

Interestingly, if you guys were in my exact position right now, what course of action would you take? What would you do?

50mg of testosterone 3x a week is what I’d start with, assuming you are still having symptoms. I just don’t see how you’re going to increase it enough naturally to matter with a starting point so low.

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