T Nation

Unsure about TRT When Maybe Cortisol Is to Blame?

I’m sure this gets asked a lot, so apologies in advance, but I’m conflicted about TRT being ‘borderline’ and whether I can push it up naturally, enough, at 36 y/o.

I’ve done keto (w/ a couple cycles) for a year and dropped from 210 to 155 lbs which is my target weight, but I’ve plataued at 24% BF for months.The best way I can describe it is like failing to kickstart an engine. I hit a sweet spot in the gym, feel great with diet, I’m building muscle which is reflected in a BF% drop and measurements, I’ve got momentum and then…I don’t recover from a workout (even managing intensity/type) and ride back up to where I was the week before. It is damn frustrating.

All of my biomarkers are in range, except Cholesterol/LDL, Free-T, cRP:

Total T: 449 ng/dl
SHBG: 43 nmol/L
Free-T(direct): 5.0 ng/dl

Total T: 446 ng/dl
SHBG: 52 nmol/L
Free-T(calc): 6.8 ng/dl (I’m not sure how this calcs out to being higher)

My theory is cortisol is my wall. As an experiment I took DHEA+Rhodiola preworkout and did feel a lot better w/ faster recovery though not sure it improved performance. Which I’m okay with as long as I could get to a better bf composition, but maybe TRT could knock out two birds? On the flipside, not sure what I think of being ‘dependent’ on TRT. Any thoughts/suggestions? Thx

High cortisol is s possibility, but you really need more complete labs. A dinural salivary cortisol test isn’t too exspensive. Thyroid labs would be helpful too, TSH, FT3, FT4, RT3. ACTH and AM serum Cortisol could be of help too.

I’ve tested for high cortisol, especially in the morning but not Cushing’s high. I feel like this has possibly down regulated my Test production and thrown my thyroid out of wack. I’m trying to fix this to see where my natural production gets me.

Phosphatidylserine is another supplement to check out with studies to back it up.

TRT can lower cortisol and lower your SHBG freeing up more Free T in the process, so three birds with one stone.

Most men would complain of low T symptoms at a Free T of 10.0, hell I’ll have low T symptoms at 15. Your situation is worse than you realize, in your case SHBG is another wall. Look what it’s doing to your Free T, its binding it all up therefore shrinking Free T.

You cannot fix this naturally, you would need more than double the Total T to have good Free T levels.

You lost 55 pounds and stayed at 24% BF? I hope I’m not reading this correctly. If so, you’ve lost a ton of muscle with this diet. Probably fucked yourself up in the process.

“Range” doesnt mean shit. These numbers are in the basement and may be contributing to your inability to lose fat.

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So got a test+HCG shot yesterday. Speaking with a few others seemed like this wasn’t going to boost up enough ‘naturally’ even with all the supps people talk about on here.

Doc said it will take about 6 weeks before anything noticeable. I’m assuming it’s placebo but after a few hours I did feel pretty good.

Doc also said they don’t do AIs but an estrogen blocker if I need it. You guys have any thoughts on that?

Haha def didn’t loose all that weight and keep the same bf%!

Actually put on about 5lbs of muscle and knocked estradiol from high to normal in a year.

It’ll be interesting to see how things track this year w/ TRT.

You can always increase injection frequencies to lower estrogen, no reason to add drugs to the mix a ruin other hormone processes.

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Good. Glad you are making progress. Done right, TRT will change your life. You have no idea how shitty you feel until you feel like you did with a optimal hormone profile.

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