A Testosterone and Diet Experiment
diet and weight loss | metabolism
Max Gotzler wasn’t feeling his best during a long German winter. He decided to visit his physician to see if anything might be going on. This included various blood and micro-nutrient tests. When he received his results he noticed that his testosterone levels were on the low-end of the acceptable range. Intrigued by this, he set out to figure out what affects his testosterone levels. Using a variety of self-tracking tools and methods he experimented with diet and lifestyle factors while tracking his testosterone values. In this video, he discusses what he learned from his experiment.
A Testosterone and Diet Experiment
My name is Max and I’m going to tell you about a testosterone experiment I’ve done. And so it started last winter during a long, Berlin winter. I felt the long and hard effects of everyone who has been to Berlin knows what I’m talking about, and you just don’t want to get up in the morning, and didn’t really feel motivated to get going. And I was trying to start a company at the same time. You really can’t afford that lack of desire to get up, motivate the people around you, and push the idea through.
So I went to the doctor and I got my blood checked and I got pretty much everything checked that I could find from micronutrients, to hormones, to other blood markers. The doctor told me everything seems to be in the normal range. That didn’t make me feel happy.
So I delved into my values and I really tried to find out are the all right, and what do they mean. So I actually found out I was low on some of them, including vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium, and I was fairly low on testosterone, And test of syndrome as a man, you become worried. So I delved into the literature and try to find out more about it.
So in a nutshell, testosterone is a primary metabolic hormone and it is present in both men and women. It is made from cholesterol and it effects mood and body mass, and sexual function. The production actually starts in the hypothalamus, and then goes through the pituitary gland then to the testes where it is actually released. It is affected by diet and lifestyle, such as sleep, nutrition and stress.
The media actually portrays testosterone as this almost magical hormone that has wondrous effects and it’s very much hype. Tim Ferris describes himself as Wolverine after tripling his testosterone level, with an overwhelming well healing ability and a heightened sex drive, and it boosted attractiveness.
And so I said you know what, I want to try out, if that works for me. So if I increase my testosterone what will happen?
So one of the biggest factors to influence testosterone is diet; it’s made from cholesterol, so I decided okay, I’m just going to increase my intake of cholesterol and protein, and pretty much eliminated carbs.
I ate a lot of food with rich and healthy fat, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin E, zinc. All of these things are supposed to boost testosterone, in addition to that also supplemented by vitamin D and cod liver oil and healthy Omega-3 acids.
However, during my follow-up test I actually notice that my testosterone level had dropped. Again, I delved into the literature and I found that there is actually a correlation between athletes, low carb, and low testosterone.
So I reintroduced carbs and I notice my testosterone went up, far higher than before. And the literature actually agrees with me that in order to balance the anabolic/catabolic processes in the body, you need carbs after exercise. And that is possibly an explanation for why my testosterone dropped.
If you eat too many carbs your HVG your sex inviting globulin can also go up and that binds to active testosterone and makes it ineffective. However, my sample was fairly small, so I went back to the drawing board and I said you know what, I’m going to get a whole more test done during one month and I’m going to check how my testosterone levels fluctuate over one month.
I ordered these saliva tubes and I went through a test every 2 to 3 days, and I also tried to introduce a little change in lifestyle or diet with every test to see how that would affect my level. The results were actually quite interesting. So first of all, I only tested free testosterone.
Free testosterone is the active part of testosterone. It only comprises of about 2% of testosterone and the rest is bound to protein. So 60%, which is bound to sex hormone binding globulin is completely interactive. Actually, that increases with age, and that’s why ageing men often have the symptoms of having low testosterone. The other testosterone is bound to albumin, another protein which makes it bio-available available so if the body really needs it, it can take it.
So here you see my results and you see that they are fluctuating quite a bit and it almost looks cyclical. So then I matched this data with the other data that I tracked, including sleep, activity, stress, and mood. And what I found out was that the biggest differentiator, the biggest effect on my testosterone was caused by sleep.
If I slept really well, if I slept more than eight hours my testosterone the following morning was very high. The other way around, actually happened the same thing. When I was really stress and I didn’t really sleep much, my testosterone was low, indicated by these not smiley smiley. So sleep actually allows the body to produce testosterone very efficiently overnight, it makes out of cholesterol it makes testosterone.
At the same time it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that when present in really high amounts it can really destroy the testosterone level, so here you see two nights, one with little sleep, and one with more sleep and this was actually the highest level I had of 10 hours sleep and my testosterone went through the roof.
So then I looked at other parameters, including diet, and actually that was a surprising finding. When I added extra cholesterol to my diet, for example four eggs and two steaks, a handful of almonds, and an avocado that really didn’t have a huge effect on my testosterone.
So, they you see as indicated by the eggs the testosterone after a day where I had a a lot of cholesterol, it’s still high. It’s in the average range. But I didn’t really manage to triple it. So that was an interesting finding.
Now what was really affected by testosterone was actually my mood. So just to be clear, I didn’t know any of the results until the very end of that month, so there was no placebo effect. I looked at actually the data at the end and then I matched it with my mood. And I found out that when I was actually in a good mood, I had a good day and I tracked it with Jawbone I had a really high testosterone level. And the same thing when I had a bad day might testosterone was low.
Now my finding was that testosterone didn’t really turn me into Wolverine, but it was a very good indicator of how I feel about myself and it’s very much affected by my lifestyle. So, if I sleep well and eat well it does affect the levels.
So let me just introduce very quickly my project, during that year. I’ve actually managed to manage a company which is called Biotrakr and with Biotrakr we offer send home diagnostic tests to test values. Our first test is actually a vitamin D test, and we are also already experimenting with the testosterone test. And so this is how the concept works, we send home a test, get the results back and get them visualized and then get personal recommendations for them.
Thank you very much. I have an office our right now at 3 PM, so drop by and get in touch and thank you very much for listening.