This is a topic I’ve really wanted to talk about for a while - mostly because it irks me how easy it is for men nowadays to ruin their T levels (and, subsequently, their general health and manhood) by falling for common testosterone myths.
Don’t get me wrong, I know how easy it is to put your trust in testosterone myths - especially if they go viral online and are pushed by the media. And I also know that not all of you out there have the time or patience to do all the necessary research.
Which is why I decided to do it for you, so that you’ll have access to all this helpful info and be able to take better care of your body and testosterone levels.
So, here are the most harmful testosterone myths I’ve come across so far:
1. Too Much Testosterone Makes It Difficult to Control Your Sex Drive
I’ve heard this testosterone myth from so many people that it’s becoming tiring just discussing it. I mainly believe many people fall for this misconception because they automatically associate the media-imposed “jock” stereotype with having high levels of testosterone.
This misconception might also be due to the fact that some people directly associate testosterone therapy with men trying to improve their sexual function.
So, what’s the truth then? Will having too much testosterone make you unable to contain your physical urges?
Of course not. If anything, having decent levels of testosterone will help you optimize your sex life and actually improve it (http://www.testofuel.com/tf/does-testosterone-make-you-last-longer-in-bed/). We’re talking about one of the most important male sex hormones that’s mainly produced in the testicles, after all.
And if you’re not 100% convinced optimal testosterone levels have a serious impact on your sex life, then maybe you should listen to what a well-known director of male reproductive and sexual medicine from the Columbia University Medical Center has to say about this.
According to him, “Testosterone can affect really every part of the sexual response cycle.”
Plus, don’t forget that having low levels of testosterone can cause you to develop chronic conditions that can ultimately lead to you suffering from erectile dysfunctions - not to mention it will totally ruin your libido too.
Bottom Line: A dangerous testosterone myth. Adequate testosterone levels are paramount for a healthy, optimal sex life, and won’t make you lose control.
2. Drinking Green Tea Will Make Your T Levels Skyrocket
One of the most common testosterone myths out there. Since green tea is considered to be an extremely healthy drink that’s full of antioxidants, it’s only natural people would assume it can help with enhancing testosterone production in the body as well, which is understable.
However, is it true? Not at all.
While it’s true that various types of antioxidants can improve testosterone levels, the types of antioxidants found in green tea vary a lot.
Furthermore, here are two important studies we should look at:
Now, I know that most of the studies I listed weren’t on humans, but rodents. But that doesn’t ruin their credibility - in my opinion - given that male rodents actually have an endocrine system that is quite similar to that of a human male. So, it’s not far-fetched to assume that the results would almost be the same either way.
Another problem with this testosterone myth is that green tea tends to contain a high concentration of fluoride. Well, at high levels, fluoride can significantly lower serum T levels in men, and it endangers free testosterone as well.
Bottom Line: If you drink too much green tea, you’re actually likely to lower your testosterone levels. Sure, if you like a drinking a cup occasionally, it won’t damage your testosterone too much, but don’t go overboard with it thinking it will give you a testosterone boost.
3. Testosterone Replacement Therapy Can Harm Your Liver
This testosterone myth has its origins in oral testosterone supplements that were used years ago by men who wanted to boost their T levels. The problem with the supplements was that their molecules were altered to make them digestible. The trade-off was that those supplements caused a spike in liver enzymes, putting a lot of stress on the liver.
Fortunately, that’s no longer a problem nowadays. Testosterone supplements now come in other shapes:
Oh, and here’s another interesting study I came across. It mostly focused on the abnormalities related to testosterone levels in men dealing with cirrhosis (an advanced liver disease). One part stood out for me, right at the beginning, namely the fact that - according to the researchers - up to 90% of men who suffer from cirrhosis also have very low serum testosterone levels.
So, if anything, a damaged liver might actually ruin your T levels, meaning that increasing your testosterone through replacement therapy cannot endanger your liver.
Bottom Line: That used to be the case with oral supplements, but not anymore. Testosterone replacement therapy can actually improve liver function, so it’s best to stay away from this testosterone myth. What’s more, men who suffer from liver disease actually have low T levels.
4. Cholesterol Can Kill Testosterone Levels
Cholesterol is unfortunately often misunderstood. When most people think of this molecule (including gym buffs, sadly), they imagine an artery-clogging menace that will sink their T levels, which is probably where this testosterone myth originated from.
However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In reality, cholesterol can improve testosterone levels. You see, cholesterol itself is essentially a sterol (or a modified steroid, if you will), and a type of lipid molecule. It’s found in most of your cells, in your brain, and - most relevant of all - it’s a precursor for your hormones (which includes testosterone, of course).
Essentially, the cells found in your testicles (called Leydig cells) convert cholesterol into testosterone.
And if you need more convincing that cholesterol is vital for your body, keep this in mind: If you don’t get enough of it, your liver will actually synthesize it!
And that’s not all, there are also plenty of studies that showcase how important cholesterol is for testosterone production. Here’s one that outlines how high levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol are positively associated with testosterone levels.
And here’s another study that showcases how a low-fat diet that’s rich in fiber can actually decrease serum and urine androgens in men.
Plus, if those studies are not enough for you, check out this testosterone-boosting guide on The Art of Manliness. Among other things, the author mentions how increasing his fat and cholesterol intake helped him improve his body’s testosterone production.
Bottom Line: A false and very harmful testosterone myth. Cholesterol is actually mandatory when it comes to testosterone production. All in all, you can enjoy high-fat and high-cholesterol diet. As long as you reduce the amount of polyunsaturated fats you ingest, everything should be alright.
5. Cold Showers Can Decrease Your Testosterone Levels
You’re probably familiar with the idea of taking a cold shower to start off your day the right way, get a boost of energy, or just feel more manly overall. While there is some truth to all that, did you also know that cold showers can also give your T levels a boost?
Of course, there are many people who claim that’s not true, and that cold showers will just harm your body’s testosterone production. However, those people haven’t done their research - like I have.
And while there aren’t any specific studies focused on cold showers and testosterone, the ones I read show a clear link between optimal testosterone production and colder temperatures, which is why I decided I should address this testosterone myth too.
Now, let’s get one thing clear: The scrotum is an evolutionary mechanism that’s there to ensure your testicles stay a bit “cooler” than the rest of your body.
That’s just the way they need to be to function properly, which also explains why the scrotum tends to lower itself when the temperature is warmer (so that the testicles can escape the extra heat of the body), and why it stays in place or goes higher when you’re dealing with temperatures that are too low.
Moving on, here’s some research that makes it clear that human testicles tend to be at their best when they’re around 31-36 °C/87-96 °F. If the temperature is any hotter than that, spermatogenesis can be negatively impacted.
And in case you don’t know, the precursor hormones for spermatogenesis are some of the same ones that also start testosterone synthesis, so there’s definitely a link.
Also, there’s this study which claims that sperm tends to be of higher quality (essentially, more fertile) during colder months of the year. The researchers worked with a ton of samples (6,455 to be precise) for three years, so you can rest assured that the results aren’t just some exception.
Lastly, here’s another study, which was done on monkeys this time, that showcases how too much exposure to hyperthermia can induce oligozoospermia and azoospermia (infertile sperm, basically). That just points to heat not being a friend to normal testosterone production.
Bottom Line: Lower and cool temperatures (meaning cold showers too) can actually enhance testosterone production, while heat isn’t very testosterone-friendly. Still, do keep in mind that the results won’t be instantaneous.
6. Underwear Doesn’t Affect Testosterone at All
One of the most annoying testosterone myths I’ve ever heard. It might sound silly to discuss this, but it’s no joking matter - especially since most modern underwear (whether we’re talking about boxers or briefs) is quite tight and rather constricting.
Well, if you wear tight underwear, your testicles will basically be forced into a small space which will prevent the scrotum from hanging normally. That means the circulation in your testicles will be severely impacted, so it will take longer for your brain’s luteinizing hormone to reach its destination and synthesize testosterone.
Plus, if your testicles are squeezed into a tight space like that, they’ll eventually heat up and won’t be able to adequately produce testosterone, which is something we already discussed at #5.
But if you still need some proof about that topic, here’s another study which found that exposure to high temperatures (around 43 °C/109 °F) for 15 minutes alone was enough to decrease T levels and reduce testicular weight. The study was based on wistar rats, but our testicles are nearly identical to theirs (well, except for the size obviously).
Bottom Line: Tight underwear can really hinder testosterone production. Always wear loose underwear.
7. Plastic Products Have No Impact on Your Testosterone
To many people out there, the fact that plastic products can lower your T levels sounds like an utter conspiracy rather than some testosterone myth. After all, we basically live our lives surrounded by plastic (wrappings, bottles, toothpaste containers, tupperware containers, and so on), so saying it can harm your testosterone seems pretty far-fetched.
But it really isn’t. Plastic can actually disrupt your testosterone and thyroid levels with ease.
For starters, let’s discuss some of the chemicals that go into manufacturing plastic. First, we’ve got phthalates. Their purpose is to make the plastic flexible, but the problem with them is that phthalates can actually be considered a type of xenoestrogens. Essentially, they can expose your body to feminizing effects, which obviously include lowering your testosterone.
The next issue is that the chemical known as Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in this process too. Research shows that BPA can hinder the production of dihydrotestosterone and also enhance the activity of the aromatase enzyme (which is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen).
In fact, I’m gonna save you some time and just come out and say it that most of the chemicals used in the manufacturing of plastic are basically xenoestrogens. And that claim is reinforced by this study which showcases how most plastic products can trigger an estrogenic effect in your body.
As for how these chemicals make their way in your body, it’s pretty straightforward: Through food and water (or other drinks), mostly. They come packaged in plastic wrappings and containers most of the time. If you need more convicing, here’s a study that analyzed 18 samples of bottled water, and found that 11 of them had traces of estrogenic effects within them.
Bottom Line: Don’t fall for this testosterone myth since plastic products are actually linked to lower testosterone levels. Use metal products instead as much as possible.
8. Testosterone Therapy Can Lead to Prostate Cancer
Another testosterone myth that deals with testosterone therapy.. First things first, let’s get the main bit out of the way. No, testosterone therapy does not raise your risk of developing prostate cancer. Actually, according to the data, not only does testosterone therapy not lead to prostate cancer, but it also helps maintain testosterone levels.
Plus, check out this study. It showcases how men who had excessively low T levels and went through testosterone therapy after being treated with radiation for prostate cancer ended up with raised testosterone levels without being exposed to a higher prostate cancer risk.
Furthermore, according to this study, testosterone therapy has helped reduce occurrence rates for men who received radiation for prostate cancer.
Bottom Line: Pretty much a lie. Testosterone therapy is not linked to increasing the risk of prostate cancer, and can help increase and maintain T levels.
9. Masturbation Can Sink Your Testosterone Levels
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s heard this testosterone myth before. If you’re familiar with the “no-fap” movement (basically, people wanting to avoid pronography and masturbation), you’ve probably heard this statement used as an argument.
Well, to make a long story short, masturbation does not have any sort of significant impact on your serum T levels. Here’s a study backing that up, and another one just in case you need more convincing.
However, it is worth noting that overdoing it can impact the way your body utilizes testosterone. For example, according to research, multiple ejaculations can result in a decline in androgen receptors in your hypothalmus. At the same time, there’s a chance that an increase in estrogen receptors will be experienced as well.
Yes, the studies mentioned above were carried on rodents, but they’re still worth taking into consideration.
As for abstaining from masturbation (I’m guessing some of you might ask this), apparently if you do it for too long, it can decrease your testosterone levels. But if you only do it for a short while (say seven days, for example), your T levels are likely to spike.
Overall, here are the main things you need to keep in mind:
Also, here’s something else worth mentioning. While masturbation might not have a serious impact on your T levels, having sex with a real person can actually significantly boost them.
Bottom Line: False, though the impact on your T levels can depend on certain circumstances. Overall, though, masturbation doesn’t have a huge influence on your testosterone levels.
10. Your Carb Intake Has Nothing to Do with Testosterone
Another testosterone myth that can ruin both your T levels and your diet. I believe this misconception is mostly tied to the fact that a lot of people believe that weight loss is only influenced by how many carbs they it, when - in reality - it’s influenced by their caloric intake mostly.
As a result, it’s not a shock that some men believe eating too many carbs will cause them to gain weight, which in turn will lower their T levels.
So, what’s the truth then?
Well, believe it or not, carbohydrates are actually the most important macronutrients you need to consume if you want to optimize your testosterone. They’re so crucial they even influence the main neurons in your brain that are responsible for releasing the master hormone which kick-starts the whole testosterone production process.
That’s not all, though. Here’s a study that showcases how men who engage in physical activity (basically going to the gym) and consume too many proteins and not enough carbs actually experience suppressed testosterone production.
A similar study focused on two groups of men - one that consumed a low-carb diet, and one that consumed a high-carb diet. The men were subjected to three days of intensive exercises followed by a full day of rest. The results showed that the men who ate more carbs had higher free testosterone levels.
Bottom Line: Your carbohydrate intake is extremely important when it comes to adequate male hormonal health, so you shouldn't pay this testosterone myth any heed. As for what types of carbs you should eat, I recommend those that come from white rice, root vegetables (like potatoes, for instance), milk, and fruit juice.
11. Intermittent Fasting Can Harm T Levels
I know how easy it is to fall for this testosterone myth. After all, your body needs an adequate amount of calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients to produce testosterone. So, it makes sense to think that engaging in intermittent fasting can lower your T levels.
However, the truth is totally different. While there’s no denying that long-term fasting can decrease testosterone levels. It generally takes around 3 days of fasting for your T levels (as well as your metabolic rate) to take a hit.
Still, here’s an interesting thing. A study was carried out analyzing how ten-day fasting would impact testosterone. Naturally, T levels were lowered between the third and tenth day. But when the subjects started eating again (only 1500 kilocalories/day, mind you), they experienced a huge surge in testosterone levels which continued for the next five days after the fasting period.
That wasn’t really related to intermittent fasting, but it should still show you how even long-term fasting can offer a T boost.
Now, here’s some more decent research that should showcase how short-term fasting will not harm testosterone levels. The study focused on Ramadan fasting, so the results are worth keeping in mind. And here’s another study that analyzed how short-term fasting can increase your body’s responsiveness to testosterone.
Bottom Line: Short-term fasting doesn’t harm testosterone production in your body. Even long-term fasting can result in a testosterone boost (though, at first your T levels will suffer).
Know Other Testosterone Myths?
These are the most damaging testosterone myths I’ve heard and managed to come across online. Naturally, there might be others, so feel free to let us all know about them in the comment section below.
Tell you what, if they’re interesting enough, I’ll even research them and update this list accordingly.
Oh, and please remember to share this article with anyone you know it might help - be it a family member, a work colleague, a good friend, or (most importantly) your gym buddy/buddies.