“Can low testosterone cause depression?”
This was the question I asked Doctor Mark when he called me over to speculate about his new theory regarding my mental health.
Testosterone is the primary male hormone.
It is a driving force in the life of the average guy, although women have it in lesser quantities.
I knew this for a fact, yet I did absolutely nothing about it, not even so much as to consider it.
Back it the military I was struggling with all sorts of mental disorders, not necessarily due to the nature of my service (which, as some people would argue, was well within my reach) but rather because this simply was my mindset at the time.
One symptom of depression, in particular, would be irregular eating, either too much or too little.
In my case, I didn’t eat well at all.
In fact, I only ate about once or twice a day, despite some very obvious strains on my body at the time.
Furthermore, even when I did eat, I always stuck to a bare minimum of food, excusing it with some explanation about how I wasn’t hungry and didn’t want to eat.
The first of my eating problems ended up being related to Vitamin B-12, and the second was related to Testosterone.
The sad thing is that if it weren’t for Doctor Mark then I would’ve never figured out that I had this problem in the first place.
One of his assumptions was that I was lacking in testosterone, and through his explanation he helped me realize that he might have been onto something.
Testosterone was just what I needed
I started eating the right types of food, taking my B-12 injections and everything turned out for the best, so why am I telling you this?
Because I started to feel better, and you can too.
My episodes of depression were improving and I was amazed at how a few simple changes could end up accomplishing so much.
This led me to the question – If low testosterone was causing me so much damage, what else could it do to harm me?
Let’s just say that the answers were surprising.
Regarding mental health, Low testosterone leads to irritability, sleeping problems, low sex drive, fatigue, problems with memory and so much more. On the physical side, Sperm production, muscle mass, and fat distribution are a few factors that are heavily damaged.
To us males, low testosterone is the devil itself!
All of the problems that I have just described may very well be solved simply by increasing your testosterone.
Much like myself, most people dont know about the connection between low testosterone and many problems that they are experiencing.
Instead, many of them attribute their issues to some other factors that may or may not be the cause of their problems.
This mistake ends up causing damage to both their mental and physical health.
Increasing your testosterone can help you treat depression
A study from 2003 covered this topic in depth, questioning the relation between low testosterone and depression for the first time.
The study included 56 men, 24 of which with significantly below-average levels of testosterone, the men were split into two groups, one group was given a placebo (fake medicine) and the other a testosterone supplement, after 8 weeks of experimentation results were definitely showing.
Men who had been given testosterone supplements were performing significantly better on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, indicating an improvement in their condition.
Men with low testosterone show more depressive symptoms, than those who have average levels of testosterone.
Not only that, but simple testosterone supplements were shown to have the same effects as antidepressants.
Having low testosterone is bad for your mental health and is a significant cause of depression.
That being said, the good news is that low testosterone can be raised naturally, and in most cases, this type of treatment alone is enough.
Simple supplements can go far, you will be shocked by the results.
Having the right diet can help you increase testosterone naturally
In order to understand how to raise testosterone naturally you need to understand what increases, and decreases, it in the first place.
One thing that controls your levels of testosterone is your diet.
When it comes to your diet, I would recommend Looking for retinol (Vitamin A from animals) in your food.
Research shows that it stimulates the production of testosterone in the human body
Another good type of vitamin to look into would be Vitamin K2, which is known to increase testosterone in the body.
Both can be found in a variety of food, including (but not limited to):
- Egg yolk
- Sweet Potatoes
I’ve already discussed some of these foods before as they are noted to be helpful with depression in general.
This is one of the reasons for that.
Now here’s the thing.
As far as Vitamin A goes, Carrots and potatoes are your best bet, with liver a close third.
For vegans and vegetarians, K2 is slightly more problematic.
K2 can only be found in animal products, and although some research claims that the body can convert K1 (for foods like spinach) into K2.
results seem to be largely mixed, however.
Another Vitamin that’s worth looking into is vitamin D, a vitamin that you can easily increase through exposure to sunlight.
In case you live in a country that doesn’t have much sunlight (say, Canada), then your best bet would be to take some supplements as well.
Look for the right type of exercises
In fact, if done excessively, it can work against you!
Mark Simmons, the writer of The Primal Blueprint, described the idea of increasing testosterone levels naturally as simple as lifting really heavy things.
As it turns out, he was right!
For pure testosterone gain, you should look into resistance training – the squat, the deadlift and many other exercises of the sort.
Resistance training shows great results for those who keep at it.
In a four week experiment, a rough increase of 40% in testosterone was reported.
On the other hand, endurance training, while capable of helping depression, does lower testosterone if performed excessively
These very basic changes to your diet and routine can bring great results, but there is one big factor that stands in the way of that.
Try to avoid stress
Cortisol is the stress hormone and it is testosterone’s greatest enemy.
The body releases cortisol whenever you are put under a lot of stress, that is to say, when your body thinks that you are in danger.
When this happens, the body produces cortisol in an attempt to help you overcome this danger.
This process limits the production of testosterone in your body.
A 2010 study gathered 57 participants and had them pitted against each other in a competition of sorts.
Once the ordeal was done the participants were asked about whether or not would they like a rematch.
At the time, their levels testosterone and cortisol were being measured.
According to the data, all participants who declined a rematch exhibited a decline in testosterone, as well as a higher level of cortisol.
Testosterone makes you feel certain emotions, such as competitiveness, who have no place during dangerous situations.
For you to fully experience the benefits of your exercises and your diet you need to calm down and avoid stress like the plague.
Another thing you might want to try is getting more rest.
Research suggests that lower levels of testosterone (in the morning at least) are attributed to a lack of sleep.
Oddly enough, people who don’t sleep enough tend to feel stressed much more frequently
Also, a good night of rest never really hurt anybody, so there’s that.
Bonus Points: Posture and showers
I’ve already discussed the topic before but “power posing” has a huge effect on testosterone levels (a rough 20% according to some studies)
Doctor Amy Cuddy published a whole review on the topic, and it’s something that you should be checking out.
Also, some researchers claim that cold showers can increase testosterone levels.
There is some data to support it but I wasnt able to find anything conclusive.
Try it out for yourselves and tell me how it goes!
It’s pretty simple when it comes down to it, but it isn’t easy
Eat well, avoid soy, beer and grain.
Train well and hard, resistance training has the best effect by far.
Rest Well, don’t stress out and sleep 8-10 hours a night.
When it really comes down to it the approach to this problem is remarkably straightforward.
It’s the type of system that a lot of bodybuilders seem to employ, and one that you should be giving consideration to.
I realize that some of us have physical limitations to consider (I am one example), yet you are still ought to apply as much of this advice as you can.
Depression is a terrible thing to experience, and low testosterone is an oftentimes overlooked cause.
Thankfully, I was able to find a system that helped me a lot with my depression.
Not only did it help me increase my testosterone but it also helped me with other methods of treating my depression
Check it out right here!
Before you go and try it out, here’s a question for you – Have you ever considered testosterone as the source of your problem?
Make sure to leave your answers in the comment section below, I read every single one of them!
If you got any questions in particular then feel free to send me an email, I always love hearing from my readers!