Men’s Health – Make your Own Testosterone and Keep it Working

Here is part 2 in the hormone health series by Douglas Labs.  Dr. Joseph Collins discusses the role of testosterone in our bodies.  You can find the complete article at:

Your body is the best source of hormones. Sure, there are injections, creams and other forms of testosterone. But given a choice, wouldn’t you rather make your own testosterone? If your body could make you enough testosterone in the past, can it make it again? Can you actually increase the ability of your body to make testosterone? Yes. You can make your own testosterone. Equally as important, you can keep your testosterone working by controlling the negative factors that have caused the levels to decrease. You can also diminish interfering factors that prevent testosterone from working.

Herbs that have been shown to actually increase testosterone levels in human studies – not just animal studies – include Mucuna pruriens, Tribulus terrestris, Eurycoma longifolia, Panax ginseng and Withania somnifera. So, we should expect that taking one or more of these herbs would result in increased testosterone levels. Sounds simple: Take a few capsules and youthful strength, mental focus and sexual prowess are back to what they were at 20 years old. But hormones are a little more complex than that.

While testosterone is anabolic, and builds muscle, cortisol is catabolic and breaks down muscle. In both male and female athletes lower testosterone with a relatively higher cortisol results in an anabolic/catabolic hormone imbalance adversely affect sports activity, and increase the risk of recurrent muscle injury. Long term stress results in increased production of cortisol and decreased production of testosterone – hormone production shunts towards making cortisol and away from making testosterone.

A number of herbs that can increase testosterone or have documented anabolic actions also help the body adapt to stress and decrease the stress associated rise in cortisol. These plants are appropriately called “adaptogens”, and include the well known herb Panax ginseng. Ptychopetalum olacoides, Mucuna pruriens, Withania somnifera and Eleutherococcus senticosus can also decrease excessive cortisol associated with stress. Epimedium sagittatum actually has cortisol antagonist properties, which can counteract the negative consequences of excessive cortisol. By controlling excessive cortisol, you can support a healthy production of testosterone – and allow it to function optimally. Other plants classified as adaptogens such as Lepidium meyenii and Turnera diffusa enhance nitric oxide and can improve sexual desire and sexual function.

In men, testosterone is produced by Leydig cells in the testes. Theca cells in the ovaries of women produce testosterone. Theca cells and Leydig cells are stimulated to make testosterone by luteinizing hormone (LH), which is secreted by a healt­hy pituitary gland. Stress, and age, can decrease the vitality of the HPG axis, resulting in less LH, and subsequently, less testosterone in both genders. To support your own testosterone production you want to increase, and maintain, adequate LH levels. Withania somnifera, Panax ginseng and Mucuna pruriens each cause significant increases in luteinizing hormone (as well as testosterone) in both men and women.

To review the list of references and additional information on the unique combination of herbs please visit:

Joseph J. Collins, RN, ND 
CEO, Your Hormones, Inc.  

The President and Co-founder of Your Hormones, Inc. He has been directly involved in advancing the practice of natural hormone health since 1993. His functional endocrinology clinical practice focuses on adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, menopause, andropause, PMS/PMDD, PCOS and blood sugar disorders. He has extensive experience in the advanced use of adaptogens to support and improve hormone function.