The Cortisol And Testosterone Relationship Men Need To Know
It’s hard not to be stressed out these days, isn’t it?
Whether your boss’ demands are calling for late hours and less sleep, or you’re concerned about a health issue within your family, or you’re simply a high-strung, Type-A kind of guy…
Stress is lurking at every corner: situational, subliminal or simply psychological.
And when you stress out, your stress hormone, cortisol, does what it’s supposed to do…
But this is where the problem comes in for chronic stresser-outers.
The cortisol and testosterone relationship isn’t a good one.
In fact, when cortisol decides to hang out, testosterone decides to “peace-out.”
So let’s take a closer look at the cortisol and testosterone relationship to get you up to speed on that sneaky stress hormone that’s stealing from your testosterone levels.
Cortisol – Testosterone’s Kryptonite
Superman is a mostly indestructible superhero…
I really don’t understand any conversation that seriously rivals any other superhero with Superman…
Until you bring kryptonite into the picture.
And the same is true of your testosterone levels.
Your testosterone is pretty tough.
But it has one pesky weak spot that is seemingly always trying to make you weak…
Cortisol is testosterone’s kryptonite.
Think of the cortisol and testosterone relationship like a hormonal teeter-totter.
The two are directly related to one another.
When one increases, the other decreases, and vice versa…
Well, one kryptonite-like quality of cortisol is that it sucks cholesterol from your bloodstream…
Which is a major loss for guys who are looking to boost testosterone…
Cholesterol is necessary for men to produce testosterone.
And so it naturally follows that the less cholesterol you have floating around in your bloodstream, the less testosterone your body is going to produce.
The more cortisol you have, the less cholesterol you have, and as a result, you’ll have tiny testosterone levels.
So don’t waste all of the good cholesterol from those cartons of eggs you’ve been eating on “breaking even” with your cholesterol production…
You’ve got to trim out excess stress to keep the kryptonite away (more on lower cortisol levels in a future article).
Cortisol – The Body Snatcher
Cortisol also causes you to become catabolic…
The opposite of what you want to be (anabolic)…
(Return to the teeter-totter analogy)
In other words, cortisol blocks the process of protein synthesis that you need to build muscle and boost testosterone…
Instead, it breaks down muscle mass, which is why I also refer to cortisol as the body snatcher…
Not because it kills you…
But because it kills your physique.
Studies have shown a strong relationship between cortisol and higher body fat percentage.
Emotional struggles, excessive physical exertion, and lack of sleep are all examples of stressors that can cause delayed progress in your physique goals or can even cause you to miss the mark altogether.
A comprehensive study involving over 400 subjects found a convincing correlation between psychological stress and weight gain among American adults.
So let me break down the cortisol and testosterone relationship here.
Increased cortisol causes muscle breakdown.
It also causes unwanted weight gain.
Basically, too much cortisol makes you into a catabolic cream puff…
But that’s not all it does.
Cortisol – The Mood Swinger
Cortisol is one of the reasons why your wife may suggest that you need to get yourself a mood ring.
Over extended periods of stress, cortisol acts as the out-of-whack hormone that makes you an emotional enigma.
But in all seriousness, studies have shown that chronic stress can cause physical disruptions in brain functioning, reasoning, perceived trauma, as well as cause anxiety disorders…
Heightened cortisol levels over extended seasons can cause you quite a bit of emotional despondency.
But the opposite is true of your brain health when you have healthy testosterone levels.
A convincing amount of studies have shown that for men, good testosterone health is a major proponent of mental clarity, sharp memory, and a balanced mood.
Now, I’m not saying that all mental health struggles for men are due to cortisol making its throne on your hormonal teeter-totter…
But I am saying that it’ll be beneficial for you to look into ways to keep your testosterone levels healthy so that you’re more likely to have stronger emotional health.
I wrote an article on testosterone health and depression a while back that could be worthwhile for you to check out.
Your Next Step
The cortisol and testosterone relationship isn’t complicated.
It’s pretty cut and dry, actually.
You don’t want cortisol hanging out for too, long.
Sure, when you have 300 lbs. loaded on a barbell and buried into your back on your last set of squats, cortisol will come in handy…
But have that same stress hormone elevated when you’re trying to have dinner with your family is only harmful to your health.
When you’re trying to save your lady from a rampaging bear during your Saturday nature walk, a cortisol spike will do you some good (as you’re hauling it out of the woods with her on your back)…
But if you’re calling on that same stress hormone while watching the news, you’re only doing damage to yourself.
So for the time being, check out this teaser article on how to stress less, and be on the lookout for my soon to come articles on how to beat chronic stress, lower your cortisol levels and boost your testosterone levels as a result.
– Joe LoGalbo