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t was about time I make this article. After hundreds of specific posts about what
affects your natural testosterone production and hormonal health, I had yet to
compile it all into one easily accessible article that covered all the basics. The

goal of this article is to get you closer to knowing most of what you need to know in
order to optimize your natural testosterone production. It links out to hundreds of
other more specific posts about various topics discussed, while it also references
hundreds of different studies. A big resource sort of.

Primer: Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone, responsible of most

of the male characteristics. Your body produces it when the hypothalamus in
your brain sends out bursts of something called GnRH (gonadotropin
releasing hormone), which then travels to the other brain gland called
pituitary gland, where the GnRH stimulates the release of two hormones
called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH),
these are the gonadotropins. The gonadotropins (LH and FSH) then make
their way down to the testicles via your spine, and once they reach their
destination FSH stimulates sperm production, whereas LH stimulates the
testicular leydig cells to produce testosterone from a well known precursor;
cholesterol. After the testosterone is made and done, it travels around in your
bloodstream. Some of it remains bio-available in circulation as freetestosterone, some of it make its way into its target receptors around the body
(androgen receptors), while some of it gets bound and rendered partially
inactive by two carrier proteins called albumin and SHBG. Small parts of your
available testosterone will also metabolize to estrogen (the principal female
hormone) via an enzyme called aromatase and dihydrotestosterone or DHT
(more potent male hormone) via an enzyme called 5-a reductase. All of the
moving pieces that affect this synthesis, can be affected naturally by training,
nutrition, lifestyle, and supplementation.

Im sure you have seen the endless list of the benefits of optimal testosterone

levels, which include (but are not limited to):

increased ability to build lean mass

improved rate of lipolysis, aka. fat loss
improved mood, confidence, and motivation
better erections, libido, and sexual performance
increased desire for success, dominance, and power
stronger bones, improved cardiovascular health
increased body and facial hair growth

Since testosterone is literally the hormone that makes man a man,

its safe to expect increased manly qualities in nearly every area of
your life after increased testosterone levels. Not everything is
controlled by testosterone obviously, but if you start looking at the
studies, its pretty clear that from womb to tomb, this one hormone
determines A LOT in a guy.

The guide is broken into 4 big sections; lifestyle, nutrition, training, and supplementation.
The four sections hide inside multiple topics from sleep, to macronutrient splits, to
testicular health, all the way into neuromuscular training, hypoxia, sleep, sex, walking
So, lets get to it:

1. Sleep Deep and Sleep a Lot

Whether you choose to sleep four hours
or eight hours, can mean a difference
similar to night and day in your T
Partial sleep restriction lasting one-week
(5h/night) in a laboratory setting has been
shown to decrease overall 24-hour
testosterone levels in healthy young men by
On a study by Penev et al. the men who slept for ~4 hours had an average of 200-300 ng/dL
testosterone levels in serum, whereas the guys who slept for ~8 hours had levels closer to
500-700 ng/dL.
A study from Gov et al. showed similar results. On 531 Chinese men, increased sleep time
was highly correlated with higher total and -free testosterone levels. The researchers also
calculated that each extra hour of sleep led to about 15% more testosterone.

2. Be Lean and Have Some Muscle Mass

You definitely dont have to be light to increase
your testosterone levels naturally, but you should
be LEAN.
More specifically, your body fat percentage should be
relatively low (something between 8-14%), if your goal
is to get more T oozing through your veins.
Generally speaking though there are some rare
exceptions the higher the fat percentage, the lower
the testosterone (study, study, study, study). So in
retrospect, the leaner you are, the more likely you are to
have more testosterone rushing in your bloodstream. Increased amount of muscle mass
also positively correlates with serum testosterone levels, so if you burn the fat and build
the muscle, youll not only look shredded, but you can improve your hormonal health too.
Why being fat often leads to low testosterone levels? The full answer is likely much
more complex than this, but what we do know is that increased fat-mass leads to
increased aromatase enzyme activity, which in turn leads to more testosterone being
converted to estrogen. Also, increased oxidative stress, metabolic syndrome, and poor
insulin-sensitivity are some other major-players in obesity related low-T.
Good news are that you can easily increase testosterone levels just by losing weight, in
particular losing the fat-mass, not muscle. Though its worth mentioning that there is a
limit to your leanness where it start to negatively impact testosterone production; going
below ~8% body fat starts to decrease thyroid activity, and because of that youll

eventually have to start cutting your caloric intake too much, and both of those things
will start zapping the life out of your androgens.
NOTE: The weight-loss industry is chock-full of some major league bullshit. This guide should help
you in getting to know everything there is to know about losing fat in a sane muscle-preserving way.

3. Stress Less
More easily said than done huh? Well it
doesnt change the fact that stress more
or less kills testosterone levels.
This happens because chronic stress results
in chronically elevated cortisol levels and
cortisol being the bodys principal stress
hormone is a catabolic hormone that
among many other things; suppresses
testosterone levels.
No dont get me wrong here, we all need some cortisol. It gets us up in the morning and
allows us as a species to walk with 2 feet, and without cortisol any kind of minor trauma
would instantly bring you into full shock and kill you

However, if you are under physical or physiological stress that

constantly haunts you, its likely that your cortisol levels are
constantly high thorough the day.

Thats not good, since cortisol not only breaks down your muscle mass and causes
oxidative damage in the body, but its also made from the same raw material
(pregnenolone) as testosterone is, and high levels of cortisol can literally destroy your
free testosterone molecules locally inside testicles and in the bloodstream. Ive touched
this subject before in here and here.

4. Lower your Endocrine Disruptor Exposure

The definition of endocrine disruptor is
as follows; Synthetic chemicals or natural
substances that may alter the endocrine
system (consisting of glands, hormones,
and cellular receptors that control a bodys
internal functions) and may cause
developmental or reproductive disorders.
Compounds that act as endocrine disruptors
in the body are used generously in modern
personal care items, plastics, preservatives, pesticides, and many many other appliances.
Out of the millions of chemicals used, most are relatively harmless. However there are
some compounds that have been proven to disrupt hormone production and functions in
the body.
these include (but are not limited to);

Bisphenol A (BPA) which is a monomer used heavily in plastics and epoxy resins.
Since BPA has a hardening effect on plastics, its used generously in many
industries,making BPA one of the most produced chemicals in the world. It also has
hormone-like properties in the body and has been linked multiple times to lowtestosterone and erectile dysfunction (study, study, study).
Parabens (methyl-, butyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, heptyl-, etc) which are preservatives
used in nearly all kinds of cosmetics, such as; sun lotions, moisturizers, personallubricants, shampoos, shaving gels, toothpaste, and even as food additives. Theyre
classified as xenoestrogens, and can have a weak affinity to estrogen receptors in
the body.
Phthalates which are commonly used to make plastics more flexible, but they are
also used as stabilizers and emulsifying agents in many personal care items.
Increased urinary phthlate traces have been strongly correlated with decreased
testosterone in men, women, and children.
Benzophenones (BP-1, BP-2, BP-3) which are permeability enhancing UVstabilizers are used in a wide range of personal care items, but most commonly in
sunscreens. Concerns have been raised of their effect in reducing the activity of
enzymes needed in testosterone production. This has been studied for BP-1, BP-2,
and BP-3.
Triclosan and Triclocarban, both of which are antibacterial agents found in many
antibacterial soaps, lotions, hand sanitizers, etc. Not only are they highly
ineffective at reducing bacteria, they also have direct mechanism in lowering
testicular testosterone production.

How to reduce the exposure then? Well, its pretty much impossible to avoid all
exposure in the modern World, but you can slash your exposure significantly by using a
tap water filter, drinking from steel or glass cups and bottles, using natural personal-care
items, and eating less canned foods. Grocery store receipts are also coated with BPA, so
better not fiddle around with them too much.

5. Spark Up Your Sex Life

Admittedly one of the most satisfying
ways to increase testosterone levels
naturally is; sexual activity.
Its not fully understood why this happens,
but many studies have theorized that its an
interplay with dominance, feeling of power,
feeling of success, pheromones, dopamine,
and interpersonal touch. For this reason its
also likely that sex with an actual human
instead of the palm of ones hand,would be a much better way to boost T.
Is there any research on increased sexual activity and testosterone levels? You bet there
A study of 44 men visiting a sex club actually showed that the guys who went there only to
watch other people have sex, had an average increase of 11% in their testosterone levels,
whereas the guys who went and actually had sex there noted an average increase of 72%.
Its also seen in couples that on the nights that there is sexual activity, testosterone
levels are significantly higher than on the nights that they dont have sex. One of the
many findings in the Baltimore Longitudal Study on Aging was that in men over 60-years
of age, those with higher level of sexual activity had significantly greater serum
testosterone levels.
Much has been theorized about ejaculations and testosterone, and there seems to be this
common misbelief that busting a nut would drain the body from testosterone (which
fortunately isnt the case). I recently wrote a more detailed article about the subject which
can be found here.

6. Know the Side-Effects of Prescription

Healthcare is a business. A big business.
Chances are that if you visit a doctor even
without any known health issues youll
probably end up leaving with a prescription
to some medication.
Therefore its not a coincidence nor a
surprise to see that the largest
pharmaceutical companies are raking in
hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
In many cases, prescription drugs can prove to be vitally important to the patient.
However, its also worth noting that in order for the pharmaceutical companies to make
money people have to be sick and for some reason we are only treating the symptoms
with more and more pills instead of actually focusing on the cause of the illness.
Though at the end of the day, your health is your own personal responsibility. Not the
doctors. Not the governments. Yours.
With that being said, heres some studies about prescription drugs that have
side-effect of lowering testosterone levels (what ever you might do with this
info is your decision);

Opiate-based painkillers
Some beta-blockers and tranquilizers
A type-2 diabetes drug called Sylfonylurea
A blood pressure drug called Spironolactone
Acid reducers such as; Tagamet, Cidemetidine, etc
Hair-loss drugs such as Finasteride and Dutasteride
Statins and other drugs that interfere with cholesterol synthesis
Some anti-fungal drugs, such as the commonly used ketoconazole
Many SSRIs (anti-depressants) are notorious for causing low sex-drive and also lowT

7. TestShock Program
Writing about natural testosterone
optimization has been my job now for
the past few years. Reading, learning,
and researching info on hormones has
been something Ive done for ever since
I was 15
As you can imagine, I have seen, read,
bought, or sometimes straight up ignored
hundreds of T-boosting e-books, physical
books, supplements, courses & programs, and even coaching. I get pitched some
testosterone related products on a daily basis, since this site is currently the most visited
natural testosterone resource, everyone wants their piece of the pie and their product to

shine on the sidebar.

The problem is that I dont want to promote bullshit in here, and that
is exactly what 95% of the natural testosterone optimization
programs and supplements are.

Not TestShock though. The moment I had read the first few pages of the book I knew that
this was something different, something that aligns with the actual scientific evidence,
and something that might truly be the complete A-Z guide for natural testosterone
Now I dont want to over-hype the program, but if you like to read articles like
the one youre reading now, and youre interested in natural T-enhancement,
then youre going to love all the 262-pages of Christopher Walkers TestShock

8. Take a Look at Your Posture

According to an interesting study done
by Cuddy et al. in Harvard University,
your body language as well as postural
changes can almost immediately impact
your stress and steroid hormones.

In their research, the scientists wanted to

know what happens to the bodily hormones
when the subjects do either a set of highpower poses (taking up more space, standing tall, hands on hips, dominant alpha stuff,
etc) or low-power poses (contractive behavior, closed limbs, taking less space, general
insecure positions, etc).

Surprisingly, only in 2-minutes power-posing led to 20% increase in

salivary testosterone levels, and -25% decrease in the stress
hormone; cortisol. On the contrary, low-power posing led to a drop in
T with accompanied rise in cortisol.

Heres Cuddy herself talking about the topic and the study:

9. Money, Success, and Competition

Im a big believer in the fact that
making lots of honest money equals at
least in some form happiness.
Not necessarily the fact that you can see the
numbers in your bank account, but the fact
that money (at least if you make it in your
own terms) often equals total freedom.
Money also equals success in many fields,
and can be a form of competition, or at least if not competitive, it generates the feeling
that youre winning in life.
Simply put, money is testosterone.
This study of young future-traders is a great example. In it, the traders noted higher
testosterone levels on the days that they made above average profits. One young gun in
the study ended up on a 6-day money streak and had 78% higher T-levels in serum as a
The results were likely caused by the fact that winning and success in almost any form of
competition are both heavily correlated with increased testosterone levels (study, study,
study, study), and what does a big pay day make you feel like? Winning of course. It
doesnt necessarily have to be money that generates the feeling of success. It can be
sports, even watching sports, simply getting a list of tasks done, etc. Whatever makes you
get the genuine feeling of being the boss and dominating your pursuits.

10. Testicular Health

Roughly 95% of the testosterone in your
body is produced inside the leydig cells
of the testicles
Because of this, its quite obvious that
optimal testicular health and circulation
would need to be one of the top priorities for
all men.
For optimal testicular function, your balls
actually need to be a tad bit cooler than the rest of the body, hence why they hang in a
pouch outside of it. Because of this, sleeping naked, wearing loose boxers, and taking
frequent cold showers can have a positive impact on your testosterone production.
Roughly 15-20% of men also develop a condition called varicocele, which is a
thrombosis or blockage of some of the veins that lead to the gonads. Since varicoceles
inhibit the normal blood flow to the leydig cells, they also inhibit the transportation of LH
to its target, which causes your body to produce inadequate amounts of T. This is seen in
many studies; men with varicoceles have significantly lower testosterone levels than
control subjects, and when the blockage(s) are surgically removed, testosterone levels
tend to increase significantly.
I guess some sort of testicular massage might also help in T production, though
there isnt (understandably) any research on that

11. Check What you Smoke

Two of the most common things that
people smoke are; tobacco and
The question is, how do they affect
testosterone levels? Or do they even?
Looking at the scientific evidence behind
tobacco and testosterone, its actually
something that increases natural
testosterone and DHT levels (study, study).
This effect is likely caused by nicotine, which acts as aromatase enzyme inhibitor
(turning less testosterone into estrogen) and also blocks the conversion from
dihydrotestosterone into a weaker metabolite 3-alpha-diol
Then theres also the metals and minerals in tobacco which can have androgenic
effects, bottom line being that smokers tend to have bit higher T levels than nonsmokers, even though smoking itself is not too healthy thing to do.
When it comes to cannabis, some studies say that the active ingredient (THC) can inhibit
testicular enzymes needed in testosterone production and reduce T-levels, though the
effects are reversible and not as significant as some people claim. In fact there have been
few studies where smoking pot has not negatively impacted any hormones (study, study).

12. Alcohol in Excess is Not your T-Boosting

Lets just start of by saying that no, you
dont have to completely cut off alcohol
from your life in order to naturally raise
testosterone levels.
Is it beneficial for T? Not in the slightest, in
fact it has multiple mechanisms for lowering
androgens, but in all honesty its effects on Tlevels have been wildly exaggerated.
Sure if youre an alcoholic who slams booze to
the point of passing out on nearly all days of
the Week, you can be damn sure that it crushes your test production, but few drinks here
and there do not have that significant of an effect
Though, the mechanisms of action are bit scary;

The metabolization process of alcohol tends to reduce the amount of coenzyme NAD+,
which is an essential part of the electron donoring process necessary for
Alcohol can also increase the release of beta-opioid-endorphins from the brain and
stimulate the hormone prolactin, both of which can negatively affect testosterone
Oxidative damage increases thorough the body in response to alcohol consumption,
this leading to localized reduction of testosterone in the gonads and also indirect
reduction via increased cortisol levels.

Chronically high intake of alcohol is notorious for its effects in increasing the
aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen, causing a feminized
effect in the male body.

How much do you have to drink to actually suppress test levels though?
The most damaging effects come from few rodent studies (study, study, study, study). One
rat study in particular showed a staggering 50% reduction in testicular size after they were
fed with a diet containing 5% of the calories from alcohol.
Rodents aint the only ones who see suppressed T-levels after alcohol ingestion. Heavy
alcohol consumption has been linked to lowered testosterone levels in humans too
(study, study, study, study). Its also known that chronic alcoholics tend to have
significantly lower levels of testosterone accompanied with significantly higher estrogen
levels than their non-alcoholic peers (study, study, study)
Luckily enough, few studies have shown that low-moderate alcohol consumption isnt
that bad for male hormone production. Here an equivalent of ~2 glasses of red wine was
associated with a mere 7% reduction in testosterone. In this one 0,5g/kg of alcohol
actually slightly increased testosterone levels.

In the case of alcohol, the dose really does make the poison. Enjoying
a few old fashioneds or beers once in a while isnt enough to
chemically castrate you.

13. Caloric Intake Matters

In order to make your body produce
adequate amounts of testosterone, you
need to give it enough calories to fuel
the processes necessary in hormone
If youre constantly feeding your body with a
big calorie deficit, your body actually starts
shutting down the reproductive system and
conserves energy for more vital processes needed for your survival.
It doesnt even have to be a massive calorie deficit, a 7-year study compared men who
restricted their calories (13502415 kcal/day) and ate very clean against sedentary
subjects who ate a normal Western diet with higher caloric intake (2145-3537 kcal/day).
Due to their restrictive caloric intake, the group of men that ate lower amounts of calories
had 31% lower testosterone levels, despite the fact that they maintained a clean diet and
practiced running on a regular basis.

For optimal T production, consider eating a slight calorie surplus or

maintenance calories.

The catch-22 here is that if youre fat (which lowers testosterone), you MUST be on a
caloric deficit to lose the weight, and the deficit itself can end up reducing your T-levels.
So should you remain fat and make sure that youre not getting too few calories? Or
should you consider losing the weight by eating a calorie deficit and then bumping your
calories up to maintenance level after youre lean?

The answer is the latter option obviously.

When you start eating more after your weight loss success, your hormone production
quickly shoots up, and as you lean down, its going to jump up to much higher numbers
than what it was on a caloric surplus when you were still fat. If you want to lose weight
slowly without really hurting your T-levels in the process, consider a really small deficit of
only -15%, which has been shown to have no significant negative impact on testosterone

14. Protein is Necessary but not in Huge

Protein is vitally important for muscle
growth as well as also testosterone
We know that chronic protein malnutrition
causes low testosterone levels, while its also
scientifically proven that roughly 0.8g/lb of
lean mass is somewhat the point of
diminished returns when it comes to the
optimal amount of protein for muscle gains.
The problem is that the bodybuilding sites and magazines preach everyone to eat superhigh amounts of protein (remember that they also sell you the protein), and protein IN
EXCESS is not only useless for your muscle building goals, but it can also significantly

reduce testosterone levels.

A study by Anderson et al. shows that when the male subjects undergo 10-days on a highprotein low-carb diet, their free-testosterone levels will be 36% lower than what they
would be on a high-carbohydrate low-protein diet. High-protein diets also caused
significantly higher cortisol (stress hormone) levels and as to be expected from lowered
bioavailable T increased SHBG levels. Caloric intake and the amount of dietary fat was
kept the same during both diets.
Another study, this time on resistance trained men, showed that dose-dependent
reductions in testosterone were caused by increased percentages of energy from protein
as well as increased protein to carbohydrate ratio.
The bottom line is that yes, you do need protein for both testosterone and muscle gains,
but no, you dont need as much as the fitness industry claims. For the optimal amount in
terms of T-production, a good starting point would be ~20-25% daily calories from
protein. As well as getting the majority from animal sources since plant-based protein is
inferior to animal sourced when it comes to big T.

15. Carbs and then More Carbs!

Theres some unfair demonization going
on against carbohydrates now. Or
actually it has been going on for quite
some time
The low-carb people say things like;

Carbs raise insulin, insulin makes you fat,

which is simply why carbs make you fat, or
the classic Humans dont need carbohydrates brah.
The fact of the matter is that it has been scientifically proven that weight-loss has
absolutely nothing to do with the amount of carbohydrates or other macronutrient
trickery. Heck, you can eat the shittiest sugary snacks for all of your meals and still lose
weight as long as youre in a state of caloric deficit. Guess why? Because thats how the
human body works.
In the past few years as the paleo diet has become a thing, their so called experts have
been telling people that since the cavemen didnt eat a lot of carbs, we shouldnt either.
The thing is that they had absolutely no evidence to back up their claims about
paleolithic humans not eating carbs. Recent evidence actually suggests that cavemen ate
plenty of them.
The biggest reason why no man should go on a low-carb diet, is the fact that theyre
notorious for lowering testosterone levels, increasing the stress hormone cortisol, and
messing up with your sleep.
As explained in the above subheading, Andersson et al. found out that when caloric intake
and fat intake are kept the same, diet high in carbs and low in protein leads to 36% higher
free-testosterone level and lower cortisol production when compared to one with highprotein low-carbs. The study by Volek et al. Found similar results, go low on carbs and
testosterone takes a hit.
When two groups of men undergoing intensive cycling 3x/week eat a diet of either 30%
energy from carbs or 60% energy from carbs, the group which eats less carbs will have
significantly lower free-testosterone levels. Similar results have been seen in a study with
both men and women as subjects.
In this study, exercising men who are put on a low-carb diet, notice significant increases

in the stress hormone cortisol (needless to say this is not a good thing). The pulastion rate
of GnRH (master hormone that starts the testosterone production process) also seems to
be heavily dependent on glucose availibity.
As a general rule of thumb, Ive always recommended ~40% of daily calories
from carbohydrates. Mainly from low-fiber low-gluten sources, since gluten may
increase prolactin levels (study, study) and theres some although not very conclusive
evidence against high-fiber diets. To make it simple, eat the bulk of your carbs from
potatoes and rice.

16. Dietary Fat Does the Trick

Id say that fat is the boss macronutrient
for testosterone production.
Theres plenty of evidence suggesting that
increased amount of energy from dietary fat,
leads to increased serum testosterone levels
(study, study, study, study).
However, the type of fat matters A LOT.
Saturated fatty-acids (SFAs) and
monounsaturated fatty-acids (MUFAs) correlate very positively with testosterone levels,
whereas polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFAs) and trans-fats effectively suppress
testosterone levels (study, study, study, study, study, study).

A crucial part that is often left out in many articles is the part of

different types fats having different effects on your hormones.

Bottom line: Ideally youd want to keep your dietary fat intake at somewhere close to
~40% of daily calories, while most of them coming from SFAs and MUFAs with limited
amounts of PUFAs and trans fats. In case youre scared about the effects this would have
on your cardiovascular system, theres very little to be afraid of, recent research has
showed that the link between saturated fat & dietary cholesterol with heart problems was
never really strong, and the older studies have been debunked multiple times in more
recent trials.

17. About that Sugar

Much has been said about simple forms
of sugar (table sugar, honey, etc)
reducing testosterone levels, and
previously I used to believe that
consuming sugar would be really bad for
testosterone levels
now Im not so sure anymore. Of course
yes, theres the research which shows that
right after ingesting sugar, testosterone
levels will drop acutely (study, study), but its crucial to understand that the act of eating
pretty much anything is able to lower testosterone levels ACUTELY (study, study, study).
Theres no research that I know of which would of have linked sugar intake to long-term
reductions in testosterone. In fact, the studies on carbs being pro-testosterone and GnRH
increasing its pulsation rate in high-glucose environments speak towards the fact that
sugar, which is basically what all carbohydrates eventually convert into, is not that bad
for testosterone levels. It might actually be relatively good to consume some sugar on a
daily basis.
In my opinion, sugar has been unfairly demonized. It doesnt make you fat as everyone
and their dog claims, overeating anything does. Sure its not that filling, and it might be
more addictive than many other foods, but its not some toxic poison that destroys you
from the inside out as is often boldly stated in click-bait headlines. Dr Ray Peats info on
sugar is something I highly recommend to everyone who still lives in sugarophobia.

The liver provides about 70% of our active thyroid hormone, by converting
thyroxine to T3, but it can provide this active hormone only when it has
adequate glucose.
Dr. Ray Peat

18. Plant-Based Diets are Not the Way to Go

Sure, you can have high testosterone
levels on vegan/vegetarian diets if you
know what youre doing, but is it the
optimal type of diet for T-production?
When you ditch all animal protein and animal
fat, youre in a situation where its really hard
to get a balanced intake of amino-acids,
enough cholesterol, and enough saturated fat
to fuel your bodys testosterone producing needs. On plant-based diets men tend to also
eat too much PUFAs in comparision to SFAs and MUFAs, which can further fuck up
testosterone production
Not to mention that its increasingly harder to consume your daily caloric needs from
plant-based foods alone (not to say that this isnt possible, its just much harder).
Factoring those in, its no surprise that many studies have linked plant-based diets to
lower testosterone levels. For instance, in this 1989 study changing from meat-based diet

to plant-based one resulted in a 26% reduction in free-testosterone levels. Another study

did the same thing with 30 male subjects and saw a 36% reduction in total testosterone
levels on plant-based diet. Multiple other studies have noted that plant-based diets can
lead to higher SHBG levels resulting in lower free-T and thus lower bio-availibity of
testosterone for the androgen receptors (study, study, study)
Though this isnt always the case, in one study it was noted that after adjusting BMI,
vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters dont really differ much in terms of testosterone
levels. In fact in that singular study the vegan group had 6% higher total testosterone
levels than meat-eaters.
Which brings me to the point. You dont necessarily have to crush your testosterone
levels with vegan/vegetarian diets. If you can get in a good amount of calories,
accompanied with some SFAs and MUFAs (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, Macadimia
nuts), its likely that you can maintain high testosterone levels despite not eating any

19. Organic Produce for More T?

In the case of eating organic foods for
better testosterone production, its not
about what youre getting from the
organically grown produce, but rather
what youre NOT getting from the
conventional kind.
Specifically, Im talking about pesticides,
herbicides, insecticides, and growth/fat-

promoting hormone traces.

Sure, organic foods are more expensive, and surely you dont HAVE
to switch everything organic in order to maintain high-T, and yes not
all pesticides are harmful

But some can be. In this study, the researchers screened 37 commonly used pesticides
for their hormonal actions in-vitro, as many as 30 of them were antiandrogens. Another
study tested multiple pesticides for their effects on the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and saw
that many of them had a mechanism for blocking DHT synthesis.
In a large-scale American study, it was noted that 91% of the US test subjects had notable
amounts of the insecticide; chlorpyrifos in their bodies. In another human study, TCPY
(3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol) which is a metabolite of chlorpyrifos, was noted of having a
dose-dependent testosterone lowering effect in multiple linear regression models. Several
animal studies have also shown that chlorpyrifos has a significant testosterone lowering
effect (study, study, study).
In isolated testicular leydig cells, one of the most widely used herbicides in the World;
Glyphosate, had a direct testosterone lowering effect at normally occurring environmental
Two interesting studies from Denmark have showed that farmers who spray their crops
with conventional pesticides experience lower sperm production and lowered sex
hormones when compared to farmes who produce organic foods whom have higher sperm
quality and higher sex hormone levels (study, study).
Many other pesticides such as organophosphates, Vinclozolin, PCBs, and Atrazine have
been also linked to suppressed testosterone production.

NOTE: Im not a fan of fear-mongering (think FoodBabe, Mercola, David Wolfe, NaturalNews), which
is why I refrain from making any wacky tin-foil hat accusations about pesticide use. Indeed GMOs
have saved thousands of lives in Africa, and in many cases theres a legit reason to use crop-sprays,
preservatives, and so forth. Its always your personal decision whether you eat organic or
conventional produce, or maybe you mix them up. The most important thing is that you read the
evidence about them yourself instead of blindly following one expert with one specific stance,
because in this subject, youll hear a bunch of bullshit from all-camps.

20. The Milk Controversy

In terms of its macronutrient
composition (high quality micellar
casein, fats from mainly SFAs and
MUFAs, and some carbs) and
micronutrient composition (A, B1, B2,
B12, D, choline, calcium, magnesium,
and potassium) one could easily assume
that milk is a pro-testosterone drink.
However, if we look bit deeper, theres a
problem with milk, especially the full-fat
Its the amount of hormones, in particular the naturally occurring mammalian estrogens,
and especially in countries like US where the cows are kept pregnant (this increasing
estrone content by up to 33x) for over 300-days of the year.

As a big-fan of milk, I was not happy to find this Japanese study where drinking cows milk
resulted in increased serum estrogen and progesterone levels, which suppressed GnRH
secretion from the brain and thus lowered testosterone secretion in men and prepubertal
boys during a 21-day study period.

Since the conjugated hormones are mostly in the fat portion of the
milk, it seems that skimmed and low-fat milk would be a hormonally
better option

And indeed there are two studies which support this theory;

A study where physically active men drank full-fat milk and their overall sperm
quality significantly decreased
A study where consumption of low-fat and skimmed milk increased sperm volume
and mobility

21. Cholesterol is the Building Block

There seems to be a correlation with the
total amount of dietary cholesterol and
testosterone levels even though
studies have also shown that the intake
of cholesterol through nutrition doesnt

really do much to blood cholesterol

levels in long-term.
An average sized male naturally synthesizes
about 1-1,5g/day of cholesterol, while his body holds an additional amount of ~35 grams
within cell membranes
Its also known that the more cholesterol you consume through your diet, the less of it
your body has to synthesize in liver, intestines, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs.
Bottom line is that all the steroid hormones are made from cholesterol, and even though
your body naturally synthesis it on a daily basis and controls the production accordingly
to your dietary intake increased dietary intake of cholesterol, as well as blood levels of
HDL cholesterol, are still positively linked to increased serum testosterone levels. So eat
some egg yolks and make sure to keep your blood HDL (the good cholesterol) high.

22. Choose Coffee Over Tea

Tea, especially the green kind, has been
hailed as the supreme health drink for
And surely enough theres evidence that
regular tea consumption can reduce your risk
of certain cancers, offer slight protection
from type-2 diabtes, and improve
cardiovascular health. Some research even
suggests that green tea consumption can aid

in weight loss (although these effects are

marginal at best and the green tea extracts sold as fat-burners are really not as effective as
the producers claim).
Looking at tea from the hormonal point of view, its not so supreme after all;

Tea is one of the foods with highest known fluoride content and fluoride in excess can
significantly lower T-levels.
When isolated leydig cells are exposed to green tea catechins (EGCG and EC),
stimulated testosterone production drops significantly.
Injecting rodents with green tea antioxidants ended up crushing testosterone levels by
a whopping 70%!
The catechins and tannins in various teas have a mechanism of blocking DHT
synthesis via reducing 5-a enzyme (study, study).
Adding increasingly bigger dosages of green tea to male rodents feed (human
equivalents of 5 to 20 cups) caused dose-dependent reductions in testosterone between

I recommend choosing coffee instead, since not only does coffee taste better, its
also pro-testosterone;

4mg/kg of caffeine taken 1-hour prior to exercise can increase T-levels by 12% in elite
When infused into a chewing gum 240mgs of caffeine was able to increase the
exercise-induced testosterone boost by 14%
In this study, pre-workout caffeine dosed at 200, 400, 600, and 800mgs led to dosedependent increases in testosterone
Caffeine is known to be a non-selective PDE-inhibitor, reducing the breakdown rate
of cAMP (a compound needed in T-synthesis)

23. Intermittent Fasting for Androgen

Did you know that you dont have to
stuff your face with food for every few
hours in order to boost T and maintain
optimal rates of muscle growth?
Despite the fact that the fitness industry tries
to sell you the idea of multiple small meals
being optimal, science has actually shown
that meal frequency does nothing to
metabolic rate, eating fewer meals does not
burn away your muscle or make it harder to build that, and for a fact, short-term fasting
does not lower your testosterone levels.
In fact there are few interesting studies which have shown that after a short-term fast,
your androgen receptors become more sensitive towards testosterone than what they
would be if youd eat on a constant basis. Even after 10-days of water fasting, re-feeding
shoots testosterone levels higher than what the baseline was in the beginning. (study,

I personally dont recommend long fasts, although they can be useful

in dropping weight. Instead I fast intermittently until every evening
and eat all my calories post-workout, therefore theoretically taking

advantage of that post-fasting anabolism and increased androgen

sensitivity right after tearing the muscles in the gym.

More about intermittent fasting can be found in this article.

24. Eat these T-Boosting Foods

Lets face it, some foods are just better
than others when it comes to boosting
testosterone levels.
Much of this comes down to things like; high
micronutrient density, high amount of
protective antioxidants, high SFA or MUFA
with low PUFA/trans-fats, quality animal
based muscle-meat and collagen protein,
low-gluten starchy carb sources etc. In fact I
do have an article with 30 testosterone boosting foods over here
But in case youre looking for a condensed version with no additional
ramblings, you can see one below:

Fats & Oils

Meats & Protein

Fruits & Vegetables

Nuts & Snacks
Spices & Other
extra virgin olive oil
virgin argan oil
grass-fed butter
extra virgin coconut oil
avocado oil

25. Limit your Intake of These T-lowering

There are of course also some
testosterone lowering foods, and as
much as I hate avoiding something or
creating diets that are too restrictive,
aka. prone to failure, certrain foodstuffs
in high amounts just dont fit the manly
nutrition plant at all.
Theres definitely more than these, but this
list is just for the ones with good amount of research to prove that. You can find a more
detailed article with studies here.

Heres the list in no particular order;

Testosterone Lowering Foods

Flaxseed products
High-PUFA Vegetable Oils
Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint
Soy Products
Green tea
High-PUFA nuts

26. The Endless Soy Debate

Whether the consumption of soy
products lowers testosterone levels or
leaves the amount of androgens
unchanged is a matter of massive
debate online.
Soy contains these compounds called
isoflavones (genistein, daidzein and glycitein)
which act as phytoestrogens (plant
estrogens) in the human body. Theyre

structurally similar to the principal female hormone, estrogen, and are believed to have
similar effects in the body. Since high estrogen level in men are almost always a direct
route to lowered testosterone levels, eating soy which contains estrogenic compounds
is often blamed for lowering testosterone.
Studies on the topic are highly inconclusive though, and while many of them do show that
soy lowers testosterone levels (study, study, study, study, study, study, study), others
show no apparent change (study, study, study, study).
I personally do limit my soy consumption, not necessarily because of the research on its
effects for testosterone, but because soy is also chock-full of goitrogens, which are
compounds present in foods, medication, or chemicals, that disrupt the production of
thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland.

Since thyroid activity is crucial for your energy levels and overall
health, Im not going to stuff my face with soy when I know theres
plenty of research suggesting that it can negatively impact thyroid

Also soy tastes awful and Im not a vegan/vegetarian, so what real reason
would there be to even consume it?

27. Hydration is the Key

We all know how important water is for

our cognitive function, exercise
capacity, and overall bodily functions.
But many still take water as granted, and
dont drink nearly enough to really be in a
good state of hydration. Even though its
stupidly easy to just grab a steel bottle and
fill it to the brim with the ever anabolic h2o.
During exercise the importance of drinking plenty of water is increased, since even mild
dehydration will suppress the exercise induced rise in testosterone and growth hormone,
while dehydration also increases cortisol secretion.
It has been shown in studies that even a mild 1-2% dehydration can significantly raise
cortisol levels (study, study) and lower growth hormone secretion. One study by Volek et
al. actually tested the effects between hydrated state, dehydration by 2,5%, and
dehydration by 5% on their hormonal effects during exercise and saw that the less water
the subjects drank, the higher their cortisol and lower their testosterone levels were.

28. Resistance Training Recommended

To upregulate androgen receptors in
muscle tissue while also increasing
testosterone levels both acutely and
moving the baseline higher and higher
can be best done with some form of
resistance training.
Theres a mounting pile of evidence to
suggest that resistance/strength training
(basically lifting medium-heavy weights) can
stimulate testosterone production in the
short-term (study, study, study, study)
But also in the long-term by forcing the body to adapt into a new normal where your
testosterone production is significantly higher even at rest mainly due to forced
neuromuscular adaptations (study, study, study, study).
Resistance training is also generally very healthy, and its easily the best way for men to
make your body look great, which amps up your confidence and can furthermore boost
your T-levels due to those feelings of success as explained in the subheading #9 of this
The idea is not just to lift weights in any manner that you can think of, but
instead what you want to do for optimal hormonal response is to;

lift heavy enough

be explosive but still maintain form
activate large amounts of muscle mass

stimulate fast-twitch glycotic muscle fibers

do all of this in a short-period of time
rest properly.

All of the above pointers will be addressed more in detail in the below subheadings.
NOTE: Theres also a book coming out in the few following weeks by Chris Walker titled as the THORprogram and designed specifically for hormonal response training, ie. getting the biggest hormonal bang for
your training buck. You can get the THOR here.

29. Do Some High Intensity Intervals

When it comes to cardio high
intensity interval training (HIIT) fits a
testosterone boosting routine like a
nose to the head.
Consider adding 1-2 quick HIIT-sessions on
top of your resistance training routine to
maximize exercise induced hormonal
Due to its explosive nature, short-duration,
activation of fast-twitch muscle fibers, and increased production of lactic acid without
being chronic enough to cause prolonged increases in stress hormones HIIT, aka.
short bouts of intense exercise can cause sharp increases in total testosterone, free
testosterone, DHEA, growth hormone, and dihydrotestosterone (study, study, study,

Some examples of this type of training are;

regular sprinting
hill & wind sprints
circuit training
playing hockey
HIIT cycling

Heres a great example of hill sprints that would be pretty great for hormonal
response (courtesy of FitByGreen.com):

Bottom line: Basically any type of exercise where you can do quick 15-30 second all-out
bouts of exercise in 2-8 intervals will work wonders for anabolic hormones and
neuroendocrine adaptations. Instead of boring hours of steady-state cardio, consider
crushing it with few all-out sprints for maximal hormonal gains.

30. Maintain Regular Physical Activity

Aside from lifting weights and sprinting
your ass off, you should maintain some
regular physical activity on a daily basis.
This includes things like walking, plowing the
snow/mowing the lawn, chopping trees, and
other sorts of recreational stuff.
Maybe a low-intensity hockey game with the
lads? Some ball-games with the family?
Anything that can be considered active
There are even studies to show how effective regular physical activity is for T:
A recent study from the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition observed 41
obese and overweight male subject who were put on a lifestyle modification program
lasting 12-weeks, consisting of varied amounts of physical activity (measured by a
pedometer) and reduced caloric intake. The goal of the study was to determine which one
had the biggest impact on testosterone levels; increased physical activity or reduced
caloric intake and the resultant weight-loss? After the 12-weeks had passed, the
researchers found out that it was the high physical activity not so much the magnitude
of the calorie deficit which was the driving factor in the subjects rising T levels.

(LPA = low physical activity, HPA = high physical activity, LCR = low calorie restriction, HCR = high
calorie restriction).

Of course walking isnt the only physical activity that boosts T-levels, when sedentary
subjects are compared against active subjects, the more physically active guys do have
higher sperm counts and testosterone levels. Also its seen in studies that when sedentary
men start some sort of physical activity and/or low-pace exercise routine, their T levels
tend to go up as well (study, study, study)
Take something as woodcutting as an example, in Tsimane tribesmen, 1-hour
of chopping trees led to 46.8% increase in testosterone.

31. Cardio Before Weights? Train in AM or

The age old questions spanning around
the fitness industry in relation to
hormones and workout timing are;

Should you train in the morning or evening

for better testosterone levels?

Should you hit the weights before cardio or
the other way around?

The cardio question first. Sure, there are many opinions, but the actual evidence is
suggesting that yes, cardio before weights is more anabolic.
In fact a study by Rosa et al. showed that the guys who hit cardio before weights had 7x
higher post-workout testosterone levels than the guys who did cardio after weight training
(due to stimulus interference the researchers claim).
NOTE: Although the immediate post-exercise hormone alterations are not going to massively
impact your physique or resting T-levels, its still good to have that 7x higher testosterone response
once in a while huh?

When it comes to morning or evening training, it doesnt really matter. Even though
your T-levels are naturally highest in the morning, over long-term training increases
testosterone levels in similar fashion regardless of the time of the day (study, study).

32. Lower the Amount of Endurance

I get that for some, dropping endurance
training isnt an option, maybe you compete
in running or triathlon for example?
Though that doesnt change the fact that

Though that doesnt change the fact that

endurance-type long steady state exercise is very
good at lowering testosterone levels and causing
chronically elevated cortisol response.
Research has shown that endurance cyclists and
runners, but not swimmers, have significantly lower
testosterone levels than sedentary controls.
Furthermore male distance runners are known for having significantly lower than average
testosterone levels (study, study, study, study, study).

It also goes without saying that your body will look quite weak and
frail if you train mainly for endurance.

A much better option for those of us who dont need to train for endurance, would be
something like low-pace walking or hiking. Obviously resistance training and highintensity intervals are the optimal way to train for T, but if youre looking for a bit more
lighter way to balance hormones, slowly walking with a small incline is actually much
more beneficial for T and especially normal cortisol secretion than chronic endurance

33. Reverse Pyramid Training

Reverse pyramid training (RPT) is a
set/rep pattern used in resistance

exercise movements where you (after

warming up) hit the heaviest weight on
your first set and then reduce some of
that weight and add more reps to the
2nd and possibly 3rd set. This pattern is
used by such guys as: Greg OGallagher
and Martin Berkhan.
Its a very demanding type of training, but it
allows you to lift heavy loads of weight in relatively short amount of time and you dont
have to tax your central nervous system with multi-set workouts that eventually just turn
into grinding and spinning your wheels. Its a very good fit for testosterone boosting
workouts (which is why it will be one of the main themes in Christopher Walkers THORprogram)
Basically reverse pyramid training comes down to first warming up, then hitting your first
set with all-out effort of say for example 5-8 reps, then you rest for roughly 3-5 minutes
and reduce the weight by 10% and do the same with 1-2 more reps than in the first set. If
you want to do more sets, keep reducing the weight by ~10% and adding 1-2 reps. IMHO 23 sets is optimal (more than that is just unnecessary strain for the central nervous
Heres an example of a RPT low-volume high-intensity back workout that I do

4 reps of deadlifts -> Reduce weight by 10%, rest ~4 minutes and do 5-6 reps of the
same movement.
5 reps of weighted wide-grip pull-ups -> Reduce the weight by 10%, rest ~4 minutes
and do 7 reps of the same movement.
8 reps of weighted chin-ups -> Reduce weight by 10%, rest ~4 minutes and continue
with 10 reps of the same movement.
6 reps of lat pulldowns with narrow handle -> Reduce weight by 10%, rest ~4

minutes and do 8 reps.

Aaand thats it for the back, a total of 8 sets which might seem like a ridiculously low
amount of work but when done correctly (1st set is really ALL OUT set) youre actually
going to be pretty done. Go ahead and give it a shot if you dont believe my word

34. Neuromuscular Movements

Neuromuscular training (NM training) is
something that Chris Walker introduced
in the TestShock program.
In short its a type of weight/bodyweight
training that maximizes the stimulus of the
nervous system, leading to maximal stimulus
of the neuroendocrine system, leading to
increased testosterone production and
androgen receptor upregulation.
The way to do this is by activating large
amounts of muscle volume (how much muscle mass you activate), with high intensity
(how explosive you are), under a performance treshold (avoiding the negative adaptations
that come with increased glugocorticoid receptor upregulation and chronic cortisol
Since increased muscle activation is known to increase the testosterone and growth
hormone response, youll often see people saying that in order to boost testosterone you

have to squat, squat, deadlift, squat and then do some deadlifts. And sure enough deadlifts
and squats are very good movements for size and increased muscle activation, but they
fall short on intensity (explosiveness) not allowing you to maximize the activation of fast
glycotic muscle fibers, and they also bring you more easily to the training treshold.
Some movements which actually can be used for NM training to maximize all
the above factors are;

weighted chin-ups and pull-ups

weighted dips
clean & jerk
box jumps

Honestly, Im not that good at explaining the principles of NM training, so lets

hear it from the creator himself:

Researchers have found that explosivity encourages NM adaptations

necessary to support the training demands (ie. indicating a long term
adaptation), and that a training threshold very likely exists. We want to upregulate AR content in fast glycolytic muscle tissue (as opposed to slow
oxidative tissue). Resistance training is unanimously agreed upon as a potent
stimulus for testosterone production and muscle growth, but the specific type
is either not discussed or not agreed upon. What we do know is that resistance
training promotes an increase in both AR mRNA (ie. gene transcription) and
protein content and T concentrations. So combining both of these ideas, we
can come to the conclusion that explosive resistance training is the optimal
form of stimulus as long as it is performed under the performance threshold
(so as to continually promote AR up-regulation without compromising due to
cortisol/stress-related suppression). But thats not the entire picture. Its also
not entirely different from what the pop-fitness media promotes (though

rarely practices). One more key element to the equation is often overlooked.
And thats the idea of work load and its relationship to muscle volume
activation (MVA) relative to intensity.
Chris Walker

35. Avoid the Pitfalls of Overtraining

It seems to be in fashion now in the
fitness circles to claim that overtraining
would not exist. Sure, those guys
claiming that are usually on steroids or
dont really know how to really work
hard enough to really need recovery.
Also their goal is rarely to maximize
hormonal output.
If you workout with a reverse pyramid style doing neuromuscular movements and some
HIIT cardio once in a while, you really cant be lifting every day. You can try but
eventually this will lead to sluggish progress and messed up hormonal response, which is
exactly what were trying to avoid here.
In short, you want to workout 3-5 times a week with ALL OUT INTENSITY and then REST
properly so that your muscles, endocrine system, and CNS are always primed for your
next workout which will be slightly more intense/heavier.

Going to the gym with no energy and when youre still recovering from

the previous workouts does very little to your progress and only
negatively affects the hormonal response.

Remember, constant progress is the key to gains and hormonal adaptations. In order to
push for that increased testosterone response and to move your resting baseline higher
and higher (creating the new normal) you have to get out of your comfort zone and
constantly progress to heavier weights and higher intensities
A good example of this is a study where non-athletes experienced significantly higher
testosterone levels after an intense lifting workout in comparison to elite athletes. For the
sedentary subjects this was a huge step out of the comfort zone and forced the body to
adapt to new training stimuli, resulting in hormonal adaptations, whereas for the elite
athletes this was just another workout and the hormonal adaptations werent as strong.
Another study saw that after sedentary subjects started a resistance training routine, their
baseline testosterone levels shot up by over 40% in just 4-weeks. Why? Likely because
they had to get out of the comfort-zone and create a new normal to which their
hormones had to adapt into.
Thats the idea behind constantly pushing yourself and getting to higher weights and
better intensities as you get stronger and stronger, youre slowly pushing the hormonal
baseline up by forcing your body into using bigger workloads and heavier weights

If you overtrain, your lifts will start degrading and your CNS will be
too taxed to actually make that constant progress, and thats just
one of the many reasons to avoid the pitfalls of training too much.

36. The THOR Program

Something that this whole natural testosterone
optimization field has really been missing for years
now is a specific training program with the goal of
building the ultimate masculine body, while also
focusing on maximizing the testosterone response of
Sure the TestShock program has its own training section,
which is good and definitely delivers more than great results,
but it also isnt very detailed and it often spans variety of
training related questions.
The THOR-program should be a definitive answer to most of them. Its a completely
training focused encyclopedia of how to EXACTLY train in a way that maximizes the
amount of exercise induced long-term testosterone adaptations.
Ive had a minor involvement in few of the topics of the book (which isnt yet released),
and for now I can say that it contains multiple new ideas which havent really been
discussed and/or applied to hormonal response training yet. Sure it has all the
evidence-based teachings that are already well-known in this field, but also a TON of new
and somewhat revolutionary info.

All I can say is that the THOR-program is not your average more
squats and deadlifts bro! kind of book.

37. Get a Quality Multivitamin

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to
significantly increase your natural
testosterone production, is by correcting
all of your underlying micronutrient
In fact I would go as far as saying that the
best natural T-booster supplement is in
fact just a basic high-quality wide-spectrum
multivitamin. Allow me to explain why
Even though many guys think theyre all topped up on all the necessary vitamins and
minerals, they usually arent.
One study conducted by The Washington Council of Responsible Nutrition says:

Large portions of the population had total usual intakes below the
estimated average requirement for vitamins A (35%), C (31%), D
(74%), and E (67%) as well as calcium (39%) and magnesium (46%).
Only 0%, 8%, and 33% of the population had total usual intakes of
potassium, choline, and vitamin K

When you start looking at how vitamin and mineral deficiencies affect your
testosterone production, youll realize why its important to keep your body
topped up on essential micronutrients;

Vitamin A is stored in testicles (and few other glands of the body).

Studies have shown that when theres no active vitamin A in the testes,
T levels start dropping rapidly, and estrogen synthesis shoots up. Also
in a study of 155 male twins, a clear correlation was found between
vitamin A levels and serum testosterone. In prepubertal teens, vitamin
A + iron supplementation is as effective in starting puberty as hormone
replacement therapy.
Vitamin B complex (which consists of 8 different water-soluble
vitamins), plays an important role in testosterone production and
overall bodily energy levels, deficiency in many B vitamins results in
increased estrogen levels, increased prolactin levels, and lowered
testosterone levels (study, study, study, study).
Vitamin C has a protective effect on testosterone molecules, and this is
because its a potent antioxidant and able to block some cortisol
secretion and oxidative damage (study, study, study, study, study)
Vitamin D supplementation with a dose of 3332 IUs for one full year
leads to 25% higher testosterone levels in healthy male subjects. The
positive correlation with vitamin D levels and serum testosterone have
been noted in various other human studies too (study, study, study).
Vitamin E deficient human and rodent subjects both experience a
significant drop in LH, FSH, and testosterone levels, conversely,
vitamin E supplemented humans and rodents notice significant
increases in pituiary LH and FSH, and also in serum testosterone.
Magnesium intake has had a direct effect on serum testosterone levels
in various studies. In this one, 10 mg/kg of magnesium was able to
increase free testosterone levels by 24%. Here magnesium intake was

positively correlated with high serum T levels, and in this large review
study the researchers conclude: there is evidence that magnesium
exerts a positive influence on anabolic hormonal status, including
testosterone, in men.
Calcium has its role in controlling neurotransmitter release and the
signaling between cells and hormones. Not much is known about its
effects on testosterone, but in 1976 a group of researchers found out
that calcium stimulates testosterone synthesis in isolated leydig cells.
33 years later another study saw that calcium supplementation didnt
alter T levels at rest, but did significantly increase (18%) T levels postexercise.
Selenium, mostly due to its gluthatione stimulating effects, has been
linked to increased testosterone production and improved sperm
parameters in few studies (study, study)
Zinc has a significant positive effect on testosterone production and a
deficiency will hammer the endocrine system. In fact, zinc might be one
of the most important micronutrients for healthy testosterone
production. It has increased testosterone levels in athletes and
exercising normal men (study, study), in men with zinc deficiency, in
infertile men, in animals Its also noted in one rodent study that zinc
deficiency can upregulate the estrogen receptors by 57%, probably due
to the fact that zinc has its role in controlling the aromatase enzyme.
Boron, although not very common mineral to supplement with, has
few interesting studies backing up its testosterone boosting effects. In
this human study 6 mgs of boron for 60 days increased free
testosterone levels by 29%. In another human study, 10 mgs of boron
for 7 days increased free testosterone by 28%.
Manganese appears to have a direct GnRH stimulating effect in the
brain, and logic says that it should therefore also increase testosterone
levels. However, mega-dosing with manganese should not be an option,
since it accumulates in the body and can become neurotoxic at high
levels. When taken at too high doses, manganese can actually reduce T


38. Phosphatidylserine
Not much has been talked about
phosphatidylserine (PS) as a
testosterone booster, even though
theres some evidence that at least in
exercising individuals, PS can reliably
increase testosterone levels and
suppress the exercise induced cortisol
Phosphatidylserine is actually a naturally
occurring phospholipid complex present in all of the bodily cells. Its mainly a signaling
molecule between cells and hormones, but may also have other functions, such as
reducing the oxidative damage at the interior of cells.
Due to over 50% of the bodily PS being in neural tissue of the brain, many claims of
phosphatidylserines nootropic or brain boosting benefits have been made. Surprisingly
enough, theres a good amount of evidence which suggests that PS supplementation can
improve cognitive functions (study, study, study). In fact PS has an FDA granted qualified
health claim for prevention of cognitive decline in humans.
When it comes to testosterone, PS can improve athletic performance by reducing the
exercise induced rise of oxidative stress (study, study, study). Furthermore,
phosphatidylserine supplementation has a dose-dependent cortisol reducing and

testosterone promoting effect in exercising subjects (study, study). In the latter study PS
was able to improve the testosterone to cortisol ratio by 180% more in favor of increased
T, aka. anabolism.

39. Bromelain
Bromelain is a pineapple extracted
blend of proteolytic enzymes. More
specifically, its a supplement
containing bunch of enzymes that can
break down the peptide chains between
amino-acids (proteins), improving
digestion and absorption.
You can get some by eating pineapples, since
the stem part is loaded with protelytic

enzymes, but if youre not a big fan of eating

pineapple stems, supplemental bromelain is also available.
Why bromelain for testosterone you ask? This is actually more for the guys who want
to do endurance training, since bromelain can preserve T-levels during strenuous
endurance training, but allow me to quote one of my older articles;

A study from the University of Tasmania by Shing et al. had fifteen young elite
cyclists as their test subjects. The subjects were racing in a competitive cycle
race for 6 consecutive days, and the researchers divided the participants into
two groups. First one consisted of 7 cyclists who received 1,000 mgs of daily
bromelain. The second group consisted of 8 cyclists who received a visually
similar placebo pill. During the six days of the cycle race, the researchers took
blood samples from the cyclists at days 1, 3, and 6, and they examined these
samples for various exercise markers, including testosterone. What they
found out was very interesting. As to be expected, the high amount of
endurance exercise significantly reduced blood testosterone levels however
only in the placebo group. The group receiving 1,000 mgs of bromelain, noted
relatively stable levels of testosterone throughout the 6 days of cycle racing!
Yup, thats not a typo. 6 consecutive days of elite level cycling with no
significant reductions in T levels. The researchers conclude: Consecutive
days of competitive cycling were associated with increased markers of muscle
damage and a reduction in circulating testosterone across the race period.
Bromelain supplementation reduced subjective feelings of fatigue and was
associated with a trend to maintain testosterone concentration. Mind you,
this study is peer-reviewed, randomized, double-blind, and placebocontrolled. Not bad results from a gram of meat tenderizer per day I might

40. Ashwagandha Roots

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is
an Indian Herb, heavily used in their
herbal medicine; Ayurveda.
When searching the internet, you can
stumble upon some ridiculous claims about
herbs, and ashwagandha is not an exception.
Did you know that the name actually
translates to the smell of a horse, and its
claimed by some sort of shaman weirdos to
actually give its user the power and virility of
a horse. I call bullshit on that.
Even though there are those herbal healers who slowly smear the name of every single
herbal compound, we cant forget the fact that ashwagandha actually has A LOT of
interesting Western medicine studies on its belt
Take a look at these for instance (copied from my older Ashwagandha article):

a) Since ashwagandha is an adaptogen, it should reduce stress, anxiety, and

balance stress hormones (mainly cortisol). To my surprise, ashwagandha is
actually well-proven to do all of those, while also improving subjective wellbeing. Take this well-done double-blind placebo study for example, where
300mgs of KSM-66 ashwagandha given to human subjects for 60 days, was
able to slash cortisol levels by 27%, while also greatly reducing anxiety and
mental-stress in the test subjects. Another study with KSM-66 noted 14%
reductions in cortisol, while in one study which used 5g of the root powder, up
to 32% reductions in cortisol were noted in subject males who suffered from

stress-related infertility. Multiple animal studies have come to same

conclusions: ashwagandha supplementation consistently reduces cortisol
levels and improves many stress-related symptoms.
b) When it comes to general-health benefits, there are many. For instance,
ashwagandha can greatly improve cardiovascular health by reducing
inflammation, reducing the amount of serum triglycerides, increasing the
good HDL-cholesterol (~17%), and reducing the bad LDL-cholesterol
(~9%). In one human study, ashwagandha was able to increase serum T-cell
count, and killer-cell count, suggesting that it can boost immunity. At 250500mg/day KSM-66 extract has also been shown to increase hemoglobin
levels, which might be one of the reasons why ashwagandha constantly
outperforms placebo-pills in studies examining power-output and anaerobic
exercise capacity. One of the more recent studies published this year (nonsponsored, double-blind, placebo, peer-reviewed, aka. highly reliable kind)
found out that 600mg/day of KSM-66 ashwagandga significantly increased
muscle strength and recovery in 57 young male subjects.
c) So ashwagandha is in fact a pretty solid adaptogen, with a wide variety of
benefits that have been proven in human studies, what could be better? Maybe
the fact that theres also solid evidence of the herb also increasing
testosterone levels (actually thats not a surprise, considering the fact that
ashwagandha improves sleep quality, reduces cortisol, increases HDLcholesterol, and reduces inflammation, all of which promote healthy
testosterone production). Two human studies with infertile subjects (study,
study) both using 5g/day of the basic root powder for 90 days, noted
significant increases in testosterone (~40% and ~16% on infertile subjects and
15% in healthy subjects) with significantly improved sperm quality. One study
with infertile men as subjects (this time with 675mg/day of KSM-66 for three
months) showed a ~17% boost in T, with a ~36% increase in luteinizing
hormone (LH), suggesting that ashwagandha stimulates testosterone
production at brain level. Prior to 2015 there was no studies on healthy men

that would show increases in testosterone, however, the study with 57 young
and healthy male subjects as described in the paragraph above (using KSM66 extract), showed a significant ~15% increase in testosterone levels (average
rise from 630 ng/dL to 726 ng/dL, which is a lot from a single herb if you ask

41. Forskolin
Forskolin is a general term for
standardized extract of an Indian plant
Coleus Forskohlii. Youve probably
heard about it, since its a very popular
fat burner and often hyped up in the
ridiculous Dr. Oz show.
Aside from the facts that Oz is a clown who
only smears forskolins name and that its not
really anything super awesome as a fat burner, forskolin can actually increase
testosterone levels and can also upregulate androgen receptors.
Forskolin is well-known for increasing cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophoshpate) levels in
human tissue, and cAMP works as a secondary messenger in the body, transporting
biological signals between cells and hormones. cAMP stimulation is believed to be the
main reason why forskolin is able to increase T-levels.
The herbal extract so reliably boosts cAMP and testosterone levels in cell-culture studies
that scientists often use it as a positive control to stimulate testosterone production in

isolated testicular cells.

When forskolin was tested for its hormonal effects in humans, 12-weeks of forskolin at
250mg/day was able to increase testosterone levels by 33% when compared to placebo.
You could also call forskolin a testosterone utilizer, since it increased the amount of
active androgen receptors in this in-vitro study. The mechanism is as follows: Forskolin
stimulates cAMP -> cAMP stimulates an enzyme called protein kinase A (PKA) -> PKA
stimulates the upregulation of AR.
NOTE: When buying forskolin or coleus supplements, make sure its standardized to at least 20% active
ingredient. Also dont be bummed by the reviewers who say it doesnt help with weight-loss, no supplement
really does and the claims of forskolin doing that originate from the Dr. Oz show. We all know what kind of
people buy supplements recommended by that fool (the nutcrackers).

42. Creatine
Creatine is right after protein
supplements the most popular
supplement used by bodybuilders and
various athletes.
Its a naturally occurring amino-acid, which
has a monster amount of scientific studies
proving its positive effects in strength output
and lean mass gain.
Creatine works by increasing cellular ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels. ATP is what

cells use as energy, so basically youre increasing the supply of energy for your cells when
you ingest creatine. Logically this helps you perform better.

But did you know that creatine can also increase testosterone levels?
Not only the exercise-induced T-levels but also your resting baseline.

As a side note for a study that tested creatines effect on cognitive abilities, the
researchers found out that it also increased salivary testosterone levels. In athletes
creatine has been noted to reliably increase T-levels, for instance; This 4-year study
noted that in athletes who reported using creatine, a trend towards increased testosterone
levels was noted
In swimmers testosterone levels and swim times can be improved with creatine
supplementation. In overtrained men who practice resistance training, creatine maintains
power output, free testosterone, and total testosterone levels. One study even found out
that creatine supplementation in resistance trained males led to 17% higher baseline
testosterone levels than what was seen in the placebo group which received sugar pills.
Creatine is also known for increasing DHT levels by up to 56% in young rugby players.
Bottom line: Creatine is a legit supplement for every athlete and gym-rat, since it
increases strength output, reduces fatigue, and offers a slight boost to anabolic hormones.
Its also really cheap.

43. Probiotics

The definition of probiotics is as follows:

live micro-organisms which, when
administered in adequate amounts, confer
a health benet on the host. In other
words, probiotics are friendly bacteria
most commonly used to improve gut
The idea of using probiotic bacteria for
health was first coined in 1907 by a Russian
researcher and Nobel laureate lie Metchnikoff who had a novel idea of replacing the
harmful gut microbes, with beneficial (probiotic) microbes, this essentially improving gut
flora and overall health.
These bacteria naturally occur naturally in many fermented foods, such as: yogurt, kefir,
kimichi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and sourdough, and can also be supplemented with,
currently it isnt known which one is the better delivery method supplements or food
but common sense would suggest its the naturally occurring kind from fermented foods.
What does all of this have to do with testosterone though?
Well for one, our gut health is strongly correlated with testosterone production. People
with poor gut flora are much more likely to suffer from micronutrient deficits and lower
But it doesnt end there, some modern research has shown that some strains of
probiotics can directly increase testosterone levels. Take this 2014 rat study for example,
where a probiotic strain commonly found in yogurts (Lactobacillus reuterii) was able to
significantly increase multiple parameters related to reproductive health. In fact, the
addition of L. reuterii to male rodents feed resulted in;

increased testosterone levels

increased testicular size and weight
increased markers of social domination
prevention of age-related testicular shrinkage
improved sperm quality, motility, and volume
increased luteinizing and follicle stimulating hormone levels

This isnt the only rat study with promising results, another one found similar results, the
more the rodents were exposed to probiotics, the higher their testosterone was. One study
also saw that a probiotic strain by the name of Clostridium scindens is able to directly
convert cortisol into androgens inside the gut.

44. The Estrogen Flush Stack

High levels of estrogens (female sex
hormones) are not that uncommon in
male bodies these days.
In fact, numerous things in our daily lives can
increase estrogen levels and the conversion
from testosterone to estrogen (which
happens via the aromatase enzyme).
These include (but are not limited to);
being fat, using personal care products with
xenoestrogens, drinking lots of alcohol, drinking lots of full-fat milk from pregnant-cows,
microwaving plastics, and yes, some men just naturally convert more of their testosterone

to estrogen, as theyre high aromatizers.

How can you combat this and balance your levels?
Obviously, being lean, using natural personal care items, drinking less alcohol, not using
too much plastic products, and switching to skimmed-milk can work wonders, but there
are also some supplements that can be used in estrogen removal (you do need some
estrogen for joint health etc, use the stack below if you have too much of it).
These supplements include;

Indole-3-Carbinol (IC3), which is a compound found in many cruciferous

vegetables that helps the liver chelate estrogens and converts stronger estrogens
into weaker metabolites, leading to lower estrogen levels in men and women
Calcium-D-Glucarate, which is a naturally occurring fiber found primarily in the
jelly skin of dark berries. CDG can help remove estrogens by increasing bodily
detoxification, in fact, one study claims cDG to be as effective as Tamoxifen.
Glucuronated-resveratrol, which is a polyphenol and slightly modified form of the
reservatrol found in red grapes. Reservatrol is a very potent aromatase inhibitor
(study, study), but it never had a good bio-availibity in the body. Glucuronatedresveratrol is better because of its superior bioavailibity.

45. Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali (Pasak Bumi, Eurycoma Longifolia) is
a Malaysian herb with a massive reputation as a

pro-erectile testosterone booster.

Some research suggests that it can lower SHBG levels,
increase testosterone, block estrogen, and act as a
powerful libido booster. Most of the studies are legit,
but theres also a bunch of studies and weird patents by
a guy named Dr. Tambi, which are often cited, but are
really hard to find online.
Taking a look at some of the research, we can see that
there are several animal studies where Tongkat Ali has increased libido, erection quality,
and even delayed ejaculations (study, study, study). In a test-tube study, Tongkat Ali has
been shown to block estrogen similarly to Tamoxifen (popular synthetic estrogen
Looking at this patent application, theres a citation where its claimed that Tongkat Ali
works by stimulating the CYP17 enzyme in testicles. According to a rodent study, the
active ingredients from the herb do make their way to the testicles, so its plausible that
this mechanism could work.
The available human data is pretty interesting. In a study of 109 men, 300mgs of Tongkat
Ali for 12-weeks was able to improve semen mobility by 44% and volume by 18% when
compared to placebo. According to a questionnaire that the subjects had to fill during the
study, the Tongkat Ali group also noted significant improvements in libido and erection
quality, sadly hormones werent measured in this trial.
The only study that tested hormonal effects, was this human study where moderately
stressed subjects took 200mgs of Tongkat Ali for 4-weeks. When compared to placebo,
the TA group had 37% higher testosterone and 16% lower cortisol levels than the placebo
Bottom line: Tongkat Ali has some good research behind its back, would have even more

so if that Dr. Tambi guy would publish his studies online. Also if youre going to get a
Tongkat Ali supplement, consider purchasing the original Malaysian 200:1 water extract.

46. Carnitine
L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring
amino-acid (protein) found in meat. Its
usually used in supplemental form to
either improve cognitive abilities or as
a fat-burner.
Carnitine works by shuttling fat into the
mitochondria for it to use as energy, this
theoretically should improve your bodys
ability to burn fat (although research on this
isnt too legit) and give your some extra
The reason why carnitine is perfect for everyone interested in natural testosterone
optimization, is that when carnitine shuttles the fat to the mitochondria, it also
upregulates androgen receptor activity at the same time. This in turn leading to better
androgen utilization by the body.
This effect has been shown in a study where 3-weeks of L-carnitine L-tartrate
supplementation at 2g/day was able to significantly increase the amount of active
androgen receptors in exercising human subjects. The researchers actually took muscle
biopsies to be sure. In a previous study by the same researchers it was noted that even
without exercise, carnitine is able to upregulate AR activity.

Since carnitine increases AR activity and also luteinizing hormone pulsation rate, its not
a big surprise to see that it can very reliably increase sperm quality in human subjects
(study, study, study, study).
Bottom line: If you want to maximize your tissue uptake of testosterone, consider adding
carnitine to your supplement cabin. According to the studies youll get even more out of it if
you exercise and take it immediately after training.

47. Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly (RJ) is an anabolic porridge
like liquid extracted from the
hypophranyx glands of the worker bees.
Its the RJ fed to a small larvae which
eventually makes it grow 60x bigger and live
for 40x longer than the other bees in the hive.
Basically Royal jelly is the food that makes
the queen bee become queen bee.
Royal jelly is a nutrient bomb containing
pretty balanced ratio of carbs (15%), protein (12%), and fat (5%), while also supplying
vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, biotin, and folic acid. RJ also contains the minerals: calcium,
copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, silica, and sulfur.

Rest of the anabolic goo contains naturally occurring hormones,

nucleic acid, sugars, gamma globulin, and ~3% compounds still

unidentified by modern day science.

What does it do to testosterone levels? Heres a quote from my older RJ article:

Royal jelly seems to be effective against infertility, as in this study, 25 mgs of

RJ taken for 3 months, was able to increase testosterone levels by 20% on
infertile men. In another study where the subjects were healthy, a larger dose
(3,000 mgs) was given for the duration of 6 months. As a result, the RJ group
increased their testosterone levels by 14% when compared to placebo. Albeit
this isnt a huge increase, theres still one interesting factor in the study
desing: the placebo group received a liquid control substance, which was
similar to royal jelly in terms of vitamins and minerals, yet there was
something in RJ that still managed to boost the test groups T by 14%. Theres
also plenty of animal studies which also support the evidence that royal jelly
has a testosterone boosting effect (study, study, study).

48. Shilajit
Shilajit is a tar like resin collected from
the deep rocks of Himalayan mountains.
No one seems to be entirely sure how it was
formed, but I guess the most accurate theory

is that it would be the end result of thousands

of years worth of composed plant microbial
metabolites, because of this its claimed that
authentic shilajit can contain up to 85
minerals in their ionic form.
The research on shilajit is still in baby shoes, but one interesting study has been made
about its effects on testosterone levels.
In the study, 60 infertile male subjects consumed 200mg/day of shilajit for a total of 90
After the three months had passed the shilajit treated group were found to

37% higher sperm quality

61% better sperm volume
17% better sperm motility
23% higher testosterone

NOTE: over 90% of the shilajit in the market is not authentic, and highly uneffective. True shilajit is
always in its pure resin form and black.

49. Ginger Root

I think I mentioned ginger earlier in the
nutrition part, but its worth to mention

again as some might use it as a

supplement too.
Ginger is generally hailed for its antiinflammatory benefits, but its rare to hear
anything about the fact that it can possibly
increase testosterone levels.
Many animal studies have noted that ginger contains androgenic compounds, and could
be used as an aphrodisiac in men (study, study, study). And yes, there is a human study on
gingers effects for testosterone levels, which saw that an undisclosed amount of ginger
administered daily for 90-days was able to increase LH (43%), FSH (17%), and testosterone
(17%) levels in infertile men.

Whether ginger is able to do this on non-infertile men is a question

were unable to answer yet, but due to its multiple health benefits and
very low price, its not a big deal to try it out.

50. Horny Goat Weed

Horny goat weed (Epimedium) is a
flowering plant, native to the
Mediterranean region of Asia.

For centuries, it has been used as a powerful

aphrodisiac in Chinese medicine and due to
its high levels of the compound called icariin,
it might actually work to increase
testosterone levels too.
Currently no human data exists, but many in-vitro and animal-studies have shown
interesting effects with standardized icariin.
Heres a quote from one of my older articles:

In this in-vitro study, icariin was found to be a natural PDE-5 and PDE-4
inhibitor (ED drugs like Viagra and Cialis work through PDE-5 inhibition).
Even though icariin is not nearly as effective as the blue pill is, this could still
explain some of the claimed aphrodisiac effects of horny goat weed. In the
same study, it was noted that icariin activates the cAMP enzyme (due to PDE4 inhibition), which is positively associated with increased testosterone
This rat study found out that at the dose of 80mg/kg icariin is able to triple
testosterone levels, without changing the levels of gonadotropins (LH and
FSH). The researchers claim that icariin acts as a testosterone mimetic in the
body, and doesnt stimulate the hypothalamus-pituiary-testicles axis like
many other herbal T boosters do.
In few animal studies, icariin has suppressed the levels of the stress hormone;
cortisol (study, study). As you might already know, elevated cortisol levels will
suppress testosterone synthesis, due to the facts that elevated production of
cortisol robs the cholesterol needed for testosterone synthesis, and high
cortisol directly suppresses testosterone production inside the gonads.
Icariin is also very potent nitric oxide (NO) booster (study, study). Increased

NO production will relax blood vessels and increase blood flow, and this might
be one of the reasons why HGW is primarily considered to be an aphrodisiac
(libido booster).

51. Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean) is an
Indian herb commonly consumed in
their herbal medicine; Ayurveda, as an
aphrodisiac. M. pruriens has been
widely studied in Western medicine and
it is currently used in many medications
to relieve the effects of Parkinsons
One of the claims that you will almost
instantly stumble upon in the internet, is that mucuna supplementation would be able
increase testicular size, and due to its possible effect in boosting testosterone production,
this claim might actually hold some water.
The reason why mucuna would work to boost the big T, is that its chock-full of a
compound called L-Dopa (levadopa), which is a precursor to the
hormone/neurotransmitter; dopamine. Since increased dopamine secretion is linked to
increased testosterone production, one could easily imagine that M. pruriens could
stimulate T-production.
According to a bunch of studies, this seems to happen in subjects who consume

the herb:

First of, there are several animal studies where Mucuna Pruriens has been
able to increase testosterone levels and sperm parameters (study, study,
study). Then came a human study where M. Pruriens was able to significantly
increase sperm concentration on infertile and healthy men. (this could
explain the proclaimed testicle size boosting effects).
Another human study followed, where 75 healthy and 75 infertile men, were
given 5 grams of ground up Mucuna Pruriens for 90 consecutive days. The
results showed that testosterone levels increased significantly (38% in infertile
men and 27% in healthy men). Luteinizing hormone (LH) also increased (41%
in infertile males and by 23% in healthy males). And prolactin decreased (32% in infertile group and -19% in healthy group). Similar results were seen
in this study, where Mucuna increased testosterone levels by 38% in infertile
men (this study had no healthy men as subjects though).

52. Additional Resources for the

Since you made it down here, you must
be pretty interested in natural
testosterone optimization and no-BS
evidence-based mens health in general.
Even though this article is probably the best

free resource for natural T-optimization, I

have compiled below a bunch of additional
resources for the four main categories

That is; lifestyle, nutrition, training, and supplementation advice

which will help you become a superhuman (well at least kind of).

Bonus bad-ass resources;

Testshock Program (the ultimate natural T-enhancement guide. Best in the market.
THOR-program (the complete guide for how to train to elicit the maximal
testosterone response).
Testosterone Fat-loss program (how to lose weight in a sane evidence-based way that
maintains T-levels).
Eat Stop Eat (everything you need to know about intermittent-fasting and fasting in
Testosterone Podcast (a podcast hosted by me, Chris Walker, and Ian Lenny).
Testosterone Meal Plans (tailored nutrition plans by the TestShock team).
Examine.com (unbiased supplement research resource).
Think and Grow Rich (book that every man needs to read).