A lot of men fear that if they’re getting testosterone from an external source, it’s going to shut down their natural testosterone production. If you get shriveled up testicles, you’re basically going to be addicted for life to this external testosterone source, because your body just won’t feel the need to produce it anymore. Natural testosterone supplementation typically won’t do this unless you overdo it, such as with taking too much pine pollen. Normally, if you’re using supplements simply to correct a low testosterone condition be cause of some factor or through natural andropause, you won’t see a cessation of testosterone production simply from taking supplements. The body needs these substances, in the case of treating a low testosterone condition, so it’s not like you’re over stimulating your endocrine system. In a way, using a lot of pine pollen tincture to raise testosterone levels when you’re 25 years old is very similar to shooting up methamphetamine . Whatever goes up is going to come down . It affects the body at a deep level . But other than that specific situation , side effects from natural supplementation are generally very mild. A supplement, by definition, isn’t meant to take over. It just provides a little help, letting you fill in the gaps to bring you to normal levels. You don’t need to go crazy on it. It’s just a matter of bringing yourself up to where you’re supplementing your body to give it the little bit of extra support that it needs, whatever range that might be for you, and then just adjusting it from there.
Your Body’s Natural Needs
Your body has needs for its endocrine system, things that act as raw material to support your natural testosterone production. One of the most important of these is cholesterol. Cholesterol has gotten a terribly bad rap in today’s world, but it’s the building block of all hormones, including male hormones. There’s actually a fair amount of evidence showing that people on really severely restricted cholesterol diets are actually having androgen problems . Cholesterol is transformed in the body, you see. One of the steps is something called pregnenolone , which you could take as a supplement on the order of 50 to 100 milligrams a day. DHEA is also a good thing. These are testosterone precursors . Taking 50 milligrams of DHEA will help the body get more of the raw material it needs to manufacture testosterone. These are natural hormones in the body that, over time, degrade in natural production anyway. The older we get, the less of some of these substances our body naturally makes. That’s one of the amazing things the Chinese figured out a long time ago. If you supplement the diet with foods that contain high levels of these things, you’ve got a much more useful body state into old age. That’s one of the real areas of strength of Chinese traditional medicines. Zinc is another thing your body needs. That’s one of the reasons why oysters are touted as being an aphrodisiac. It’s because they sequester zinc in their bodies.
If you have low zinc, what happens is that the body can’t make testosterone, because it needs zinc for the process. It’s what we call a “dependent enzyme pathway.” Taking zinc , up to 20 to 40 milligrams a day , is always a good idea (or you could eat foods high in zinc). B5 is another good one to take, on the order of 100 to 500 milligrams a day. B5 helps the adrenal glands remain healthy, and these produce a significant amount of testosterone in the body while contributing to energy levels. (Note that we’re making a distinction between supplements and phytomedicines , or botanicals.) Melatonin and Sleep Then there’s melatonin, which is a regulatory hormone for our endocrine system. It’s almost a master hormone. It’s another of those things that, as we age, we start to produce less and less, starting as early as when we’re in our 20s. W e naturally do a lot of things to suppress melatonin to begin with, whether it’s poor sleeping cycles, insomnia, or even working second and third shifts, which can mess up our natural circadian rhythms. Interestingly, when men go through middle age and experience andropause, they start waking up in the middle of the night because their sleep patterns are seriously disturbed. It’s very upsetting to someone because, for their whole lives, sleep has been their friends , and now they’re getting up in the middle of the night. This can be very difficult to cope with, especially for those people who have to get up early and go to work. Liquid melatonin as a supplement, taken right before bed, may be able to help repair the sleep cycle in cases like these. This may also boost the endocrine system a bit, and also help it to use a lot of other supplements and lifestyle changes you may be putting into place.
Sleep is hugely important here, because it is during sleep that we see the biggest boost of testosterone. If you’re not maximizing your sleep cycles, you’re missing out on exercising your endocrine system and flexing your testosterone production. Pine Pollen With botanical supplements, there are some things to keep in mind. You can do direct supplementation of testosterone, which is what pine pollen contains. You can also take botanicals that will stimulate the body to manufacture more testosterone as it naturally does. A third thing you can do is take botanicals that interfere with the conversion of testosterone into estradiol (the estrogenic pathway). You can also take botanicals that are more adaptogenic, which will help balance the body’s systems and help the adrenals and testes to be very healthy. It’s a multi – pronged approach. Now, we’ve mentioned pine pollen several times. Pines are amazing, and pine pollen is a really phenomenal substance. Most people are aware of it during the pine pollen season, when pine trees produce thousands of tons of this. It looks like a yellow, flower – like powder that gets on everything. If you live near pines, you may be familiar with walking out to your car in the morning to find it covered in the stuff. It’s an absolutely, tremendously potent nutrient food. The raw food movement has gotten into pine pollen, but when you look at what its actual constituents are, there’s good reason for this. Pine pollen is filled with B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
It’s also full of testosterone, which is pharmaceutically identical to the testosterone in our bodies. It even contains DHEA and a number of other androgens, in quantities that are fairly high. The Chinese and Koreans have been using pine pollen for a long time. What amazes me is that it never really made it into the American herbal pharmacopoeia until recently, even though we’ve seized on ginseng and everything else. To raise testosterone levels, pine pollen must really be taken as a tincture. Taking it in powder or capsule form isn’t a good idea, because you don’t want it t o go through the GI tract. In China and Korea it’s a food staple, used in biscuits, pancakes, soups, and so on. They take tons of it all the time, but if you take it that way, it ends up serving as an adaptogenic tonic that helps overall vitality. After a few years of use, it begins to raise testosterone levels in a good way. To raise them more quickly using pine pollen, though, you need to take it as a tincture. When you take it that way, you would empty a full dropper of it into your mouth every morning if you were trying to combat andropause, for example. You sort of hold it in your mouth for a little while, then swallow it. Almost none of it will reach your stomach and you can’t put it in water. You have to take the tincture straight. It will go right through your mucus membranes in your mouth and throat, right into your bloodstream. You’ll get an almost immediate upsurge in free testosterone levels, your energy levels will come up, and some guys with low libido will experience an immediate turnaround.
You can buy pine pollen as a tincture premade, or you can make it yourself. There are even tutorials on video sharing sites like YouTube. Collecting the pollen is messy business, though. Pine trees are really sappy, and you have to be willing to get a little dirty if you do it all yourself. Mixing the tincture involves some mathematics, however. Let’s say you’ve got an ounce of pine pollen. The pine pollen should be mixed with a liquid in a one to five ratio — that is, one part pine pollen to five parts liquid. That liquid should itself be 70 percent alcohol and 30 percent water. That’s all you do. You just add the stuff together in a jar, leave it for a couple of weeks, drain it, and start taking it. The alcohol acts as a natural preservative, so the tincture never goes bad. Alcohol and water are universal solvents, so added to a substance like a plant, they pull the chemical constituents out of that plant and hold them in suspension in the liquid. What will happen over time, however , is that some of the pollen will precipitate out of suspension, forming a powder at the bottom of the bottle.
Precipitation Rates and Alcohol Mixes
There really is no list of precipitation rates for plant medicines. Some rates are more extreme than others. Echinacea, for example, has a fierce precipitation rate. That tincture shouldn’t be kept around for more than a couple of years because of that. Some people will just shake it up and take the powder as well, though. With pine pollen, it’s hard to figure out, because the powder itself is so fine that it goes through a filter no matter how fine the weave. You’ll get some pine pollen powder at the bottom no matter what. The ginsengs have a moderate precipitation rate, by comparison. What most herbal lists do is simply shake up the tincture before they take it, so they’re getting everything into their body even if it is precipitate. The tincture typically sits in alcohol for a couple of weeks, but different alcohols may be better suited to different tinctures. Now, please keep in mind that when we talk about alcohol , we’re not talking about rubbing alcohol, which should not be taken internally. We’re talking about, say, Everclear, which is 95 percent pure alcohol. One legacy of Prohibition is that m any states won’t allow their citizens to buy Everclear. Usually, though, there is a state next to your own that will sell it, even if yours doesn’t, so you can do a little traveling and stock up. Basically, assume that Everclear is 100 percent alcohol an d use 7 ounces of Everclear to 3 ounces of water to make 10 ounces of liquid for your tincture. If you can’t get Everclear, many people make do with the highest alcohol – percentage vodka they can get. Many vodkas are only 40 percent alcohol, but some are as high as 50 or 60.
Get the highest one you can get and that will work, although it’s not quite as effective. As for mixing the supplement for the tincture, you can measure that out on a small scale, like a postal scale. Taking Your Tincture We’ve already discussed that there are few side effects from pine pollen unless you’re taking massive doses that you don’t need. There is, however, a small subset of the population that is allergic to pine. If you have pollen allergies, you can take a very tiny amount of the substance to see what kind of reaction you have. Most people don’t have the same degree of pollen allergy as do people who are allergic to peanuts. Anaphylactic shock from pine pollen is extremely rare, if not nonexistent. Once you know you won’t react badly to it, take a dropper full in the morning and hold it in your mouth for thirty seconds to a minute before you swallow it. It’s best taken on an empty stomach, and seems to make its way into your body a lot faster if you’ve got lower blood sugar after sleeping. Some men going through andropause might take multiple droppers during the course of a day. What you’ll find is that you start out with more, then take less as your body balances out . Adding adaptogenic ginseng can really help, to o, balancing the entire endocrine system in the process. The response, and the amount you need, really depends on how severe your andropause shift or other condition may be.
Tribulus is another good supplement for raising testosterone. This is more correctly termed tribulus terrestris , an invasive botanical. Many plant medicines are actually invasive, irritating botanicals. Tibullus is a small ground cover plant that produces little spiny seeds that can go right through bicycle tires. If you live anywhere that this stuff grows, if your dogs bring them in they’ll be limping around the house. You could pick one up when barefoot and they’re really nasty. Those seeds are what you use to take tribulus as a medicine for increasing testosterone, and this spiny seed is pretty remarkable. What it does is stimulate the body to produce more testosterone through the natural hormonal pathways the body uses already. It’s very effective for that. A good dose is 250 to 500 milligrams of tribulus three times a day. Tribulus is, in fact, one of the most widely known testosterone boosting supplements out there, used in a lot of bodybuilding products. A lot of these supplements might increase luteinizing hormone while normalizing and supporting the testes’ Sertoli cells. The tribulus is basically causing the testes to function more efficiently. The body creates a lot of testosterone, at various sites within the body, and it’s needed. Mostly, it’s organized around the luteinizing hormone process and is very efficient that way. There have been some great studies done on tribulus, and it has a long history of use in traditional medicine.
Most people have heard of ginsengs. The ginseng family is pretty large, and most ginsengs have adaptogenic properties. They help the body deal with external or internal stressors, helping to balance your body for optimum function. Each one is a little different. Some are more stimulatory, while others are milder, like tonics. The one most people hear about is panax ginseng , which is Asian. It’s the most stimulatory of all the ginsengs, and very chemically interesting as well. American ginseng is closely related but different. The Chinese consider Asian ginseng to be a major “yang” plant, which means male – dominant. They consider American ginseng to have both yin and yang qualities, both male and female. When you look at the chemical profiles, the Asian ginseng does not have any estrogenic substances in it at all, but the American ginseng does. It has some estradiol and some other female hormones in it. It is therefore not quite as potent where maleness is concerned. For people working to combat andropause or another low – testosterone condition, I suggest they use the Asian panax ginseng . You don’t need a whole lot of it. Five to 20 drops a day is all you’re going to need, and if you take too much of it, it’s like drinking multiple shots of espresso. It can cause hyper – wakefulness, irritation, anxiety, heart palpitations, and other problems if taken to excess.
A good rule of thumb is that if you take it and you start thinking you’re going to have a heart attack, you’ve taken too much. You could start with Asian ginseng and then switch to the less powerful American ginseng if you want a more balanced ginseng after clearing your initial hurdles. With American ginseng, you could use 10 to 30 drops. None of the ginsengs have testosterone in them, but they do have other male androgens. They have a marked impact on the male reproductive system, helping it to function more optimally. There are others out there, too, like eleutherococis senticosus , which used to be called Siberian ginseng but is just called Eleuthero now. it has some androgen mimics in it and is very good for optimizing adrenal function. It’s good for helping the body to produce more androgens. The Tienchi ginseng is similar, sort of in between the American and Asian ginseng. There’s also Aurelius. The primary ones I recommend, though, are the Asian, the American, the Eleuthero, and the Tienchi. Look at it as being in stages. Someone with severe andropause would go for the more androgenic Panax ginseng in tincture form, then balance by switching to American ginseng. You could couple that with taking a dropper of pine pollen tincture in the morning, too. You can make your own ginseng tincture just as you do can with pine pollen, and take it the same way.
A powerful category of supplements is the estrogen blockers, which allow testosterone to be more bioavailable in the body, to act as more free testosterone. One of these is the nettle root. Nettle is, all around, a fantastic plant. And nettle all the way around is a fantastic plant . It contains 12 percent protein by weight, which makes it among the most potent plants in the world where protein is concerned. It’s also fairly high in zinc and other nutrients. The root itself is great for increasing testosterone.
A lot of the testosterone in the body and in the blood is bound to sex hormone binding globulin, or SHB G. Unless a physician understands the distinction between free and bound testosterone, when you get a test for testosterone, you need to look at how much FREE testosterone you have, not your total testosterone. The neat thing about the nettle root is that it interferes with the binding of testosterone to SHBG, increasing levels of free testosterone in the body and effectively shutting down the estrogenic pathway, keeping testosterone in the androgenic pathway instead. And the neat thing about nettle root is that it interferes with the binding of testosterone to SHBG . Nettle root has an ancient history of use as a nutrient and medicine. Typically, you would take about 1,200 milligrams a days as a supplement. Our ancestors would eat somewhere between 1 50 to 200 plants a year just as a normal part of their diet. We are grazing animals like any other animal on the planet, and our plant intake is exceptionally limited compared to what it was historically.
A lot of the herbal medicines we’ve talked about were considered nutrient foods historically. Pine pollen and nettle, for instance, were major food plants for every group that had them in their range . As a result, you can take a lot of nettle and nettle root. You can see it as a food, or as a phytobotanical. You mostly just need to get it in your body where it can do what it needs to do.
Avoid High-Estrogen Plants
One thing you should do when it comes to plants and their effect on your hormones is to avoid plants high in estrogen. Hops is absolutely the worst plant a man can take if he wants to keep his testosterone levels high. Just like pine pollen has huge amounts of testosterone in it, h ops has more estradiol ( the most potent female estrogen ) in it than any plant on earth . Accordingly, avoid beer made with hops. Supplements and You You could go crazy on all kinds of supplements, but after a while, it comes down to the simple guidelines we’ve given you here. You can enhance your cardiovascular system and do a variety of other things that will help you, too; it doesn’t all have to be supplements. Any kind of overall toning and health for the body can help it function better and increase testosterone. You can keep your living functioning really well and your circulatory system, too, through better lifestyle choices and supplements. Fresh ginger juice is great for the liver, for example.