Testosterone | What Causes Low T | Cortisol Effects- Thomas DeLauer

Testosterone | What Causes Low T | Cortisol Effects- Thomas DeLauer

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Testosterone | What Causes Low T | Cortisol Effects- Thomas DeLauer… In this video, Fitness & Nutrition Expert, Thomas DeLauer explains what causes testosterone levels to drop and how cortisol plays a role in this.

Testosterone vs. Cortisol:
With regards to muscle mass – we can organize each of our hormones into either catabolic– your muscle mass breaks down, or anabolic– your muscle mass increases. Our anabolic hormones include T-Levels, insulin and growth hormone, with the former being our most anabolic hormone – whenever we are in an anabolic state we increase protein synthesis. Our catabolic hormones include cortisol, adrenaline and glucagon. Whenever we go catabolic our muscle protein synthesis decreases. The role of T within the body is to maintain anabolism through the process of protein synthesis. By contrast, cortisol plays a catabolic function and is involved in the response of stress. Think of testosterone and cortisol as being exact opposites- in the context of muscle building if T was the accelerator of muscle mass, C is most definitely the brake. Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone, which can be secreted during physical or mental tension. When you produce more of it, your body lowers your T levels to keep a hormonal balance – this is known as homeostasis. (1)

Cortisol and Exercise:
Exercise is a stress on the body which means exercise causes cortisol to be released. Cortisol’s main purpose during exercise is to raise your blood sugar level to make glucose available to parts of the body, such as your heart, lungs and muscles, where it is needed most. However, intense, long-duration training can lead to large elevations of cortisol, which can lead to adrenal gland enlargement due to high cortisol output. Elevated levels of cortisol as a result of training can lead to impaired stress levels, which results in low testosterone levels. High cortisol also suppresses immune functions and slows the fat burning process (2)

Exercise Duration and Intensity:
Longer sessions of exercise, such as increased sets in weight training, or endurance activities, such as jogging, may increase cortisol levels more than brief sessions of exercise. A study published in the May 2012 issue of the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” found that high-intensity exercise causes greater elevations of cortisol than moderate-intensity exercise. Frequent and continuous high-intensity exercise may also result in overtraining, a condition characterized by decreased performance, fatigue and constant soreness. In the study, trained men and women performed high-intensity bouts of weight training and results showed considerably higher cortisol values than for more moderate strength training routines. Researchers concluded that a combination of high-intensity exercise and moderate to low – intensity exercise is best to avoid injury and to keep cortisol levels healthy (3)

Case Study:
A 2009 study had 286 men run for 2 hours on a treadmill, 5 times per week, for 60 weeks. Half of the men ran at moderate intensity (60% VO2 Max) and the other half ran at high intensity (80% VO2 Max)

Testosterone was significantly reduced in both groups, but much more so in the high-intensity group – high-intensity group also experienced decreased sperm counts. The study included a 36 week recovery phase in which the men reduced their exercise intensity to 30% VO2 Max and their testosterone rebounded to normal levels (4)

References:
1) What is the Cortisol and Testosterone Relationship? – TestoFuel Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.testofuel.com/tf/cortisol-and-testosterone-relationship/
2) How Endurance Exercise Lowers Testosterone & What To Do About It | Poliquin Article. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://main.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/1340/How_Endurance_Exercise_Lowers_Testosterone_What_To.aspx
3) Exercise & Cortisol Levels | Healthy Living. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/exercise-cortisol-levels-2904.html
4) The effects of intensive, long-term treadmill running on reproductive hormones, hypothalamus–pituitary–testis axis: a randomized controlled study. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://joe.endocrinology-journals.org/content/200/3/259.full

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