Low T is endemic in our current society; we are surrounded by food and lifestyle choices that will decimate your T levels. Low T men are omnipresent in many major cities, indulging in many of the myriad consumer goods that shutters their natural T production.
As part of a recent series, in advance of our new book Reclaim Your Masculinity, we have been examining what testosterone (T) is and does, why T levels are falling across the developed world and what you can do – the foods you should avoid and the foods you should eat – to begin to restore your proper hormonal balance and with it your precious masculinity. In this episode, we’ll discuss in greater depth the psychological aspect of having low T, and in particular how it can cause you to be visited by the dreaded ‘black dog’ – depression.
Different black dog – sorry!
Low T: A Real Crisis
Let there be no doubt: the modern world is waging a war against masculinity, both at the social and the molecular level. Putting the social level to one side, at the molecular level today’s man is caught in a ruthless two-pronged assault from natural estrogenic foods and industrially produced estrogenic chemicals, both of which are combining to reduce testosterone levels on a global scale.
Men today have considerably less T than men of the same age even a single generation ago — and the trend toward an increase of low T men ensues.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed a significant reduction in the T levels of men since the 1980s. A 60-year-old American man in 2004, for example, had 17% less testosterone than a 60-year-old American man in 1987. These findings were corroborated in a study of Danish men, who displayed a two-digit decline between the 1920s and the 1960s.
Believe it or not, this is what the average man looked like before the widespread use of plastics
Falling T levels are a fact of life for all men as they age; unless you take exogenous T, it’s as unavoidable as taxes and death, I’m afraid. After the age of 30, a man can expect to lose 1% of his T every year for the rest of his life.
But the natural reduction all men can expect to suffer pales in comparison with the society-wide collapse in T levels that has occurred over the second half of the twentieth and the first quarter of the twenty-first century.
We’ve already discussed various aspects of why this civilisational collapse is bad, with a focus on the individual and some things you can do to fortify yourself against low T. Here we’ll focus on the mental aspect in particular, and depression.
Low T & Mental Health
Another civilisation collapse: mental health
If the collapse of testosterone rates is taking place on a civilisational scale, so is another far-from-welcome event: the collapse of mental health. All across the developed world, people are experiencing depression and anxiety at alarming rates. We’ll explore the link between the testosterone and depression shortly.
Depression rates have been rising for some time, but diagnoses and prescriptions for depression have been increasing at an accelerating rate in recent years.
Although the rise in rates of depression could be attributed simply to more people feeling that they can seek help in an environment where mental illness is stigmatized less and less, the truth is that the data don’t support this interpretation.
In America, diagnoses of major depression rose by a third between 2013 and 2016, one report claimed. [R] Particular spikes are visible among teens and adults up to and beyond the age of 35. Around 10% of teenagers and adults aged 18-25 reported depression in the previous year. [R]
Self-harm and suicidal thoughts are also on the rise, especially among teenagers, with worrying consequences and implications.
“When I started in the field in the late 1980s, young patients with severe suicidal ideation or self-injurious behavior, like cutting, came from very disturbed backgrounds and often had histories of considerable trauma,” according to Lisa Cohen, a specialist in depression. Today, by contrast, many come from stable, supportive families. [R]
This is obviously a complicated, indeed thorny, subject, and it seems clear that a variety of factors are at work, including diet and lifestyle, the growth of social media, the rise of smartphones, changing work and marriage patterns, among others.
One factor that doesn’t get mentioned enough, though, is testosterone, especially given the precipitous decline in testosterone levels we’ve seen since the mid-twentieth century.
A powerful testimonial about low T and depression
Yes, sometimes Redditors are worth listening to, if only as a cautionary tale
Reddit is a great source for personal testimonials of just how awful it can be as a young man, or indeed a man full stop, to have low testosterone. Take this, for instance.
I have struggled with depression for awhile now. This included fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and negative thoughts about life in general. Everything just seemed dark and gloomy.
I recently went to my doctor to express these concerns. We had previously tested for things like Vitamin D levels, thyroid function, and iron levels. All of which can especially effect fatigue and sleep. I was and am currently on an SSRI. This doesn’t help with the fatigue and especially sex drive. My SO did not appreciate the no sex thing. We had sex maybe 2 times in the last 3 months?
Because of this I did some more blood tests for hormones. Specifically prolactin and testosterone. Lo and behold I had high prolactin and low testosterone.
After seeing my endocrinologist and doing more blood tests, I started testosterone replacement therapy and the change in my mood, sleep, and energy levels has been AMAZING. I forgot what it was like to wake up and actually be awake. [R]
How testosterone causes depression
In our article on ‘Ten Ways Having Low Testosterone Can Ruin Your Life’, we presented a plausible hypothesis about how having various symptoms of low T could make you feel worse about yourself and therefore end up feeling depressed. We wrote:
Common sense might tell us that looking and feeling less like a man would of course be associated with feelings of lower self-worth and happiness.
After all, you’re not going to feel good about yourself if you put on significant amounts of fat, develop man boobs (gynecomastia), start losing your hair, have no libido and can’t develop an erection, are you? These are all potential negative effects of having low T.
What’s clear, however, is that T-related depression is not just a product of outward perception (or inward perception, depending on how you want to describe it); that is, it’s not just a result of feeling less attractive or being validated less and then feeling worse as a result. Having lower levels of testosterone in your body clearly has deep physiological effects that almost unavoidably alter the way that you feel, and might also alter even the way that you are able to think, including memory recall.
Testosterone influences the brain and body in complex ways which are not fully understood, and this is also true of the role of testosterone in causing depression. There is still much debate about how testosterone has causal effects, especially on cognitive abilities, but what isn’t up for debate is that it does have wide-ranging effects on mood and mental performance. [R]
Although depressive disorder is more common in women than men, the prevalence of depression clearly increases in men as they age and plasma testosterone decreases. [R] [R] It’s not precisely clear, though, how testosterone levels differentiate depression in men and women. One thing that does appear to be clear is that testosterone has a modulating effect on the serotonin system, which controls mood (remember Jordan B. Peterson’s lobsters, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d suggest looking it up). [R]
Listen up, bucko, clean your damn room, and while you’re at it, lift some weights and stop cooking with non-stick pans
Testosterone replacement therapy is already used successfully as a treatment for depression in older men, and as our example from Reddit shows, the effects on young men can be nothing short of miraculous.
If you think you’ve got low T the definitive way to establish this is by having a blood test. You can consult with your doctor about testosterone replacement therapy, or you can try restoring your testosterone through natural means, including exercise and changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Having low T is not a death sentence or a one-way ticket. You can get off the train and head in the opposite direction. Here at Herculean Strength, we’ll do everything in our power to help you turn your life around.
There are various strategies you can undertake — that are free of charge — to start boosting your T levels. Check out our article on 20 Easy strategies to boost your T.
Don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] for personalized coaching and a client questionnaire if you’d like DEDICATED tailor-made personal training on strength training, building muscle, losing fat, developing athleticism, and more — all to your liking, lifestyle, habits, and taste!
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