Who would have thought by the year 2022 we would have over 20 million people in the United States suffering from some form of depression or anxiety.
As somebody who has struggled with depression in my past, I feel passionate to help people find a way out of the deep dark hole they find themselves in.
Obviously (or maybe not so obvious) our health plays a major role in our overall mental health, not the least of which has to do with hormone health and function. It is widely known that hormones such as dopamine and serotonin play a major role in our mental states, however in men in particular there is another (somewhat controversial) hormone whose role in overall physical and mental health simply cannot be downplayed.
It’s T time…or time to talk about T! That hormone made in the testes. Testosterone.
While it can’t be stated for fact that low T levels and depression are directly linked, there are similar symptoms from both including fatigue, an inability to concentrate and a lack of drive.
Clearly there is an issue, and whether or not you choose to acknowledge or downplay it, the problems aren’t going away and the whole of society is affected. Like it or not, agree with it or not, it’s a big deal.
Don’t believe me? The same people who will poo poo what I’m saying are likely the same one’s decrying how terrible men are and point to terrible things some men do like mass shootings, male violence and aggressive behavior, and even the rise of the incels (involuntary celibates) movement…all of which I think we can all agree are bad and negative things.
I get it–gender, gender norms, and sex (biological sex) are all very touchy subjects today. I’m simply here to shed light on an issue I believe to be important and prescient to our overall future as a society.
Why is T controversial?
I’ll admit upfront, I am not an anthropologist. That being said I’m going to give my best effort to hypothesize why something like the basic male sex hormone has become controversial in recent times.
In all likelihood it has much to do with a contemptuous attitude that a lot of people have about men and about masculinity. Today many people view masculinity as being “toxic”. Not that some men are toxic, but that all men and the concept of masculinity is completely toxic and beyond the pale. Power hungry, aggressive, domineering men who can’t take “no” for an answer.
Men start all wars, commit most murders, are rapists, and account for everything bad and negative in our society. It would make sense when you hold these beliefs, that the primary male sex hormone would be vilified as it probably plays some role in men doing all those terrible things mentioned above.
Does testosterone contribute and play some role in this type of inexcusable behavior in men?
I honestly don’t know, but would think on a large scale the answer is no, and if you think that me answering this question “no” has to do with some form of wishful thinking, hear me out.
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T is about general healthy function in men
It’s about general healthy functioning, both physical and mental.
There are so many benefits to having healthy T levels including:
- Healthy muscle mass
- Bone density
- Healthy sex drive
- Mood and overall quality of life (including feeling calm and less anxious)
- Verbal memory and cognitive functioning
Everything works slightly better in a man’s life when he sustains optimal levels of testosterone in his system. When he feels more calm, alert, assured, and confident he is also much less likely to engage in any destructive behaviors involving both himself and other people.
It gets said a lot today that men are in crisis, and the general T levels of men (and especially young men) surely speak to this.
There are studies showing that men’s testosterone levels have been on a steady decline for decades. At the turn of the millennium, the average American male had a total testosterone reading of 605 nanograms per deciliter. Today, the average testosterone reading in men is 450 nanograms per deciliter. Today, the average young man in his 20s has about equal levels of testosterone to what a man in his 60s had in the year 2000.
Why this matters for everybody
Let’s come back once again to all that toxic behavior I was talking about earlier. Where does this toxic and destructive behavior come from?
I’m going to go ahead and sacrifice another limb here. I’m not going to say this is the only factor, however one major factor which leads to this toxic and destructive behavior is men feeling powerless in their lives.
The only type of man who ever rapes is a man who feels powerless, so he grasps for control by forcing himself onto somebody else. The only type of man who would commit a mass act of violence on innocent civilians (if he’s not a sociopath) is also a man who feels he has no power or worth in his life, so he gains some sense of power and notoriety (whether for the wrong reasons or not) from committing an unspeakable act of violence on innocent people.
“Power” is a very loaded word these days too. When I say the word “power” I’m not talking about wielding power over others in the traditional hierarchical sense. I’m talking about personal power and personal agency, where he feels like he can go about life and achieve and get what he wants in an ethical way while also markedly improving the lives of others around him.
Low T will lead to a host of health related issues in men, including mental health problems like depression and anxiety if things get really bad. He will feel like he can’t do anything meaningful in his life, he feels like he can never find a romantic partner, he loses any and all confidence in himself, he loses all hope. Men being in these states leads them to isolate and become angry and embittered with life, often then finding their way to dark corners of the internet where lots of hateful, misogynistic and radicalizing content exists.
Regardless of whether or not having low T is the direct cause of men committing heinous acts is unknown, however I think we can notice a direct correlation between the falling of men’s overall T levels in the last two decades along with the dramatic rise in mass shootings. Just saying…
Now more than ever society is in need of men who are strong, calm, level-headed, respectful, warm, caring, and have their own sense of personal power. It’s not zero-sum. Men doing well in their life doesn’t mean women lose, in fact it is better for everybody because a rising tide raises all ships. They will be able to show up for life and contribute to society in a genuinely productive and life giving way. Now more than ever little boys and girls both are in need of healthy male role models.
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Basic ways to boost your own T levels
The culture we live in today has completely normalized being unhealthy, we don’t bat an eye anymore at people who live sedentary lifestyles while mass consuming processed and fast foods. When it comes to healthy T levels, a healthy lifestyle is first and foremost.
Start with any of these basic steps to boost your T levels and start feeling calmer and better about life in general.
- Increase your Vitamin D levels: Get in the sun more, consume foods like fatty fish, eggs, and dairy, and even supplement if you have to especially if you live in a place with long winters like myself.
- Increase levels of zinc and magnesium: Some good sources of these minerals include avocados, oysters, raw honey, raw milk, and steak.
- Increase overall fat and cholesterol intake: Healthy sources of fat include eggs, organ meats, red meat, full fat dairy and shellfish.
- Avoid unnatural products which are endocrine disruptors: Plastic is a big one, get yourself a glass or stainless steel water bottle and glass food containers. Also avoid conventional deodorant and sunscreen, air fresheners, unnatural fragrances, soaps and makeups, as well as polyester clothing.
- Stay away from soy products and any vegetable and seed oils: These products are mass produced and not meant to be over-consumed. Soy will also mimic estrogen in the body.
- Lift weights and work on building muscle mass while also reducing overall body-fat: Hire a personal trainer or even find suggestions on youtube if you don’t know where to start. Aim to fit in 2–4 weight lifting sessions per week.
- Prioritize and get quality sleep: The majority of testosterone release occurs during sleep, aim for 7–9 hours a night.
- Avoid overconsuming alcohol and sugar: Especially too much beer which also mimics estrogen.
There you have it! Now that you’ve got a general idea of how you can start boosting your T levels, start by slowly implementing these new behaviors into your lifestyle.
You’re worth it man, you deserve the best overall health you can achieve and you deserve to find your own sense of personal power.
It’s bigger than just you. I hope you know, the world needs more healthy, calm, stable, and powerful men. Armed with the right knowledge and the right intentions, you have the ability to become one.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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