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How Chronic Stress Kills Testosterone

chronic stress kills testosterone levels

The theme of this website is about understanding the importance of healthy testosterone levels, recognizing the signs of low testosterone, and attacking the problem by offering as many solutions possible to increase testosterone naturally.

As we've mentioned in other articles, the real issue is the fact that our testosterone levels are dropping at a faster rate than ever before in history.

Each year, younger men are complaining about and suffering from symptoms of Low T, so we have become vigilant in exposing and identifying the various reasons why this may be occuring, and offering as many solutions as science proves that will increase tesosterone naturally.

We emphasize naturally, because we don't believe in the long term value and safety of using testosterone replacement therapy as a viable option to boost T. There are too many potentially negative and dangerous side effects.​

Possible Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

  • Male Breast Growth (Gynecomastia)
  • Increased Risk of Heart Disease
  • Increased Risk Of Stroke
  • Testicular Shrinkage
  • Increased Aggression
  • Dependency

Today we're going to talk about a common everyday thief that is robbing men of testosterone.

Exposing The Threat To Our T Levels Caused By Chronic Stress

how stress kills testosterone levels

Okay guys, please don't just gloss over this one because it's important. More important than you probably even realize. I didn't realize how devastating chronic stress is to testosterone levels until I really started to research it.

First, let's define what we're talking about because we all have a certain amount of stress in our lives, and to some extent, we deal with stress on a daily basis.

There's short term stress where you have a deadline or a meeting that you're trying to get to, but then it passes. Throughout the day, there can be any number of short term stresses that come into play, and they don't really cause damage to our testosterone levels.

Then there's more long term or chronic stress. This is different in that it's an emotional feeling that lasts a long time. Imagine you're really struggling financially, and you've got the weight of the world on your shoulders as you're trying to provide for your family, but you're not making ends meet, and day after day you keep racking your brain on what to do to fix the problem, and you constantly feel like you're in a state of panic, agitation, or stressed out.

That's what we're talking about here when it comes to what is affecting testosterone levels negatively. It's that constant high pressure feeling that never seems to go away and just continues day after day. That's the kind of stress that kills testosterone levels.

It can come in the form of any number of things like financial problems, relationship or family problems, a boss that is horrible to you, unresolved anger or hurt, etc. The point is that these are things that put you in a heightened state (usually negative) for a long period of time.​

Just to take this one step further, what usually happens in chronically stressful situations is a bad domino effect of other things too. You may drink more, you may eat more (bad estrogen producing foods), and lose quality sleep, etc. These are on top of the negative hormonal effects that stress will cause.

Let's just sum it up by saying, it's bad. Really bad.​

What Is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a steroidal hormone secreted in the adrenal glands.

It is often referred to as the "stress hormone" because it's one of the main hormones we release when we're under any kind of pressure or stress. It is the hormone that kicks in to handle any of our fight or flight scenarios. This is great when we need a short burst of hormonal adrenaline to heighten our senses when we need it. 

I need to give Cortisol its due before bashing it too harshly, and to be fair, it only gets bashed so often because the excess production of it has so many negative and devastating effects.

Let's take a look at why we even have Cortisol and what it's benefits are. 

Here are the ways in which Cortisol benefit us:​

  • Helps provide proper glucose metabolism
  • Provides heightened memory functions
  • Helps regulate blood pressure
  • Provides for Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
  • Provides healthy Immune function
  • Provides inflammatory response
  • Gives a quick burst of energy in times of fight or flight
  • Helps to maintain homeostasis in the body
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Lowers sensitivity to pain

Negative Effects Of Excess Cortisol

So we know that healthy non-excessive amounts of cortisol are good for us and provide some great benefits. Where things go bad, however, is when we produce too much cortisol.

Since our website is about testosterone, we will highlight the fact that excess cortisol just kills testosterone levels. When testosterone levels go down, there's a whole domino effect of negative byproducts that go along with low testosterone.

That's why this is so serious. As men, it's easy for us to just gloss over stress as a given in life, but it is a silent killer of everything that makes us men.

If the loss of testosterone wasn't bad enough, check out these additional negatives that go along with excess cortisol production:

  • Increases the risk of heart attacks
  • Increases the risk of strokes
  • Makes you age must faster
  • Increases depression and mood swings
  • Negatively affects sexuality and reproductive functions
  • Negatively affects your skin, teeth, and hair
  • Increases joint and muscle pain
  • Contributes to weight gain and digestive disorders
  • Compromises your immune system
  • Adversely affects memory and learning

Video: Effects Of Cortisol More In-Depth

Dr. Bryan Walsh does an excellent job at explaining the devastating effects of excess cortisol production

Ways To Reduce Stress

Now that I've put the fear of God in you, let me also come to the table with some possible solutions and ways to reduce stress so you can reduce testosterone decreasing effects (along with all the other negative effects).


Exercise is a great way to release stress relieving endorphins into your body.  They completely calm you down and they make you feel good. Let's also not forget that exercise like lifting weights and high intensity interval training raise testosterone, and they also offer a way to channel out all that built up stress.

Practice Gratitude

There is something extremely powerful and calming about really focusing on gratitude and being genuinely grateful. The most successful people on earth have some form of daily ritual in which they focus on gratitude.

Take Action

You would be surprised how much internal turmoil and stress is caused by not making that important phone call or confronting that major life decision or whatever "that big thing" is. Not taking action creates a cycle of continual thought and worry, whereas taking action just gets it out of your head and dealt with.

Write It Down

This is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress. It feels so therapeutic to get everything out of my head and onto paper (or wherever you write something). It's a huge stress reducer.

Pray or Meditate

Whether you pray or meditate or whatever "your thing" is, just do it. You need time to think and clear your thoughts and release worry, doubt, fear, anger, etc.

Get Great Sleep

I know this may sound kind of lame, but it's so true. I was shocked how valuable sleep is from a testosterone perspective. Did you know that your T levels can double when you get 8 hours of sleep compared to 4? It also is a great stress reliever because it gives your body and mind a chance to just disconnect and recharge.

Video: 17 Science-Backed Ways To Reduce Stress

Stress and Cortisol Summary

What have we learned? We've learned that cortisol has some positive benefits for the body, and we've also learned that when too much of it is produced, it can wreak havoc on testosterone levels.

We also learned about the other negative effects excess cortisol can have on other important bodily functions.

At the end of the day, it's like anything else. The first line of defense against any of these bad things happening to our body is to get the knowledge and understand what is happening, why it's happening, and how to stop it from happening.​

Understand and be respectful of cortisol, but you don't have to be afraid of it. There are definitely ways to keep it under control where it only provides you with positive benefits.​