Vitamin T for Sex
Hot, hot hormones.
Increases Body Mass, Not Sex Drive continued...
So a 50% decline in some guy's testosterone level as he ages from a
20-something to a 50-something is unlikely to have much impact on his
physiology and behavior. And therefore using something like AndroGel to boost
his levels from 50% to 100% won't likely have much of an impact, either.
Stress Inhibits Testosterone, But Does It Matter?Similarly, low testosterone
secretion induced by stress is no reason to take supplemental testosterone,
either. All sorts of stressors, whether physical or psychological, can inhibit
the secretion of all the hormones involved in the complex release of
testosterone. Anesthetize someone for surgery, slice into his belly with a
scalpel, and testosterone levels begin to decline. The same thing will happen
for a male primate who has just been toppled from a high rank in the group
hierarchy. Ditto for a man going through a stressful cognitive task like a
final exam. Or -- an example that I get an odd pleasure out of citing -- a
study in the May 1972 Archives of General Psychiatry found that men in
the early, highly stressful period of officer's training in the military have
suppressed testosterone levels, too.
So this decline under stress appears to be a well-established phenomenon.
But the bottom line is, what are the consequences of this decline in
testosterone levels during stress? A loss of sexual drive or performance?
Decreased aggressiveness? Decreased muscle metabolism?
None of the above, almost certainly. The declines in testosterone levels
during stress, even with severe, chronic stress, just aren't dramatic enough to
produce such adverse consequences.
So, men shouldn't worry much about the consequences of yet another traffic
jam or deadline on their testosterone. The problem isn't that testosterone
levels go down during stress. It's that erect penises do. But that's another
subject . . . for another story.
Robert Sapolsky is professor of biological sciences at
Stanford University, and of neurology at Stanford University School of
Medicine. He is the author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: A Guide to
Stress, Stress-Related Diseases.