Stop the Drop! Get Your Mojo Back
An avid basketball player, overall gym rat and sports coach, Dr. Nick Rupcich is the owner of ANS Performance, a Canadian supplement company celebrating its 10th year in 2022. Nick is a graduate of McMaster University where he played basketball for the Marauders, and later completed a PhD. In Biological Chemistry. After spending years in pharmaceutical R&D, he transitioned into the world of performance nutrition and hasn’t looked back. Over the past 15 years he’s formulated hundreds of products globally for leading companies as a consultant, before starting ANS Performance to create a brand of his own. ANS Performance prides itself on developing innovative, high quality products, backed by science.
Stop the Drop! Get Your Mojo Back
The subject of declining of testosterone levels is a growing conversation and while much can be discussed about the causes, at least part of the decline can be attributed to natural aging. As men approach 30 years old, their testosterone levels begin to decline at about 1% per year. This is a gradual process and while not immediately noticeable, is happening all the same and over time can be felt.
Other factors that are more pronounced in their effect are (unsurprisingly) a poor diet, the weight of a chronically stressful lifestyle and low activity levels. The final, most insidious culprit is the added toxic environmental factor of xenoestrogens from plastics which mess up a man’s hormone balance between testosterone and estrogen.
Collectively, these cofactors conspire to make men susceptible to issues with virility, increased body fat, diminished sleep quality, reduced muscle and even lowered cognitive performance. The list of symptoms of sub-optimal testosterone levels is extensive and includes:
- Brain fog and fatigue
- Poor sleep
- Fat accumulation
- Potential insulin resistance
- Decreased stamina & muscle mass
- Lower sex drive
- Lowered fertility
The good news is that there are several clinically proven natural remedies that can help rebalance male hormones and restore free testosterone levels. And while free testosterone levels are important, it is also important to consider appropriate control of downstream conversion of testosterone into (potentially) detrimental hormone forms like dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or estrogen – so that healthy balanced ratios remain intact, and natural equilibriums not thrown into disarray.
Production of testosterone is a complex process. It begins with several upstream points of regulation; however, many of the controls happen along the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal (HPG) axis. Located in the brain, the hypothalamus is the master testosterone regulator in the body. As seen in Figure 1, the hypothalamus controls the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) which triggers the pituitary gland to release Luteinizing Hormone (LH). In males, LH stimulates testosterone release by the Leydig cells found in the testes.
In parallel to the HPG axis, the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis exerts similar control to other hormones, like the glucocorticoid cortisol (stress hormone), androgens like DHEA and estrogen. These hormones participate in regulation of metabolism, immunity, blood pressure and our stress response.
Cortisol is an important hormone to note, because of its prevalence with the chronic stress experienced in today’s fast-paced world. The cortisol-testosterone ratio is a critical balance in the body, and while it may vary during times of physical (exercise) or mental stress, prolonged cortisol elevation can play a role in inhibiting testosterone production, via a negative feedback loop that affects the HPG axis.
- Bottom line? Excessive stress messes up your testosterone production!
Additionally, both cortisol and testosterone compete for utilization of cholesterol as a building block in their synthesis by the body – so when cortisol is running high, more cholesterol is consumed in its production, leaving less available for making testosterone.
Stress can also lead to negative life choices, men who are stressed tend to turn to vices like smoking and alcohol as a means of coping – both of which will further negate testosterone production.
We know this is not good but what are the solutions? There is the obvious one: fixing those elements that are within our control (activity, diet, sleep). That said, what can we do to fix the hormone imbalance that exists due to our environment and longer-term effects of stress? What if you are trying to start a family and are looking to increase virility, how can these be improved?
3 Powerful Ingredients to Reclaim Youthful Testosterone Levels!
1. KSM-66™ ASHWAGANDHA Root extract
Ayurvedic medicine has gifted us many miraculous herbs, and perhaps none are as powerful for hormone balance as Ashwagandha. Extraction of the most bio-active components of Ashwagandha root has been optimized in KSM-66® - this powerful full-spectrum extract has 22 gold-standard human clinical studies, demonstrating its vast health benefits. Summarizing these studies would require an entire blog on its own, but below are some of the key benefits from a clinical daily dose of 600mg of KSM-66®:
- Stress Reduction: over 8 weeks, serum cortisol was reduced by 28% and associated perceived stress and anxiety reduced by 44% 1
- Performance Benefits: over 8 weeks, test subjects had significant increases in arm muscle size (67% more) and bench press strength (74% more) vs. placebo, experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage, dropped 127% more fat than the placebo group and notably had a whopping 434% higher testosterone increase compared to the placebo group 2
- Sexual Health Benefits: 90d protocol saw 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume, 57% increase in sperm motility and 17% increase in serum testosterone levels 3
- Sleep Improvement: over 8 weeks, sleep quality improved, time to fall asleep was shortened and test subjects felt significantly calmer
2. FERUTEST™ - Asafoetida - Ferula assafoetida
Asafoetida, the active herb used in FERUTEST™ is originally found in the regions of ancient Persia and India. It has long been mentioned in old Arabic scripture for its powerful sexually stimulating and fertility enhancing effects, but until recently it had not been formally tested to quantify its effects.
Prior to engaging in formal human studies, scientists performed several rodent studies on FERUTEST™ to accurately assess safety & efficacy – the results of those were very intriguing and led to further human trials. Mice were given a dose range of the herbal extract and measures of sexual performance were measured – namely the number of erections over a 3-hour period after dosing vs. placebo, and frequency of ‘mounting’ in the present of a female mouse. The results were quite incredible, with the test mice experiencing 5.5x the number of erections of the control group.
Researchers also found that the primary mechanism of action was enhancement of nitric oxide in endothelial cells – contributing toward enhanced blood flow and erectile activity, acting like a natural Viagra.
This also has significant implications into fertility because enhancing blood flow to the testes also enhances oxygen and nutrient delivery to developing sperm. This also has significant implications into fertility because enhancing blood flow to the testes also enhances oxygen and nutrient delivery to developing sperm. This was demonstrated in human clinical studies using FERUTEST™, which illustrated significant benefits for enhancing sexual health.
Here is a summary of the human study results:
Over 3 months, erectile function improved dramatically in a group of men with ED.
80% of trial subjects had improvements, and 60% reported considerable improvement 5
- Test subjects experienced a substantial 27% increase in sperm count and 83% increase in sperm motility among oligospermic men (lower than normal levels) 5
- Remarkably even 17% of azospermic men (clinically sterile) also saw sperm count increases! 5
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale & brussels sprouts. It’s the by-product of a compound called indole-3-carbinol (or I3C), which gets converted to the more biologically active DIM during the process of digestion.
DIM’s potent effects on estrogen metabolism, help keep estrogen metabolites within the body balanced, by converting potent forms of estrogen into less potent varieties. 6
DIM has been shown in human clinical trials to enhance the conversion of the estrogen form estrone, into 2-hydroxyestrone. This is important because estrone activates the estrogen receptor, while 2-hydroxyestrone down-regulates estrogen receptor activity.6 Another are of concern is the environmental effects of xenoestrogens released by plastics into our water and food. These mimic the negative effects of excessive estrogen, and this additional imbalance in our estrogen levels can result in several issues including weight gain in both men and women.
DIM impacts testosterone levels in the body in a couple unique ways. DIM has been shown to inhibit an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen. This helps preserve a higher testosterone to estrogen ratio in the body along with neutralizing those environmental sources of the ‘bad’ estrogen.
In addition to enzyme inhibition, DIM also prevents testosterone from being bound up by Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG), a carrier protein. 7 The net effect is that DIM increases the fraction of total testosterone that is present in the body as ‘free’ testosterone. Only free testosterone can easily cross into the brain, muscles and fat cells and impart most of the desirable outcomes at the local androgen receptor sites.
Taking a multi-pronged approach is best for optimal enhancement of natural testosterone levels. The endocrinology of androgen hormones is complex, so it is important to consider the multiple pathways available to hormone metabolism as well as their careful balance required for health.
KSM-66® Ashwagandha, FERUTEST™ Asafoetida and DIM are 3 powerful, natural products that can offer a multitude of benefits that synergistically overlap to optimize natural testosterone levels from different angles. For anyone looking to naturally boost testosterone, reduce stress or improve sexual health – this trio delivers and can only be found in ANS Performance’s all-new FORTITUDE. Taking a supplement like FORTITUDE for at least 2-3 months can help re-balance key hormones and help users regain their youth – improving the strength, stamina and sexual performance; while also reducing perceived stress, improving sleep and recovery.
Please don’t forget to control what you can control, including food choices, food quality and hitting the gym. Beyond improving test levels, staying active and improving one’s diet are overwhelming critical parts of not only living longer, but being able to enjoy that additional time!
Other Ways to Increase Testosterone Naturally:
- Eat a well-balanced diet, not fearing foods high in saturated fats like butter, coconut oil or eggs
- Supplement with protein, Vitamin D3, Omega-3s and Magnesium
- Exercise, but don’t overtrain and never skip leg day – these large muscles boost testosterone
- Get more high-quality sleep – maximize your circadian rhythm and help with hormone release
- Control stress – via meditation, breathing, yoga and movement
- Have more sex with your partner– the oxytocin release is great for self-esteem and anxiety plus, it boosts libido!
1 Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255.
2 Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 43.
3 Ambiye, V. R., Langade, D., Dongre, S., Aptikar, P., Kulkarni, M., & Dongre, A. (2013). Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013.
4 Langade, D., Kanchi, S., Salve, J., Debnath, K., & Ambegaokar, D (2019). Cureus, 11(9), e5797.
5 Kassis et al. Open Complementary Medicine Journal (2009), 1, 102-109.
6 Safe et al. J Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (1998), 67, 413-419.
7 Thompson et al. Breast Cancer Res. Treatment., 165(1): 97-107, 2017.