How To Squander Your Testosterone

Chinese medicine considers virility as closely aligned with overall vitality, specifically associated with life or “fire” in the kidney area. The kidney area of course includes the adrenal glands, which produce a variety of hormones that help us deal with stress; the adrenals also provide a backup to the testicles by producing small amounts of testosterone.

LionAs Dr. Tom Cowan puts it in his excellent article on men’s health, “Impotency . . . involves an imbalance of the entire hormonal axis–pituitary gland, adrenal glands, testicles and even the thyroid gland. All of these glands are governed by the same feedback loops between the brain and the body. They function as a group and have much to do with determining our overall health.”

The other key fact about testosterone, whether produced in the testicles or in the adrenal glands, is that it is made from cholesterol and requires, among a number of other nutrients, vitamin A for its formation. Here’s a great article by Chris Masterjohn, which discusses the intimate relationship between vitamin A and testosterone production.

Chris cites a human study comparing the dietary intakes of one hundred fifty-five pairs of twins, which found a correlation between testosterone levels and vitamin A intake.

Given these basic facts, here’s how to squander testosterone and suffer all the unfortunate consequences:

EAT LEAN MEAT: Your body needs vitamin A to process and utilize protein. When we eat protein without the fat, the body must use stored nutrients, particularly vitamin A, to utilize that protein. The same goes for skinless chicken breasts, skim milk, egg whites without the yolks and—worst of all—protein powders. In nature, protein comes with nutrient-dense fats and their cargo of fat-soluble nutrients, particularly vitamin A.

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USE STIMULANTS: Coffee, tea, chocolate and industrial soft drinks contain caffeine and similar substances that whip the adrenal glands into producing adrenaline, a hormone that wakes us up, but at a price. After the stimulus of caffeine, the adrenal cortex must go into overdrive to produce chill-out hormones that repair and bring the body back to homeostasis. This system cannot handle the constant stress of stimulants; burn-out is the frequent result. It’s interesting to observe primitive men who, while capable of great energy expenditure, always follow the thrill of the hunt or the adrenaline rush of war with a period of R and R—standing around gossiping, laughing and sharpening their spears. They know better than to subject themselves to constant stress.

TAKE VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS: What? Don’t we need vitamin D for fertility? Yes, we do, but taking vitamin D by itself can deplete the body of vitamin A. We need to get our vitamin D from foods that also contain vitamin A, such as poultry liver, egg yolks and cod liver oil.

EXERCISE HEAVILY EVERY DAY: Heavy exercise depletes vitamin A and also puts stress on the adrenal glands. Exercise is great—especially in the sunlight and open air—but not when carried to extremes, which can deplete that adrenal fire.
EAT SOY FOODS: The estrogenic isoflavones in soy foods can inhibit testosterone, reduce thyroid function and diminish overall vitality. Prisoners forced to eat a lot of soy foods call it chemical castration.

TAKE STATIN DRUGS: How can you make testosterone if your supplies of cholesterol are too low? Impotency and infertility are common side effects of these cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Do these sound like the habits of the typical American male, eating a macho diet of lean meat, the coffee mug constantly at hand, overdosing vitamin D with supplements, pushing himself with punishing workouts, perhaps downing soy-based smoothies and, as a final straw, succumbing to the sweet talk of his physician to get his cholesterol numbers right?

Want to keep your mojo even into old age? Then ignore the experts and eat traditional fertility foods, rich in vitamin A and other nutrients needed for virility and vitality: organ meats, animal fats, red meat with all the fat, oysters, cod liver oil, fish eggs, butter and egg yolks. Eat lots of these foods. Feeling sleepy? Take a power nap, not a shot of adrenaline from Starbucks. Enjoy a weekly game of tennis rather than a heavy daily workout at the gym. Say no to vitamin D pills and read labels to avoid anything containing soy. And above all, remember that real men don’t take statin drugs.

This formula results in the kind of confident and mellow masculinity that contributes mightily to a happy family life and a peaceful and just society. will be giving away four copies of The Fourfold Path to Healing by Thomas Cowan, MD. To be eligible for this drawing, just sign up to be on our email list and post a comment to this article of at least four sentences. Winners will be contacted on August 15.

No organization has contributed more to our knowledge of vitamin A than the Weston A. Price Foundation. Updates on vitamin A research are a common feature of Wise Traditions, the Foundation’s quarterly journal. To receive the journal, become a member by clicking here.

Author: Sally Fallon Morell

Sally Fallon Morell is best known as the author of Nourishing Traditions®: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels.

32 thoughts on “How To Squander Your Testosterone”

  1. Thank you very much for the courage and effort to share information which is true yet hidden by big corporations and even national agencies. My husband and I are enjoying real food and their benefits for the past six months now. At first, my husband does not agree with what I was sharing until he heard a talk in the university about the gut and vagus nerve. He did his research and with the good effect of nourishing traditions he sees, he now openly shares information about food to family and friends. I am delighted! … We are looking forward to enjoying more real food and hopefully conceiving soon.

  2. I am so excited you have a blog! I was very sick with mono a couple years ago and for the next year and a half struggled with getting sick everytime we went out of our house (with a child in school we were sick every week), thyroid issues, weight gain, miscarriage, and depression (all that as well as testosterone issues and sleep apnea in my spouse). Last September I began seeing a Nutrition Response Tester who recommended your book, Dr Weston A Price’s research, and many others. We are learning to eat traditional foods (I made my first batch of kimchi a few weeks ago, and we’ve been enjoying kombucha for months as well as bone broths). My family is finally getting healthy! Thank you for providing the information and recipes to help us work toward health and vitality.

  3. As a Doctor of Chinese Medicine working in Reproductive Medicine for 15 years this article is true to my clinical experience. “Life in its fullness is mother nature obeyed.” Dr. Price laid out the principles for optimal health. Best of health and thanks for all your great information.

  4. “How can you make testosterone when your cholesterol numbers are too low?” is the question most men don’t know how to ask. Fully understanding what all the cholesterol numbers mean is so vitally important yet most men just blindly follow doctor’s orders and take the statin drugs because they’ve been brainwashed into believing high cholesterol automatically means a heart attack in their future. Diet is everything.

  5. Good afternoon, Sally. I see that your contest ended on July 1st. Unfortunately, I just saw the article, “How to Squander Your Testosterone” today. I hope that you will consider my entry in your contest valid, as I am highly interested in winning a copy of Dr. Cowan’s book, The Fourfold Path to Healing.

    As for the article, it raises a very interesting contradiction from my perspective. On the one hand, most American men engage in a majority of the above behaviors (eat lean meat, exercise excessively, drink stimulants, etc…). One might conclude, therefore, that American society would have come to reflect more feminine, or at least, less masculine, tendencies. We might have a more cooperative, more fair, and more empathetic society rather than “every man for himself and devil take the hindmost.”

    Yet, despite the major changes in American male nutrition and ways of living over the past 100 years, competitive or domineering behaviors, prototypical male characteristics, still control most aspects of American society. We have a ruthless “market” economy, a dysfunctional political system, violent and course mass entertainment, a volatile mix of racism and gun-obsession, and destructive, soulless corporate interests. The only dysfunction not attributable to excess testosterone is “erectile.” I agree very much with the article’s nutritional recommendations–indeed, I plan to reduce my coffee/tea consumption immediately–but I would like to see an explanation of how diminished testosterone levels are manifested in American society. Perhaps Dr. Cowan has some insight on this subject? Thank you.

    1. My take on this is that aggressive, competitive and domineering behavior is a sign that someone is trying to compensate for low testosterone. Men who have adequate testosterone levels tend to be confident, gentle and patient.

      The book giveaway subscription offer ends August 15th – you are in. 🙂


      1. Sally, I have taken testosterone replacement therapy for years now. My Total/Free testosterone blood levels stay in the abnormal range 255. A lot of success initially years ago. I am tired of the roller coaster ride. Currently, on andro gel with no improvement. Maybe a plateau? I would like to get off the prescription because the side effects of High Hemoglobin cause the same side effects as low testosterone. Any suggestions for the natural way to overcome the issue?

  6. As a naturopathic physician I spend my day re educating people about the importance of fats. So many middle aged people presenting with low libido, adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, weight gain. What’s the common factor low fat soluble vitamins. The misconception around fats is still alive despite the research being debunked. It’s a slow process but I hope we can educate people about the importance of fats and cholesterol in our diets.

  7. Always so much to learn. It is very exciting & encouraging. My husband is a die hard sardine fan eats them like crazy…eggs too…I dont like sardines but thats ok lol My daughter-in-law was thumbing thru The Nourishung Traditions Book last night & I was thinking how much information is packed in there…so thankful for that. I love your vision & the passion you have for nutrition! Thanks for sharing how we can help our bodies function the best.

  8. Baby steps is where my husband and I are when it comes to learning about eating real food. We are a product of the American diet and oh so wrong food pyramid. The above is great information. Thanks for sharing and I’m hoping I win the book to help us on our journey!

  9. I am excited about your blog! My partner has recently come out on the other side of a health crisis and during the process of recovery we have realized the importance of adrenals for females. While feeling much better, my partner is continuing to struggle once a month (during the time when her body calls on her adrenals to balance her sex hormones). We are working vigorously to support her adrenals and return them to healthy functioning. As a long time advocate for health fat in diet and avoiding soy, I am excited to share some of these other tips (especially about Vit D supplements!).

  10. I’m feeling very thankful for the work that you and Dr. Price have done and all that you continue to do! I just got home from hearing you speak and am feeling even more inspired and ready to share this information with anyone who will listen! Including my husband and children, again 😉 With all the knowledge you and Dr. Price have shared and armed me with, I believe my six girls (and son) will grow up to have healthy children. Thank you, thank you!

  11. Just found out about your blog! I have had Nourishing Traditions for years and struggle getting our diets under control. I would love to win the Four Fold Path to Healing.. After yet another sickness I KNOW we need to change our diets and am more determined to do so!

  12. This article is very informative and I have forwarded it to my husband to read. We have recently discovered your books and have been following many of the recccomendations in them. I am also loving your blog! We are getting ready to dabble with kombucha and I’m happy to finally put to use my collection of jars and bottles that I save for previously unknown reasons! Thanks for an awesome giveaway.

  13. What a great article! I know several couples struggling with fertility issues in the males. It makes me sad that so many people think cholesterol is bad, when it is so necessary. I just started your book, and I can’t put it down.

  14. What man truly wants to be away from the family? Its well known in our modern society that man succumb to physical decrepitude. Then society has to write a script to glorify this monstrosity from gmos, denatured foods, harsh workout, stratifying sex, etc. The lack of knowledge about nutrition is truly going to lead us as a nation to our death. Food is needed for survival point blank.

  15. Your nourishing traditions book was my gateway to traditional foods and health. I had no idea these things led to low testosterone other than caffeine. My husband has high bad cholesterol numbers , so I’m interesting in learning more about that specific area and how it relates to overall health. Would love to read your new book!

  16. When faced with this new information people are in denial. Many years of hearing fat free is the way. I say if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have gotten. Change you diet, Watch what happens. Adding high quality real food and fats facilitates positive change in the body and people feel fantastic.

  17. It seems easiest for doctors to say, “Do this, don’t do that.” ‎They tell me I have the blood of a twenty-something year old. I feel older. 

    They say, “Take this amount of D3 for your parathyroid.” I tell them I feel tired. Then it is, “Don’t take so much D3. You don’t need that.” OK, so why should I trust doctors? They don’t live in here with me.  

    Why am I this tired? They say, “Your blood work is great! Testosterone is fine for someone your age. Can’t see a problem.” Of course they can’t. They are not in here with me.  ‎

  18. I never knew most of this. When you think about how our bodies are made, it makes sense that it all works together. My husband eats fairly well, but does take statins. I will be making sure he gets better quality fats in his diet. Thanks for this giveaway!

  19. I find this article to be interesting. I wonder though how all of this relates to women. Many women take hormone replacement for low testosterone. So I’m assuming that the above tips should help a woman increase her testosterone as well?

    1. Yes, I think this would absolutely help balance female hormones–which as we all know should include some testosterone. The warning against too much exercise is especially important for women. I am not saying not to exercise, but just not overdo!

      The key thing to remember is that our sex hormones are made out of cholesterol with the help of vitamin A. We have found that for women having hormonal problems, taking 2-3 tablespoons high vitamin cod liver oil for a period of about 2 months–in the context of a high-fat diet containing butter, egg yolks, liver, etc and only moderate protein–can do wonders! (After about 2 months, go back to 1 tsp cod liver oil per day for maintenance) The body has what it needs to make all the sex hormones and in most cases your body knows just how much to make of each and when–all it needs are those raw materals!

  20. Wow! I’m so happy to have found your blog. I have some pretty serious changes to make around the caffeine in my daily diet. Does anyone have any suggestions other than a power nap? I get so sleepy in the afternoon, and cant sneak away for a nap. I try to get up and move around, but sometimes even then…I reach for the coffee. Help!

    1. I know! I know! It is SO hard to get over that caffeine habit–I’ve been there! Here are a couple of suggestions:
      1. Not too many carbs at lunch–go for the high-fat and moderate protein, moderate carbs.
      2. Here is a great substitute to try instead of coffee:
      1 tablespoon molassas
      1 tablespoon coconut oil
      1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

      Place all in a mug and fill with hot water. Hopefully your office situation will allow you to do this!

  21. Very interesting article.
    I have been consistently blown away by how much of the ‘nutrition’ information I was taught that now needs to be thrown out (low-fat, soy is great, red meat is bad)!
    It’s really hard to convince others that they have been doing it wrong, but I try 🙂
    Thanks for your help along this journey.

  22. Speaking of testosterone – here is one possible explanation why metal poisoning causes extreme aggression in men and women.
    One of the key substances in the Testosterone synthesis pathway is an enzyme called Hydroxysteroid Transferase (HST). It’s role is to convert the precursor to Testosterone DHEA into a stable storage compound called DHEA-S, when Testosterone is not needed.
    Converting DHEA to DHEA-S requires Glutathione as a cofactor (Glutathione is a powerful chelator and is very low in people with heavy metal poisoning because there is a constant run on this valuable tripeptide). So…if a person’s Glutathione levels gets substantially lowered – as they would be, if their body was overloaded with neurotoxic metals – the Hydroxysteroid Transferase (HST) is unable to convert DHEA to DHEA-S and store it safely.
    Instead the DHEA starts driving crazily down the highway, gets converted into Androstrenediol and then on to Testosterone. This is because the Hydroxysteroid Transferase (HST) is blocked by an absence of Glutathione (in a body high in heavy metals). The DHEA to DHEA-S pathways get impaired, and the body instead tries to unload the DHEA via the Testosterone pathway, to produce lots of Testosterone as well as subsequent Testosterone breakdown products (all highly toxic).
    Thus extreme Testosterone equals extreme aggression. Extreme aggression equals young men jail, men snapping and going postal at work – all for entirely avoidable reasons. African American boys are four times more vulnerable to the effects of heavy metal poisoning than others. Children who get socked with loads of injected toxins, both boys and girls (boys four times more than girls) throw wall breaking, self injurious tantrums.
    The tragedy here is, so many young men who have the potential to be wonderful friends, husbands and dads are in jail, unemployed or on heavy duty anti-psychotics. It ain’t mental. It’s metal (poisoning). If you care about the men in your life, first, don’t poison them, second, if you did accidentally, please chelate them. Their true natures will shine through.
    CHELATING FOODS: Raw Organic grass fed milk (contains glutathione and lactoferrin), Cilantro, Brassicas, Fermented foods (bacteria in your gut gobble down heavy metals for you).
    CHELATING PROTOCOLS: EDTA, DMPS, DMSA, MSM and many others. These need to be done under a doctor’s supervision.


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