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Testosterone Usage in BJJ: The Fine Line Between TRT, PEDs, and Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone

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Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is naturally produced by our bodies. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle, bone mass, and the growth of body hair. In addition, testosterone is essential for health and well-being as well as the prevention of osteoporosis.

Quinton Rampage Jackson is on TRT

As we get older, our bodies produce less testosterone. We have all heard about Testosterone Replacement Therapy TRT being used by MMA fighters like Chael Sonnen, Rampage Jackson or Frank Mir. Testosterone deficiency is defined as low levels of serum testosterone (low T) when also in the presence of signs and symptoms associated with low testosterone (T). These signs and symptoms could include any of the following: reduced libido, poor morning erection, erectile dysfunction, reduced muscle strength/size, shrinking testes, and infertility. Other less definitive signs are: decreased energy, depression, poor concentration and memory. Common wisdom is that the use of TRT will cause positive changes in both muscle mass and body fat. This is one of those rare instances where common wisdom has been substantiated by medical studies. TRT can help you achieve the holy grail of training, namely an increase in lean muscle mass while also having a decrease in overall fat mass. Legitimate use of TRT is likely to increase significantly in the upcoming years. Studies have shown that it is an under diagnosed and undertreated condition affecting over a third of middle aged men and that is can be treated successfully and safely in most circumstances. TRT is still a new treatment and will take time to prove its safety and benefits.

Source: Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Some athletes illegally use anabolic steroids, the muscle-promoting drugs or hormonal substances that are chemically related to testosterone, in the form of injections, skin patches, creams or pills. These steroids can stimulate muscle building and improve performance.

That sounds too good to be true and it really is as there are various side effects. In addition to joint problems, taking steroids can cause side effects like oily skin, acne, shrunken testicles (!) , sterility and male breasts. Synthetic testosterone can also inhibit good cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease.
But withdrawal, which can make some men deflate like used balloons, may be the most troubling problem. Taking steroids suppresses men’s own natural testosterone production. After athletes stop taking testosterone, the body may take weeks to months to return to normal hormone levels!

After reading about the side effects why would anyone in their right mind think about using steroids? The sad truth is that performance enhancement drugs are being used in almost every sport. The “win at all cost” culture will always make some athletes take the risk of taking steroids and risk their health and lives in the future to gain a potential physical edge to win.

In the BJJ community, PEDs seems to be rampant among high level competitors. I say “seems” as apart from the IBJJF recently testing 10 black belts at the Pans, no other BJJ competitions test for PEDs. This leaves the door open for all types of abuse. I live in a country where synthetic testosterone amps are widely available over the counter at regular pharmacies and sold no questions asked to anybody for a few euros. In Brazil as well may other countries in Europe and the in the USA, there is a open steroid culture among BJJ players. Some use it to look good on the beach and help their BJJ performance, while others use them with the goal is gaining an edge in winning competitions, fame and fortune.

So if testosterone is naturally produced by our bodies, there must also be natural ways to increase our testosterone production without running the risks of taking synthetic pills, creams or injections.

Zinc 

Mineral deficiencies can have an adverse effect on your health. In contrast, enhancing mineral levels can improve your health. Such increases can also boost your testosterone. A July 2011 article in “Biological Trace Element Research” showed that taking zinc during intense bouts of exercise increased testosterone production. Zinc itself turns estrogen into testosterone and Zinc helps produce healthier sperm and higher sperm counts so actually… Low levels of zinc can cause low testosterone levels. Foods high in Zinc include oysters (a natural aphrodisiac), liver, seafood, poultry, nuts & seeds or you can supplement with at least 50-to-100mg of Zinc daily

Get at least 6-to-8 hours of Sleep every night

A university of Chicago study showed that men who got little sleep had way lower testosterone levels than men who got 6-to-8 hours of sleep and… According to a University of North Carolina study… Your testosterone levels can drop down by as much as 40 PERCENT when you don’t get enough sleep and generally. Your testosterone levels are 30% higher in the morning than in the evening and this is why you may be more horny in the mornings and as a matter of fact. A loss of morning erections or loss of sexual desire in the morning could be a sign that your testosterone is declining so you need to get 6-to-8 hours of sleep every night because while you’re sleeping. Your body produces the most testosterone and the better you sleep the more testosterone your body will produce while you sleep so if you’re having trouble getting 6-to-8 hours of good quality ‘testosterone producing’ sleep every night.

Stress Less

When you get stressed out – your body releases a “stress” hormone called cortisol that shuts down testosterone production

Caffeine
While the mechanisms underlying its effects remain unknown, caffeine might facilitate athletic performance and prevent fatigue by increasing testosterone production. A December 2010 report in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology” showed that chewing caffeinated gum enhanced testosterone and reduced fatigue in cyclists. This stimulant has a broad range other positive effects as well. An April 2011 paper in “Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition” noted that caffeine intake is associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes or cancer.

Eat more healthy fats

Research has shown that men who ate diets rich in healthy fats like monounsaturated fats & Omega-3 fats had the highest testosterone levels. You can naturally raise your testosterone levels by adding more healthy fats  by eating more nuts & seeds, fatty fish like salmon & tuna, avocados, olives, vegetable oils, and natural peanut butter. Eating a very low-fat diet can actually lead to lowered testosterone levels because your body needs healthy fats in order to produce testosterone this doesn’t mean you need to eat a REAL HIGH fat diet – Just make sure at least 20-to-30% of your total daily calories comes from healthy fats.

Take 1000-to-1500mg of Vitamin C per day

Now if you have a hard time avoiding stress – you want to start taking 1000-to-1500mg of Vitamin C per day because. Vitamin C has been shown to lower cortisol levels allowing your body to make more Testosterone and like Zinc. Vitamin C reduces the armostase enzyme that converts your Testosterone into Estrogen.

So in summary there are perfectly natural and safe ways to boost your testosterone so why take such a risk with PEDs or with the yet unproven and untested TRT?

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