NoFap, Testosterone and Muscle Gain: The Hidden Link
Many guys begin their NoFap journey with a severe handicap in the testosterone department.
Although this website is as pro-testosterone and pro-NoFap as possible, there are some things that I cannot solely attribute to chronic masturbation. Sure, porn-induced erectile dysfunction is one of the hallmarks of sexual exhaustion, but when it comes to having low testosterone levels, there are a few additional factors that you should keep in mind.
The purpose of this study is to gain understanding of the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men. The serum testosterone concentrations of 28 volunteers were investigated daily during abstinence periods after ejaculation for two phases. The authors found that the fluctuations of testosterone levels from the 2nd to 5th day of abstinence were minimal. On the 7th day of abstinence, however, a clear peak of serum testosterone appeared, reaching 145.7% of the baseline ( P < 0.01). No regular fluctuation was observed following continuous abstinence after the peak. Ejaculation is the precondition and beginning of the special periodic serum testosterone level variations, which would not occur without ejaculation. The results showed that ejaculation-caused variations were characterized by a peak on the 7th day of abstinence; and that the effective time of an ejaculation is 7 days minimum. These data are the first to document the phenomenon of the periodic change in serum testosterone level; the correlation between ejaculation and periodic change in the serum testosterone level, and the pattern and characteristics of the periodic change.
Years ago, guys would have had to take steroid injections to achieve a 145.7% increase over baseline testosterone levels. If someone tries to talk you into not believing the boosting effect sexual deprivation has, just point them to the above NCBI link.
Normal Free Testosterone Levels
There are several different kinds of testosterone measures one can take.
The 2 most important measures are total and free testosterone. The total includes the full amount of T flowing through your veins, which means it includes free, SHBG-bound, and albumin-bound testosterone. This means its value is always going to be higher than the free-flowing T.
Free flowing testosterone on other hand is all about the not yet utilized testosterone. For many people, this is the more important measure, as having free-flowing testosterone means that the body can have its choice of where to send it to.
More specifically, if you lift weights, free testosterone is going to help you build more muscle mass and strength. Nice.
Studies have shown a direct correlation between how strong a man is, and how socially dominant he is.
Handgrip strength (HGS) is highly heritable and a good overall measure of strength and muscle function. Indicative of blood testosterone levels and fat-free body mass, HGS is also highly sexually dimorphic. Recent psychological research shows that HGS is correlated with a number of social variables, but only in males. We conducted three studies to further investigate the relationship between HGS and measures of aggression and social competition among adolescents. Consistent with previous reports, correlations were almost exclusive to males, but this was only visible during late adolescence (i.e., high school). These findings support evolutionary hypotheses regarding grip strength in male-male competition and suggest that similar to measures of testosterone, HGS is a measure that is predictive of social behavior in older adolescent males.
Apart from finding out the obvious fact that grip strength is related to being better company to women, the study also found that this measure becomes more important as time goes by – older adolescent males had a bigger benefit than younger males.
This means that if you start pumping iron when you are 18, you can easily be in the top 1% of guys by the time you hit 25-30.
There is literally no activity that is not better when you are stronger and healthier.
NoFap Improves Your Health
Apart from the factually-verified info that not masturbating boosts testosterone, we should also keep in mind that a person that has removed digital addictions from his life is going to have an easier time creating healthy habits in his life.
You can’t just stare at the wall for 8 hours a day. Even if you work for 10 hours, you still have at least 6 hours of free time, and that’s not counting the weekend. If you don’t waste time on your phone, you will naturally feel an urge to do something better.
Endocrine Disruptors are a Big Problem
Although you can defeat the fapping demon and live a clean lifestyle, that’s just one fight you’ve won in the grand scheme of things.
Endocrine disruptors are the new trendy thing to talk about these days.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine (or hormone) systems at certain doses. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Any system in the body controlled by hormones can be derailed by hormone disruptors. Specifically, endocrine disruptors may be associated with the development of learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems; deformations of the body (including limbs); breast cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid and other cancers; sexual development problems such as feminizing of males or masculinizing effects on females, etc.
Recently the Endocrine Society released a statement on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) specifically listing obesity, diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer in males, thyroid, and neurodevelopment and neuroendocrine systems as being affected biological aspects of being exposed to EDCs. The critical period of development for most organisms is between the transition from a fertilized egg into a fully formed infant. As the cells begin to grow and differentiate, there are critical balances of hormones and protein changes that must occur. Therefore, a dose of disrupting chemicals may do substantial damage to a developing fetus. The same dose may not significantly affect adult mothers.
These are chemicals that are found literally everyone around your house and your food. The more highly processed or plasticky something is, the more probable it is that it’s going to contain some amount of endocrine disruptors.
Worst of all is that most endocrine disruptors work in one direction – they lower your testosterone, and some may even boost your estrogen (the female sex steroid). There aren’t many of these chemicals that are going to do the reverse thing.
You will never live a life free of endocrine disruptors, but you can decrease your overall usage. Eat more natural, raw food, wash your vegetables and fruits, and try to use more glass, ceramic and steel containers. Don’t reheat food in the microwave in plastic dishware. Don’t ever buy pre-packaged frozen meals.
Being Overweight Destroys Testosterone
BMI (body mass index) is a far from ideal weight measure, as it doesn’t take into account how much muscle mass a person has. But it is good enough for people that are just starting out with NoFap and are looking forward to improving their health.
If your BMI is over 25, you are officially overweight. Use a BMI calculator to figure this out. If you have a BMI over 30, that means you are obese. If you want to be a lean, fat-free individual with muscle definition you want to have a BMI under 22-22.5.
Apart from fapping to porn and being exposed to endocrine disruptors, being overweight is the third biggest testosterone lowering factor.
Recent research from Ireland suggests that such lifestyle changes may benefit men with low testosterone. In a report presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 annual meeting, researchers studied a subgroup of 293 middle-aged overweight men with prediabetes. (Prediabetes occurs when a person has higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but those levels aren’t high enough to be considered diabetes.)
Twenty percent of the men in this group had low testosterone. For one year, they exercised for 150 minutes each week and consumed fewer calories and less fat. At the end of one year, only 11% of the men still had low testosterone. On average, the men’s testosterone levels increased about 15%.
There are other studies that also examine the link between obesity and testosterone, but what matters is this finding from Ireland. When overweight men started to exercise, they lost a bunch of weight and their testosterone levels increased by 15%.
Keep in mind testosterone starts to fall by 1% every year once you are above the age of 25-30. Getting 15% more testosterone is the same as becoming 15 years younger. And check this – 15% is just the average from the study.
If you are a dedicated individual with a mission in life, I bet you can easily go over 30%, and maybe even 50%, depending on how low your baseline was.
Leptin, produced in adipose tissue, influences the functioning of the testes directly and indirectly. The secretion of testosterone is directly mediated by the leptin receptors that are present in the leydig cells of the testes. Moreover, leptin acts on the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis, regulating the functioning of the testes indirectly.
Adipose tissue is involved in the metabolism of androgen to estrogen known to be converted by ARO found in fat tissue. The adipose tissue also affects hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis, reducing the release of gonadotropin. A strong androgen DHT, in addition, is converted to an inactive metabolite by AKRIC present in adipose tissue.
Androgens have a negative effect on adipogenesis and lipid synthesis by up-regulating the AR for catecholamine, thus increasing lipolysis. In addition, androgens reduce the LPL activity that is necessary for intracellular esterification of adipocytes, adjusting central fat accumulation.
In conclusion, adipose tissue and androgen influence each other in a bidirectional and reciprocal way.
Adipose tissue is the medical term for body fat, which is a type of loose connective tissue that is mostly composed of adipocytes (fat cells). Its main purpose is to store energy, but it appears that adipose tissue is also hormonally active – in a bad way.
The study says that fat cells converts testosterone into estrogen, so even that little T that overweight guys have is lost when the fat cells convert the testosterone into estrogen – causing even more problems. Low T is problematic for a variety of things – getting more estrogen is going to make things like ED even worse.
There is no way this can be a coincidence – the fact that being fat lowers testosterone AND makes your body secrete more estrogen.
There is only one conclusion you can make out of this:
Being overweight forces your body into “hibernation” mode.
This makes sense in a biological way, similarly to how fapping to porn makes you disinterested in socialization. If your brain gets a “signal” that you have achieved success in some important area of life, the body goes into hibernation mode. Two of the most important hibernation triggers are sex and having access to high-calorie food.
Logically speaking, becoming lazy after getting laid is a safe, win-win situation. If you got lucky, you should rest and reap the benefits.
Your nervous system has simply not evolved to be stimulated by artificial stimulants. Once you feel the taste of high-caloric food and your fat cells become larger, you will start to develop symptoms such as depression, low libido, and procrastination as a way for your body to “celebrate” the copious amount of food you’ve eaten.
Fapping to porn does the same thing – you feel like you’ve mated with hundreds of new partners, and that’s why you feel you should stay at home and enjoy the “achievement.”
To sum everything up:
NoFap is a Prerequisite to Increasing Your Testosterone Levels.
P.S. If you thought I was joking about artificial stimulants, take a look at what chewing gum does to you:
Effects of sugarless chewing gum as a stimulant on progesterone, cortisol, and testosterone concentrations assessed in saliva
Sugarless chewing gum is a frequently used stimulant to collect saliva samples for hormone analyses. This study tested the effect of sugarless chewing gum on cortisol, testosterone, and progesterone concentrations measured in saliva samples collected from 8 individuals at different times of the day (morning, evening) and under different collection conditions (gum, no gum) as well as in a saliva pool and water, either untreated or treated with chewing gum. Sugarless chewing gum raised all progesterone concentrations by 20 to 40 pg/mL, corresponding to a twofold increase, relative to no-gum controls and attenuated salivary testosterone and cortisol concentrations. It is recommended that the use of sugarless chewing gum as a stimulant should be avoided with saliva samples.
Sugarless chewing gum increases salivary progesterone measurements twofold. Chewing gum also affects salivary cortisol and testosterone levels. Passive drooling is the recommended method of saliva collection.
Wow, chewing gum has such a large effect on hormones, that they had to do this study in order to warn other researchers against taking saliva samples if a study participant has been chewing gum.
Also funny to note is that they found out about this result, but didn’t really care or note that further research should be done about whether the changes in the saliva have a further effect on blood concentrations of T and E.
What are the Benefits of Having High Testosterone?
Reading this article, you obviously have some idea that you would like to have more testosterone. Perhaps you’ve watched a documentary or read an article elsewhere, and though you should give this subject a bit more research.
In addition to some of the things you know about testosterone, here are a few additional benefits of having high testosterone levels:
More mental and physical energy
Reduced brain fog
Increased focus and clarity of thought
Increased competitive drive (one of the best benefits in my opinion)
Less aversion to risk-taking
Better handling of stressful situations
Fewer feelings of anxiety
Increased muscle size and strength (the most visually obvious benefit, which is why some bodybuilders inject their bodies with testosterone)
Decreases the chances of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia
Increased libido and better overall erectile function
NoFap Testosterone Questions and Answers:
Can You Get Testosterone Overload From NoFap?
There is no way you can suffer from a T-overload while doing NoFap. The reason why is simple: the body has mechanisms through which it organizes the amounts of the thousands of different chemicals and enzymes it needs.
If you were able to overload on testosterone so easily, professional bodybuilders would be doing it on a daily basis so that they can get even more muscle mass.
Remember – being healthier does not come with any added risks. Being unhealthy is risky – which is what masturbation is.
What is the NoFap Testosterone Timeline?
The NoFap testosterone timeline is basically the time period where you can spot the differences in your testosterone levels.
There is only one significant study done on the subject, and that is the Chinese study done several years ago. That study noted a 45.7% increase in free testosterone after seven days of abstinence from masturbation. After that, we have no conclusive data, although many people have reported feeling better as more weeks went by.
One word of warning: there is a possibility that testosterone may drop after three weeks of not ejaculating. It is not sure whether the drop is related to the testosterone going to other areas of the body, as guys doing semen retention have reported improved subjective feelings at the 6 and 12-week period, despite any possible testosterone drop.
If you are worried about this, you can ejaculate once every three weeks in order to offset any possible T-drop.
Can NoFap Reduce Testosterone?
As the answer above suggested, there is a chance that free testosterone may decrease after three weeks without ejaculating. The risk is probably overblown, and the drop may be related to some further improvements in the functioning of the body.
You can masturbate every three weeks (without pornography) if you are worried. That’s going to give you both the testosterone increasing benefits of NoFap, and stop any possible future decrease.
Will Relapsing Lower Testosterone?
It all depends on when you would relapse.
If you relapse in the first 1-2 weeks of your last ejaculation, the relapse is going to drop your testosterone. If on the other hand, you relapse after 3 or more weeks of NoFap, your testosterone may actually improve. But the psychological harm of the relapse may outweigh the benefit of any possible rise in testosterone levels.
Does Testosterone Have an Effect on Sleep Quality?
Testosterone has been linked to improved sleep quality in a few different scenarios.
The data on the effect of sleep quality on testosterone may depend on whether testosterone is given as replacement, in supratherapeutic doses, or in the context abuse. Experimental data suggest that testosterone may modulate individual vulnerability to subjective symptoms of sleep restriction. Low testosterone may affect overall sleep quality which is improved by replacement doses. Large doses of exogenous testosterone and anabolic/androgenic steroid abuse are associated with abnormalities of sleep duration and architecture.
The study says that while low testosterone can harm sleep quality, high testosterone may not give any additional benefits over normal testosterone levels.
Another caveat is that exogenous (in this case, meaning injected) testosterone may, in fact, worsen sleep quality. But that’s a given – as all things that aren’t natural are bad for you.
Is the NoFap-Testosterone Link a Myth?
Some people may think that the NoFap-Testosterone link is a myth or a placebo effect. That is not true because there is scientific evidence that NoFap has a positive effect on testosterone. NoFap also has an effect on DHT, which is arguably even more important than testosterone.
Even if some people feel better due to the placebo feelings of high testosterone – if that leads to higher confidence levels and better life quality, that would mean that NoFap worked for them.
Can Higher Testosterone Improve Beard Growth?
There are no specific studies done on the subject, so we are not sure yet. There are reports that men have improved hair growth after beginning NoFap.
Testosterone is usually correlated with hair loss and beard growth, so if NoFap boosts testosterone and hair growth at the same time, it is possible that it may have an effect on beard growth. In anecdotal discussions, no one has even noticed a decrease in beard quality after started NoFap. Most guys observed no visible changes or improvements to their beards.
Can Alcohol Lower Your Testosterone Levels?
Alcohol is one of the most testosterone lowering chemicals in existence. Antidopamine suggests going out more as a naturally healthier substitute for masturbation, which might include alcohol drinking in some situations.
If you are in a place where most people are drinking, you should get a glass as well. One drink is not going to shoot down your testosterone.
Is Masturbation the Main Cause of Low Testosterone in Young Males?
Masturbation is probably not the main cause of low testosterone in young males. However, it is a contributing factor, even if in an indirect fashion. Guys that would be living healthier, more fulfilling lives are left being isolated and depressed due to the effects of chronic masturbation.
Living unhealthy and being depressed are testosterone killers.
Can Testosterone Cure Depression?
Testosterone can have a positive effect in curing depression. Depending on the severity, it may not completely heal a person, but it can offer a net positive effect.
Is There a Link Between Testosterone and Cortisol?
According to studies available online, cortisol can have a negative effect on free testosterone levels. That would mean that anything that can lower your cortisol can, in theory, increase your testosterone.
The confusing part is coffee. Coffee has been reported as a testosterone boosting drink (especially when taken around exercise time), yet coffee releases a lot of cortisol. So we do not yet know the full effect of cortisol timing and release on testosterone levels.
Can Testosterone Cure or Worsen Acne?
Some studies have reported that overproduction of testosterone can lead to more acne on a person’s skin.
Several studies have demonstrated that there is an association between local overproduction of active androgens and acne. Acne patients produced higher rates of testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (5α-DHT) in their skin than healthy individuals.29 High testosterone levels have been implicated with enhanced sebaceous gland activity in humans30,31 and consequently with diseases marked by hyperseborrhea, such as Acne vulgaris.
However, that usually happens in teenagers. Adults don’t such high rates of androgen production, which would mean that boosting your testosterone levels is not going to worsen your acne problem. High testosterone may not solve your problem either, but that’s a topic for a different discussion.
Can Testosterone Cure Joint Pain?
As testosterone promotes tissue growth, it can stimulate growth in the ligaments and tendons in your body.
The most important factor for muscle growth is testosterone, so the same should be true for the tissues in the joints. There is a problem though;
Joints have less blood flow, meaning even if ligaments do repair to a certain degree, the growth is going to be slow
Many parts of the joint may not fully heal despite high testosterone levels
You can try eating more protein while working on your T-levels. That can be helpful, but trying to improve your form, posture and removing the activity that caused your injury may be of further help.