Testosterone – Episode 128

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [3:44] Low Testosterone in 20 Year Old
  2. [13:33] Vasectomy Effect on Testosterone
  3. [16:23] Dehydration, Water Intake, and Libido
  4. [21:51] Breast Milk Consumption for Adults
  5. [27:29] Loss of Appetite
  6. [33:24] Eating Bones
  7. [37:23] Prolines in Bone Broth
  8. [40:25] Fitness for New Fathers
  9. [46:49] Lifting Belts
  10. [54:19] Flu Shots



1. Total Testosterone 172 in 20 year old
Craig says:
Hi Robb, I love reading your stuff , your information has helped me improve many things in my life. I have a question and I know you get a lot of them but I understand you have had an interest in Testosterone lately so I thought I would share. As in the subject, I am 20 years old 5’9 160lbs and train using CFFB and eat Paleo. I started feelings symptoms of testosterone and after reading the article on your site called “It’s in the blood” I decided to get my levels checked. Turns out my total testosterone is complete crap but my free testosterone is 32 and my SHBG (sex-hormone binding globulin) is 30.8 (within normal range). I believe my lowered testosterone is due to a long term calorie restricted diet paired with Intermittent Fasting and over training. Before getting the blood work done I have upped my calories to about 3000 a day and continued training with CFFB exactly. I have felt better but am basically wondering since I dug myself into this hole could I possibly dig myself out by eating at maintenance and resting properly? I would really appreciate your advice! I trust your opinion above many, Cheers.


2.  Testicular Fortitude

Brian says:
Hi Greg and Robb,

My question is about a vasectomy and testosterone loss.

Some background.  I’ve ate paleo since Cordain and Friel put out thier book. Before Paleo, my wife and I tried to get pregnant for 3 years with no dice.  After going Paleo, my wife gets pregnant everytime I look at her without wearing a HAZMAT suit.
We both just turned 40, and welcomed #3 just a couple of weeks ago.
I compete as a Masters Oly lifter, and am worried that going under the knife will reduce my “T” levels.
For the record, I’ve never been in the Crossfit camp, and my training load is pretty dialed in for a guy that has 3 kids, works full time, and coaches 3 varsity sports.
To the question:
(I know that paleo man would have never had his balls clipped, but I digress)
What are your thoughts on getting fixed, and testosterone levels?
Thanks for your time from the guy that has no interest in March Madness.


3. Dehydration and a Limp Tool (Or Happy and Friskie Once Again!)

Carl says:

Hi Robb and Greg,

Here’s my deal: I’ve been eating pretty clean paleo for about 1 ½ years.  Occasionally, we whoop it up with some dark chocolate, wine, norcal margs, but really never touch any processed with wheat in it.

So…here’s my story that I wish to share with others, and see if my experiment of n=1 sounds legit, and maybe help someone else.  I’m a very healthy, active 48 year old male married to a super-hot 50 year old female.  We have both been physically active all of our lives.  We both do a MEBB + CrossFit Conditioning type of gig, with me throwing in a bit of gymnastics (as we are rock climbers and mountain bikers).  About a year ago, I started seeing a strong decrease in my sex drive – totally scary!  It progressed to the point of our bedroom adventures becoming disappointing and embarrassing due to an occasionally “limp tool”.

I had never experienced this in my life.  I’ll admit, the 20 year old obsession with sex is long gone, yet I really enjoy sex and have enjoyed a very happy sexual relationship with my wife!  It totally sucked to see things going rapidly downhill.  I worried and fretted, tried to eat cleaner and exercise smarter – with no improvement in libido.  My strength and conditioning was great, my sleep okay, and my nutrition excellent – I was starting to seriously worry that my testosterone level was taking a dive for the worst as a function of age!

Then, last month, I started pounding down a minimum of a half an ounce of water per pound of body weight (as recommended by Brian McKenzie).  I’ve always drank what I thought was a reasonable amount of water, and had no idea I wasn’t getting enough.  Yet, within a week of increased water consumption, I was happy, frisky and enjoying bedroom adventures again.  My confidence and pleasure is back and my spouse is happy again.

So…am I an outlier?  Or have you heard of this before?  As insulin levels normalize thru a paleo diet, do we store less water, thus need to increase water consumption?  I’ve never heard of dehydration causing impotence…yet what an easy, cheap and effective solution for me.


4. Breastmilk? Not just for babies.

Danny says:

Hey Rob and Greg,

I love the podcasts and am working my way through all of them on my way to and from work instead of listening to ESPN radio. I guess that means you guys are fairly entertaining or I probably would have driven off the road by now at 5 in the morning on my way to work from a mixture of exhaustion and boredom. So I guess thanks for keeping me awake, I’m sure my wife and son appreciate it.

Speaking of my wife and son, I have a question relating to both of them. My son is now 3 months old and growing like a real badass. My wife has been blessed with a huge milk which I think is awesome because her boobs ar huge and my son loves it because he can eat all day long. Even with our 3 month old son’s strong appitite we have managed to stock pile a freezer full of frozen breastmilk. When I look in the freezer and see nothing but breastmilk I think that if my son can double his size in 6 wks maybe I can use this stuff to get bigger also.

I recently had a friend who is a pro downhill mountain biker tell me about how he cut 5 seconds off his track time at the Sea Otter competition last year by supplementing with his wifes breast milk. He said he would drink 4-5 ounces per day and felt like a new man. I guess what I’m getting at is are there any performance enhancement aspects to breastmilk and if so is it safe or would you recommend making a nice little post workout breastmilk supplement.


5. Paleo Loss of appetite

Ross says:
Dear Robb,

My question is pretty straight forward however I know within the world of human physiology the answer is never so simple.

I bought your book about 6 months back been off and on paleo since then up until about 3 months ago when my wife was diagnosed with Celiac/Crohens disease she is also not lactose intolerant, but does have issues like most with the the protein Casein type A1.  She decided to try some goats milk which doesn’t have type A1 and pretty much downed the the rest of the carton with no problem whatsoever.

With that being said my question is for me actually.  I adopted a strict paleo diet to match my wife’s so she wouldn’t go it alone as well as reduce any pressure she would face with any “Shit” food in the house.  My conundrum is now for some reason I have little if any appetite and have to force myself to eat about 90% of the time.  Obviously this question may or may not make it to the podcast but of course I am still curious as to why I am just not wanting to eat?

I am  30 years old
204 lbs.
15% bf

sleep avg. 7-9 hours per night

activity level is active … 3 kids(got to keep up with them)
heavy lifting 2x times per week with another 1-2 days of 15-20min of extra activity via rowing, jump rope etc. Otherwise I am reading, listening to podcast mostly yours and sleeping if I get the chance with the kids.

oh FYI as far as food goes when I am hungry I can usually only eat about 400-500 calories (lol calories) worth of food before my body says please no more and I am forced to push the plate away, but then I am not hungry for the next 9-10 hours.  You can see my problem?

My meals are typically 60% Fat 30% Protein and 10% Carb (Veges).

I only consume starchy carbs like sweet potatoes and maybe a cup of rice as my after workout meal so usually on workout days my meal would look like this.

20% Fat 40% Protein and 40% Carbs as far as fruit goes I actually don’t eat much of it and if I do its included in my post workout meals.  Hope this helps a little as I have been trying to lean down but with the higher levels of cortisol from not eating much and working out its been a very slow ride.

Thanks for your response in advance and will be listening and hoping for any feedback if possible


6. Eating bones?

Chris says:
Hi Robb and Greg,

I made stew this week from a leftover chicken carcass, some goat bones, and some bone-in, cross-cut, grass fed beef shanks, and some veggies of course.

I left to stew on low heat for three days, having a bowl now and again. But today, as I was eating some of the stew, I noticed some of the meat seemed kind of chalky in texture, and then I realized it wasn’t meat I was eating. I knew there were some bones in my bowl so I took one of the chicken bones and bit right through it. It didn’t taste bad and I continued to look for bones to eat.

Then I thought, “Is this safe? Will this kill me?” but I have a suspicion that I’ve stumbled onto something that could be supper nutritious and could is way for people on a budget like me to make use of things that would just be thrown out. I haven’t tried eating any of the larger beef and goat bones though.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Thanks for all you do, I love the show. I’ve been eating paleo-ish for couple months now and plan to go all in for thirty days as of April 1st. I know that’s April fool’s day; don’t jinx it!


7. Prolines in bone-broth
Murph says:
Hi Robb and Greg

Could you talk about prolines in bone-broth?

In case you don’t know, bone-broth is all the rage these days in paleo. Everybody is doing it. Health bloggers like Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet are big fans. They say it promotes a healthy gut. I’ve even heard Robb state on the podcast before that he frequently boils down an entire chicken carcass.

Over the years I’ve heard Robb and Mat Lalonde talk a lot about proline rich protiens from grains and dairy reeking havoc on peoples guts.

Well, It has recently come to my attention that foods like bone-broth and gelatin are also rich in the amino-acid PROLINE. What gives?

Is this bad? Are bones killing me? Why is the proline in broth different than the proline in grains? Explain.

8. Fitness for New Fathers

I.G. says:

Robb and Greg,

Here’s a question very pertinent to you, Robb, given your impending cub.  What sort of training protocol are you planning on going with as a brand new father?  My daughter was born not even a month ago and between the low quantities of contiguous sleep, the non-predictable nature of my days, and my desire to be at home as much as possible given how much I’m missing while I’m at work, I haven’t been able to sort through what sort of exercise protocol I should be using until my life become a bit less chaotic.  Before my daughter arrived I was on a twice weekly Starting Strength-esq plan (Tues – 3×5 Squat, Bench, Power Clean, Thurs – 3×5 Squat, Press, Dead; adding weight in a linear fashion).  This was working great and I was having a lot of fun while getting much stronger.  The trouble is that it required quite a bit of time at the gym and without adequate sleep I fear that I’ll be under-recovered and prone to hurting myself or getting frustrated.

I was thinking I’d do something akin to:  Day 1) Squat, bench or press, dead or clean attempting to maintain rather than gain strength; Day 2) A 5-15 minute intense crossfit-ish workout (focusing on the CF Football end of the Crossfit Continuum in terms of movements and heaviness), Days 3-7 lots of walking.

What do you guys think?

Not lose a bunch of the strength I just gained.
Not get so out of shape that it takes forever to get back up and running.
Stay mobile.
Relieve some stress.

Shortened question:
What is the most efficient protocol for someone to maintain strength, mobility, and GPP (in that order), when I dont want to squander a second away from my daughter, and because I live with a new-born I’m getting shitty sleep?

9. There’s no good way to make a funny pun about Lifting Belts

Matt J. says:
Hey Robb and Greg,

I am looking for some purchasing advice and was hoping you guy’s could help me out.

The background: I am a short-ish guy (5’8″) with what I’m assuming is a short-ish torso (never measured my proportions, but I have a pretty big DL compared to my other lifts). I really enjoy olympic lifting and plan on getting back into it sometime in the future (I came into this whole thing from spending a year in a CF box, so I got good exposure to EVERYTHING as you can imagine). I’ve been doing Starting Strength for the past few months to correct my pitiful lack of strength, and I’m getting to the point where I think using a belt might help me out with continuing the linear progression. I like to keep the squats high-bar and do front squats once a week because, like I said, I would like to move more towards olympic lifting once I ride out the LP.

However, there is a lot of information floating around on the interwebs about what kind of belt to get and why, so I came to the ultimate source for all information in order to get the straight poop on what kind of belt I need to buy.

To start off, I know that the reason for a belt is to give the abs something to push against in order to increase the intra-abdominal pressure in the thoracic cavity (at least I think I KNOW this, please straighten me out if there’s more to the story).

Rippetoe says that you need a good 4″ belt because the surface area for your abs to push against is the real reason to wear a belt, and the tapered belts are designed by people who don’t know how a lifting belt actually functions. He goes so far as to state that if you have a tapered belt, wear it backwards (is this a feasible option?)

Then again, Olympic lifters seem to wear tapered belts. I’m assuming this is to limit the potential for the belt getting in the way of the lift and stuff.

Finally, 70’s big has a good series of posts on belts, and in one of them he says that he uses a velcro belt for his olympic lifting, a 4″ suede belt for squatting and pressing, and a 4″ leather belt for deadlifting and pulling.

My question is: Who is right and what do I do? Simple question, eh?

To clarify: Should I get a 4″ belt to ride out my linear progression, then get a velcro/tapered belt (which one?) once I move back to more olympic lifting? Is there a need for multiple belts or can you recommend one that I could get away with for everything (I’m never gonna be lifting elite, just like to do it for me)? And finally, being that I’m not real big, do you think a 4″ is overkill, should I look into a 3″ belt, and what’s the difference between the 10mm belts and the 13mm belts (obviously stiffness, but why and which one do I need)?

I love the podcast and am looking forward to your pontification on this incredibly perplexing issue. Thanks for all your help and keep up the good work.

-Matt J

P.S. Tapered Valeo belts are cheap on Amazon, but tapered Cardillo belts and Inzer 4″ belts seem to be a go-to on the blogs/forums. Why the price difference, and could one get away with the cheapo if they weren’t worried about long term-durability (which is what I’m assuming the difference is)?


10. Annual Flu Shot

Rickey says:

Hey Greg and Robb,

Love the podcast! You guys really save my hour commute every day and I thank you for that. Sorry if I start to sound all Jesse Ventura conspiracy theory on you but here goes nothing. I am active duty military for the past 8 years and I have been paleo for a year. Well of course I have become very conscious what I put in my body which brings me to this, what about what the government puts in my body? I can’t help but get a little curious when flu season comes around and they act like with out this vaccine the flu monster will destroy us all. They tell us the time, the place and then the medics stand and watchin amazement as we spray this mist into each nostril so they can check one more name off the list. Just recently they have switched from the injection now to the mist up the nose. I hear the only difference is the mist is a live virus. Anyways, I figured you guys would know best. Is this safe or better yet, any long term studies showing this even works? Or is the government trying to kill us all off so they don’t have to pay health insurance benefits past the age of 60? Thank you so much for your time!

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  1. Martin says

    Robb, you’ve mentioned a couple of times, also in this episode, that if you were doing only lifting and gymnastics your body fat levels could be lower. What would be the mechanism behind? I would presume, again based on some other comments you’ve made, that glycogen depleting workouts (you call them glycolythic) are not really good for fat loss. Why would it be so? Due to stress, increased hunger, greater requirement for carbs in the diet?

  2. Matt says

    Best episode ever!!!! Laughed all the way to work, and just might get my testosterone checked next time I’m at the doc!

  3. Matt J says

    Thanks for answering my question guys, even if it didn’t really fit into the theme of the show.

    In retrospect I see it was a bit long-winded, but I really appreciated hearing what you had to say. Especially since Greg’s recommendation wasn’t even on my radar and seems to be exactly what I was looking for, not to mention it’s about 1/5 the cost of the other options I was considering!

    Thanks again, you guys rock.

  4. Christopher says

    That’s right folks, send all your hate and/or love mail to me for this one!
    Chris (at) Robbwolf.com

    I swear it wasn’t all planned, it just worked out that way :)

  5. Ty Fyter says

    Is it a viable option to get Carlson’s D3 drops via amazon.com? I know amazon has it, but would it go ‘off’ or anything similar?

  6. MDamage says

    There was lots of “c*ck and ballz” talk but the stats for women (the ones with the boobs referred to in this podcast only as breastmilk providers) were left out.

    When talking about sex hormones, why did you not include the relevant info for females as well? I’ve been listening to the most recent 10 or so podcasts and the fat percentage numbers and other statistics you give are provided specifically for men but then with little to no specificity for women (ie.,body fat percentage: ‘ratchet that up a bit for women’–what does that mean numerically?) What about testosterone levels for women?

    When discussing birth control methods, you loosely mentioned tubal ligation but that was it–what are the impacts of hormonal birth control on female paleo-ites or tubal ligation? Just asking for a bit of reciprocity for the ladies on the stats.

    • says

      I’ve talked a ton in the past on female stuff, check out the archives. One reason I avoid more detail on the female stuff:
      Explaining everything you’d need to know about male endocrinology takes about 40 min. For women, about 200 hours. It is SHOCKINGLY more complex, has far more nuance and is far easier to get wrong. So part of what i’m doing is commenting on what I KNOW and not providing enough information for folks to make mistakes.

      Women tend to run well a few BF % higher than men. I’ll try to do a post talking about this.

      • MDamage says

        Thanks for the reply, Robb. I appreciate the nod towards the complexity of the female biological / hormonal balance and lack of time in the podcast format to address all of it. I am just glad you heard me and will look forward to the blog post.

        • says

          My pleasure. I just try to stick with what I know and this female story is very complex. I promise I’ll do my best to learn it well enough to help folks better.

  7. jared says

    Loved the show, as per usual. When Robb screamed out Giarda mid question, I lost it for some reason. I think I freaked out some folks when I was LOL-ing in the produce aisle, but I digress…

    Octodad…freakin classic

    • paleoslayer says

      could you bring on eminem as a guest?

      RW: your new album, paleo gangters, how’d that come about?

      E: you know a lot of ppl dont know this, but ah, you know, backindaday dr Dre was paleo, gnome sane? all these other ppl nowadays they just be paleo imitators gnome sane?

  8. Christopher says

    For dads wanting to workout with minimal time/equipment (or really anyone for that matter), I think Ross Enamait’s book Never Gymless is a great resource. If you’re not getting much sleep and stressed and all that, then not going too crazy on the HIIT stuff and getting enough recovery might be good to keep an eye on.

  9. says

    I have to say I absolutely loved this episode just because of the bit when Greg talks about him clarifying countries and continents. Being South American I get really upset with people who know nothing about Geography. That being said, I’m looking forward to hearing about the equivalent to “cock and balls” issues in women, specifically lack of libido and amenorrhea.

  10. LukeOZ says

    Just a quick note on downhill mountain biking, as was mentioned in the breastmilk question.

    (Great question, by the way.)

    Downhill mountain bike racing, or DH, as many of us MTB’ers know it, is a very sprint-intensive course. Especially longer courses like Sea Otter, have some flat-ish sections, and even some brief uphill sections.

    Average times for a DH run will be about 3 minutes, except on the new long-format Super D courses, where time might be 8-10 minutes.

    These athletes are pedaling heavy, squishy long-travel bikes at high intensity, thus it’s very much a power-centric sport. Athletes I’ve trained with often do Oly lifting as off-season training, and it yields results. So I can see how the GH-secretagogue effects of breastmilk could shave off 5 seconds from a run–which is a significant improvement, and may make a difference between first place and third, or even first and 5th place.

  11. Niall says

    On the breast milk thing… I have no idea how good it is for adults but in London there is an ice creamery that does breast milk ice cream. It’s so popular that they always sell out. Obviously not enough boobies to meet the demand.

  12. says

    Robb and Greg,

    Great podcast. Testosterone, Breast milk and frisky, oh my!!!
    Love the conspiracy element, but, I agree with you Robb, probably just points back to $$$$.

    Just quick hit on the flu-shot thingy.

    What happened to common sense?
    Hep B to an infant leaving the hospital.
    Going out scoring some drugs or hooking up???
    Or giving the gardisil vaccine to boys???

    They are looking at the strains of influenza, taking an educated guess and putting the top 3-6 out of 120 strains occurring at that time into the shot. I don’t like those odds. In addition, they are using embroynated chicken eggs suspended in formaldehyde, and each dose contains thimersol, to the tune of 25 mcg per dose, as well as, surfactant Triton X-100.

    Hmmm…I’ll stick to the Vitamin D3.

    Have a great day!!!

  13. Jenn D says


    You mention in the vasectomy question that there is some indication in the literature that vasectomies can reduce testosterone production. I can’t find anything except things that indicate the opposite of that. Could you please post some links to the literature you are referring to? Also, if you have any opinions about the injection they are currently testing in lieu of a vasectomy, I would love to hear them!


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