Does Drinking Water Increase Testosterone?
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
The Importance of Hydration
Keeping well hydrated is essential for overall health. Water has many health benefits, and it's the most hydrating liquid. The body needs water to function properly. When the body loses more fluids than it takes in, it's called dehydration. Water is essential to cells, and dehydration can have detrimental effects on the body. Sweating can cause large amounts of water to be lost, along with electrolytes.
Water is necessary for many bodily functions, not only for quenching thirst, but also for temperature regulation. It also keeps tissue moist. Dry tissues feel uncomfortable, so drinking water can help you stay cool. Drinking enough water each day helps maintain optimum levels of moisture in the body. Water also protects the spinal cord and helps cushion joints. Ultimately, water is essential for health. If you're interested in improving your health, drinking enough water is the first step.
To combat dehydration, you can simply work out your 'sweat rate'.
Sweat Rate Calculation
It's an easy way to understand how much your body releases water during an activity. Before you do any training weight yourself naked, then after an hour (do not drink during the hour) weigh yourself naked again. The weight lost in grams is the amount in milliliters that you have lost through sweat.
Therefore, ensure you drink that amount during each hour of activity.
Sources of hydration
Fruits, vegetables, and sports drinks have high water content, while regular snack items have only a few percent. When you're on the go, take a water bottle with you and keep it close by. While water is fine to drink, be sure to add a natural flavouring to your water. You can also drink water while sitting in front of the TV or mindlessly doing something else.
Exercising depletes essential minerals and electrolytes. Keeping hydrated prevents these imbalances and reduces the risk of heat exhaustion and cramps. Exercises that require high amounts of fluids can cause an athlete to lose 2 percent of their body weight in sweat. Studies show that just a 2% loss of hydration can impair cognitive and physical performance.
Whilst it is important to be hydrated, in some cases you may develop hyponatremia.
What is Hyponatremia?
If you're not sure what Hyponatremia is, it is a condition characterized by low sodium levels in the blood. It may cause severe symptoms like cerebral edema, headaches, cramps, and even seizures. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away.
It is caused when excessive fluid and electrolytes are lost through sweat, urine or vomiting and diarrhea. This condition could also be caused by unregulated use of diuretics (to lose weight quickly), kidney disease or undiagnosed diabetes.
Many people replace lost fluids with just water, but your body needs electrolytes as well, if electrolytes aren't replaced this may cause hyponatremia. It can also be caused by over hydrating with just water when it is not necessary.
If you have symptoms of Hyponatremia, your physician can diagnose you with a thorough physical exam, blood tests, and a urine test. Your treatment will be aimed at replacing sodium in the blood. Some cases of hyponatremia can be treated at home with diet and water intake changes, while others require intravenous sodium replacement. Severe hyponatremia may also be the result of adrenal gland insufficiency.
There are several causes of low sodium levels in the blood. In addition to excessive amounts of fluid in the body (a condition called "watering down"), sodium is lost from the body. People with hyponatremia often lose fluids and sodium at the same time. To compensate for the loss of sodium, doctors can give them intravenous fluids (IV fluids). Other treatments involve taking sodium retaining drugs (or "sodium resuscitation medications") to replace lost sodium.
Hyponatremia can also affect the brain. When sodium levels are too low, water gets inside of the brain cells, causing them to swell. As the brain is enclosed in the bony skull, swelling of the brain can lead to impaired brain function. Because of the imbalance in the body's water and sodium levels, hyponatremia may progress to seizures or coma. However, if left untreated, hyponatremia can cause long-term neurological damage and life-threatening consequences.
The Importance of Hormonal Balance For Men
For optimal health and wellness, hormonal balance is important for men. Proper balance between male hormones is critical for a variety of reasons, including how a man feels. Testosterone, for example, is important for the production of healthy sperm and bone tissue, while also protecting the body from depression and heart disease. But hormone levels can get out of balance. To keep this delicate system in balance, male hormone supplements can be beneficial.
Hormones can cause a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms, from mood swings to insomnia. If a man isn't getting the proper balance of hormones, he may suffer from chronic pain, weight gain, and increased appetite. Hormone imbalances can also lead to aging, stress, and exercise, and disease. Hormone balancing can help improve the health and well-being of both men and women.
While men are often accustomed to dealing with these changes, male hormone imbalance is a common problem. Although men have different hormone levels, the most common symptoms of "aging" are a result of a hormonal imbalance. As men age, their testosterone levels decrease. If they don't address the imbalance, it can lead to serious health problems. Fortunately, there are treatments for male hormone imbalance. To understand how these supplements work, read on!
Taking a healthy diet is another way to achieve hormonal balance. Men should avoid processed or refined foods, and instead choose whole, real foods. Whole, nutrient-dense foods, with minimal fat, are best. In addition to whole foods, men should also eat zinc, an important mineral for fertility. Zinc improves the quality of sperm. This is an important way to promote fertility in men. This is a key step in maintaining hormonal balance.
The Effects of Dehydration on Testosterone and Cortisol
Men's hormones are affected by hydration, and the effects of dehydration on testosterone and cortisol are well documented. In fact, most US citizens are chronically dehydrated, and this condition negatively affects the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which functions as a natural testosterone suppressor. A 2018 study has recently revealed that male soccer players suffering from mild dehydration increased their salivary cortisol levels.
Exercise, can alter the levels of testosterone and cortisol in the bloodstream. While exercise has a positive effect on testosterone and cortisol, other factors may affect their levels. In addition to exercise, hydration is a key factor in maximizing a person's physiologic response to physical activity. HIIT can increase testosterone levels in the body and suppress cortisol and estrogen levels.
Does Dehydration Reduce Testosterone Levels?
The body's hydration status impacts the production of many hormones, including cortisol, which acts as a natural testosterone suppressor.
A study from 1994 analyzed the influence of hydration status on testosterone, cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline pre, during, post and post exercise after 48 hours.
The researchers found that mild dehydration as a consequence of prolongued low intensity exercise in the heat had little to no effect on testosterone.
Research published in 2006 demonstrated that cortisol concentrations were higher amongst athletes when they didn't replace equal amounts of fluids lost during exercise which is known as a state of hypohydration.
Furthermore, the cortisol testosterone ratio was higher (i.e elevated cortisol and lower testosterone) during hypohydration when compared to optimally hydrated during the pre-exercise analysis and post exercise.
So, by evaluating the few studies that are available it seems that hydration status doesn't necessarily have a direct impact on testosterone levels, but it does on cortisol.
Hydration and growth hormone?
A study published in the Journal of Endrocrinology wanting to establish the effects of growth hormone response to exercise with water intake and without.
The French researchers reported that growth hormone levels were significantly lower after 25 minutes and 40 minutes of exercise in the group that had no water, and would be in a state of hypohydration.
What is Cortisol?
The hormone cortisol regulates a variety of functions in the body, including blood sugar and salt and water balance. It also affects our immune system, memory formation, and helps keep the sleep-wake cycle regular. In addition to its role in maintaining normal functions, cortisol is a critical part of our everyday lives. If we are experiencing a stressful situation, the release of extra cortisol can help our body cope with the situation.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal cortex and is crucial for the utilization of glucose, protein, and fats. Cortisol is also produced in laboratories and is often used to treat many different ailments. Hydrocortisone is one form of cortisol and is used to treat a wide variety of diseases.
In addition to regulating metabolism, cortisol also regulates the fight or flight response. The adrenal glands release cortisol when we feel threatened. When we are under threat, cortisol causes our muscles to tense up, heart rates to increase, and breathing to speed up. Cortisol is essential for our body's functioning, but too much can be dangerous.
Although cortisol is helpful for the body, it can also inhibit the body's relaxation response, which allows our bodies to return to normal. Our high-stress culture triggers this response too frequently, which results in chronic stress. Therefore, it is crucial to control the amount of cortisol in our body and maintain healthy levels.
The Effect of Cortisol on Testosterone
A new study has found that the stress hormone cortisol can have an adverse effect on testosterone levels. The relationship between cortisol and testosterone is consistent with previous research. The relationship was significant only in samples of Exercise Recovery, but was not evident in the Resting condition. Furthermore, the relationship was found only when cortisol was elevated to 160% higher than at Resting. These results suggest that cortisol can influence testosterone levels, but the exact mechanisms involved are unknown.
Stress is one of the most common causes of low levels of testosterone in men. In this type of situation, the body must be in "fight or flight" mode to avoid danger and injury. In a stressful situation, testosterone is inhibited and adrenaline is released instead. This response causes extreme fatigue and anger, which is often referred to as "chronic fatigue."
It is not hard to see why stress is harmful to a man's testosterone levels. It's because cortisol levels increase when stress is high, and testosterone levels fall. This imbalance can affect a man's ability to regulate emotions, build muscles, and maintain a healthy body weight. It can also cause the immune system to malfunction. Studies have shown that men under survival training may have lower testosterone levels than normal men.
Cortisol and testosterone are closely related. In rats, glucocorticoids have a direct inhibitory effect on testicular Leydig cells. These animals were given high doses of glucocorticoids, which caused a decrease in testosterone production. Similarly, studies have shown that the negative correlation between cortisol and testosterone is the same in humans. Increased cortisol levels can inhibit the production of free testosterone by disrupting the testicular androgen biosynthesis pathway.
So, does drinking water increase testosterone levels? The answer isn't exactly clear cut. There's certainly no evidence that suggests drinking water when already hydrated is beneficial to your testosterone levels.
Furthermore, there's little evidence that suggests being dehydrated after or during exercise has any effect on testosterone levels, but it does increase cortisol levels.
Over time, consistently high cortisol levels can negatively impact circulating testosterone levels.
Therefore, it is imperative that you remain hydrated whether you are training or not.