Dr. Farhan Khawaja aka Doc Testosterone is professionally trained with a PhD in Neuroscience. He is a health and fitness educator, specializing in developing state-of-the-art diet, lifestyle and fitness programs to naturally boost testosterone.
In this interview we cover a wide range of testosterone aspects from the molecular level, the whole system and much more. Includes:
• What are the differences between Neurotransmitters and Hormones
• How Fatherhood can Decrease Your Testosterone
• Androgen Dependency for Hair Growth and Hair Loss
• The #1 Critical Nutrient for Lowering SHBG
• The Super Release of Chemicals causing Saturation and Desensitization (a similar mechanism behind Porn, Steroids and TRT)
• Two Types of Men – Eugonadal and Hypogondal. Which are you and what this has meant for quantified testing…
• The Key Chemical Difference between Testosterone Dependent and Dopamine Dependent Erections
• Total, Free and Bioavailable Testosterone Explained
• Extracellular and Intracellular Cell Receptors and what to do to support their health
• How Testosterone Affects DNA
• Is Sex Once a Week Best for T?
• The Future of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators
• And much more
Click the link below to access the complete transcript.[spoiler]
Logan: Welcome to The Vital Way podcast. I’m Logan Christopher of both Super Man Herbs and Legendary Strength and we have an exciting call, talking about one of my favorite subjects, testosterone, today. Joining me is Dr. Farhan Khawaja AKA—a little bit easier to pronounce—Doc Testosterone, which I really like that name. Thanks for joining us, Doc T.
Farhan: Thanks, Logan. Thanks for having me, man. I’m really excited for this.
Logan: Yeah, it’s always a great subject to talk about. In talking about it with other people, I feel like just talking about testosterone increases testosterone so it’s a good subject, right?
Farhan: Yeah, man. It gets me excited, too.
Logan: Excellent. So just a little bit about Doc Testosterone, he’s professionally trained with a PhD in Neuroscience and lately he’s been a health and fitness educator specializing in developing state-of-the-art diet, lifestyle and fitness programs to naturally boost testosterone, a subject very near and dear to my heart. You want to go a little bit to your back story for the people that might not be familiar with you? How did you get on this path? How’d you go from neuroscience to testosterone?
Farhan: Yeah, man. Absolutely. Basically, I was in grad school. I spent ten years in grad school. I did my master’s and PhD in Montreal. I don’t know. A lot of people aren’t familiar with grad school life but basically it takes a toll on your health. Your sleep is very deficient and your nutrition, you just kind of slack off on it. Also, just exercise is really hard to do. These are excuses but it’s basically very prevalent in all the grad students. When that happened to me over the ten years, I kind of felt that I had to do a transformation in my life and get in track towards feeling better, sleeping better and not feeling groggy in the morning and actually looking good when I look at myself and just get my life on track from a health and fitness perspective.
So I got my testosterone checked. It was as low as that of an 80-year old man so I was like holy cow, what’s happening? So I just made a call in life, which is when I finish grad school, when I finish my PhD I’m just going to make a drastic change. And that’s what I did. I essentially wanted to work on my health. I also wanted to work on my social anxiety issues. That was a big part of my sort of deficiency in grad school. So I just got my life back together. I trained with Elliot Hulse at a strength camp in Florida for almost a year. I also went to Vegas to kind of become more social. I started working for a social dynamic company to learn how to interact with people and kind of overcome my social anxiety. I improved my posture. I improved my breathing, just kind of a 180 turn in terms of health and fitness.
And now, since I had the scientific background anyway and I used that to learn everything and actually take those actions based on rigorous science, I was able to transform my life, man. Thank god. I’m just very privileged and then I helped out a bunch of my friends back in the day and they were like you should do a product and you should do a YouTube channel. I was like maybe, okay. Then here we are, Doc Testosterone, and things are going really well, now.
Logan: Excellent. I’m curious. As a professionally-trained neuroscientist, besides being quite familiar with research and diving into that but with that neuroscience angle, how has that perhaps made you look at testosterone differently than other people?
Farhan: That’s an interesting question because a lot of people don’t understand the practical nature of being a scientist. A lot of people think of neuroscience or any science for that matter as just somebody in the lab with a lab coat, which is all true as well. For me personally, I looked at things from a very quantitative level. I always tend to take a step back and develop hypotheses. So even back in the day when I had low testosterone, I was like hmm, why do I have low testosterone? Is it the fact that it’s just testosterone or it’s my lifestyle? What is interacting with this hormone? That’s why I took a step back and just looked at it very much like a scientist would.
Having the privilege of being a neuroscientist, I tend to look at things from a neuroscience perspective. What is happening in the brain? A lot of my fitness colleagues when they get asked questions about testosterone, they’re not really thinking about the brain much. They’re thinking about oh, you’ve just got to lift some more and you just have to work on your legs or just lift heavy. That’s just half—not even half—it’s probably less than half the equation.
So I tend to look at the brain a lot. What’s happening in the brain? What triggers certain hormones to be actually released? And not just from a pure biochemical perspective but also a systems perspective. When I did my master’s and PhD, I studied both very molecular, cellular level processes and also on a systems level. So I was recording from monkeys and we had electrophysiology, recording electrical activity. So I tended to look at systems. Now when I talk to my students, my clients, they always tend to understand the practical nature of what the benefits are from the fact that I’m a neuroscientist. They actually get that because it’s such a complex system.
Logan: I like that you say that. That’s what I feel I guess many people in the scientific room are lacking. Because when you dive into the science, you’re getting to that molecular level, it keeps getting reduced into smaller and smaller things that if you go down that path, which can be very useful but sometimes it’s hard to look at the bigger picture, whereas you’re saying the whole system so I like that you really bring that in.
Farhan: Even if I look back to my grad school career, every time there was a complicated topic that we had to explain to the lay public, be it high school students, college students or even just general public in the city, I was always the first one to say I’m going to take this project because this is really cool stuff. I want to benefit people because a lot of my colleagues now that are still doing research and doing the molecular, cellular stuff, I think about them and I say man, that’s amazing stuff that they’re doing but they can bring so much value to society and that’s one thing that science is really lacking.
Logan: And feel free to dive into the science and talking about molecules. I think we have a lot of advanced listeners. If people aren’t there, that’s fine. They’ll get some of the big picture stuff along with this but I’m curious to explore, as a neuroscientist, how specifically do some of the neurotransmitters like dopamine interact with testosterone or other hormones? They’re basically just a different name. They’re both chemicals, right? Neurotransmitters and hormones are just kind of operating in different areas. How do these things all interact? I know that’s a broad question but have at it.
Farhan: That’s really cool actually because one thing is a lot of people they tend to just use hormone when they mean neurotransmitter and vice versa, right? There are a couple of differences. The main difference is that a neurotransmitter interacts with a neuron on a very molecular level so it’s like microns. A micron is like less than a nanometer. That is how neurotransmitters are actually processing within the brain as well as the gut and other parts of the body. Neurotransmitters are not just in the brain, right?
But the difference is that a hormone travels long distances normally whereas a neurotransmitter is released from the presynaptic terminal, for all the advanced guys, and then it travels to the postsynaptic terminal and that is how the neurons are communicating with each other. But then a hormone is not so much in terms of proximity. For example when you think of the release of testosterone, testosterone is produced in the Leydig cells of the testes but the way it works is there is a hormone which is luteinizing hormone (LH) that is released by the pituitary gland in the brain and it travels all the way through your blood to the testes, to the Leydig cells and that triggers the production of testosterone in the Leydig cells. Where hormones take a long time to actually get to where they need to be, neurotransmitters are happening within microseconds, milliseconds. That’s the biggest difference between a neurotransmitter and a hormone. But then there are hormones like oxytocin that are both neurotransmitters and hormones. That’s how they’re interacting.
Now you asked about the interplay of these hormones. That’s an interesting question, too. There are multiple ways that these hormones interact. One specific topic is just in the brain. If you look at, for example, prolactin. For a lot of listeners out there who are fathers or they might not be fathers but they have a long term relationship, what tends to happen is especially when a baby is born, a father has an increase in prolactin levels. Now the thing with prolactin is it tends to decrease testosterone levels. Now this is very practical for a guy because if you’re listening there and you’re a father, you might have been let’s just say promiscuous or more attracted to a female when you saw her because now you’ve got higher libido and so on. But then when you become a father, there’s an increase in prolactin levels and that tends to decrease testosterone levels.
Now the interplay between these two has a lot to do with dopamine. Specifically what happens is dopamine has an inhibitory effect on what triggers prolactin levels. There’s something known as a prolactin releasing hormone that is released by the hypothalamus. So what dopamine does is it inhibits that process and in turn increases testosterone levels because now prolactin is no longer able to decrease testosterone. That is how these guys are interacting from a libido perspective or a sex drive perspective. That’s one way to look at it.
Logan: Okay. Very excellent. I’ve also heard testosterone described as a neurohormone. Does that play a role specifically in the brain and the nervous system beyond many of the other effects that people associate testosterone with?
Farhan: Absolutely. Testosterone is also known as an androgen. There are other androgens as well but testosterone is the main one. The way testosterone works, be it in the brain or be it anywhere else in the body, is by binding to androgen receptors. There are androgen receptors also in the brain. The reason it’s known as a neurohormone is because obviously it is interacting in the brain—that’s where the neuro comes from—and it’s a hormone because it is traveling in the blood to actually do whatever benefits it’s providing, whatever functions it’s providing. Obviously, testosterone is involved in a myriad of functions so whichever function that is, it is acting as a hormone.
Now the reason it could be sometimes looked as sort of like a transmitter or something that is happening in a neuron is because it is affecting a neuron by interacting with its nucleus. There are different types of receptors. Some receptors are extracellular. They are located outside the cell. For example, a dopamine receptor, a D2 receptor is the receptor that people associate with porn addiction and all the your brain on porn stuff is all about D2, D2 because they found that the D2 receptor is what is responsible for different types of addictions, not necessarily porn specifically but all types of addictions. That receptor is outside the cell. It’s extracellular. But the way the androgen receptor works is that it’s inside the cell. When testosterone diffuses inside a neuron, it has to bind to this androgen receptor which is going to interact with the genetic factors which are inside the nucleus. So it’s actually going to interact with the DNA of that cell. It’s known as a transcription factor because it will enable transcription, translation, protein synthesis and then eventually gene expression.
Now why is that important? Because gene expression is what allows someone to have a phenotype. For example, if you think of hair growth, one way testosterone works is it binds to androgen receptors on certain types of hair follicles. For example a beard, the reason we have a beard is because there are androgen receptors that are on the follicles of those hairs. And there are different types of follicles. There are vellus, terminal and different types of follicles. Some stay for life. Some, for example in male pattern, they don’t stay for life. That’s also androgen-dependent. That’s again testosterone binding to androgen receptors, causing male pattern baldness. This is the interplay of why people think of testosterone as actually sort of like a transmitter. It’s because it is going inside the cell. It is acting on the molecular and genetic expression of the cell.
Logan: Fascinating. I’ve never heard it described in those terms. That’s excellent. Excellent. Speaking of hair loss or hair, DHT which is dihydrotestosterone, a metabolite of testosterone gets blamed for this issue. How much do you know about how that is working and is having the high testosterone really what causes people to go bald?
Farhan: I know a lot about that stuff. Actually, a lot of my clients are teenagers so they’re like oh man, doc, why don’t I have a beard? I want to have a beard…there are all these questions I get on email and. This is a really cool topic, man, because this is what’s interesting – a lot of people associate androgens, including testosterone, dihydrotestosterone which is a metabolite, with hair loss or for example hair growth. It’s not such an easy process. It’s not so simple because if you think of male pattern baldness, for example, we know for sure that it is that it is androgen-dependent. If you have male-patterned baldness, it is because of androgen. It is because of testosterone and it is mainly because of the DHT part, that metabolite of testosterone. That is why it’s happening.
Now the caveat here is that for some people depending on their genetics, the male pattern baldness won’t happen even though they have high testosterone. For some people, testosterone will cause them to become bald and that is because of testosterone, period and DHT specifically. DHT is actually ten times more potent than testosterone itself. It’s super, super strong.
Then you have the opposite side which is something like a beard. A beard is also androgen-dependent. It’s also DHT-dependent but the way it works is the metabolite is acting on follicles that are terminal, which means they last your entire life. When a baby is born, it is born with something called vellus follicles. Those hairs are going to go away. For a baby, it has vellus follicles and they’re going to go away. But then there are some processes that allow the vellus to become terminal and that is because of androgens, specifically DHT. So then some people retain their hair for life. Nothing happens. They don’t have hair loss because they have terminal hairs which don’t get converted back to vellus type of hair. That is how some people are bald and some people are not bald.
Logan: Okay. If someone, say they have low testosterone and they work to increase that, is that increasing their risk for hair loss?
Farhan: No, absolutely not.
Logan: So even though it’s androgen-dependent, that’s not really the issue at play?
Farhan: No, that’s ridiculous, man. A lot of people ask that. This is how I think of it. A lot of people like oh man, I have low testosterone and I had this problem where my wife is not satisfied because she easily gets bored. I fall asleep really fast because my libido is not there. Or man, I’m not getting gains at the gym.
What I tell them first is look man, I understand. I understand the pain. I was there. But the hair loss should not be what’s keeping you from becoming more masculine. I read upon the evolutionary psychology of hair loss and it turns that the evolutionary psychologists, a lot of them believe that back in the cave man days, the baldness sign was actually a sign of wisdom. It’s actually a sign of hey, we have a tribe leader who is bald, we know he’s old because baldness is a sign of old age but he’s still there. He’s not dead yet. So he did something amazing to survive this long and so we should have him as a leader. That’s one amazing thing about being bald.
A lot of men, I tell them, I actually did a mastermind with Brandon Carter a couple of weeks ago at Miami and he was telling me some of the best people are bald, like Tupac, Michael Jordan and Buddha. He was hilarious. And in turns out, it’s not even going to do hair loss because it is something that is genetic. The other thing is you don’t need like a super high level of testosterone for baldness. You only need a little bit. There are people who have low testosterone who are bald, right? Their genetics is such that the low level of testosterone that they have is more than enough for them to be bald. So if you increase your testosterone, it’s not going to make you bald or not. It’s going to make you whatever you are, whatever your genetics are. But then it’s going to enable you to have all the other benefits.
Logan: So it’s not so much about the testosterone or DHT. It is about the receptors, which is more governed by genetics.
Farhan: That’s right.
Logan: Excellent. Cool. We’ve talked a little bit about the androgen receptors and this I feel—everyone if they’re getting blood or saliva tests, you see total testosterone, you see free testosterone, that sort of thing—but this stuff is only so useful as the kind of the health of those androgen receptors, whether they’re extracellular or intracellular. What are some of the things that we can do to help support the health of our cell receptors? Because I feel that’s a point not often addressed but very important.
Farhan: Absolutely, man. Yeah, that’s a great point. First of all, just taking a step back, a lot of the guys who are listening might not know about what total testosterone and all these things are so I’m going to touch on them briefly.
Farhan: If you counted every single testosterone molecule in your body, that’s your total testosterone. Now total testosterone is not that important because a lot of testosterone in the body is bound to different proteins that don’t allow it to actually be used. That’s where free testosterone comes in. Free testosterone is that which you’re able to use you need it. For example, night time erections are testosterone-dependent. It’s called nocturnal penile tumescence. It’s basically something like morning wood or erection that happens during REM sleep. Those are testosterone-dependent. Testosterone that is free is able to be used for those specific types of tasks.
Then there’s something called bioavailable testosterone which is essentially the most important one. That is because that testosterone is the free testosterone plus the testosterone that is not bound very tightly or very strongly to proteins. So bioavailable testosterone is what we want to associate most with what we want to gain.
Logan: That’s the ones bound to albumin but not sex hormone-binding globulin, correct?
Farhan: That’s exactly right. They’re bound to albumin. Testosterone can also bind to estrogen, for example, and other molecules. You have 1% or 2% chance to do that. But yeah, albumin, you’ve got it right.
Farhan: So in terms of receptors, the way we want to think of receptors is that that is sort of the limiting factor, that is the bottleneck. Let’s take another step back before I explain that. There are two categories of men. There’s hypogonadal and eugonadal. Hypogonadal is low testosterone. It has been classified clinically as low testosterone and then eugonadal is essentially those that don’t have low testosterone so they are in the good reference range.
Just for some practical things for your guys, if you’re listening and you’ve already done testosterone tests, just keep in mind that those references that they usually give you at the blood clinic are kind of skewed simply because they had to do those references when the blood clinic actually got started, which could have been 20 years ago, 30 years ago or 15 years ago. That reference range is from that many years ago and usually it’s old people who do these testosterone tests because these types of tests weren’t so prevalent like they are today, that young men can do them. So take that reference range with a grain of salt. In one sense, I always stress quantitative measurements. Keep track of numbers but then this is sort of like an outlier where you can look at the number but also look at the qualitative aspects of low testosterone and base it on that. It’s super important.
Logan: Yeah, I did a podcast interview with Dr. Rick Cohen where he kind of talked about the art of testing because even though there are these numbers and we think it’s science and exact, there really are, like you said right there, issues with that, different times of testing, how that can affect everything so you really do have to look both, as you were saying, quantitative and the qualitative aspects of it. Plus, people are individuals so just because it’s in the reference range it doesn’t mean that it’s optimal or healthy for you as an individual because different people are going to be different, right?
Farhan: Absolutely, man. That’s so true. Now that gets you finally the androgen receptor paradigm. It’s so cool, right? You can pair an androgen receptor concept to literally any receptor because receptors work in a similar way. Even though for example the dopamine receptor is extracellular and the testosterone receptor and androgen receptor are intracellular, they can still serve as bottlenecks and the limiting factor in getting gains based on whatever you want to do. So let’s tackle this problem from a perspective of watching porn because this is a big topic. I know a lot of the guys listening probably watch porn and masturbate and so on and so forth. I know a lot of my guys when I do surveys and stuff, they do have—
Logan: It’s kind of something everyone does but no one talks about, right?
Farhan: Oh man, for sure. What I do with my guys is I do surveys which are anonymous so they are very frank, man. They’ll tell me hey dude, I masturbate six to seven times a day. You’ve got to take it or leave it. It was very interesting. The way it works is if you get a crazy release, and what I mean is like a supra threshold release of any kind of neurotransmitter or hormone, what’s going to happen is these receptors are going to get saturated. For example for porn addiction, you can think of like a dopamine receptor, like a D2 receptor, if you watch a lot of porn then these receptors tend to get saturated and that is when desensitization happens. So even though you have all this dopamine in the synaptic cleft, which is basically the space between two synapses, there is nowhere for them to go. Where are they going to bind to because these receptors are now saturated? There are no more receptors there.
A similar paradigm you can think about when it comes to androgen receptors, even though they’re inside the cell because if you get a lot of testosterone released—here’s where TRT comes in, testosterone replacement therapy—a lot of steroid users, a lot of juicers and people who are on, they’re injecting themselves with testosterone and this testosterone has to bind to androgen receptors to actually do its thing. As it’s binding now, what’s happening is these androgen receptors are getting depleted. They’re getting desensitized and you’re telling your negative feedback system in the brain to stop releasing the hormones that are producing testosterone. So now it’s like a double whammy. Not only are your receptors being depleted and being desensitized but the natural production of these hormones or neurotransmitters will be significantly lower.
Logan: So besides not getting RT or steroids, what are some of the things we can do that just helps support the healthy functioning of the androgen receptors just in general?
Farhan: I would say that you should keep a balance in terms of your lifestyle. For example, androgen receptors will be increased if you do compound movements so whatever increases testosterone also tends to increase androgen receptors. This system is working in tandem. It’s not that if you’re boosting of testosterone, it’s not just you can get a bunch of testosterone in your body but then there’s no receptor happening. Receptors have to balance out the testosterone that is being formed. But it’s not going to happen obviously in a linear way. It’s going to happen in a non-linear way. So whatever you’re doing in terms of lifestyle to increase your testosterone levels tend to also increase the receptor levels, although this research is not as conclusive and it has not been done as much as just the boosting testosterone research.
Logan: Right. Well, one of the things I think about because whether it’s extracellular or intracellular, things have to pass through the cell membrane which is largely made of fat so my sort of hypothesis is really by having high quality fats in your diet, saturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids especially, this is going to help improve those cell membranes of every sort of cell in your body. The cell membrane is not just a sack that holds the cell. It really is about this whole communication part. Does that sound right to you that that is going to be a critical point of keeping the cells healthy and thus the receptors healthy?
Farhan: Absolutely, man. I’m just going to touch on it a little bit more. Specifically the cell membrane, especially in the brain, a lot of it is made of cholesterol and DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid and 25% of the cell membrane is made out of DHA in the brain. Now the thing is if you are taking food, fatty foods, for example, salmon, nuts, and egg yolks and so on, that will boost testosterone but it is very hard to get DHA in just normal whole foods. It’s not as easy. That is why one of the few supplements that I recommend is fish oil. Specifically try to get 1000 mg per day of that DHA. The importance of a cell membrane, it’s semi-permeable, it lets some things in and doesn’t let some things in and the neat part of the cell membrane is that it is sort of the most important thing when it comes to absorption of nutrients.
A lot of people are deficient. For example, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium, a lot of people are deficient in these and sometimes it’s not just you’re not getting them. It’s because they are not passing through to the cell. The cell is not able to absorb these nutrients. So working on the cell membrane part of the process, the mechanism, allows these nutrients to actually get inside the cell and have you have a better quality of life. Omega-3 fatty acid is definitely one. Saturated fat is great. Cholesterol, obviously monounsaturated fats like avocados and olive oil, yeah, man. Excellent.
Logan: I guess going back a little bit, we talked a tiny bit about the sex hormone-binding globulin and a lot of people see that get elevated pretty heavily, especially into older age. What are some of the things we can do about sex hormone-binding globulin and according to science, do we know why this one seems to rise so much more as age goes up?
Farhan: This actually also applies to TRT guys because a lot of guys who take testosterone injections—and obviously you know that this is almost ubiquitous now in the world, any MD who kind of graduates and doesn’t really know what to do, he’s like I’m just going to open up a testosterone clinic and start injecting people because it’s so crazy now. I have 17-year old guys who are emailing me, saying hey man, I’ve been on TRT since a year and now I have gynecomastia. Madness, right? I was like holy cow. Again, it’s about balance and compensation.
Logan: Right. That’s kind of science looking at when testosterone is good, therefore let’s look on testosterone, not realizing that there’s this whole symphony of things going together and if you just shoot something in to increase it that much then it’s going to cause some other things to go askew.
Farhan: That’s absolutely right. It’s just the world we live in. A lot of times we think of technology and science and some amazing stuff, medical research as amazing. And it is but then you have people that misuse it. They use it in a win-lose type of way instead of in a win-win way. And these MDs who’ve just graduated, oh, I have a clinic now and even if you’re 17 years old I’m going to inject you with testosterone for a couple of weeks. Holy man, it’s mind-boggling to me and I don’t know what’s going to happen five years from now or ten years from now. Sorry to go on off on a tangent.
But as testosterone is being increased in the body, it has to bind to molecules that it has affinity for. It turns out that SHBG and albumin have a very high affinity for testosterone relative to other proteins. For example, SHBG is going to bind to testosterone so if you’re injecting yourself or if sort of old age is happening and your free testosterone is declining then SHBG is going to bind more and more testosterone. And it’s not just SHBG. It’s estrogen and as I mentioned, albumin. That is why it’s binding, because the affinity, let’s say the attraction of how much they sort of like each other is very high for SHBG. That is why it binds to it and not other proteins.
Logan: So what causes the increase? Because if I remember correctly, the SHBG is produced in the liver and just more of this ends up circulating around and more of it gets bound to testosterone and other things. What causes this increase?
Farhan: The increase is not what’s crucial. The thing that’s crucial is it’s binding more and more testosterone because there is less and less free testosterone. Testosterone is unable to free itself from SHBG. That is what’s crucial here.
Logan: So basically, the testosterone is not strong enough to get away from this.
Farhan: Yeah, but the question is why is that? One specific study that I know has to do with magnesium. It’s so cool. So magnesium is one of these like oh yeah, magnesium, whatever. But magnesium is very crucial to the brain. It interacts with excitatory synapses. NMDA receptors have a magnesium component to them. But specifically for testosterone, magnesium is called non-conflicting binding, without any conflict binding to SHBG. So if you have enough magnesium in your body then magnesium is going to bind to SHBG without any competition and that will free up testosterone more. So one big reason why testosterone binds more and more to SHBG older in life is because start deteriorating their own health because they are not taking in enough green vegetables.
Logan: Right. Magnesium is something I’ve heard like 90% of people are chronically deficient in.
Farhan: Yes, sir. Magnesium, zinc and vitamin D, these three are just like crucial for testosterone. It’s just very deficient, man. Even people in California are deficient. As you know, you live there, right? People in Florida, Texas and I’m like man, I was Montreal in ten years and I craved the sun.
Logan: Yeah, I know.
Farhan: So many people have it.
Logan: Yeah. You also mentioned a little bit about morning wood and nocturnal penile tumescence, which is definitely something we’ve talked about before. Can you go into a bit more detail how does testosterone trigger this to occur?
Farhan: Awesome. Great question.
Logan: And also, what may be the difference between that and getting an erection for sex? What are some of the differences and similarities in the play of testosterone in both?
Farhan: Right. Morning wood is an amazing sign of something—if you’re not getting morning wood, let’s say you are getting a lot of morning wood and then something happened in your life and now you don’t have it anymore—I didn’t have morning wood for years. Pretty much all of grad school I never had morning wood and my friends had it, they talked about it and they’re kind of like oh man, you should have seen it…I was like oh, what the hell is going on?
So there are many key differences. The first difference is nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) happens at night during REM sleep. REM sleep is when testosterone is actually produced in the Leydig cells and that specific aspect of erection is dependent on testosterone. It’s androgen-dependent. Now the difference between these two is that the sex erection, erection from a female and so on, that is more dopamine-dependent. A lot of people confuse this. They think testosterone is dependent for all of erections but not so. The nightly erections that happen during REM sleep, that is testosterone-dependent and just the normal erection that is happening is sex is of course aided by testosterone—don’t get me wrong here. It’s not directly testosterone-dependent. It’s indirectly testosterone-dependent. Why? Because testosterone enable sex drive. It enables libido and that is what will cause the interplay with dopamine and the erection to actually happen.
Now the second part of your question is how. So essentially what happens is in the brain, there are dopaminergic cells. They have dopamine inside, in the cell body and as they release dopamine, they bind to what is called an oxytocinergic cell. They have oxytocin inside. A lot of this is in the hypothalamus which is sort of the “arousal” center of the brain, as people say. It’s also arousal, thirst and things like that. So this interplay in the hypothalamus from dopamine to oxytocin enables those oxytocinergic neurons to bind to the spinal cord. It’s not just the spinal cord. They go to the spinal cord, they go to the hippocampus which is in charge of memory and more recent memory and things like that and they also go to the brainstem.
But the specific part of the spinal cord connection is that the spinal cord connection is traveling all the way down to the penile arterioles, which are the arteries in the penis, and that connection will release nitric oxide and then that will go inside the cell and then the interplay happens, causing a relaxation of that smooth muscle cell, which leads to erection. That’s sort of how it happens. All of this is triggered by dopamine because that’s the first part of this mechanism but then the nightly part of it is triggered by testosterone.
Logan: Okay. I was not aware of quite the differences in that. That’s fascinating. One of the interesting studies I saw you quote in your manual, which we’ll talk about in a little bit is a Chinese study that looked at testosterone levels which were highest on day 7 after sex.
Logan: Could you go into a little bit of detail into that and what that means for people about how frequently they should be having sex?
Farhan: Yeah. That’s a good one. This is a cool question. I’ll highlight sort of how a scientist’s brain works and then this will be very insightful because through my ten years of grad school, these are the main takeaways that I’m about to give you and then you can think like a scientist, too. The way scientists work is we have to form hypotheses, we have to do the results and so on and have a problem and all that. But there has to be publication. Things have to get published for them to be actually seen by the public eye. But then there are some studies that are done with negative results, results which don’t show the hypothesis that was hypothesized and those studies tend to not be shown. This is how science works. This is hilarious stuff but it is very political. I’ve developed this method to actually vet science articles. Man, there are so many out there. Which ones would you trust?
But in this specific study, what they did was they looked at the total testosterone levels of men over a 16 to 21-day period, just depending if some people dropped out and some people didn’t or let’s say 3 weeks. What they wanted to was to see without any kind of masturbation, ejaculation, sex, what happens to testosterone levels. What they found was over the few days nothing’s really happening and then it peaks at day 7 and then it kind of plateaus. Afterwards, it kind of declines but the main aspect was that peak on day 7.
Now the interesting thing about that study is yes, it’s peer-reviewed, a lot of people refer to it but it hasn’t been replicated. That’s what sucks. So that’s a big part of being a scientist. Whenever I look at a study, I say okay, this is a huge, huge implication, crazy really practical benefits for people but why hasn’t it been replicated? Now I speculate the reason it hasn’t been replicated is because it’s actually been replicated but with a negative result and so it wasn’t published.
Now that’s okay. That’s okay. It’s something we have and we can take it with a grain of salt, like any other study you should. What I tend to do is look at more meta-analyses which look at 50 to 100 studies, or review. There are amazing reviews out there like neuroscience reviews and other reviews. I tend to look at those more because they give you a summary of many studies and give you some conclusive evidence. So for the guys who are listening who are thinking hey, what’s going to happen to my testosterone, I personally wouldn’t say I believe this study but I wouldn’t put all my chips in with this study because it has also been found that testosterone boosts during sex. It has also been found that testosterone is spiked just by looking at a female or by going to a sex club. They call it a sex club, these studies that have you go to a sex club and you watch these erotic stimuli. Testosterone increases. There’s a peak. There’s like a 15% to 25%, depending on the person, increase in testosterone just by looking at a naked woman live.
Logan: Makes sense.
Farhan: Right. Then if you’re engaging in intercourse then your testosterone’s going to increase even more. But then you get people who are watching porn all the time and again, we talked about the receptors being depleted and then desensitized. That’s another issue. So the takeaway is do not by any means abstain from sex for seven days so you’ll have a boost in testosterone. Do not do that. You know why? Because why are we boosting our testosterone? Because we want to become more masculine. Because we want to have the benefits of what it is to be a man and correct me if I’m wrong but sex is one of them.
Logan: Absolutely. Yeah. I really like the sort of dual nature of how these hormones work. Sex increases testosterone yet you also need testosterone to have the libido to want to have sex. It works in both ways. I’m curious. You mentioned that science has some of these issues and looking at the meta-analyses that’s going to take a lot of science done over time then you look at it so it’s kind of a lagging indicator of many things as far as what we know. I’m curious. What are some of your like personal hypotheses or ideas that maybe haven’t been covered in science yet but that can help testosterone?
Farhan: I love that question just because it tends to have you think out of the box and also integrate your personal life into these kinds of problems, like what can we do here?
Logan: Or we could put it another way. What experiments or studies would you like to see conducted?
Farhan: One thing I really like is the thing called SARMs. These are selective androgen receptor modulators. These have existed since the ‘50s I believe but there’s not enough research on these. What are they? What am I talking about? Selective androgen receptor modulators are chemicals. These are agonists or antagonists which are essentially chemicals that act on a receptor selectively. Think of today. What do we have? We have prostate cancer problems. There are studies that have been done where if you essentially take the testosterone out of the rat—there are rat studies and mice studies—and the prostate cancer that was induced either through the experiment or some kind of mechanism actually goes away. So we know for a fact that prostate cancer is androgen-dependent.
Now a lot of people, what they want is they want beard growth, they want libido, they want morning wood, they want muscle gains, they want to lose belly fat but they don’t want to have prostate cancer. So having SARMs which is a selective androgen receptor modulator will allow us to target certain receptors to have androgens act on then and other receptors androgens not act on them. That is what we would want in the end.
Because what is medicine for? What is technology and medical research for if we can’t improve people’s quality of life? You’re not going to convince somebody to be like oh yeah, I’m okay. Some people are crazy. In today’s world, especially where facial hair is super hip now, very trendy, a lot of guys have this very big pain point of man, I can’t grow facial hair and that is why girls don’t like me. Or even more is when you look at just body fat. Gynecomastia is there, which is because there is a lot of estrogen in someone’s body. Obviously, the breast glands are there, too, but that’s the surgery thing, that people get carried away with that. That is what I would like to see. Some modulators of these receptors that act on where we need them to act and don’t act where we don’t need them to act. That’s one thing I would like to see.
The other aspect in terms of testosterone that I would like more research on is this aspect of how stimulation in our lives is affecting testosterone. I don’t just mean chemical stimulation. We know about BPA in plastics that cause estrogen to increase. It converts testosterone to estrogen. This is known as a xenoestrogen. And there’s other oxidative stress out there that we should be kind of wary of, which induces free radicals in the cell and so on.
But what I really would like to see is some research on what the effect of how much brain stimulation we’re getting in every day is. At night, if you are on cellphone and you’re Snapchatting or whatever you’re doing, your brain is getting that light signal. It is getting this crazy sensory stimuli which is not normal for a human at night because we sleep after sunset. So how is that affecting testosterone?
Porn is another monster. Porn addiction and all that, it’s a huge, huge thing. I’m actually writing a book right now about fapping. It’s called To Fap or not to Fap. It’s a really interesting book. I highlight how you can train your brain the way I did. I used a lot of neuroscience training because I was addicted to porn, like crazy addicted for years.
Logan: Yeah. We wrote an article about that a little while, the whole porn-induced ED, how the saturation of dopamine that you can get from that causes desensitivity and the problems that that can bring. So yeah, that’s something I swore off of and going strong for a while now.
Farhan: Great job, man. And I’ll tell you one more thing. The nutrition industry, the food industry right now is huge, man. For guys who are listening who are like investors or are kind of like in the VC field, there’s a food bubble, man. When I was in Silicon Valley, I spent like eight months there just researching food, nutrition and how startups are doing and all the technology and it seems that this aspect of what people should eat is huge because for one, there’s individual variability. For some people, fruit will kill them. They have fructose intolerance. And for some people, fruit is great for them. It’s the same thing with lactose and these aspects.
What I would like to see is specific research on foods, the tradeoff between foods that are boosting testosterone and other factors that these foods are causing. So there’s this big, big, big push by political figures and pharmaceuticals and so on which claim that saturated fats are bad. They claim that cholesterol is bad and this is not so. This is complete bullshit. But what I would like to see is research done that can prove all these things that we’re saying in a very significant and solid way. I would love to see that.
Logan: Yeah, there is some research out there but really not that much considering the importance of the topic. Thanks for sharing that. We’re coming up on an hour here. Would you like to take a moment to tell people about your program? I hope people found this useful. I kind of asked a lot of questions on stuff I was interested in, not getting into so much of the basics. We barely touched on sleep, lifting or that much on diet really besides some specific things. If you want a lot more basic information, tell them a little bit more about your program and who that will help most.
Farhan: Yeah, man. Absolutely. Awesome, man. I have what is called the Doc Testosterone Plan which I’ve been doing research on for the last few years. It’s being refined and polished. It’s essentially a lifestyle, natural testosterone-boosting program where I teach you specifically what foods to eat. I also teach you what exercises to do as well as your sleep protocol. I also delve into the science of testosterone in a very practical way so people can understand exactly how things are working so they can be more motivated to do things. I also talk about what factors in the environment kill testosterone.
Essentially, it’s an eBook and videos. There are 15 videos, very comprehensive. There’s an eBook with a bunch of references at the end. I also give you a bonus startup guide to enable you to have a menu, specific grocery lists, a specific protocol of exercises, exactly what to do every day, the sets and reps and what supplements to take. That’s all in there. That’s called the Doc Testosterone Plan. Basically, all you have to do is go to DocTestosterone.com/SuperManHerbs. So I made specific bonuses for you, guys, just to benefit you because I feel that quite honestly Super Man Herbs is essentially a win-win company. I know what you guys stand for. Logan, you guys are doing a great job, man. I haven’t found a company like yours in a while.
Logan: Thank you.
Farhan: So if you go to DocTestosterone.com/SuperManHerbs, you will find the plan there. I also talk about my story, just some details about the plan. There’s a lot of value there. Just the video itself has a lot of value and that’s free. And I’ve also, just for your listeners, besides the bonus quick guide, I’m also going to include four additional bonuses just because I like this company a lot. One bonus is going to be my first eBook, which is The 5 Factors Killing Your Testosterone and How to Fix Them Today. I’m going to give away that bonus as well as the audio book for that which is my voice recording. I’m very expressive in that, just like the way I am. I express myself very freely.
And the other two bonuses are my upcoming To Fap or Not to Fap eBook and audio book with my voiceover. That is for guys who are curious about how porn addiction affects the brain, how to overcome it and how to reboot your brain. I know there are other programs out there but my is very much specific to science-backed research and how to specifically get your mind and your body back together like it was before you started watching porn. So there’s a lot of value in that. Yeah man, it’s basically how to optimize your life by doing natural things and just get back to boosting testosterone, masculinity and confidence and be that man that we all want to be.
Logan: Nice. Well, thank you for doing that. I didn’t know you were going to include all those bonuses. So I highly recommend people check that out. I went through the program. I wouldn’t have him here if we weren’t talking about some cool things, if he didn’t have good and new information to share. So that’s DocTestosterone.com/SuperManHerbs?
Farhan: Yes, sir.
Logan: All right. Well, thanks so much for joining us. Maybe we’ll do this again in the future and dive into some more details about testosterone or some of those other areas you talked about as well.
Farhan: Yeah, man. I loved it and if there’s someone who’s listening who has any question at all, just email me. It’s just [email protected]. I usually answer within 24 hours every email that I get so feel free to ask me anything you want.
Logan: All right. Well, thank you so much for sharing everything today. I know I picked up a few things. One of the main things is I had no clue that magnesium had that role with sex hormone binding globulin so I’m going to go spray myself with some magnesium right after this call and be good to go.
Farhan: Right, brother. I really love this, man. Thanks so much for having me here, man. It’s a privilege.
Logan: Absolutely. And thanks everyone for listening. As always, if you want to head over to iTunes, leave us a review, that just helps spread this information or just direct people to the site. That helps us out. Thanks so much for listening.[/spoiler]
- Ep46: Neurotransmitters and Testosterone with Doc Testosterone - April 13, 2016