This post is a continuation of the ideas put forth in the post Hacking Hormones in a Relationship. On a hormonal basis women are becoming more masculine and men more feminine. After watching Dr. Gray’s video, I can now see that each change is a response to the other. As women are becoming more dominant, men are becoming more submissive, which lowers their testosterone and raises their estrogen levels.
The woman is now taking on more roles that produce testosterone, which increases her stress levels. Under normal situations a male with a higher testosterone level could trigger oxytocin in the woman lowering her stress, but the estrogen dominant male will either engage in “tit for tat” arguing or become further submissive. Neither will help lower the stress in the woman or himself. Stress levels build on both sides and this leads to compromised immune systems and poor health.
Dr. Gray’s lecture was targeted mostly towards couples and how they should interact with each other to produce optimal hormonal responses. But what about us single people? Before we fall into the role reversal trap which breaks up many relationships, we should get our own ducks in order.
Hacking Testosterone in Men
Prior to embracing the Paleo Diet, I could feel my testosterone levels declining a little each year. When I ditched the bread and tofu, I lost 3 inches of belly fat. Remember that belly fat in men produces estrogen which lowers testosterone levels. Although I’ve never had my testosterone measured, once that belly fat was gone I could feel my testosterone levels rising. I also diversified my diet with organ meats and devoted more time to workout recovery. I had successfully hacked my testosterone to higher levels. I’m certainly not alone. There are widespread reports of men following a Paleo diet feeling more like, well men.
Mark Sisson posted A Primal Primer: Testosterone with several ideas on how to increase testosterone naturally. They include:
- Lift Heavy Things
- Avoid Excessive Cortisol
- Get Sun or Take Vitamin D
- Eat Clean, Pastured Animal Products
- Eat Saturated and Monounsaturated Fat
- Avoid Foods that Regularly Spike Your Blood Glucose Levels
- Get Adequate Zinc Intake
A few ideas that I would also include are:
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Allow the body to recover from stressful workouts before heading back to the gym.
- Cold exposure. (I can’t prove it scientifically, but I am convinced it plays a role.)
Increasing Oxytocin in Women
Dr. Gray lists these attributes as oxytocin simulators: sharing, teamwork, communication, shared responsibilities, affection, support, collaboration, and compliments. He further states that social networks like Facebook are highly addictive to females, because they provide the illusion of community they need, but they do not produce oxytocin. They need real face to face interactions to trigger that positive hormone, which is a problem because modern life has becoming very isolating to women. Much of their social interaction is no longer associated with unconditional giving, but deadlines and the need to hurry up, which is a primary oxytocin inhibitor. Unlike the recommendations for men, it seems each woman will have to solve this in her own way, depending upon career, location and responsibilities.
Volunteer work might help. Bonding with a pet can also produce oxytocin. I’ve always wondered why women choose to go to yoga class together instead of buying a DVD and doing the exercises at home. Now I understand why. They are sharing and communicating with other women, which is reducing their stress levels.
Photo by Jason D’ Great. Dr. Gray talked about the community aspect that women had when they washed clothes by hand with other women. Although this work was tough, it did trigger hormones that reduced the woman’s stress level.
A Good Start?
This post just touched the surface of this topic. Note that I am less than a week into my understanding of this subject. I have some more thoughts, which I plan to research. In the meantime, is there anything else you’d like to add to this post?