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Beef Testicles and Testosterone: Myths vs. Facts

The Bottom Line:

Testosterone is not stored in testicles, it circulates in the bloodstream and is produced on demand. Beef testicles contain only minimal amounts of testosterone—1 kg of raw beef testicles has just 0.047 mg, which is insignificant compared to the 6-7 mg produced daily by an average adult man.

Oral consumption of testosterone is considered very inefficient due to extensive metabolism in the digestive system and liver before reaching the bloodstream. To naturally boost testosterone levels, focus on quality sleep, reducing stress, nutrient-dense foods, healthy fats, good quality protein, exercise, and sufficient sunlight (vitamin D).

Let's Dive Deeper:

“When are you releasing a beef testicles testosterone booster product?” This is a question we’re getting asked a lot lately. Before getting caught up in the internet hype and repeated messaging around beef testicles, we decided to dig a little deeper into some of the claims we’re seeing about beef testicles and boosting testosterone.

Right from day one, a key ethos of Cell Squared has been to take nutrition back to the basics. The amount of information out there can be overwhelming, especially when it includes inaccurate information repeated over and over.

Beef testicles (also known as ‘Rocky Mountain Oysters’) are currently getting a lot of attention for supposedly being a source of testosterone. However, we’ve decided to buck this trend and provide a more balanced perspective backed by research and science.

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays important roles within the body. Hormones are the body's chemical messengers, travelling through the bloodstream and affecting various bodily processes.

Testosterone controls functions such as the regulation of libido, bone mass, fat distribution, and the production of red blood cells and sperm. As the major sex hormone in males, it is essential for male development, growth, and masculine characteristics. Healthy hormones and testosterone levels are key to men's optimal health, energy, vitality, and overall well-being.

In males, the majority of testosterone is produced in the Leydig cells. In females, the ovaries contribute a smaller amount of testosterone, while the adrenal glands of both sexes also produce very small amounts. For women, having a healthy balance of oestrogen, testosterone, and progesterone is important for healthy functioning ovaries, fertility, mood, libido, energy, bone density, and muscle strength.

What is Men's Testosterone Production Process?

Signals sent from the brain to the pituitary gland at the base of the brain control the production of testosterone in men. The pituitary gland then relays signals to the Leydig cells to produce and secrete testosterone. The testicles do not store testosterone.

A "feedback loop" involving the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and Leydig cells closely regulates the amount of testosterone in the blood. When testosterone levels rise too high, the pituitary receives signals to reduce production.

Is Testosterone Stored in the Testicles?

It's important to note that while testosterone is produced in the testes, ovaries, and adrenal glands, it does not get stored or accumulate in a specific location like some other substances in the body. Instead, it circulates in the bloodstream, bound to proteins such as sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) or albumin. Once produced, testosterone is released into the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body, interacting with various tissues and organs. This circulation allows testosterone to exert its effects on the entire body.

Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, which can be stored in our adipose tissue (fat cells), testosterone does not have long-term storage. It is synthesised as needed and promptly used by the body, with any excess being broken down and excreted. In simple terms, testicles do not store testosterone like a reservoir; they continuously produce it in response to hormonal signals. Testosterone is produced, released, and metabolised continuously.

Do Bulls Have Leydig Cells to Produce and Release Testosterone?

Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are released from the bull's pituitary gland, triggering the beef testicles' Leydig cells to create and secrete testosterone. The level of testosterone in the blood regulates the secretion of LH and FSH hormones from the pituitary gland via a feedback system very similar to that in humans.

This again demonstrates that testosterone is not stored in beef testicles. Instead, testosterone is produced and then released into the bloodstream to be used by different organs and body tissues.

Are Beef Bull Testicles a Source of Testosterone?

The amount of trace element testosterone in consumable beef bull testicles or freeze-dried beef testicle supplements is similar to the testosterone present in other muscle tissues or organs of the bull. As mentioned earlier, testosterone is not stored in a specific location; instead, it constantly circulates in the bloodstream, bound to proteins, moving between various tissues, areas, and organs within the bull's body.

One study of 42 different bulls' testicle tissues showed a mean average testosterone content between 38 ng to 47 ng per gram. For perspective, let’s consider the higher end of this average and increase the amount of beef testicles to 1 kg, which would equal 47,000 ng or 0.047 mg per 1 kg of testes.

At this stage, you may be wondering about bull semen and consuming it through eating testicles. Studies show bulls aged 5 years have 36 ng of testosterone per ml of semen. One litre of semen equals 0.036 mg of testosterone.

Below is a summary of these findings:

  • 1 kg of raw beef testicles = 0.047 mg of testosterone

  • 1 litre of fresh beef semen = 0.036 mg of testosterone

  • Total = 0.083 mg

On average, adult men naturally produce between 6-7 mg of testosterone per day. Shockingly, to consume a mere 0.5 mg of testosterone from beef testicles, you would have to eat 6 kg of raw beef testicles and wash it down with 6 litres of fresh semen… no thank you!

Are Beef Testicle Supplements Considered a Source of Testosterone?

As beef testicles do not store large amounts of testosterone, they should not be considered a source of testosterone for improving human testosterone levels for men's optimal health. The same can be said about freeze-dried beef bull testicles supplements. They are definitely not a testosterone booster and should not be considered a source of testosterone as they are unproven to contain any meaningful amounts of testosterone.

Even with extremely small potential trace elements of testosterone in beef testicles, the testosterone would still have to pass through our digestive system and our liver (first-pass effect), which is known to greatly reduce the amount of available testosterone when consumed orally.

What is the ‘First-Pass Effect’ When Consuming Oral Testosterone?

The negative 'first-pass effect' occurs when a compound taken orally has its potency significantly reduced by extensive metabolism in the liver and intestines before it reaches systemic circulation. Due to this first-pass effect and hepatic metabolism, oral testosterone has low bioavailability.

In conclusion, this shows even further that beef testicles should not be considered a source of testosterone as any small nanogram trace elements will be poorly absorbed and ineffective.

Can Testosterone Be Absorbed Orally?

Testosterone is not typically administered orally because extensive first-pass metabolism in the intestines and liver significantly reduces its bioavailability. When taken orally, testosterone is well-absorbed but is rapidly broken down by stomach acid, intestinal wall metabolism, and liver enzymes. Consequently, approximately 98% of the absorbed testosterone is inactivated before it can reach the bloodstream.

Hepatic metabolism in the liver involves enzymatic reactions that transform compounds, affecting their bioavailability, effectiveness, and elimination as waste. Poor absorption rates are the reason why many oral hormone therapies (HRT) have large doses, higher than what a healthy adult male produces per day.

Source -  NCBI

What Are Some of the Best Ways to Naturally Improve Testosterone Levels?

  • Good quality sleep
  • Reduce stress levels

  • Nutrient-dense foods/supplements

  • Strength training and cardio

  • Vitamin D and sunlight

  • Eat healthy fats (animal-based)

  • Increase muscle mass

  • Decrease body fat percentage

  • Supplement magnesium

  • Avoid overtraining

  • Less alcohol and sugar

  • High quality protein

Can Beef Organs Assist with Increasing Natural Testosterone Production?

Consuming natural nutrient-dense foods such as ribeye steaks, beef organs or freeze-dried beef organ supplements can provide vital nutrients which are key to laying down the foundations and nutritional platform that supports natural testosterone production within the body. Beef testicles are actually on the lower end of the beef organ nutrient density scale, we will discuss this further in an upcoming blog.

Instead of focusing on how to consume testosterone, we should focus on how to provide our body with the highest quality, most bioavailable (easily absorbed) nutrients (including protein & healthy fats) which are known to support healthy hormones and increase natural testosterone production.

Nutrition is only one aspect of improving hormones. Testosterone production can be complex and needs a holistic approach which considers everything from what we eat, to our sleep quality, stress levels, amount of physical activity, and even how much natural light our eyes are given.

Key Takeaways

Testosterone is not stored in testicles: It circulates around the body in the bloodstream interacting with various tissues/organs and is produced continuously in response to a series of signals.

Minimal testosterone in beef testicles: 1 kg of raw beef testicles contains only 0.047 mg of testosterone, an insignificant amount.

Supplements cannot replace HRT: Beef testicle supplements do not provide meaningful amounts of testosterone compared to hormone replacement therapy.

First-pass effect: Oral consumption of testosterone is considered very inefficient due to extensive metabolism in the digestive system & liver before reaching the bloodstream.

Freeze-dried beef testicles are not a testosterone booster: As raw beef testicles contain an insignificant amount of testosterone, freeze-dried beef testicle powders/capsules are not considered a testosterone booster. 

Natural testosterone production over testosterone consumption: Instead of focusing on 'cheat codes' trying to consume testosterone, focus on providing the body with the best platform to produce it naturally.

Natural ways to boost testosterone: Focus on sleep, stress reduction, nutrient-dense foods, exercise, and vitamin D.

Nutritional support: Certain beef organs can provide essential nutrients that support natural testosterone production but are not direct sources of testosterone. Beef testicles lack many key nutrients compared to other nutrient-dense beef organs.

References & Studies

Study of 42 bull sex organs -  PubMed

Bull semen -  NCBI

Testosterone levels -  NCBI

What is testosterone -  Harvard Health

Bull testosterone & sperm production -  UTK

Reproductive Anatomy of bull -  Missouri Extension

First pass effect study -  PubMed

First pass effect expanded study - PubMed

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