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01.11.2010


Getting on? Cold showers are better for your testosterone levels

Young natural athletes can take a hot bath or shower without a problem, but natural athletes who can remember The Kinks are better off getting used to cold showers, say Korean scientists. According to their animal study, hot bathwater spells disaster for natural testosterone production.

Getting on? Cold showers are better for your testosterone levels
The researchers did experiments with rats aged 3 months and 20 months. Lab rats don't get to be very old, so a 20 month-old rat is equivalent to a human in his sixties. The researchers put the rats in a bath at 41-43 degrees Celsius, every day, three times a day. The illustration shows the set up.

The rats stayed in the bath for 10 minutes each time. After 4 weeks the researchers measured the animals' testosterone and LH synthesis.

The hot baths had no effect on the young lab rats, but in the old rats their testosterone level went down by a factor of 3.

I = concentration of hormones in the young rats who had not been put in the bath; II = in old rats who had not been put in the bath; III = in young rats who had been put in the bath; IV = in old rats who had been put in the bath.


Getting on? Cold showers are better for your testosterone levels

Getting on? Cold showers are better for your testosterone levels


Exposing the testes to high temperatures reduces the effect of the enzyme P450c17 and the StAR protein full name steroid acute regulatory protein. StAR is a key protein in the conversion of cholesterol into testosterone in the testes. The old rats that had hot baths produced none at all.

The Koreans think that their findings apply to humans too. "Hot baths may have negative effects on testosterone synthesis in older human males", they write in the last paragraph of their article.

Recent studies have shown that heat treatment has a small but measurable muscle strengthening effect. After a heavy training session, a hot bath speeds up muscle recovery although alternating hot and cold baths work even better. But all studies have been done on fairly young people. Judging by the Korean animal study, heat is a double-edged sword for older athletes.



Of course rats aren't humans, but we'll be switching to cold showers immediately. Even though we only know about The Kinks from documentaries on the sixties, we're old enough to remember The Buggles.

Source:
Urol Int. 2010; 84(3): 347-52.

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