Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone

Cold showers and baths are all over social media. But do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone? Let's look at the science, and if hot showers are better.

One of the most amazing qualities in humans is the ability to adapt and survive in even the most adverse conditions. It was this ability that gave our ancestors the strength to face harsh winters and brutal heat waves without adequate equipment, pushing beyond normal human physiological limits.

Now, as we scroll through social media, we see videos of elite athletes following the same patterns with cold water therapy. So it’s no surprise that people might wonder if cold showers can help increase testosterone levels, giving them an edge in their training.

Let’s take a look at the science to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Testosterone is an essential hormone for
  • Different temperatures have different effects. However, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures should be avoided.
  • There is no scientific evidence that cold showers have any impact on testosterone levels.
  • Diet and exercise play a significant role in testosterone levels.

What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles for men. It is most famously known as the hormone that makes a man, a man. This is because testosterone is the primay hormone responsible for giving men their masculine physical features like hair, deepened voice, and muscles.

Testosterone also plays a role in the development of the male reproductive organs, libido, maintaining bone density, muscle building and strength, as well as sperm development.

So it’s no wonder people are always on the look out for ways to boost testosterone levels.

Cold Showers: Good or Bad for Testosterone?

There are two temperatures to consider in medicine, particularly when it comes to how they impact the body: hot and cold.

A cold shower is any shower that has a water temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be a bit of a shock to the system, which is why some people enjoy it while others dread it.

Some athletes cold showers as a way to train the body to become more resistant to stress, while others use it as a way to wake the mind and body up in the morning. But, does it have an impact on testosterone levels?

What Does Science Say?

It might be easy for one to think that putting the body under stress by exposing it to cold water would impact testosterone levels. After all, elite athletes do it.

Unfortunately, there is very little evidence to support the claim that cold showers boost or can potentially raise testosterone levels. One study placed men in cold water (50ºF) for 1 minute. The results showed that testosterone levels did not increase. [1]

Another study looked at men who exercised and took cold showers after. The testosterone levels increased but results indicated the rise in testosterone was not attributed to the cold shower, rather from physical exercise. [2]

What About A Hot Shower?

You’re probably wondering, what about hot showers?

Again, there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that neither warm or hot water showers boost testosterone levels.

However, science has shown that high temperatures can have negative effects on sperm quality. This is particularly true for men who frequent saunas and like to sit in a jacuzzi.

Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone
Figure 1: High Temperatures seems to have a negative influence on sperm count and quality

It’s important to remember that sperm are very small single cells, which makes them very sensitive to changes in temperatures, particularly when temperatures exceed normal scrotal temperature (which is roughly 33-35 C or 91-95 F). [3]

Though, these effects are not permanent and are reversible. Simply limit the number of times in the sauna.

So if you’re looking for ways to boost testosterone levels, it’s best to avoid subjecting the body to extreme temperatures often.

Other Ways to Boost Testosterone

Contrary to popular belief and the stigma surrounding testosterone in sports, having enough testosterone is more beneficial than having less, especially as men age.

Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone
Figure 2: As men age, there will be a natural decline in Testosterone levels

Testosterone is essential for proper functioning, and because its natural levels decrease with age and functionality declines, it’s critical that men maintain adequate levels of this hormone at every age.

So, while taking a cold shower might not have the testosterone boosting effects that you’re looking for, there are other things you can do to help boost testosterone naturally.

Exercise

It should be no surprise here that one of the best things you can do for overall health is exercise. But exercise has also been shown to be an effective way to naturally increase testosterone levels.

Some of best exercises to naturally boost testosterone are resistance exercises. This means sit ups, squats, leg raises, and planks will help your body squeeze out more of this essential hormone. [4]

Even for older men, simple exercises and light to moderate weight lifting have shown to help boost testosterone and promote better living. [5]

Eat Right

Popeye may have been on to something when he ate his spinach. After all, spinach is one of the many testosterone boosting superfoods.

But the point here is that diet matters, especially when it comes to testosterone.

Foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and micronutrients (foods that include vitamins and minerals) can help boost testosterone.

Other Ways to Increase Testosterone

If you believe your testosterone levels are far below where they should be, see a doctor to discuss any concerns.

Why see a doctor?

Because there is treatment available!

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a type of hormone therapy in which testosterone is introduced artificially into the body to bring levels back to normal. And, science has certainly shown that TRT is highly effective in treating men with low testosterone.

Since testosterone is an anabolic-steroid, it must be prescribed by a board-certified doctor. You can find out whether your testosterone levels are where they should be by speaking to a hormone specialist at a TRT clinic here.

What are the benefits of a cold shower?

While we just learned that cold showers have no impact on testosterone levels, they have been found to benefit other areas such as circulation improvement, morning energy levels, and muscular tissue repair after hard weight training.

Are there any benefits to hot showers?

Yes. A hot shower, like a cold bath, improves blood circulation and sleep quality, aids in the relief of flu/cold symptoms, and decreases muscular tension to name a few.

How does hot or cold temperature affect the body?

Spending time in hot tubs, jacuzzis, and saunas, and taking long, hot showers or baths also overheat the sperm cells and may significantly impair sperm function.

Podstawski R, Borysławski K, Pomianowski A, Krystkiewicz W, Żurek P. Endocrine Effects of Repeated Hot Thermal Stress and Cold Water Immersion in Young Adult Men. Am J Mens Health. 2021 Mar-Apr;15(2):15579883211008339. doi: 10.1177/15579883211008339. PMID: 33845653; PMCID: PMC8047510.

Sakamoto K, Wakabayashi I, Yoshimoto S, Masui H, Katsuno S. Effects of physical exercise and cold stimulation on serum testosterone level in men. Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 1991 Jun;46(2):635-8. doi: 10.1265/jjh.46.635. PMID: 1890772.

Hjollund NH, Bonde JP, Jensen TK, Olsen J. Diurnal scrotal skin temperature and semen quality. The Danish First Pregnancy Planner Study Team. Int J Androl. 2000 Oct;23(5):309-18. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2605.2000.00245.x. PMID: 11012789.

Vingren JL, Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA, Anderson JM, Volek JS, Maresh CM. Testosterone physiology in resistance exercise and training: the up-stream regulatory elements. Sports Med. 2010 Dec 1;40(12):1037-53. doi: 10.2165/11536910-000000000-00000. PMID: 21058750.

Ari Z, Kutlu N, Uyanik BS, Taneli F, Buyukyazi G, Tavli T. Serum testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, mental reaction time, and maximal aerobic exercise in sedentary and long-term physically trained elderly males. Int J Neurosci. 2004 May;114(5):623-37. doi: 10.1080/00207450490430499. PMID: 15204068.

Jimmy Diaz M.S.

Hi I'm Jimmy. I was born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, California and love everything about the west coast lifestyle - the beach, the mountains, and the desert. Like many California natives, I can be a bit of a lot of things. Completed my undergraduate studies in Chemistry from University of California, San Diego and pursued a masters in Reproductive Clinical Science from Eastern Virginia Medical School. I primarily work as a clinical scientist and am also a baby maker (through IVF). I'm also a freelancer, ghostwriter, former D1 athlete, and enjoy everything I do.

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