Home Body Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone? The Surprising Benefits of Cold Water Immersion

Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone? The Surprising Benefits of Cold Water Immersion

You always hear about people needing to take a cold shower after a workout or when they just need to clear their head or take some stress out of their system. Unsurprisingly, these are all things that cold showers can assist with, but there’s one thing that people have been pointing to as of late is the belief that taking showers can improve your hormonal balance, particularly with testosterone. So, do cold showers increase testosterone?

Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone - Man taking a cold shower

Is there any proof behind it? Well, we’ll check out the supposed benefits, get deeper into the root of the theory, and put some science to it.

 

What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone molecular formula

Testosterone, also known as the “male sex hormone” is the hormonal compound that makes men, well, men. It gives them facial hair and deepens their voice.

That’s not all it can do, of course. There are signs of low testosterone you should look for as well as benefits of high testosterone. Here are the benefits of having high levels of testosterone in your body:

  • Higher energy
  • Enhanced strength
  • Enhanced muscle gain
  • Boost in mood
  • Stable libido
  • Regulated bone health
  • Reduces stress
  • Increased cognitive function
  • Overall increase in health

So, for men, testosterone is pretty helpful due to just how strong it is. It’s literally a steroid that people artificially use to increase muscle gain, and it works very quickly. Of course, it has a couple downsides, such as male pattern baldness, but overall, it’s considered nothing but valuable to men as a whole. You can increase your testosterone levels using different activities, we have discussed many before, such as cardio, ice baths, doing the nofap challenge, but do cold showers increase testosterone?

 

The Benefits of Cold Water on Hormonal Balance

Cold Water and Hormonal Balance - Balance concept

It’s believed that there are potential benefits from cold water immersion. For example, a recent study at Loughborough University has suggested that cold water immersion could greatly improve one’s testosterone-to-cortisol ratio. This means that cold showers can help with stress and recovery. This is because testosterone and cortisol have an inverse relationship. When testosterone increases, the secretion of cortisol decreases, and because cortisol is mainly responsible for stress within the body, higher testosterone means less stress.

People tend to also attribute testosterone to muscle gain, which is true. You’ll often find athletes and bodybuilders taking ice baths before or after workouts to help their bodies recover and endure workouts longer.

 

More Suggested Benefits of Cold Showers

Benefits of cold showers - A man enjoying a waterfall

There are many men who will swear up and down that cold showers and ice baths are their testosterone-increasing behavior, but some of their claims can seem a bit dubious. The question is what’s true and what’s just over-exaggeration? I’ll list out some of the most common claims you’ll find and give you the details on whether or not these have any merit to them.

 

Post-Workout Recovery

Do ice baths improve post-workout recovery? Absolutely. In fact, it’s even shown that using ice baths before an exercise (also known as “pre-cooling”) can have great effects on your body when it comes to working out.

For those taking ice baths and showers after exercises, they tend to find that the cold water greatly reduces inflammation and allows their bodies to recover faster than if they had gone without it. It boosts their overall mood and allows them to relax after an intense workout. Post-workout cold showers are most popular with heavy-lifters, while pre-cooling works best with endurance athletes, such as those with a focus on cardio.

 

Metabolism

Yes, cold showers can absolutely increase your metabolism. There have been several studies about the relationship between cold temperatures and metabolism. It turns out that when your body is exposed to cold temperatures, it activates something known as “brown fat”, also known as brown adipose tissue. It has an inverse relationship with “white fat”, or white adipose tissue.

Essentially, the more brown fat you have, the more likely you’re going to have a healthy amount of white fat. This includes a good body mass index, which is one of the key indicators of overall health.

 

Fertility

This is an interesting rumor that spread around due to the fact that testosterone has an effect on fertility, which is true. Testosterone greatly improves sexual health, and men find themselves better able to perform when they have a higher amount of testosterone.

As to whether or not testosterone can affect fertility is sometimes up for debate. A study in 2007 has shown that when men reduce their regular exposure to warm water, their sperm count increases by nearly 500%. This is because heat in general affects your sperm production. However, it’s unsure if the same can be said for cold water, as not many studies have been done surrounding it.

There is no evidence that water temperature affects female fertility.

 

Energy

If you’re an endurance-athlete, cold showers are just about your best friend in the world. Many people focusing on cardio often take cold showers beforehand (pre-cooling) in order to get through strenuous workouts. It’s said that taking a cold shower or ice bath has an almost “caffeine-like effect” on one’s body. Not only that, cold showers tend to reduce the amount of energy needed to get through a strenuous workout.

If you’re just an average guy looking for something to wake you up, taking a cold shower is preferable to drinking coffee or something else equally caffeinated.

 

Immunity

Immunity is a subject that is still debated in relation to cold showers. There have been studies showing that when your body is exposed to cold water, it causes a release of adrenaline. Adrenaline, in response, causes two related side effects: it makes your immune system produce more anti-inflammatory substances. It also reduces your body’s inflammation responses to infection.

A study in 2016 also suggested that cold showers reduce the study participants’ absence from work by 29%. More data is needed on whether or not cold showers and your immunity have a strong connection, but the science so far is promising.

 

Precautions to Take

Precautions when taking a cold shower - Bright orange cone precaution concept

Not everyone is safe to be inside a cold shower. This may surprise some, but it’s just not completely safe for all people. There are some precautions you should take before deciding if you want to take a cold shower.

If you have any of the following, it’s highly suggested that you keep away from cold showers.

  • Have a compromised immune system, whether it’s from a disorder or a current illness.
  • Have recently recovered from an illness.
  • Are overheated or feverish due to an illness or intense exercise
  • Are feeling over-exhausted or stressed. Even though it’s been shown that cold showers can reduce stress in most people, it does the opposite for people who are nearing the peak of their stress.
  • Have a heart condition or heart disease
  • Have high blood pressure

If you live in a cold climate or it’s a particularly cold winter, it’s not suggested that you take cold showers. Due to the water getting colder within the pipes, taking cold showers can actually cause damage and, in rare cases, induce hypothermia.

If you have depression or a similar mental health condition, taking cold showers as cold water therapy will not replace professional help. It can be used to help you feel better in the long term, but it should not be a replacement for medication or real therapy.

 

How to Take a Cold Shower

How to Take a Cold Shower

This may sound like a bit of an odd set of instructions, but most people tend to think that taking cold showers means putting the water on cold and hopping in. And, yes, that’s technically what many men like to do for their cold shower, but for some, there’s a process that they like to go through. After all, most don’t want to hurt their bodies or get too uncomfortable when cooling off.

  • Take it slow. Try not to just throw yourself in ice-cold water right off the bat. Instead, you should start at a comfortable temperature and gradually lower it as you continue your routine. Just crank it down until you’re eventually at the lowest temperature, which is when you can finish your shower. You could also go by making each successive shower colder than the last. If you live somewhere cold or are showering in the winter, you can be a tad more careful with how you go about it, as the cold tends to lower the temperature of the water on the pipes.
  • Don’t go all-in at once. This is along the same vein of taking it slow. Let your body get used to the water. Wet your hands, feet, and hair before you decide to go on. Your torso is where most of the heat is stored, after all, so it will get the biggest shock if you don’t cool down some of your limbs first.
  • Have a towel ready. This should be pretty commonplace, especially if you live with other people. Most people towel themselves off right away, but in case you don’t, you should. In that way, you can warm up quickly instead of being left shivering.
  • Consistently take cold showers. You’re not going to notice any big changes right off the bat. No, you’re going to need to take regular cold showers in order to really get the benefits expressed in this article. You can always have a break or two between days, but going long periods without a cold shower can halt the effects that are taking place.

 

Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone: The Science

What the science says about testosterone and cold showers

So, we’ve just about covered everything that cold showers can do by boosting testosterone, but there’s a question: is there any actual science behind it? As you may have guessed already, there absolutely is.

There have been a few studies, in fact, but the one we’ll be focusing on is from Japan’s Hokkaido University. They had men take cold showers and then took a look at their hormonal levels, gauging it in both the short term and the long term.

The study in question has shown that immersing yourself in cold water does indeed impact your hormonal balance; most notably is a potential impact to your testosterone levels.

In this test, they found that men who take cold showers had a temporary loss in testosterone, but it was made up for in the long term through the increase of luteinizing hormone, which stimulates testosterone production.

Although the dip in testosterone can be considered worrying, not only is it temporary, but it’s hardly significant enough to make a difference. The rebound effect more than makes up for the loss experienced in the long term, and it’s believed that this effect will persist for as long as the man in question continues to take regular cold showers.

If you want to increase your testosterone in a healthy, natural way, cold showers are the way to go.