Testosterone. The male hormone. It is one of those do it all type hormones that is responsible for multiple functions and roles in the male body, and, to a lesser extent, the female body. Testosterone is responsible for the development of secondary male characteristics, and also mediates their muscle and bone development, not to mention neurological differentiation between the sexes.
Black tea gets its name from the charcoal colored appearance of the finished product of this kind of tea. It is one of the six major types of tea, and belongs in the category of fermented teas. Its main producing regions are Sichuan, Yunnan, Hubei, Hunan, Shanxi, Anhui, and others. The ingredients used by black tea is relatively rough-hewn, which is the ingredient used in compressed tea. The tea processing technology usually include the four procedures of kill out, rolling, pile fermentation, and drying.
Black tea contains many nutrients, mainly vitamins and minerals, it also contains proteins, amino acids, and many sugars. It has been reported that the theaflavin content in tea inhibits 5α – reductase, an enzyme that is used by the human body to convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, a more potent version of the male hormone. There is also a good amount of polyphenols in black tea, and in a study by Taiwanese researchers, they discovered that low dosages of epicatechin increase testosterone levels over time in rats. This results seemed corroborated by a Sri Lankan study, which showed that rats on a diet of black tea experienced elevated testosterone levels, i.e., a 34 percent boost. Then again, there are test-tube studies in which high concentrations of the polyphenols in tea – 200 micromols – inhibit the production of testosterone in the Leydig cells. At this dose, EGCG in particular is an active inhibitor, epicatechin the opposite. Overall, the conclusion seems to be that low levels of tea polyphenols boost testosterone presence in blood plasma, whereas high levels of the same polyphenols inhibit the testosterone concentration.
Some drugs indirectly target testosterone as a way of treating certain conditions. For example, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors such as finasteride inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgenic hormone more potent than testosterone. These 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors have been used to treat various conditions associated with androgens, such as androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness), hirsutism, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer. There were some studies done on mice that suggested that Black tea, because it contains 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors like Theaflavins and Catechins such as epigallo-catechin-3-gallate (EGCG) can, like Finasteride, reduce DHT levels and concomitantly increase Testosterone levels. If this can be replicated in humans, then it would imply that Black tea has some of the same pharmacological effects as medications such as Finasteride, Alfatradiol, etc.
When Testosterone is metabolized in the liver, the liver attaches two substances to it that convert the normally fat soluble testosterone into a water soluble version that can be more easily excreted. The water-soluble version is mainly testosterone glucuronide. The main enzyme involved in Testosterone breakdown in the liver is called UGT2B17, or UGT, for short. A recent study examined the effects of tea on testosterone metabolism and showed that it blocked the effect of UGT. That, in turn, would increase testosterone in its free, or active, form in the blood.
A slightly elevated Testosterone level can carry with it many benefits. Some examples include, raised red blood cell count, better cardiovascular health, resistance to osteoporosis, and it also makes it harder for your body to convert protein and carbohydrates to fat. Slightly elevated levels of testosterone also decrease one’s chances of Alzheimer’s Disease, and it increases muscular strength.
The effects of Black tea on Testosterone levels is still a relatively new field of inquiry, researchers have only begun scraping the surface of this complex phenomenon, and the core crux of this subject is yet to be unraveled. However, preliminary research is encouraging, but one should keep in mind that an overabundance of Testosterone is not necessarily a good thing, as it increases a risk for heart disease, lowers sperm count, and may also stimulate the growth of blood clots, and also enlargement of the prostate. As always, such therapy is frequently a double edged sword, and one must find the balance necessary to wield the sword and not get cut by it.