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Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone? (5 Amazing Benefits)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Last updated: October 29, 2022

To avoid testosterone therapy (TRT), many of my fitness clients ask me whether some tips and tricks like taking a cold shower, can boost their testosterone levels.

To build upon my intuitive knowledge and experience, I spent a few days reading up on scientific literature and consulting an endocrinologist on the effects cold water stimulation can have on testosterone levels.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • Cold showers may increase both testosterone and sperm production by lowering the body’s temperature and, thus, keeping testicular function optimal.
  • Cold exposure for therapeutic purposes is a practice that dates back to ancient times.
  • Exercise and certain dedicated supplements like natural testosterone boosters may be a more effective way to boost testosterone.

Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone?

A shower close up image

Cold showers may increase testosterone by way of temperature control of the scrotum, which primarily hangs outside the body to keep the testicles at the optimal temperature to produce sperm.

The idea here is that sperm is sensitive to heat fluctuations, and heat, including a hot shower, can reduce production; cold showers could counteract that effect [1].

Interestingly the testicles of Wistar rats are identical to human testicles, albeit much smaller, allowing researchers to study the effects of temperature on sperm production and testosterone levels.

One study shows rats exposed to heat for 15 minutes lost testicular weight and had lower testosterone levels than the control group rats [2].

So, this research seems to suggest that as the body temperature rises from heat exposure, like taking a shower with hot water, particularly around the testes, T-levels and sperm production drop.

Logically, one could conclude cold exposure through a shower or an ice bath directly influences sperm production and serum testosterone positively.

However, studies, which we’re going to discuss in a bit, seem to support an increase in sperm production with cold or icy water more conclusively than an increase in testosterone.

Let’s take a closer look.

Cold Showers and Testosterone: The Research

A man taking a shower inside

There is countless research on the effects of testosterone and male fertility as affected by low and high temperatures.

Sperm Production

Here is some research regarding temperatures and sperm production:

  • Keeping testicular temperature between 88 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit allows optimal DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis resulting in higher sperm production [3].
  • Cold temperature exposure can improve the morphology (shape) and mobility of sperm [4].
  • Another study shows that reducing exposure to hot baths, showers, or hot tubs can improve sperm count by an average of 500 percent [5].

Testosterone Levels

These other studies evaluate the effects of cold exposure related to testosterone levels:

  • One study shows that brief, daily exposure to cold temperatures actually decreases testosterone levels in the blood [6]. However, this study involved exposure in cooler months rather than cold showers. Still, it underscores the link between cooler temperatures and serum testosterone and the importance of testicular temperature regulation.
  • More studies show that cold stimulation does not affect the serum testosterone level, but physical exercise does by increasing luteinizing hormone and noradrenaline levels [7].
  • Promising results to boost testosterone came from a randomized controlled trial where athletes were subjected to cold exposure after an explosive sprint session. Researchers noted a 24-hour spike in testosterone levels measured in saliva samples from the athletes [8].

This boost is likely due to the body’s response to what it perceives as dangerous cold exposure, so it releases proteins to prevent muscle tissue from wasting away, potentially boosting testosterone naturally.

Cold-Water Therapy: A Quick History

Pouring a bucket of cold water on himself

Using cold exposure for therapeutic purposes dates back to ancient times, initially appearing in The Edwin Smith Papyrus, an early medical text dating back some 5000 years [9].

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates recognized the therapeutic benefit of cold exposure by using snow and ice to stop bleeding or drinking cold water to reduce fever [10].

In the 17th century, John Floyer wrote extensively about the medicinal and hygiene benefits of a cold water bath in his treatise An Enquiry into the Right Use and Abuses of the Hot, Cold, and Temperate Baths in England [11].

“The use of cold was advocated by the pioneering Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen to help balance bodily humors. In fact, Galen is known to have invented ‘cold cream,’ which is still popular today, although he advocated it for treating fever rather than as a moisturizer.”

- Dr. Phil Jaekl, PhD

Other Benefits

Man in shower shivering in cold

Both testosterone levels and sperm production might benefit from cold exposure, but there are also some other positives to taking a cold shower.

Let’s take a quick look now.

Increased Energy

There is evidence that suggests that cold showers can boost energy.

One study found that participants likened the effects of cold exposure to caffeine after taking cold to hot showers for a month, followed by two months of cold showers [12].

Another study shows a slight benefit to muscle soreness by cold water immersion, especially when immediately followed by hot water exposure [13].

Boosted Immunity

Research shows that cold exposure through cold baths and showers can boost your immune system.

A clinical trial out of the Netherlands shows a 29% reduction in people calling out sick from their jobs [14].

Another study indicates that cold water immersion causes the body to release adrenaline which helps the immune system resist illness by producing more anti-inflammatory substances like white blood cells [15].

Increased Circulation

Man taking a shower

When cold water hits the skin, it causes the blood circulation on the surface of your body to constrict.

This constriction causes faster blood circulation in the deeper tissues to maintain an ideal temperature [16].

Faster Metabolism

Your body’s heightened reaction to an ice-cold shower can temporarily increase metabolism because, as a result of your lower body temperature, your body goes into non-shivering thermogenesis, and you will burn calories in an attempt to keep warm [17].

“Cold temperatures activate the brown or good fat in the body. When brown fat is activated, it keeps the body warm by burning calories; it may also increase your energy and metabolism and help control your blood sugar. That could reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes."

- Dr. Geert Buijze

Improved Post-Workout Recovery

Athletes have long used cold therapy in the form of an ice bath to aid muscle recovery after strenuous workouts or competitions.

One case study of a martial artist and a marathon runner shows that cold water immersion therapy may reduce muscle pain, tenderness, and recovery after intense exercise [18].

How to Take a Cold Shower

Taking a cold shower slowly

Cold water can be shocking and unpleasant, but there are a few things you can do to get the most benefit from a cold shower without all the misery:

  • Slow and steady - You don’t need to make the water ice-cold from the start. Gradually decreasing the temperature with each shower will allow your body to adjust. You can start with warm water, working toward lukewarm, cool, and finally, a cold shower.
  • Easy does it - Splash the water on your face, arms, and feet first to get used to the temperature; you don’t have to go all-in and shock your entire body with cold water.
  • Get warm - Make sure you have a warm area or towel ready so you don’t get too cold and begin shivering.
  • It is not one and done - To reap the most benefits of cold showers, you must do them consistently. Taking them at a similar time each day allows your body to adjust and respond to the cold exposure.

FAQs

What Is the Best Time to Take a Cold Shower?

The best time to take a cold shower is in the morning because it gives you a physical and mental jumpstart, increases circulation, and can improve immunity.

Do Cold Showers Increase Sperm Count?

Cold showers may increase sperm count. In theory, the cold water temperature would keep the scrotum at an optimal temperature allowing the testes to produce maximum sperm and testosterone, while warm or hot temperatures can reduce production.

Why Should Men Take Cold Showers?

Men should take cold showers because they can improve blood flow, lower scrotal temperature (promoting sperm and testosterone production), increase alertness, enhance mental clarity, and boost immunity.

Are Cold Showers Good For Fertility?

Cold showers can be good for fertility for men because they can counteract the reduction in sperm that warm or hot showers may bring about. No research suggests water temperature has an impact on women’s fertility.

So, Do Cold Showers Increase Testosterone?

Cold showers can offer many benefits. However, instead of looking for the one magic button to improve testosterone levels, a holistic approach to physical, mental, and emotional health will impact your overall well-being, including T-levels.

My personal quality of life vastly improved years ago when I started eating healthy, working out regularly, and taking high-quality testosterone boosters for men.

Today, I advise my clients to take the same approach, and the results speak for themselves.

Check out our link with the best testosterone boosters we’ve thoroughly tested; you’ll be amazed at how good you can feel.


References:

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201023095855.htm
  2. https://academic.oup.com/endo/article/141/4/1414/2988074
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4737001/
  4. https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(13)00146-4/fulltext
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17335598/
  6. https://infectagentscancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1750-9378-2-20
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1890772/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27227791/
  9. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00701-006-0747-z
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519955/
  11. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A39842.0001.001?view=toc
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5025014/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4802003/
  14. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-cold-showers-good-for-you/#
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4798560/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843861/
  17. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/nonshivering-thermogenesis
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4798560/
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