Thyroid and testosterone production

How does your thyroid status affect your androgen levels?

The thyroid produces two hormones, namely T4 and T3. T4 is converted to T3 via the deiodinases enzyme and T4 levels are always higher than T3 levels. T4 is just considered as a pro-hormone, as it’s converted to T3, which is the active hormone. T3 binds with much greater affinity to thyroid receptors than T4. Thyroid receptors form heterodimers with vitamin A receptors (Retinoid X receptors), meaning vitamin A and thyroid hormones (TH) work in synergy.

Hypothyroidism in the adult is associated with severe intellectual defects, abnormal balance and defects in fine motor skills, plasticity, and deafness (1). Correcting TH deficiency is critical for normal brain development and function. TH increases insulin sensitivity, oxidative defense systems (superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione), glucose uptake in muscles, blood sugar regulation, energy expenditure, etc… However, hypothyroid is not only due to low thyroid hormones, but could also be due to low conversion of T4 to T3. However that is for another post.

Steroidogenesis

Cortisol: Cortisol and aldosterone production and the clearance rate thereof is dramatically increased by hyperthyroidism and decreased by hypothyroidism. However, it has a much shorter half-life in the system, due to increased clearance, thus exerting a weaker action. Cortisol is also more rapidly converted to cortisone (it’s inactive form). (2)

DHT: Testosterone and DHT production is dramatically increased in hyperthyroidism and their clearance rate is decreased. The most dramatic increase was noted for DHT, with plasma levels increasing by 8-10 times over the average values found in euthyroid men. The data on testosterone was pretty similar to DHT. Decrease clearance and a slight increase in free testosterone. Conversion of testosterone to its weaker metabolite androstenedione is significantly decreased, but conversion of androstenedione to testosterone is increased two fold. There was an increase in SHBG (sex hormone binding globulan), but free T is still greater during hyper than euthyroid. SHBG also decreases the metabolic clearance rate of testosterone. More on SHBG here

Estrogen: There is accelerated conversion of estrone and estradiol into estriol, which is the “weakest” of the estrogens and is often used as finial form to be excreted in urine. High TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) due to hypo also increases prolactin. The increased SHBG will help bind free estrogen and excrete it through the urine. Estrogen clearance in the body is increased during hyperthyroid.


Thyroid hormones acutely stimulate Leydig cell steroidogenesis. Thyroid hormones cause proliferation of the cytoplasmic organelle peroxisome and stimulate the production of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) and StAR mRNA in Leydig cells; both peroxisomes and StAR are linked with the transport of cholesterol, the obligatory intermediate in steroid hormone biosynthesis, into mitochondria. (2)

Hyperthyroid also 1) increases androgen receptors, 2) increases IGF-1 and IGFBP-4, 3) decreases estrogen receptors, 4) inhibits the aromatase and 5) decreases androgen binding proteins.

T3 directly increases Leydig cell LH (luteinizing hormone) receptor numbers and mRNA levels of steroidogenic enzymes and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein. It stimulates basal and LH-induced secretion of progesterone, testosterone, and estradiol by Leydig cells. Steroidogenic factor-1 (regulates the transcription of StAR) acts as a mediator for T3-induced Leydig cell steroidogenesis. (2)

When the testes are damaged (by oxidative stress for e.g.), thyroid hormones help to repair the damage by generating new (differentiation) Leydig cells. (2)

But beware, chronic thyroid supplementation actually decreases steroidogenesis.

Best ways to boost your thyroid function.

  • TyroMax – 99.9% purity x3 strength USP desiccated thyroid glandular. 1 grain per 1/3 serving, 90 servings.
  • Liquid organic Iodine – 150mcg per serving, 480 servings
  • Kelp – 225mcg per serving, 500 servings

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17 Replies to “Thyroid and testosterone production”

  1. hi hans amato, i gave a blood test yesterday, can you please comment to check my t3 and t4 levels?
    Free t3 3.72ng/l seems
    free t4 13.60ng/l seems
    TSH 1.71mU/l appears
    Are these values ok ?

  2. My stress level has been very high for 1 year. I started using zinc, magnesium and b complex 1 month ago, I took new vitamin c, it has an effect, but in general, I still have concerns and OCD. How long does it take to heal? In how many months did you start to improve? Hans amato for stress and anxiety

    1. I’d say give a year of good diet and lifestyle. You’ll get to an 8-9 out of 10.

  3. yes, I had hypo symptoms, for example, my stress level was high before and my thyroid functions may have been impaired due to stress, but now my stress level has decreased, I feel it. but i still have anxiety and okb
    -Exaggerated stress response – heart rate accelerates wildly, shakes, twitches, sweats, internal tension, etc.
    this year has been quite a lot in the last 1 month I don’t have an exaggerated stress level but my stress level still seems very high because my anxiety has not gone like OCD and is still high

    Cold hands and feet and general cold intolerance
    it was cold before, now my hands are usually warm-hot

    hair loss
    It has increased a lot in the last 1 year, but now it is less.

    Loss of outer part of eyebrow

    Feeling tired and tired all the time. You may even experience chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
    This year has passed quite a bit, but I haven’t been feeling tired for the last month.

    bipolar depression
    this still exists, it came out 1 year ago, with stress I can be a confident person for 2 hours and then I worry again.

    decreased libido
    it’s just starting to get better I start to buy wood from time to time in the mornings

    Muscle aches, frequent cramps, weakness and even fibromyalgia
    slow reflexes Muscle contraction and relaxation is slow.
    it was quite a lot this year, it has decreased in the last 1 month and even ended.

    when will my anxiety and OCD get better hans amato. I seem to be slowly starting to improve over the past 2 weeks.
    And are there any supplements you can recommend, we can’t eat meat here, because meat is very expensive, so I try to make my diet as much as I can, but in general, the prices are high so I buy zinc etc.

      1. I drink 2 eggs and 250 ml or 500 ml milk every day in the morning.
        Really thank you for your answers. 1 year seems a bit too much to me, I just want my anxiety and OCD to decrease.

      2. I understand. Mood changes can improve quickly, but for complete resolution, it takes time.

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