Outstanding stack for higher libido (and bigger balls)

Testosterone is not the end all, be all when it comes to libido.

More correctly, exogenous testosterone (TRT).

We’ve all been indoctrinated that testosterone is essential for libido.

And it’s true that testosterone is needed, but about a 4th of people on TRT are non-responders.

When testosterone fails

Have you ever tried all kinds of testo-boosters, dopamine boosters, etc., but still no major uptick in libido? Maybe an uptick initially, but then it just goes back to normal again.

And the same happens with testosterone injections.

Although 75% of the people experience an uptick in libido and sexual function after starting testosterone, which then usually plateaus after 3 months, but about 25% of the people taking testosterone doesn’t (R, R).

And actually, a lot of guys have told me that after about a year or 2 after on TRT, everything went back to the way it was before starting TRT. As if they never even started.

Why testosterone and testo-boosters fail

There are quite a few reasons why it might fail, but here is the link.

Sperm quality correlates with sexual function and the greater the quantity and quality of your sperm are, the higher your libido (R, R)

And this is why some aphrodisiacs promote libido without modifying your hormones or neurotransmitters.

Here are some more evidence

After adjusting for age, we observed a higher prevalence of ED [erectile dysfunction] (IIEF-15-erectile function domain score <26) (18.3% versus 0%; P = 0.006) and PE [premature ejaculation] (PEDT score >8) (12.9% versus 4.1%; P = 0.036) in males of infertile couples compared with fertile men.

The ED prevalence increases as a function of semen quality impairment severity even after adjusting for confounders (age, CDS, MHQ and NIH-CPSI total score), despite similar hormonal, glyco-metabolic and penile vascular status. Compared to fertile men, all three groups of males with couple infertility showed a poorer erectile function, associated with an overall psychopathological burden (MHQ total score), particularly with somatized anxiety (MHQ-S). Azoospermic men showed the worst erectile function and general health.

In addition, azoospermic men reported higher PE prevalence and lower sexual desire and orgasmic function when compared to fertile men (all P < 0.05), all of which were related to psychopathological symptoms

Reference

There are many more studies like this showing that infertile men have hypoactive sexual desire and lack of sexual satisfaction (R, R, R).

This could be why testosterone supplementation could do nothing for libido, since it reduces fertility, by lowering FSH (R). Not all patients with ED and a low testosterone level have an improvement in erectile function when treated with exogenous androgens (R).

Another reason why testosterone injections don’t always work is because an excess is converted to estrogen.

And serum estradiol levels are negatively correlated with penile rigidity. Estrogen promotes nitric oxide production and together they promote vascular weakness and leakage (R).

In a lot of cases with older people, testosterone might improve sexual desire, however other parameters of sexual function including erectile function remain unaffected by the treatment (R).

A few reasons why testo-boosters fail

  • They don’t restore Leydig cell function. Some experimental evidence suggests that aging induces a Leydig cell dysfunction (R).
  • They don’t protect against endotoxin-induced inflammation.
  • They don’t specifically upregulate the rate-limited enzyme, StAR, which is necessary for transporting cholesterol into the mitochondria.
  • They don’t restore neurological health
  • They don’t improve vascular health

Here’s what to use instead

Our stack will consist of:

Vitamin K2 (MK-4)

Vitamin K and testosterone

There are multiple animal studies showing that vitamin K (only MK-4) boosts testosterone production by increasing StAR, which is the rate-limited step in transporting cholesterol into the mitochondria for conversion to pregnenolone.

In this study, rats were given 75mg/kg MK-4 for 5 weeks and their testosterone increased significantly. MK-4 is the predominant vitamin K form present in the testes.

The MK-4 increases protein kinase A (PKA) signaling, which stimulates the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) to transport cholesterol from the outer to the inner mitochondria. Furthermore, MK-4 increases CYP11A activity and also its mRNA gene expression. CYP11A is the enzyme that converts cholesterol into pregnenolone (the first steroid).

The increase in testosterone is independent of LH secretion as LH remains unchanged with vitamin K2 administration.

As the study concluded: “expression of CYP11A, the rate-limiting enzyme in steroidogenesis, and phosphorylation levels of protein kinase A (PKA) and the cAMP response element-binding protein were all stimulated by the presence of MK-4” (R).

Although that’s a really big dose used in the rat study, direct testicular application of vitamin K2 could spot specific increase local concentrations of vitamin K, thus exerting the same effects are oral doses of vitamin K. Oral absorption of vitamin K is very low, and then the liver and all other tissue in the body get their share, so only a small amount reaches the testes.

Also, vitamin K is important for the post-translation of Gla proteins in various tissues, including the testes and is directly involved in steroidogenesis. The mRNA of steroidogenic genes is low in vitamin K deficient tissue.

Furthermore, vitamin K2 increases osteocalcin, which acts on Leydig cells of the testis to stimulate testosterone biosynthesis and therefore affect male fertility. More on osteocalcin here and how to boost it.

Vitamin K boost dopamine and lowers serotonin

Serotonin is a major inhibitor of testosterone production and it correlates very well with prolactin. Prolactin is well known for inhibiting libido and fertility.

Dopamine on the other hand promotes libido and sexual function.

Vitamin K2 and other quinones (such as beta-lapachone, emodin, PQQ, etc) enhance serotonin uptake (by redox modification) and increase dopamine levels, by inhibiting MAO-B (R, R, discussed in this thread).

Vitamin K2 lowers estradiol

As mentioned earlier, estrogen causes vascular dysfunction and contributes to sexual dysfunction. Vitamin K2 can actually lower estradiol.

This study found that vitamin K2 binds to 17beta-HSD4, a key enzyme that regulates important redox reactions at the C17 position of steroid hormones, converting estradiol (E2) to estrone (E1).

We found in the present study that vitamin K2 decreased E2:E1 ratio and inhibited the amount of ERa-DNA binding in a dose-dependent
manner, although the precise relationship between the binding and functional modulation of vitamin K2 by 17h-HSD4 remains to be elucidated. These results may provide new knowledge of the linkage
between vitamin K and estrogen function.

Reference

Vitamin K2 improves mitochondrial function

Improves mitochondrial function. a study in Drosophila proposes vitamin K2 as a promising compound to treat mitochondrial pathology. In this study, MK4 can act as a mitochondrial electron carrier, like ubiquinone, facilitating ATP production, rescuing mitochondrial defects and restoring its function. Vitamin K2 combined with vitamin C supported ETC function and ATP production, thus improving glucose oxidation and lowers lactate and we all know by now how essential proper energy metabolism is in the testes for testosterone production (R).

Few additional benefits of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2:

  • Improves neurological health (R). Neural damage is a major reason why people get erectile dysfunction, and it can be caused by excess gut issues, excess iron, PUFA accumulation, etc.
  • Inhibits 12-lipoxygenase (12-LOX) and protects against oxidative stress in the testes (R).
  •  Lowers concentrations of inflammatory markers in vivo, and exerts an anti-inflammatory role by suppressing nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signal transduction (R).
  • Inhibits endotoxin increased inflammation (R).
    • After LPS treatment, plasma testosterone levels were significantly reduced in the vitamin K-free diet group compared with the control diet group. Testicular mRNA and protein levels of Cyp11a, a rate-limiting enzyme in steroidogenesis, corresponded to plasma testosterone levels. However, plasma luteinizing hormone levels were unaffected by diet and LPS. Phosphorylated nuclear factor κB p65 in the testis was significantly increased in the LPS-treated, vitamin K-free diet group compared with control. These results indicate that dietary vitamin K affects testicular vitamin K levels and ameliorates the LPS-induced reduction in testicular testosterone synthesis. Testicular vitamin K might facilitate the inhibition of inflammation signal transduction and maintain steady levels of testosterone (R).
  • Inhibits lipid peroxidation (R).
  • Promotes sperm maturation. “Vitamin-K-dependent γ-glutamyl carboxylase (GGCX) and matrix Gla protein (MGP) were essential in extracellular calcium signaling of the intercellular communication required for epididymal sperm maturation” (R).

Dosing

After my evening shower, I apply 5 drops of Kuinone (which gives me 10mg K2) on my scrotum and then read a book for 30 minutes just so that it can be absorbed completely.

Taurine

Similar to vitamin K2, taurine has been shown to increase testosterone synthesis. Taurine concentrates in the testes and declines with aging. Low taurine can lead to low testosterone and supplementing taurine has been shown to increase GnRH, LH and testosterone and enhance sexual function (R, R).

One of the possible mechanisms of how taurine lowers cholesterol is by increasing cholesterol uptake in the testes and increased androgen synthesis (R).

Taurine has also been shown to improve sperm quality and function by elevating mitochondrial energy metabolism. Taurine has also been shown to be an excellent testes protectant.

Taurine protects epididymal epithelium structure, improves secretion activity, and maintains intraluminal microenvironment homeostasis. Finally, the present results showed taurine effectively increased cauda epididymal SOD, GSH and γ-GT levels in model rats, reduced ROS and MDA production, suggesting epididymal antioxidant ability of asthenospermia rats could be elevated by taurine treatment.

Reference

Dosing

Any dose between 500mg or 5g daily should do the trick (to replenish testicular taurine levels over time), depending on your protein intake and tolerance to the taurine. Some people get tired from taurine whereas others feel alert and awake. This could be because low-dose taurine potentiates the effect of stimulants such as caffeine (e.g. Red Bull), whereas bigger doses would oppose it.

I use 2-3g before bed in my pre-bed smoothie/shake, which is about 2-3hours apart from when I apply the other supplements since timing doesn’t matter. I’ve also dissolved some taurine in water and applied that to my scrotum for direct absorption. One reason why I wanted to try it out is that taurine is also a skin penetration enhancer, so should allow more vitamin K2 to be absorbed. However, the solution in water made my skin feel wet as if nothing absorbed even after 30 minutes, so I haven’t tried it again with water. Oral should be good enough.

If you remember, taurine is also a part of my boner stack, which can be supercharged with things like cordyceps and so on.

Thyroid

Few know this but thyroid function is essential for testosterone production. It’s like this low-key info similar to how gut health influences testicular function.

Thyroid hormones 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 (R).

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 (R).

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

In this rat study, the Leydig cell number per testis in hyperthyroid rats was twice as those of controls at Day 21 (R).

Although proper thyroid function will ensure optimal testicular function, topical application of thyroid hormones could have a more potent effect than oral thyroid, since the testes express thyroid hormone receptors.

Dosing

A small dose of 1-3mcg dose of T3 and/or 3-6mcg T4 once daily should suffice to potently stimulate testosterone production. I usually apply 1 drop Tyromix first, before I apply the Kuinone, but it doesn’t really matter which one is first.

It’s important that it’s isolated thyroid hormone and not NDT, since you stomach has to digest it first to release the thyroid hormones, so topical won’t work so well.

Effects I’ve noticed so far

  • Increase in libido. No the kind of libido where you want to lose your mind, but rather “I want to make love to you” oxytocin kind of libido.
  • Bigger testicular size (fuller)
  • More endurance. Not that super-sensitive-“I’m going to explode if I stop just 1 millisecond too late”.
  • Full sexual recovery before 24 hours
  • Repeated strong stiffs (day after day) without ‘tiring’.
  • Longer flaccid hang. Not that it was a problem before, but it’s definitely noticeable.

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25 Replies to “Outstanding stack for higher libido (and bigger balls)”

  1. Hey Hans, on applying the taurine to your balls. Would you think letting it dissolve in water(not a whole lot) and then using coconut oil as a carrier would make it easier to absorb through the skin? Because I use coconut oil as a carrier/dilution for my peppermint oil and it absorbs just fine for my face.

    1. Hey man,
      I don’t think oil is a good carrier compared to water or ethanol. Oil absorbs much slower so I do prefer water. Also, water and oil doesn’t mix very well so I think that might cause problems as well. I’ve tried it again with better success I think. I just apply it last.

  2. Question brother: are you applying Tyromix topically on the scrotum, or ingesting orally?

  3. Are you supposed to apply the TyroMix to your balls and if so at what time. Also could I just put the tyro mix and taurine into my testosterone shake in the morning

    1. I apply it on my scrotum after my evening shower together with the K2.
      You can put it all together in a shake yes, but then the thyroid dose will have to be higher.

  4. Hi Hans,

    I sent you an e-mail regarding Tribulus since it won’t let me post on the article anymore for some reason. Regarding this stack unfortunately ever since I got infected with COVID in late March last year Vitamin K supplementation gives me pretty nasty cardiac side effects like cold extremities and even once half my body went numb from a full spectrum K2 supplement which I promptly threw away. I have noticed the libido benefits you describe however. I also tend towards hyperthyroidism and have induced it a couple of times with Ashwagandha and Tongkat. Topical Taurine seems interesting though. I will try it out,

    If you have any idea why K2 (both MK4 and MK7) give me cardiac issues I would love to hear your opinion.

      1. I’ve used Califronia Gold Nutrition’s (iHerb’s) Full-sprectrum K2 at standard dose (1 capsule), Healthnatura’s K2 (MK4) tincture (1mg K2) and Nutricost’s D3+K2 (100mcg MK7).

      2. Did you only get cold hands and feet from the MK-4? It does sound like it rapidly lowers your blood sugar and increased the requirements for salt. Try again with lots of carbs and salt and see if you still get those side effects.

  5. i find the topic of Leydig cell regeneration extremely interesting, especially because it’s the key to maintain good androgen levels with age since, if i’m not mistaken, LH levels don’t decline and in fact increase (LH/testosterone ratio, as you surely know better than me, is an huge marker for leydig cells function). Caffeine and igf-1 also have androgenic effects on testicles (saw your posts on RPF), and i suspect creatine does too since it’s involved in ATP metabolism. Maybe also fructose but not sure.

    Also always thank you for your work and sorry for the possibly broken grammar!

    -Ivan

    1. Hey Ivan,
      For sure man. Prevention of tissue destruction is one of the most important keys to preventing aging and degeneration in general. Removing things that cause destruction is much more important than adding things for regeneration. Prevention is better than cure. 🙂
      But since it’s almost impossible to avoid destructive compounds, it’s can be highly beneficial to use K2 and thyroid.

      1. for me caffeine is the game changer, whenever i drink a lot of coffee i get insane libido, strength and ball size (literally!). According to ray peat, caffeine increases tissue progesterone levels and can support thyroid (and liver) function, not to mention the effect on 5AR 🙂

      2. Yeah man for sure. We’re getting an espresso machine soon then I’m going to be slamming some caffeine lol.

  6. The full spectrum gave me cold hands and feet and once made it so the left side of my body went numb, threw it out after that. The MK4 and MK7 both give me cold extremities. I would assume it’s a blood clotting issue no? Weird about carbs and salt, may give it a shot next time I try it though. Thank you for the advice.

    1. I have a suspicion that vitamin K2 might lower glutamate and increase noradrenaline in certain individuals, which could explain your symptoms.

    1. Yeah, that’s a great idea if your vitamin D is low, as vitamin D enhances the effects of testosterone and DHT. No need to take it at the same time as the other supplements though.

      1. Hey Hans,

        Love your work via the newsletter. I have a question about your recommendations in this article. Do you think this regime is good to add for an individual on TeStosterone Replacement therapy or is the taurine Tyromix and vitamin k unnecessary?

        -TJ

      2. Hey man. Glad you’re enjoying it and thanks for reading. 🙂
        TRT lowers LH, so there’s no signal for stimulating steroidogenesis, but K2 can increase testosterone through an LH-independent mechanism. So although K2 will not boost testosterone levels, but it can help to increase preg, prog and DHEA, which can be low due to TRT.
        Also, by using TRT, the testes can go dormant and even start to calcify and get fibrotic, so adding this stack could help to prevent that.

  7. Hey Hans,

    I’ve been doing 4 drops of Stressnon (IdeaLabs preg) on the scrotum, 10-15 drops of K2 on the scrotum throughout the day, 2 drops of Pansterone on the scrotum, 2 drops of Androsterone on the scrotum, 5 drops of Calcirol on the wrist and 2 around the groin, 3-5 tyromix throughout the day with meals and 1 drop in the scrotum with k2. At first for couple of months, I felt really good but noticed my nipples were getting kinda puffy but I kept going thinking it’s water weight and glycogen. I felt like I put on a lot of mass but I was also getting injured really easily even when focusing on strict form. Then for the past week, I noticed my flaccid shrunk! My libido is pretty low now and I don’t even get morning woods at all anymore or just get hard randomly throughout the day or night. Is this because the endogenous hormones are being converted to too much progesterone and estrogen? I noticed some back acne as well. What should I drop from my stack? My hair loss significantly stopped though so I’m not sure what’s wrong.

    1. Hey Hans,

      I’d recommend stopping all those supplements, or at least stop applying it on the scrotum for now. Rather take the K2 orally with a fatty meal and put the stressnon and pansterone in your navel.
      Getting injured easily is usually a sign that there is low levels of a certain micronutrient or macro nutrient, such as protein. I’ve felt that since adding egg yolks and mussels to my diet, I’m able to train harder and feel better. 3-4 drops Lapodin sublingually x3 daily has almost made a noticeable difference for me.

  8. Hi Hans
    I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for all the information you share with us.
    I am now very suspicious of the mainstream “science” information online and anyway not a lot(almost zero) deep dive into explanation and science while remaining somewhat accessible like you do…
    I learned a lot reading your articles! Good job! Thanks again!

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