The Pro-Androgenic and Adaptogenic Effects of Pine Pollen
Understanding and Using Pine Pollen as a Pro-Androgenic, Phyto-Androgenic, and Adaptogenic Herb
Historically, Pine Pollen has been used primarily as a pro-longevity (anti-aging) adaptogenic tonic, without regard for the Phyto-Androgens it contains and without regard for the sex or gender of the person using it.
The majority of scientific research validating the therapeutic use of Pine Pollen has been conducted in Asia. This research reflects the use of Pine Pollen with an emphasis on a broader scope of health and wellness and less for use as a Pro-Androgenic or Phyto-Androgenic herb. See our original translations of several of these research papers here.
The broader focus on Pine Pollen as a pro-longevity (anti-aging) adaptogenic tonic is in opposition to the marketing of Pine Pollen in the West. This marketing emphasizes the Pro-Androgenic properties of Pine Pollen and the naturally occurring Phyto-Androgens it contains: plant analogues of testosterone which may work to raise levels of this crucial hormone in the body. The Phyto-Androgens found in Pine Pollen account for its testosterone-like qualities.
Analysis of Pine Pollen finds the following Phyto-Androgens—Phyto-Sterols (plant hormones) that mimic the male sex, androgenic hormones:
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone);
Additionally, Pine Pollen contains gibberellins and brassinosteroids. These adaptogenic Phyto-Sterols may exert a normalizing, regulating effect on the endocrine system to aid in restoring healthy testosterone levels.
Noted herbalist and author Stephen Buhner first wrote about the Phyto-Androgens found in Pine Pollen in his book, "The Natural Testosterone Plan." That text is now out of print.
With over a decade of working with Pine Pollen, it is our opinion that the true Pro-Androgenic nature of Pine Pollen (Pine Pollen's potential to elevate testosterone levels) resides less in its Phyto-Sterols and more in a unique interplay between them, the adaptogens, and the dense source of nutrients Pine Pollen contains. The latter containing the most significant healing potential.
Phyto-Androgens, Pine Pollen Tincture, and Testosterone
With the above said, Pine Pollen serves an essential and specific use as a source of Phyto-Androgens, which should not be overlooked. Pine Pollen is unique in being the only available source of the plant analogues of the male sex hormones.
Tinctures are the ideal choice for those targeting the Pro-Androgenic and Phyto-Androgenic effects of Pine Pollen. Here, a liquid alcohol extract is a preferred method. *
When using a tincture, the active ingredients in a plant are dissolved in a solution of alcohol and water. Because tinctures are alcohol suspensions, they absorb directly into the bloodstream when ingested and avoid the normal route of ingestion and digestion.* This ensures quick and easy absorption into the body. * View our Royal Pine Pollen Tincture product page for more information.
The Negative Feedback System: How the Endocrine System Controls the Production of (Most) Hormones
Most hormones in the body are controlled through a negative feedback mechanism, where receptors sense increased hormone levels and relay messages to reduce the production of that hormone.
This way, when levels drop, a message is sent to increase the production of the respective hormone.
Negative feedback is the governing mechanism controlling the androgenic male sex hormones.
Most hormones in the body are governed by negative feedback and only a few work through positive feedback. An example of positive feedback is childbirth, where the presence of the hormone oxytocin causes a further production of that hormone.
The negative feedback response of hormone production causes alarm when discussing hormone replacement therapy, and for a good reason: Bio-identical hormone replacement can cause the atrophy of hormone-producing glands in some people. An often-told example is testicular atrophy in adolescent and teenage males caused by steroid misuse (abuse).
In steroid misuse, bio-identical testosterone causes the negative feedback mechanism to arrest testosterone production in the testes, causing possible atrophy in the glands.
In the case of Phyto-Sterols and Phyto-Androgens (e.g., Pine Pollen) and with Phyto-Estrogens (e.g., soy), the plant hormone is not identical to the animal hormone—is it not bio-identical. The effects of the hormone are very similar, but the receptors of the negative feedback system do not receive them in the same way and do not trigger the cessation of hormone production.
For people interested in Pine Pollen for its Phyto-Sndrogen properties, Pine Pollen appears not to trigger the body to stop producing testosterone. *
For the endocrine system, Pine Pollen is used for bringing hormone levels into balance when they are otherwise out of balance. Pine Pollen seeks to restore healthy ratios of testosterone to estrogen in the body when those ratios are otherwise negatively influenced through diet and environment, illness and disease, or simply by age (Andropause).
Using RAW Pine Pollen™ as a Foundation for Increasing Testosterone and Balancing Estrogen
Much has changed since we first started experimenting and offering Pine Pollen in the spring of 2010. At that time, I used a combination of RAW Pine Pollen™ and Pine Pollen Tincture to regain strength after nine months of heavy antibiotic and anti-protozoa treatment for Lyme Disease. The combination of the infection with the harsh—but effective—conventional treatment left me completely worn out and feeling worse than before the treatment or the initial tick bite (even though I was now "healed").
When I first started with Pine Pollen, it was mainly on the advice of Stephen Buhner. Buhner told me that Pine Pollen was important in his own recovery and healing from a severe disease and that it should help with mine. I took his advice and integrated the duo of Pine Pollen and Pine Pollen Tincture into my healing routine, and the effects were profound and dramatic. This moved me to start RAW Forest Foods.
At this point, the focus was mainly on the Phyto-Androgens present in Pine Pollen and how they provide a unique position for regaining strength.
Today, I am 100 percent convinced that using RAW Pine Pollen™ is the ideal foundation for balancing testosterone and estrogen, increasing diminished testosterone (and other androgen hormones) while offsetting high estrogen levels. However, I now believe this for slightly different reasons.
Lessons Learned: It’s Not Just the Phyto-Androgens
Pine Pollen contains Phyto-Androgens, which are present in levels high enough to produce physiological changes in the body. * Based on our experience over the past decade-plus, Pine Pollen can elevate testosterone levels far beyond what could be accounted for by its Phyto-Androgens. Reported blood test values have been too high to be explained through the Phyto-Androgen content of Pine Pollen.
The combination of the nutrients, adaptogens, and other compounds in Pine Pollen, not just the Phyto-Androgens, helps produce such a positive tonic effect. *
The Four Actions of Pine Pollen on Increasing Testosterone Levels
Our current understanding is that four separate mechanisms underlying the effects of Pine Pollen, particularly RAW Pine Pollen™ (as powder, capsules, or tablets), on increasing testosterone levels:
- The available Phyto-Androgens naturally present in Pine Pollen, including androstenedione, androsterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and testosterone;
- Resetting the hypothalamus and resetting the anterior pituitary gland;
- Uncommon Phyto-sterols offering adaptogenic qualities;
- Regenerative nutrition—and subsequent healing—provided by Pine Pollen. *
The Available Phyto-Androgens of Pine Pollen
The fact that Pine Pollen contains Phyto-Androgens has been covered on this site and looking at the product pages for any of our pollen products details this point. In short, Pine Pollen contains Phyto (plant versions) of the androgen (male sex) hormones, including androstenedione, androsterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and testosterone.
These hormones are almost bio-identical to human androgen hormones and are able to supplement the body's own production of androgen hormones. * This provides important healing, as androgens are very reparative to the body. These Phyto-Androgens offer the healing of increased testosterone. *
Resetting the Hypothalamus and Resetting the Anterior Pituitary Gland
In the clinical setting, endocrinologists often put patients on a short course of a hormone to see if the short course causes the body to start producing the hormone on its own (possibly activating the negative feedback mechanism).
This is very common in treating low thyroid hormone (which is the most treated condition due to low or no hormone production). For reasons that are unknown, many times the body, sensing the presence of the supplemental thyroid hormone, will start producing it on its own. As if the supplemental hormone is a wake up call.
This is so common that routine treatment for thyroid hormone includes an adjustment period and retesting to see if the thyroid started producing the hormone on its own.
In treating low testosterone, some clinicians have begun to follow a similar approach: treating with supplemental testosterone (like Andro Gel), and then stopping the application of it to see if the body began producing it on its own. Many times the short course was all that was needed.
In seeing how dramatic the increase in testosterone can be with supplementing with Pine Pollen (powder and/or tincture), it is theorized by us that the pollen is able to wake up the endocrine system, producing an increase in testosterone production.* However, this is purely by observation and it should not be construed as medical advice nor as a treatment plan for any medical condition.
A change of this type could happen at the hypothalamus or at the anterior pituitary gland, the two glands responsible for signaling testosterone production. It could also be that Pine Pollen is able to resensitize the Leydig cells of the testes, where testosterone is actually produced.*
The Adaptogenic Phyto-Sterols of Pine Pollen
In addition to the phyto-androgens androstenedione, androsterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and testosterone, Pine Pollen also contains very unique plant sterols called gibberellins and brassinosteroids. These sterols (steroids) have an adaptogenic quality: they may increase the ability to mitigate stress.* Adaptogens increase the stress threshold in the body, so what was previously stress is no longer stress.
Adaptogens are important in healing, since while the body is under stress healing is next to impossible.
While gibberellins and brassinosteroids are not androgen hormones, they are adaptogens and many adaptogens are gonadotropic, increasing testosterone production. In this way, they are able to increase health by reducing stress, which would restore health and thus allow for increased testosterone production, and they may additionally be gonadotropic, increasing testosterone production in the testes.*
Deep Healing Provided Through Superior Nutrition
This is what we called “regenerative wellness.” Pine Pollen contains many essential nutrients for the body, including all of the essential amino acids in their raw, un-denatured state. Pine Pollen also contains some unique anti-aging amino acids that many people are deficient in. It also has many vitamins and minerals (which are increasingly rare in food), and other important compounds like SOD, MSM, and ALA, all important for building health, strength, and overall vitality in the body.*
For many people, the deep nutrition found in Pine Pollen may be the missing element in their issues of low testosterone. I say this because a body that is not receiving proper nutrition will falter, and the endocrine system and the male sex hormones have their own nutritional needs--which Pine Pollen satisfies but foods are increasingly low in due to modern agriculture. By meeting these nutritional needs, Pine Pollen may be able to let the body restart production of healthy levels of testosterone.*
Through observation, the ability for Pine Pollen to increase testosterone outpaces the testosterone (and other phyto-androgens) found in it.* This leads us to believe that Pine Pollen is working on several levels and through several mechanisms to supplement and increase testosterone production in the body.* Furthermore, it leads us to believe that RAW Pine Pollen (because the nutrients are in their raw state) is the idea foundation for restoring healthy levels of testosterone and mitigating the effects of high estrogen levels.*
We have published an extensive document on the nutritional aspect of Pine Pollen, including original English translations of several research papers. You can find that document here.
Choosing Between RAW Pine Pollen™, Pine Pollen Extract, and Pine Pollen Tinctures
Many customers write into us and are interested in what form of Pine Pollen is the best for increasing testosterone. Before we can answer this, it is important to point out Pine Pollen contains plant sterols that are molecularly similar to the androgen hormones (such as testosterone) present in the human body. Subsequently, the primary effect that Pine Pollen has on the androgen hormones is one of supplementation. In our many years of doing this, we have heard back from many customers that have had their testosterone checked before and after use and have showed an impressive increase in testosterone levels.
Based on our research and experience, when targeting the androgen hormones in Pine Pollen, the best method for accessing those hormones is with tincture. Our Pine Pollen Tincture is a very strong extraction (the strongest that we know of) of the phyto-androgens found in Pine Pollen.* Additionally, because tinctures are alcohol based, the androgens in the tincture do not go through the digestive tract as other Pine Pollen does, because the alcohol is absorbed through the cells lining the mouth, esophagus, and the stomach.*
This direct absorption offers the benefit of a very quick effect and it also means that the hormones are not damaged by the enzymes present in the digestive tract.
All in all, Pine Pollen Tincture is the product with isolated and highly bio-available phyto-androgens, including testosterone.*
With all of that said, and as is explored above, based on our extensive history with Pine Pollen, we have begun to suspect that Pine Pollen has an overall adaptogenic, balancing effect on the endocrine system, not just a supplementing effect. The difference is that with a balancing effect, the Pine Pollen may actually be signaling an increase in testosterone production, most likely by increasing the amount of luteinizing hormone by the anterior pituitary gland.*
Our preferred method for using Pine Pollen is to set the foundation with either the raw pollen or the powdered extract and then supplementing with the tincture for specific targeting of the phyto-androgens.*
Most hormones in the body are controlled through a negative feedback mechanism, where receptors sense increased hormone levels and relay messages to reduce the production of that hormone.This way, when levels drop, a message is sent to increase the production of the respective hormone.Negative feedback is the governing mechanism controlling the androgenic male sex hormones.Most hormones in the body are governed by negative feedback and only a few work through positive feedback. An example of positive feedback is childbirth, where the presence of the hormone oxytocin causes a further production of that hormone.The negative feedback response of hormone production causes alarm when discussing hormone replacement therapy, and for a good reason: Bio-identical hormone replacement can cause the atrophy of hormone-producing glands in some people. An often-told example is testicular atrophy in adolescent and teenage males caused by steroid misuse (abuse).
All information provided by RAW Forest Foods, including throughout this website, is for educational purposes only and is not intended as—nor should be misconstrued as—any recommendation, medical diagnosis, treatment, cure, or advice.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Customers are advised to consult their qualified healthcare practitioner before undergoing any lifestyle changes, including dietary or nutritional supplements.
Products offered by RAW Forest Foods are not for use by those that are pregnant or nursing, children under the age of 18, individuals with a known medical condition, or those allergic or averse to any of the ingredients contained within them.
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