Side Effects of Pine Pollen [Will It Shrink Your Testicles?]
Okay, so the headline is a little ridiculous...we know. But this is actually a question we commonly receive from athletes and men looking to use the androgenic power of Pine Pollen to boost testosterone for muscle building purposes.
The "shrinking testicles" issue men are so concerned about is most commonly referred to as "endocrine system shut-down," which is a common side effect of anabolic steroids and many commonly prescribed drugs and creams used to treat low testosterone.
Endocrine system shut-down is where your body quits producing its own anabolic hormones due to too much external hormones being introduced to the system over a long period of time.
If the bodies natural system is shut off for too long, the testicles can shut-off permanently and atrophy, or "shrink."
Pine Pollen and Endocrine System Shut-down
To better understand how Pine Pollen Powder affects the endocrine system, it is important to first understand how hormones are regulated in the body.
The majority of hormones (over 99% of them) operate in the body in what is called the negative feedback mechanism, meaning that when there are optimum levels of a certain hormone, the gland responsible for that hormone receives a signal that "shuts down" production of that hormone.
When the levels dip, that gland is told to turn back on and production starts again.
The negative feedback mechanism is usually described as a thermostat in the house: The temperature is set, and as long as it stays warm enough and above that set temperature, the furnace stays off.
Once the temperature dips below the set point, the furnace starts up until the desired temperature is reached. If the glands are not being used for the production of hormones, they can begin to atrophy.
As mentioned above, bio-identical (pharmaceutical) hormone replacement therapy, and the abuse of steroids for building muscle, can cause atrophy of the glands responsible for the production of the hormones that are being replaced.
This is because the hormones are identical to the hormones that the body produces. With a constant flooding of identical hormones, the body does not produce any of its own, leading to atrophy.
Doesn't Pine Pollen Powder Contain Androgen Hormones?
The phyto-androgens in Pine Pollen Powder are similar to those produced by the body, but are not identical.
Because they are not chemically identical to those produced by the body, Pine Pollen does not cause any of the undesirable side effects of pharmaceutical hormones, and will not cause "shut down" or atrophy of the testicles or other glands associated with the production of testosterone.
However, the hormones in Pine Pollen Powder are chemically similar enough to provide all the benefits of having elevated levels of hormones. Not sensing an abundance of its own hormones, the body keeps on producing naturally.
Abuse of Pine Pollen and Cycling Recommendations
Abuse of any food or supplement beyond its intended use may have adverse side effects, though we are not aware of any studies demonstrating any side effects associated with the overuse consumption of Pine Pollen.
Like all nutritional supplements and foods, the body likes change.
We recommend taking a few days off of Pine Pollen Powder every few weeks, just like we recommend taking a few days off from exercise, alcohol, work and other vitamins and nutritional supplements. Too much of anything, even a good thing, can create stress on the body.
This time off will keep the body guessing.
Use of Pine Pollen Powder as a food or supplement is considered safe for most, including women. Though it is always good to talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.
Stephen Buhner, author of (among many other fantastic books), "Healing Lyme", "The Natural Testosterone Plan", and "Pine Pollen, Ancient Medicine for a New Millennium, in which he writes,
"Pine pollen powder...can be used as a nutrient food or supplement by anyone with no restrictions other than for those with pine pollen allergy. Except in unusual circumstances due to medical conditions, pine pollen should not be used by adolescent men (under the age of 18)."