Unleash Your Inner Wolverine: How to Develop Superhuman Healing Power

by Brett on February 11, 2014 · 46 comments

in Health & Sports, Wellness

wolverine

Editor’s note: This article was a collaboration between Brett McKay and Chad Howse.

What man doesn’t want to be Wolverine?

He’s super strong, sports awesome sideburns, and has retractable mother-freaking adamantium claws in his hands.

While he’s famous for his beastly claws and manly sideburns, Wolverine’s primary mutant power is his accelerated “healing factor.” His body can regenerate damaged or destroyed tissue faster than is possible for ordinary humans.

Gash to his chest? Wolverine don’t care. It heals right up in a matter of seconds and then he’ll hunt the bastard down who nicked him and impale that guy with his razor sharp claws.

Bullet wound? Wolverine’s body eats bullets.

Not only does Wolverine’s mutant healing factor make him damn near invincible, it also makes him nigh near immortal. His healing power slows the aging process, which explains how he has the vim and vigor of a 30-year-old man despite being born in the 1880s.

Superhuman healing and longevity.

It’s the stuff of comic books, right?

But what if we told you that even real-life, non-mutant mortals could capture a bit of Wolverine’s rapid healing power?

Don’t believe us?

Read on.

How Chad Howse Discovered the Secret to Wolverine-like Healing

Recently, fitness trainer, blogger, and frequent AoM contributor Chad Howse shared with me the story of how he discovered the secret to having Wolverine-like healing power:

It was my first time on this lovely island. Some friends of my then girlfriend had carved a water slide out of the side of the mountain. I’d already completed a few runs, along with a few others who’d joined in the fun. I had gotten more and more comfortable, and was going faster with each attempt. I resolved to make my next run the fastest yet.

“Nothing but my heels and my shoulders will touch the slide this time,” I vowed to myself, probably aloud as I tend to talk to myself from time to time. I walked back a dozen steps or so, then took off. Taking a running head start, I leapt into a slippery, rubberized tarp laid out in a trench, and immediately elevated my hips and torso as to leave my shoulders and my heels as the only parts of my body in contact with the slide.

I started off fast, and picked up a lot of speed as the hill steepened. Having gone through a few runs already, I was ignorantly confident as I approached my first turn. “They’re high enough that I won’t catapult off them,” I thought. And for the first turn I was correct; I got high up onto the shoulder, but remained on the slide. The second turn, however, was another story.

I reached full speed as I approached the second and final turn of the slide. I couldn’t slow down, however, and was launched over the shoulder. I skidded across some grass and tried in vain to stop myself before I slid bare-chested over the volcanic rock that acted as a barrier around the pool at the bottom of the slide.

I hit the rock on my stomach, and slid into the water. I thought it was a successful run, and clearly the fastest one yet. I hopped out of the water to a few claps and ran back up the hill. I only got 15 steps before I heard, “Holy crap!”

A friend stood in front of me pointing at my chest. I looked down to find my skin completely red and covered in blood, stripped of its outer layer, all thanks to that wonderfully placed volcanic rock encircling the pool.

It wasn’t painful, but it wasn’t a pretty sight. The gashes were definitely a bit of a shock, but what was more surprising was what happened next.

In just three days my wounds were completely healed. I didn’t even have scabs — just a few faded marks were the only evidence that my body had been torn to shreds. And even those disappeared a few days later. I’d never seen my cuts heal so fast.

I felt like freaking Wolverine.

How You Can Become Wolverine

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What was the secret to Chad’s Wolverine-like recovery?

A genetic mutation?

Adamantium-infused bones?

Nope.

It was something entirely natural to the male body: testosterone.

Yes, testosterone. The same stuff that puts hair on a man’s chest and fire in his blood.

See, before and during his trip to Hawaii, Chad had been focusing on optimizing his natural testosterone levels through diet and lifestyle changes. While his primary goal was to increase strength and muscle gains, Chad discovered that optimal testosterone levels have a myriad of other health benefits, including speeding up the healing process.

I did my own testosterone-increasing experiment last year, and wrote a post all about the many benefits of T. But accelerated healing was one I hadn’t heard about until Chad brought it to my attention.

Research has shown that testosterone plays a vital role in our body’s recovery and regeneration processes. Not only does testosterone itself play an essential role in the tissue formation and protein synthesis required to heal wounds, it also plays an important role in IGF-1 production. IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) is a polypeptide that works with human growth hormone in the healing process. Moreover, it serves as a general wound-healing stimulant by increasing the rate of cell reproduction near a wound site as well as increasing the rate of skin regrowth.

One of the reasons men with HIV and other immune-suppressing diseases have wounds that take forever to heal is that their testosterone levels (and consequently their IGF-1 levels) are also suppressed. Low T and IGF-1 levels may also explain why elderly men tend to have wounds that heal more slowly.

It should be noted that while the research shows that low T levels result in slower wound healing, the healing process doesn’t get any faster after you’ve reached an optimal testosterone level. So mega-dosing on supplements to boost your testosterone to extremely high levels won’t make your wounds heal any faster than if you just went for an optimal level of T. If you’re suffering from low T (and chances are you are), you should notice an increase in how fast your wounds heal just by getting your T levels back up to where they ideally should be for a man your age.

Besides helping give you a mutant-esque healing ability, optimal testosterone levels can also provide Wolverine-like longevity. A recent study out of Australia found that men with low levels of testosterone have an increased mortality rate than men with optimal levels. But don’t let that lead you to thinking that you should boost your T levels to the other extreme. Too much testosterone increases mortality rates in men. It’s men with naturally optimal (there’s that word again!) levels of T who live the longest.

The Wolverine Plan

To experience a bit of Wolverine’s superhuman wound recovery and longevity, focus on optimizing your natural testosterone levels. You don’t need to take steroids or rub testosterone cream on your belly to do this. (In fact, as discussed above, the research indicates artificially increasing your testosterone to super-high levels won’t do anything for wound healing and actually increases your risks for dying early.) All you need to do to naturally boost your testosterone is make a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.

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When Wolverine’s not battling bad guys, he’s lifting heavy at the gym.

Traumatize your muscles (i.e. lift heavy). In Wolverine: The Best There Is, we learn that Wolverine’s self-healing ability gets stronger as he experiences trauma and stress. Sometimes he even deliberately puts himself in pain just to get in touch with his feral side. To increase the levels of wound-healing testosterone in your body and connect with your primal manhood, be like Wolverine by putting the hurt on yourself at the gym. Stress your muscles in a healthy, controlled way with regular heavy weightlifting. Stick to compound lifts like the bench, squat, and deadlift, as those are associated with higher increases in testosterone.

Avoid testosterone carbonadiums. Wolverine’s self-healing ability is slowed dramatically whenever he’s weakened with an item made of carbonadium. It’s like his kryptonite. For us humans, our carbonadiums are substances and chemicals called xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens mimic estrogen and thus lower testosterone levels, sapping our strength and slowing our wound-healing process. Unfortunately, they’re everywhere in our environment – plastics, shampoos, gasoline, toothpaste, and tons of other household products. While testosterone-sapping carbonadiums are ubiquitous in the modern environment, it is possible to limit your exposure to them: store food in glass as opposed to plastic containers, use all-natural grooming products (look for ones made without phalalates and parabens), and reduce your exposure to gasoline and pesticides.

Refuel your body. Wolverine needs to consume massive amounts of protein in order for his body to regenerate tissue. Just like Wolverine, we need to fuel our bodies right so we can produce the testosterone needed to boost our own self-healing ability. While protein is important in testosterone production, the most vital nutrient is cholesterol because it’s the building block of testosterone. So meat, eggs,  and heavy whipping cream are all testosterone-friendly foods.

If you’re looking for specifics on what to eat to kick your testosterone production into high-gear, check out the recommendations I made in this post and pick up a copy of Chad’s new book, The Man Diet. Chad spent years researching and fine-tuning a diet that’s formulated just for dudes and is optimized for increasing your T.

Finally, don’t forget to practice your Wolverine yell. Science hasn’t proven its effectiveness in boosting your T yet, but it’s only a matter of time…

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Phillip February 11, 2014 at 6:32 pm

This is really cool and probably the only post on the internet that will say this. Thanks Brett and Chad for putting the time into writing these articles.

2 Evan S. February 11, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Thanks for this article. I have, over the last few months, focused on heavily increasing my animal fat and protein intake and lowering my carb intake. I have slimmed down by about 25 pounds, increased energy, and generally been healthier. Thanks for the extra motivation to keeping eating well and the information on healing naturally, a topic that fascinates me.

Because I am sixteen, the decisions (health and otherwise) I make now will affect me for the rest of my life. AoM motivates me daily to improve myself. Thanks to everyone involved in producing the AoM content, I consider it the best around.

-Evan

By the way, a great high protein and fat meal that also gets you in the woods practicing your outdoor skills is fried rabbit in chowder sauce. Get a couple rabbits using your preferred method and skin, gut, and dismember them. Fry up a few thick cut slices of high quality bacon (its worth paying for the local stuff), and leave the fat in your dutch oven. Scramble an egg and use it to coat each piece of rabbit. Roll each piece lightly in fine ground cornmeal and fry them in the bacon grease along with an onion or two (I toss the onions in as soon as the bacon is done, before I coat the rabbit, so that they have enough time to caramelize). When the rabbit is done, toss the bacon (coarsely chopped) back into the dutch oven with the rabbit and onion. Pour in a cup or so of heavy cream, and season with pepper and salt to taste. Simmer ’til the sauce absorbs the flavors and serve hot.

3 Jordan February 11, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Excellent post! I love Chad’s story, good motivation to maximize my T levels.

4 Benson Wong February 11, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Thanks for the excellent article. I always love it when I learn something new. It makes me glad, for all those hours spent at the gym lifting was worth more than just helping with my chronic back problems!

5 Tim February 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Awesome article. I kept waiting for you to say I needed some drug if I wanted to be Wolverine, but love that instead you advocated doing it by eating right and lifting heavy. The manly way!

6 Allan February 11, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Great post. I’m a big fan of wolverine and lifting heavy. The recent articles posted on AoM have been awesome!

I think there is a bit of an oversight on the T-boosting prescription though. SLEEP. Specifically, deep sleep (like REM), is associated with natural secretion of HGH and an increase in T levels throughout the day. Ever tried lifting after not sleeping enough? Yea…not recommended. Being well rested also helps you handle stress, one of the causes of reduced T cited in the article.

Hope this helps. Thanks for the great article!

7 Francis February 11, 2014 at 9:29 pm

I’ve been smashing my legs doing hill work in the lead-up to a couple of ultramarathons I’ve got planned this year. I find that the heavier my load of hill training, the quicker my legs recover: If I run hills three or four times a week, I’m always good the next day, whereas if I run hills once a week, I’m invariably sore the next day. Thanks for confirming that I’m not going mad or just being stoic.

8 Chad Howse February 11, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Hey guys, it’s great to hear you’re enjoying the article! Glad to have provided some value, along with Brett – who did a lot of the heavy lifting.

If there are any questions I can answers/ways I can help out, let me know here, I’ll pop in here and there just to check on the comments.

9 NCanon February 11, 2014 at 11:05 pm

I can empirically confirm this… as a competitive athlete, on regular testosterone and HGH, I recovered from a bad shoulder dislocation and multiple fractures (as well as bad lacerations/hematomas) caused by a rather severe bike accident so rapidly that the radiologist who viewed my second round of MRIs thought he was looking at images from two months after the accident, not realizing it had been three weeks. Fairly remarkable, and far faster than I’d ever recovered in the past.

10 Matthew February 11, 2014 at 11:17 pm

“men with HIV and other immune-suppressing diseases have wounds that take forever to heal is that their testosterone levels (and consequently their IGF-1 levels) are also suppressed. Low T and IGF-1 levels may also explain why elderly men tend to have wounds that heal more slowly.”

While this may have a small, secondary effect, I think i morel likely and scientific cause for delayed wound healing in immunosuppressed patients is lack of T-cells and other white blood cells. Not a bad article, but there is a danger in “pseudoscience,” in which we take examples with extremely small sample sizes (1), and assume them to be true because of scientific words thrown around. Not hating on the article, just putting out a word of caution for the critical reader.

11 eep_opp_orp February 12, 2014 at 12:11 am

Or, it was common, light “road rash.” I’ve had enough road rash to tell you that yes, days later the light burn/scrape scabs flake off.

I’ve had the other kind where you have to scrub the rocks out too. those don’t heal in a few days.

12 flipside February 12, 2014 at 12:47 am

Per the link embedded in my name, it looks like indole-3-carbinol accellerates the growth of cancer when introduced AFTER the cancer is present.

Maybe there’s different resuts elsewhere, so more time is required to be well informed.

13 Manoj February 12, 2014 at 3:36 am

Hey Chad,

Nice article….after all who doesn’t want the self healing powers of wolverine right ;-)….just curious if you’ve experimented with D-Aspartic Acid for boosting testosterone.

14 Laurie S. February 12, 2014 at 4:00 am

“What man doesn’t want to be Wolverine?” Wow. I’m a female, can I just want Wolverine? ;) I enjoy your site and articles. They help me a lot, as I live by myself and am “man of the house.” Thank you.

15 Toni February 12, 2014 at 4:31 am

Is there a vegetarian way of increasing the testosterone ? apart from eggs :P

16 Nikola Gjakovski February 12, 2014 at 4:47 am

Every time an athlete is badly injured they receive small amount of deca duraboline (steroids) to get the healing process faster. By this fact it is clear that higher amount of testosterone in the body heals faster. Never really tackled my head why but now its clear. Nice examination

17 Alberto February 12, 2014 at 5:06 am

I’m glad – finally a post concerning Wolverine! I’d often wish you’d write something based on him. Really good article, thanks for posting!

18 Dr. David Orman February 12, 2014 at 7:24 am

I think this is a solid, well written article. Thanks for posting.

There are certainly other means and ways of elevating T but the aforementioned are a great beginning.

19 Glenda February 12, 2014 at 7:39 am

I love gentle manly men (= gentlemen), and I love your blog, recommend it to my friends & students all the time. Also, the things you recommend in this blogpost are perfectly in line with a “Primal Lifestyle”, which definitely produces healthier people (& happier people). I also recommend to my friends & students: http://www.MarksDailyApple.com, which is very much in agreement with your Wolverine-techniques. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

20 Joel February 12, 2014 at 8:12 am

Friends shouldn’t let friends portraying Wolverine skip leg day…smh

21 Jennifer February 12, 2014 at 8:33 am

Started reading this, got excited and then…darn. Maybe this explains why my husband gets over everything faster than I do.

22 Tyler Lloyd February 12, 2014 at 9:44 am

I’ve been lifting hard and loading up on animal protein and fat for over a month now. I have noticed great results. I can’t overstate how important I’ve found cholesterol to be. Don’t fear it and eat up!

23 John A Maness February 12, 2014 at 10:08 am

Also try to avoid Soy as it mimics estrogen in the body. Easier said than done as they use this is many products today.

24 Dan February 12, 2014 at 10:17 am

The connection between plastics and reduced testosterone is dubious. It’s never been conclusively proven, and most of those “paraben-free” products don’t work well. Don’t give into the fearmongering around cosmetics being unsafe; the EU has said they’re fine, and they are WAY more protective about this stuff than the US is.

25 Chad Howse February 12, 2014 at 10:40 am

Manoj – I haven’t. Though it does work, it gives only a temporary boost of up to a week. You can create optimal levels through the right diet and training, without added supplements.

Toni – Where the vegetarian diet is limited is in its fats variety, and complete proteins. You’ll have to consume a lot of nuts and oils from the fat side of things, and supplement with complete proteins (protein powder). The timing will be the same, fats/proteins early. Carbs/proteins post workout.

26 Derek R February 12, 2014 at 11:10 am

This is an awesome article. I may have to take a look at Chad’s book…

27 Liberty Bear February 12, 2014 at 11:42 am

Eating well, exercising and receiving all your vitamins and minerals (from either food, vitamins or salts) is the best way to stay healthy. If you are looking to just not get sick, take several 1,000 mg Vitamin C’s a day.

28 Srdjan February 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Great and well written article.

@Chad
If you can answer me one thing. How can you maximize T boost with limited home equipment only (no bench and no rack and only like 120 lb of weights)?

I mostly do giant series in lighting fast tempo, but can you recommend me something more efficient. I can’t go to the gym it takes me a lot of time (hours there and back) to get there.

29 TheFrotiersman February 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

WARNING ANNOYING NERD COMMENT TO FOLLOW
I do believe Wolverine was born in the 1830s, not the 1880s. In the movie he fights in the Civil War.

30 John O. February 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm

As my lovely mother used to say;
-Son, if you wanna do something big in this life, you gotta lift your iron and eat your veggies.

31 Drew S February 13, 2014 at 11:40 am

Braniac tested testosterone http://www.veoh.com/watch/v1146035DRjeMJ4y

32 Pancho Villa February 13, 2014 at 11:51 am

Wow. Been eating and living the life of Wolverine without knowing who/what the hell he is except a comic book hero. And after nearly 20 years of marriage, my wife and I still make love several + times a week. Didn’t see anything mentioned about “lovemaking” in the testosterone booster category. Maybe next installment?

33 Matt B February 13, 2014 at 11:55 am

I liked the article, but I was honestly hoping for something more, “magical”. Based on your article, and some good comments, it appears I’m already healing at max capacity. Sure, it’s great being superior to most individuals, but I want preternatural power. I think a super soldier serum is out there. I wrote a little about it on my site, http://iprefercapn.blogspot.com/2013/12/evil-mad-men.html , and would love for pros at AoM to follow up on some of this stuff.

34 Matt B February 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

@ Srdjan
Plyometric training with what you have will do wonders for you. Utilize exercises (or make some up) that involve impact. Just be careful.

35 Noble February 13, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Where can I find this book (The Man’s Diet) or is it only an e-book?

36 PabloHein February 13, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Great article!
There are some good points made here, specially one that tells about the long recovery from wounds on HIV patients.
Maybe handy to think about this testosterone way of life as a good short cut to heal wounds on them patients.Or just increase the amount of T cells because of the effects on his metabolism. Anyway, it made me think about.
A very good and healthy addition is to keep your body, and specially your guts , acid neutral. Then the intake of nutrients is at the max.

37 Riad Burctoolla February 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

According to the BBC documentary Horizon: Eat, Fast and Live Longer, IGF-1 leads to accelerated ageing and age-related diseases. They claim that high levels of IGF-1 puts the body in “growth mode” and low levels put the body in “repair mode”. In this case “repair mode” refers to repairing DNA damage in the cells. The documentary recommended either reducing the intake of protein or intermittent fasting to lower IGF-1.

tl;dr: High IGF-1 – heal like Wolverine; age like Jack Powell

38 Mark February 15, 2014 at 7:32 am

I wouldn’t advise actively trying to increase cholesterol in your diet. We actually are capable of synthesizing all of the cholesterol we need de novo without getting any from the diet. While lots of things we should be eating like eggs and meat do have some cholesterol, which is fine, that cholesterol won’t lead to increased testosterone levels; it will just act in a negative feedback mechanism to decrease the amount that we produce ourselves.

39 Alejanro February 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

Please be cautious with increasing Testosterone over the optimal levels. I can actually reduce the response of your immune system and make you more aggressive. High levels of Testosterone are also associated with a higher risk of cancer

40 Nathan February 26, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Outstanding read and appreciate it. As a marathon runner self healing really plays a big role and much of it anyone can master with some attention to detail. I have been competing for 23 years both nationally and internationally and I always wonder how much or lack thereof of proper testosterone effects runners. The effect of testosterone on healing was my favorite part of your message. I have also read up that Colloidal Silver is also very quick to heal as well..so many people rely on medications..they only mask the symptoms. We spent 2.7 Trillion dollars on healthcare alone in this country and am certain there are better remedies out there for people in this country and around the world.

41 Sebastian Karwowski February 27, 2014 at 11:04 am

No wonder Wolverine always wears long pants, dem chicken legs on picture….

42 Seth February 28, 2014 at 11:42 am

And, as an added bonus, in “The Wolverine” movie, Logan shaves with a safety razor!

43 Cale February 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Great post, I don’t know a guy who wouldn’t want a little Wolverine like powers. Thanks for sharing!

44 Robert March 3, 2014 at 7:04 am

Brett: I’m interested in this article, especially in the paradigm shift on meat consumption (I am definitely a meat eater even though my religious conviction encourages the sparing use of it). As far as bacon is concerned, where in the world can you find the nitrate/nitrite-free stuff? I hear all kinds of talk about how it’s a mythical product in commercial circles (i.e. grocery stores of all kinds, natural or otherwise)…that it’s a marketing scam because all bacon is “cured” with some sort of salt AND that you have to find a farmer’s market or private butcher if you want to find the REALLY nitrate-free stuff. For example: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/376177
Any thoughts?

Also, on the subject of having my T-levels tested: How do you go about getting that done? I feel my doc is more interested in turnaround rate than getting to know me…he’s overworked and I feel like he might dismiss me or make me feel like I need to defend my suspicions.

45 Angelina S March 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm

I have a friend who really is a huge fan of Wolverine and tries to emulate his physically fit body but could only do so little for a man his size. We often exercise together after work and I noticed whenever he exercises after a very stressful day in the office, he has red spots in the skin that looks a bit like measles. After reading this post, I think he just needs the right level of testosterone for his cells to heal and regenerate just like Wolverine.

46 Carlos March 19, 2014 at 11:27 am

Thanks for the article! Wow, loved how you guys explained using wolverine! Loved it…and loved the info. Thanks.

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