Testosterone, the masculine hormone, is the one behind key changes that makes up an adult man, and it also plays a key role in many different sport, including bodybuilding. Men’s triangle shape, sports stamina, seduction power, increased libido, and muscle mass are one of the many features testosterone brings to a man. As such, there’s no doubt anyone would want to give testosterone a try. But sports doping and anabolic products are not the first choice to take, and they can cause many side effects when administered indiscriminately. So, what can you do by your own to increase your testosterone levels? Is it truly possible?
Contrary to what many people believe, our diet can alter our hormonal levels, and may be the key factor that improves the way your own body produces testosterone. There are clinically proven foods, macronutrients, and micronutrients that can be included in your diet and will definitely boost your endogenous testosterone production.
Starting a testosterone diet plan
If you are about to embark on a testosterone diet plan, you may find some contradictory data. Some people say carbohydrates should be avoided in order to increase your testosterone levels, but such claim is not supported by strongly proven data. What’s more, cutting out carbohydrates in an excessive manner may cause the opposite effect on your body, and instead of entering an anabolic state, you will start to catabolize. While catabolism is not an immediate effect, keep in mind you should balance your diet and reach a level of equilibrium so your body can work as it should. So, when it comes to carbohydrates, they are not your enemy as long as you choose them carefully. So, instead of consuming white flour, replace it with whole wheat products. Stay away from artificial sweeteners, fizzy drinks, and fast food, but do not ban potatoes from your list. Potatoes are actually the best choice of carbohydrates in your testosterone diet plan because they are gluten-free, and some studies found that gluten may increase prolactin, another hormone that obstructs testosterone activity.
Remember testosterone are essentially made from cholesterol molecules. So, you don’t want to cut fats from your diet. Do you think that is odd to say? Stop thinking about hamburgers and French fries, the type of fats you need to include to your testosterone diet is found in avocados (a very convenient and easy to prepare food), Macadamia nuts (one of the best sources of healthy fats), and almonds. What’s more, almonds contain many different micronutrients, and they are one of the best sources of boron, a rare type of mineral that has anti-estrogen activities and has been found to improve testosterone levels. So, our recommendation is to take almonds and nuts as snacks, and include avocadoes, olive oil, and other sources of healthy fats in your salads every single day. A special note about Argan oil, a common product consumed in the Mediterranean diet that increases the production of testosterone by 20% according to studies.
Other micronutrients with a scientifically proven testosterone-boosting potential are Zinc, Magnesium, and Selenium. You can find them all in oysters, a special food in your testosterone diet. All seafood in general is usually an excellent source of Zinc, and you should include them regularly, at least once or twice a week. But if you consume oysters, you will have the special benefit magnesium and selenium brings by stimulating your glutathione system, which maintains your level of testosterone. This mineral not only increases your testosterone levels naturally.
What if you have evening cravings? There are low-calorie foods with high protein that can serve as nighttime snacks. But if you want to be even smarter than that, take a few ounces of yogurt every night. All prebiotics contain friendly bacteria for your gut, and all of them can be powerful allies to improve your testosterone levels. It is not a myth, many studies have revealed that there is a significant increase in testosterone after adding friendly bacteria to your gut microbiota. Still other studies show that probiotics can help creating androgens out of cortisol. This is pretty neat because cortisol can block your testosterone function, and if you are turning this hormone into androgens, that will be even better.
If you like to eat along with juices, there are two smart choices you can add to your testosterone diet. Pomegranates and blueberries have both a great anti-estrogenic potential. They remove excess female hormones that may be on your bloodstream and counter your testosterone activity. So, try pomegranates or blueberries in your next protein shake, smoothies or juices. They are both tasty and will help improve your testosterone activity.
Our final piece of advice is about ginger. This spice is nutritious, gives a new flavor to your foods, tastes amazing with tea, and it has been proven to increase 17% of testosterone levels in scientific studies. You can even add it to your smoothies or protein shakes, and it will definitely give you a different taste to your mix.
Summarizing, eat healthy sources of fat in your salads every day. Stay away from junk food and artificial sweeteners, but don’t cut out sources of complex (healthy) carbohydrates such as potatoes and whole wheat products. Include seafood in your diet regularly, especially oysters. Consume blueberry or pomegranate juices and smoothies along with your foods, and if you want to snack, take almonds along with you everywhere you go. Before bedtime, eat your daily amount of yogurt, and try ginger in your tea and your foods.
Should I take testosterone supplements?
A diet plan to increase your natural levels of testosterone is a great idea, and it is scientifically based. However, can we say the same about testosterone supplements? Many of the previously mentioned studies about micronutrients and dietary recommendations were performed using different types of supplements, such as ginger, magnesium, and others. So, the answer is yes. Testosterone supplements are not only safe to use; they are also effective if you choose them smartly. There are many vitamins and minerals found in testosterone supplements that actually have scientific studies to back them up. They are too many, but maybe the most important of them are magnesium, zinc, boron, calcium, selenium, vitamin A, B complex, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Many testosterone-boosting supplements also contain adaptogens, plant extracts like Ashwagandha and similar substances.
If you exercise (and you should if you want to increase your testosterone), studies report an improvement in the release of testosterone after a workout session with calcium supplementation. Vitamin A is not only good for your vision, it is also important to improve the normal function of your glands, including your testicles. B complex deficiencies can cause an increase in estrogens and prolactin, and they are both hormones that impair the normal function of testosterone. Vitamin C and E are both great sources of antioxidant activity, but they also have additional roles. Vitamin C counters cortisol, the stress hormone that interferes with testosterone function; and vitamin E increases levels of signaling hormones called LH and FSH which in turn stimulate your testicles to produce more testosterone. Many of the plant extracts found in testosterone boosters have a scientific backup. For example Aswagandha has been found to reduce anxiety and reduce cortisol levels, improves LH, the production of testosterone, and the sperm quality, among other things.
We already mentioned why boron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium were considered a smart choice in our testosterone diet, and the same principle applies for supplements. Some of the scientifically tested vitamins and minerals that improve testosterone function may not be very easy to find, as in the case of boron. This is why it is smart to use testosterone-boosting supplements, even if you have a good nutrition. Additionally, they have many other compounds that have improved testosterone levels for many people worldwide.
Testosterone supplement side effects
are quite unlikely when the product only contains vitamins and minerals. As we mentioned earlier, many testosterone-boosters contain additional extracts and compounds that may provide an additional effect, but may also be the reason why some people have reported side effects after taking testosterone supplements. There is not enough research available to make up a list of testosterone-booster side effects, but some users have experienced skin rashes, acne, anxiety and difficulty sleeping, kidney problems, depression, and mood swings. It is not possible to say whether or not you will experience some of these, but the truth is that testosterone supplements are a very good move if you are about to start a testosterone diet and want to see faster results naturally.
Al-Dujaili, E., & Smail, N. (2012). Pomegranate juice intake enhances salivary testosterone levels and improves mood and well being in healthy men and women.
Bishop, D. T., Meikle, A. W., Slattery, M. L., Stringham, J. D., Ford, M. H., West, D. W., … & Rao, D. C. (1988). The effect of nutritional factors on sex hormone levels in male twins. Genetic epidemiology, 5(1), 43-59.
Biskind, M. S., & Biskind, G. R. (1942). Effect of vitamin B complex deficiency on inactivation of estrone in the liver. Endocrinology, 31(1), 109-114.
Cinar, V., Polat, Y., Baltaci, A. K., & Mogulkoc, R. (2011). Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Biological trace element research, 140(1), 18-23.
Derouiche, A., Jafri, A., Driouch, I., El Khasmi, M., Adlouni, A., Benajiba, N., … & Benouhoud, M. (2013). Effect of argan and olive oil consumption on the hormonal profile of androgens among healthy adult Moroccan men. Natural product communications, 8(1), 51-53.
Livera, G., Rouiller-Fabre, V., Pairault, C., Levacher, C., & Habert, R. (2002). Regulation and perturbation of testicular functions by vitamin A. Reproduction, 124(2), 173-180.
Mares, A. K., Abid, W., & Najam, W. S. (2012). The effect of Ginger on semen parameters and serum FSH, LH & testosterone of infertile men. Tikrit Med J, 18, 322.
Naghii, M. R., Mofid, M., Asgari, A. R., Hedayati, M., & Daneshpour, M. S. (2011). Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology, 25(1), 54-58.
Oluboyo, A. O., Adijeh, R. U., Onyenekwe, C. C., Oluboyo, B. O., Mbaeri, T. C., Odiegwu, C. N., … & Onwuasoanya, U. F. (2012). Relationship between serum levels of testosterone, zinc and selenium in infertile males attending fertility clinic in Nnewi, south east Nigeria. African journal of medicine and medical sciences, 41, 51-54.
Pilz, S., Frisch, S., Koertke, H., Kuhn, J., Dreier, J., Obermayer-Pietsch, B., … & Zittermann, A. (2011). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 43(03), 223-225.
Poutahidis, T., Springer, A., Levkovich, T., Qi, P., Varian, B. J., Lakritz, J. R., … & Erdman, S. E. (2014). Probiotic microbes sustain youthful serum testosterone levels and testicular size in aging mice. PLoS One, 9(1), e84877.
Umeda, F., Kato, K. I., Muta, K., & Ibayashi, H. (1982). Effect of vitamin E on function of pituitary-gonadal axis in male rats and human subjects. Endocrinologia japonica, 29(3), 287-292.
Vani, K., Kurakula, M., Syed, R., & Alharbi, K. (2012). Clinical relevance of vitamin C among lead-exposed infertile men. Genetic testing and molecular biomarkers, 16(9), 1001-1006.