April 03, 2023 8 min read
The Truth About ‘Testosterone Killing Foods’
Testosterone is an essential hormone that plays a critical role in many bodily functions, including muscle growth, bone density, and sex drive. But low testosterone is something that can derail all of those things real quick.
The symptoms of low testosterone, can include decreased sex drive, reduced muscle mass, fatigue, irritability, and more.
As people increasingly look to the internet for ways to naturally boost their testosterone levels, there is a lot of misinformation on the interwebs about foods that can lower testosterone levels.
In this article, we'll examine some of the most common myths to separate fact from fiction, and provide tips on the foods and lifestyle habits you can incorporate into your daily routine that will optimize your body’s ability to maintain testosterone levels for as long as possible.
Let’s get started!
One of the most persistent myths about testosterone-lowering foods you will find in your search for testosterone killing foods is that soy products like tofu, soy milk, and soy sauce can reduce testosterone levels in men.
This myth stems from the fact that soy contains phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. The reality is that the evidence simply doesn't support this claim. A review of multiple studies found that soy products have no significant effect on testosterone levels in men.
While soy does contain phytoestrogens, the amount found in soy is simply too small to have a significant impact on hormone levels. But it gets even better. Because consuming soy products has actually been shown to improve heart health, gut health, and much more. So remember, the next time you go out for sushi, don’t have to be afraid of the soy sauce.
While technically not a food, beer is made from grain, hops, yeast, and water. Another common myth is that beer, particularly dark beer, can lower testosterone levels. This myth likely stems from the fact that beer contains phytoestrogens from hops. However, the amount of phytoestrogens in beer is again too small to have a significant effect on testosterone levels. in fact, a study published in the journal Nutrition found that light beer consumption actually increased testosterone levels in men.
Heavy drinking, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on testosterone levels, as alcohol can interfere with the body's ability to produce testosterone. The takeaway? Enjoy your beer in moderation.
Low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet have become incredibly popular in recent years, with many people touting the benefits of reducing carbohydrate intake, with some people believing that high-carb diets can have a negative impact on testosterone levels.
While it's true that insulin, a hormone that helps the body process carbohydrates, can interfere with testosterone production, there's no evidence to suggest that high-carb diets themselves have a significant effect on testosterone levels. In fact, the opposite may actually be true. A study published in the Journal Nutrition and Health found that a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet had a negative effect on testosterone levels in men.
So, now that you know which foods aren’t killing your testosterone, you’ll be excited to know that several foods have been found to be particularly effective at boosting testosterone. But which foods increase testosterone the most?
A study published in the journal Nutrition found that pomegranate juice increased testosterone levels in saliva by an average of 24 percent in men. Not only did this study show pomegranate juice intake increase testosterone, it also caused a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure too. However, while some data suggests pomegranate juice may increase testosterone levels in saliva, the evidence is conflicting between studies. Because while it may increase testosterone concentrations in saliva in one study, another shows that it doesn’t increase testosterone, but rather lowers the cortisol to testosterone ratio.
A lower cortisol to testosterone ratio has been shown to improve athletic performance. This is thought to be a mechanism of the high levels of polyphenols in pomegranate juice. Polyphenols protect the body's tissues against oxidative stress and associated pathologies such as cancers, coronary heart disease, and inflammation.
Research in mice and men suggest that Mangosteen acts as an aromatase inhibitor, which is associated with an increase in levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone.
Resistance-trained men were provided 42 days of a mangosteen supplement at 800 mg/day and experienced significantly greater increases in maximal strength in the bench press and leg press exercise compared to a placebo-controlled group. But it gets even better. Because the group consuming the mangosteen supplement performed significantly more repetitions on the leg extension exercise and realized significantly greater increases in lean body mass and arm circumference than the placebo group. If you have not tried mangosteen, mabye you should. Not only is it delicious and contain tons of nutrients, but it also appears to have those manly benefits you're looking for.
Ginger contains over 400 compounds that have a significant positive impact on our health. And while it is often cited as increasing testosterone, this is a theory that leans heavily on diabetic rat models. However, human studies show that ginger increased testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and glutathione levels in infertile men. But that’s not all. Because ginger powder in doses of 250 mg twice a day after 3 months has a protective effect on sperm DNA integrity in humans and is effective in reducing DNA fragmentation as compared with controls.
You will find many websites (including doctor’s websites) promoting eating grapes as a way to increase testosterone levels. The problem? While trans-resveratrol, a natural antioxidant from grapes, has been shown to increase sperm output in healthy rats, it has not been proven to be true in humans.
So, you may be asking, if there is one food you can eat every day, what food raises testosterone more than any other?
The short answer is no. But like with every other aspect of health there is context that needs to be applied. Because while there are several foods have been found to have a positive effect on testosterone levels, there is no one food that stands out as particularly effective at raising testosterone. It is the quality of the foods you eat and the lifestyle you lead as a whole that contributes to your overall health and affects your testosterone levels.
One point to keep in mind regarding dietary changes as it relates to testosterone levels is that low-fat diets have been shown to have a negative impact on testosterone.
And this makes sense because fat is necessary for healthy hormone balance.
Think of is this way: a bodybuilder steps on stage lean, shredded, and muscular, but their hormone levels are completely wrecked as a result of the extreme dieting needed to get stage ready. This is not to suggest that an extremely high fat diet is necessary to optimize hormone levels, but rather to highlight that is important to eat a balanced diet full of whole-food ingredients in order to keep your body in its optimal state.
In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, there are several supplements that can help to boost testosterone levels.
Vitamin D has been shown to have a positive effect on testosterone production. But the research is not often clarified. Research suggests that Vitamin D helps to mitigate insulin sensitivity. A healthy insulin response is necessary to maintain a healthy weight and is a marker of metabolic health. However, serum Vitamin D is associated with total testosterone levels in only those subjects with morbid obesity, suggesting a specific benefit in severe cases of obesity.
Zinc is a mineral that is important for testosterone synthesis. Serum zinc was positively correlated with total testosterone, and moderate supplementation plays an important role in improving this important androgen.
The trace mineral boron is a micronutrient with diverse and vitally important roles in metabolism that make it necessary for plant, animal, and human health, and as recent research suggests, possibly for the evolution of life on Earth. Boron plays an important role bone growth and maintenance, wound healing, regulating sex hormones, preventing of Vitamin-D deficiency, magnesium absorption, regulating inflammation, and much more. Prune juice has the highest amount per serving at 1.43mg per cup with avocados coming in second at 1.07mg per 1/2 cup.
Taking a supplement that contains at least 3mg of Boron per day has been shown to have a positive impact on many bodily processes, including hormones.
No matter your age, the biggest impact on your testosterone levels will always be diet and lifestyle related.
This simply means that even if you are incorporating ‘testosterone-boosting foods’ such as mangosteen and ginger into your daily routine, there are several other lifestyle factors such as sleep, exercise, and more that significantly impact your hormone levels. For example, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity have been linked to lower testosterone levels.
On the other hand, regular exercise, particularly resistance training, can help to boost testosterone levels.
Overall, there is a lot of misinformation out there about which foods can lower testosterone levels, but many of these claims are unfounded. But the fact is, dietary patterns can predict low-testosterone levels.
Obesity and low serum testosterone (T) levels are interrelated and strongly influenced by dietary factors and so is your level of physical activity.
So, what is the one thing you can do to maintain healthy testosterone and hormone levels?
Maintain a healthy weight. Yes, it’s that simple.
And like many other health issues, achieving and maintaining healthy weight will resolve a lot of problems for a lot of people. How you do it is for you to determine based upon your lifestyle and current health situation. The key is to do it.
Here is what to focus on:
1. Prioritize sleep. This is where the magic happens and your body heals the damage done throughout the day.
2. Stay hydrated. Water is key to life. This includes your hormones.
3. Eat nutrient dense whole-foods. Keep junk food, processed food, toxic oils, and refined sugar to a minimum.
4. Exercise daily. Prioritize resistance training to build muscle, while mixing in long duration (30 minutes or more) and short bouts of high-intensity cardio to burn fat and improve your heart health.
5. Get plenty of sunlight. Vitamin D is your friend when it comes to healthy testosterone levels. It is also key to maintaining a proper sleep schedule.
6. Have sex.
7. Laugh and have fun. When on a mission to get healthy and build muscle we can often get so focused that we don’t enjoy life. Don’t make this mistake. You only get one shot at this life, enjoy it while you work towards your goals.
There it is. Of all the talk of testosterone boosting foods, the reality is no one food will change anything. Rather it is the totality of your daily habits that make the biggest impact on your natural testosterone levels. The good news is this is entirely in your control.
By focusing on a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle, you can support healthy testosterone levels and overall well-being.
Q: Why is testosterone important?
A: Testosterone is important for overall health and well-being in both men and women. It helps maintain bone density, muscle mass, and sex drive, and can also improve mood and cognitive function.
Q: How can I boost testosterone levels naturally?
A: There are several natural ways to boost testosterone levels, including:
Q: Can losing weight help boost testosterone levels?
A: Yes, losing weight can help boost testosterone levels. Excess weight, especially around the midsection, can lead to lower testosterone levels. Losing weight through a combination of exercise and a healthy diet can help improve testosterone levels.
If you’re looking to optimize your hormone profile to get your body firing on all cylinders, consider taking a supplement like Alpha-AF. It contains Vitamin D, Zinc, Boron, and a host of other nutrients specifically formulate to help optimize your hormone profile. It’s a simple addition to your daily routine that can do wonders.
Dr. Paul Henning did a complete breakdown of the ingredients contained in Alpha-AF. If you’re looking to optimize your hormone profile, you can check out his write-up here.