Foods that kill testosterone is a topic that has been hotly debated in the last decade, in more recent years, it has been proven that there are no foods that can drastically increase or decrease your testosterone levels.
In this article we are going to tell you everything you need to know when it comes to foods that supposedly lower testosterone.
We are joined by Dr. Robert Mordkin, Chief Urologist and U.S. Medical Director for LetsGetChecked to talk you through what’s true and false when it comes to testosterone, what is known to kill testosterone vs. what actually does, how to test your testosterone and ways you can naturally boost your levels.
- Foods That Kill Testosterone: Do They Actually Exist?
- How Can You Test Your Testosterone Levels?
- Ways To Naturally Increase Your Testosterone Levels
Foods That Kill Testosterone?: Do They Actually Exist?
Foods that are said to kill testosterone include:
- Refined carbohydrates & sugars
- Vegetable oil
- Low quality meat/processed foods
- Soy products
Let's set the record straight on whether or not foods actually have the ability to kill testosterone.
1. Refined carbohydrates & sugars
White bread, pasta, rice along with pastries and cakes are known as refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are those that are quickly digested by the body leading to a quick release of sugar and a spike in insulin.
Refined carbohydrates and/or sugars may cause testosterone decline, but this is connected to potential weight gain as opposed to the immediate effect of consuming refined carbohydrates.
Dr. Mordkin says:
"Refined carbs and sugars often lead to poor weight control. Obesity is the number one culprit in leading to low testosterone. Many weight management physicians and cardiologists espouse keto low carb diets for rapid and maintained weight loss and a positive side effect will typically be a rebound in testosterone levels."
2. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oil is said to affect testosterone levels, but similarly to refined carbohydrates, this decline is said to be connected to subsequent weight gain.
Vegetable oil is olives, rapeseed, palm, peanut or soybeans that are liquid at room temperature.
In one study, men were given a questionnaire on their dietary intake. 69 men aged between 43 and 88 were accessed. It was shown that there was a relationship between the consumption of polyunsaturated fats, estradiol and testosterone.
This study has a low sample group, and the data collected is of a qualitative nature.
A high fat diet may induce weight gain and high cholesterol which can impact testosterone levels but there are no definitive findings that highlight a connection between vegetable oil and low testosterone.
3. Low Quality Meat/Processed Foods
Low quality meat that is believed to have been sprayed with hormone treatments and antibiotics for preservation purposes is said to trigger hormonal imbalances, though large scale findings are inconclusive.
Processed meats and ready meals are said to be equally damaging to your hormones as they are high in sodium, calories, sugar and, trans-fats, which offer a similar explanation as vegetable oil.
One study suggests that men who consume a high level of processed or low quality meats had a 15% lower volume of testosterone as well as a 37% decrease in sperm count.
4. Soy Products
Soy products are said to affect testosterone, however studies have only been carried out on animals so the findings should be taken with a pinch of salt. Soy products such as soy milk and yogurts, soya meat replacement products, tofu, miso soup and edamame are high in phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring sources of estrogen found in certain food products. Eating lots of soy products on a regular basis can lead to estrogen dominance in men and women.
In men, eating products that are high in phytoestrogens is said to cause a decline in testosterone levels. While deeper study is required with human samples, a study found that rats who consumed phytoestrogens experienced decreased testosterone levels.
Dr. Mordkin says:
"A large proportion of studies use animals with low sample number groups, which indicates that further study is required. Having some soy milk in your morning coffee is not an issue, however, until there is further investigation into dairy replacements, moderation is key."
Alcohol consumption is linked to a myriad of negative health implications. Some studies claim that alcohol can wreak havoc on testosterone production, however alcohol may affect all aspects of your health, not just testosterone. When we consume alcohol, it is absorbed by the lining of the stomach and into the bloodstream.
The liver metabolizes 90% of the alcohol you drink. Biologically inactive protein is bound to a protein called albumin which is produced in the liver. This logic is used as a claim that alcohol can cause a decline in testosterone production.
While drinking alcohol frequently isn’t beneficial for overall health, it is not the sole cause of declining testosterone.
Dr. Mordkin says:
"This is factually correct. In addition, other recreational practices such as smoking marijuana and taking opioids, even in moderate consumption have also been demonstrated to depress testosterone production."
How Can You Test Your Testosterone Levels?
Testosterone levels are commonly measured by examining the blood for levels of testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). The free androgen index (FAI) is used to determine the volume of bio-available testosterone in the blood. This is carried out by differentiating between bio-available testosterone and SHBG.
SHBG is a glycoprotein that binds itself to testosterone and transports inactive testosterone molecules around the body.
LetsGetChecked offer a number of male hormone tests, ranging from simply measuring your testosterone levels to the Male Hormone Advanced Test which includes hormones prolactin and oestradiol, that are typically associated with women to attain a full comprehensive view of your hormonal health.
Testosterone levels can be examined by a small blood sample, with online results available within a few days. You should consider taking a Male Hormone Advanced Test if you are training competitively, you are undergoing cancer treatment, you suffer from diabetes type 1 or 2, you are overweight, have a family history or suffer from kidney or liver damage.
Dr. Mordkin says:
“If testing shows low levels of testosterone, you should take steps to improve your overall health, followed by retesting in a few months to monitor for improvements. If low levels persist, more thorough evaluation of the hormonal axis should be considered under the guidance of an endocrinologist.”
Testosterone levels may vary on an on-going basis depending on environmental or lifestyle changes. If you are experiencing low levels of testosterone, it is recommended that you test your levels every three months to monitor, track and ultimately improve your current levels.
Ways To Naturally Increase Your Testosterone Levels
We ask Dr. Mordkin for the best advice he can offer when it comes to naturally increasing your testosterone levels. He says:
“The best recommendation would be balance in your diet, limiting processed foods, particularly refined carbohydrates like sugar and get adequate sleep.”
Here are six steps to naturally increasing your testosterone levels by LetsGetChecked:
Follow A Balanced Diet
Attempt to maintain a balanced diet that doesn’t promote spike in blood sugar. A key method for doing this is avoided refined sugars (such as high sugar cereals, biscuits and certain coffees) and carbohydrates (such as white bread and pasta, pastries and cakes). Following low carb, high fat diets and restricting your calorie intake may also lead to a drop in testosterone. These methods are often used in the lead up to bodybuilding competitions. In one study, male subjects performed three intense workouts three days in a week with varying post gym nutrition. The post gym meal was either low or high in carbohydrates, testosterone was then measured. It was found that those who ate a lower ratio of carbohydrates saw a decrease in testosterone and an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, while those who ate an average intake of carbohydrates experienced no change in their testosterone-to-cortisol ratio.
Get Enough Sleep
Testosterone is mainly secreted and circulated throughout the male body during sleep. Disrupted or inadequate sleep negatively affects your overall health including your hormonal balances. In one study, testosterone levels were measured in a sample group that experienced one week of 8 hour sleep duration, 11 nights of 10 hour sleep duration and 8 nights of 5 hour sleep duration. Testosterone levels were measured systematically throughout the experiment. The study concluded that testosterone levels continuously declined in the with daily sleep restrictions. It is recommended that adults attempt to sleep for 7-9 hours each night to maintain overall health.
Exercise On A Regular Basis
Regular exercise is an effective way to maintain healthy testosterone levels and can be incorporated into your every day routine. Numerous studies have shown that exercise involving endurance is the most effective way to stimulate the production of testosterone regardless of age. Resistance and weight training are viewed as the most effective way to stimulate the production of testosterone, with 45-60 minutes being the optimal amount of time to spend on an exercise session. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health, some studies suggest that physiological proportions are a potentially modifiable factor that can dictate if it is possible to maintain healthy testosterone levels. A study entitled Andropause: Current Concepts states:
“Among obesity parameters, waist circumference is one potentially modifiable risk factor for low testosterone and symptomatic androgen deficiency.”
Men should eat 2,500 calories a day to maintain their weight and 2,000 calories a day to lose one pound of weight each week. It is recommended that men exercise for at least 150 minutes a week at a moderate level or 75 minutes per week doing a high intensity work-out.
Know The Vitamins That Work
Another natural way to boost your testosterone levels is through mineral rich supplements. While performance-enhancing drugs and certain protein shakes are known to lower testosterone, and trigger mood changes, there are supplements that are proven to boost your sex hormone. Some of the best testosterone boosters on the market include Vitamin D, D-Aspartic acid and Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplements. Other herb-based supplements include ginger, zinc, tribulus and fenugreek.
Balance Your Stress Hormone Cortisol
In cases of training competitively and/or dramatically reducing your calories, a decrease in testosterone and an increase in the stress hormone cortisol may be observed on a physiological level. Further studies suggest that an increase in the stress hormone cortisol will hinder the production and secretion of testosterone. Balancing your hormones begins with balancing your mind. Taking time out to focus on your own goals, listening to your body and being mindful of how you feel is an important part of boosting or maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
Test Your Testosterone
The only way to know your testosterone levels is to test them. To track, monitor, improve and maintain your levels should they be low. You need to make your health a priority. LetsGetChecked offer simple testosterone checks to full male hormone work-ups offering insight into your hormonal health.
Worried That You Might Have Low Testosterone? Take A Testosterone Test Today
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by U.S. Medical Director Dr. Robert Mordkin