Is it possible to boost your testosterone level through diet and nutrition? The science is a little inconclusive. We can eat foods rich in nutrients that are used in testosterone production. But how effective that is in noticeably boosting testosterone hasn’t been proven. So I did my own test through a testosterone-boosting diet.
As a 44-year old man, my testosterone levels are likely not what they once were. Testosterone production drops as we age–generally by about 1% per year beginning around age 40. But natural factors and lifestyle habits contribute to more pronounced drops in some men. The following are symptoms of dropping testosterone levels:
- Loss of lean muscle mass
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of body hair
- Reduced beard growth
- Depression symptoms
- Low energy level
- Poor focus
I personally felt I experienced some of these symptoms. The trick, of course, was noting that such symptoms are attributable to a number of factors. So dropping testosterone (T) may not be my only issue. But I felt fatigued, I was not adding notable muscle mass despite working out, my sex drive wasn’t quite what it had formerly been, my focus was off and there were days I felt like doing nothing but sit on the couch, spin a record, and read a book. My beard continues to grow as lush and stroke-able as ever, though.
I decided to see if I could bring back some of the drive and urges through a T-boosting diet. Maybe such a diet would help me spring out of bed each morning feeling like a muscalarly-swole horn-ball.
What is a high-testosterone diet?
There are two factors in a T-boosting diet: 1) consuming foods that may help in T production and 2) avoiding foods that inhibit it. Studies suggest that zinc and Vitamin D may influence the positive production of T. Eating foods high in these micronutrients could contribute to healthy T production.
Conversely, some foods inhibit healthy T production. For example, soy products contain a substance that mimics estrogen and potentially reduces T production. Foods high in saturated fats, like vegetable oil, may have limiting effects, as well. And processed foods high in trans fat are linked with low sperm counts and testicular volume. T is produced in the testes, so reducing the function of the testicles could impair T production.
AND THEN, there is the boogeyman of the testosterone diet: Cortisol. Cortisol is a naturally produced chemical in the human body. Its production is heightened naturally when our bodies are under stress. The effects of cortisol block testosterone’s effects on the body. So stress limits testosterone. BUT, we also consume foods that bump up our stress levels: like high-caffeine products (for some people) and high-sugar foods… and ALCOHOL.
It seems we can reduce our T levels through what we eat. Eating a T-boosting diet removes the reducing agents and promotes chemicals helping our bodies produce T according to their potential.
My testosterone-boosting diet:
My methodology was simple: I ate one of the following booster foods every time I consumed food while avoiding the foods from the limiter list as much as possible.
- Raw garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil
T-limiting foods to avoid:
- Flax seeds
- Sugary drinks
- Breakfast pastries
- Vegetable oil
- Seed oils (like flax seed oil)
- Fat-free yogurt
- Trans-fat foods like snack crackers, cookies, frozen pizza, refrigerated doughs, cake and margarine
The supplement industry boasts of products aiding in T production, too. I started knocking back an Ashwagandha pill each day about half-way through my 60-day trial.
A day of T-boosting may look like this…
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with turkey sausage crumbles and diced onion and peppers. Snack: Greek yogurt with honey washed down by pomegranate juice. Lunch: A large can of tuna topped with minced garlic and parsley, grapes on the side. Snack: protein smoothie with added cauliflower. Dinner: Chicken breast and sauteed or grilled cabbage. Dessert: Chocolate milk.
What happened after 60 days of testosterone boosting?
I turned into Sasquatch: all hair, muscle, and sex drive…
I kept a journal through the whole experience and it proves difficult to pinpoint any drastic changes. Even more difficult is conclusively saying that improvements I’ve experienced over the last two months are directly due to the T-boosting diet.
For example, I’ve seen a slight increase in muscle mass. But, of course, I regularly worked out through this period as well (I did a 30-day pull-up and push-up challenge!). So was the mass increase due to the diet or the workout? Or was it due to both? I’ll go with that last option.
One of the effects I hoped would materialize did not–at least, not in the way I wanted. I hoped that upping my T game would drive up my sexual desire. I kept track of my urges and days these urges were… umm… gratified in my journal. I did not see a drastic increase in the days I hoped for sex through the 60 days. I DID, however, see an increase in the frequency of sexual encounters through the 60 days. So while desire stayed in stasis, my ability to perform appeared to increase. Was it the T? It probably didn’t hurt.
The 60 days are done, but my adventure will continue. The eating plan is now a habit, so I’ll keep eating those boosting foods and avoiding the inhibitors… and we’ll see how hairy, swole and randy I feel after 90 days.