Increased Fat Intake Could Boost Moderate Low Testosterone Levels

Posted by Professor Anna Gray, Updated on June 13th, 2021

If you’re bordering on low testosterone levels (with the cut-off being less than 250 ng/dL medically), then it may benefit you to increase your (healthy!) fat intake to naturally boost your testosterone levels. Increased rates of men are experiencing low testosterone, especially in the United States. The reasons are unknown, but there are multiple theories including diet, lifestyle, endocrine-disrupting hormones in our environment and/or pesticides on our food. A recent study has found that changing your diet to incorporate more healthy fats may naturally boost your testosterone levels to a normal level if you are suffering borderline low testosterone.

Low Fat Diets May Decrease Testosterone Levels in Men

In a recent study, the authors concluded that low fat diets may actually be decreasing testosterone levels in men. In today’s world, there are so many different diet options out there: keto, vegan, vegetarian, Atkins, paleo...the list goes on. Therefore, many men are choosing low-fat diets while others are choosing high-fat diets. Which is the right one? It appears that men may need to consume at least a moderate amount of fat to ensure balanced testosterone levels.

The study we’ll be discussing in this article is actually a meta-analysis of six small intervention studies. In total, 206 men with normal testosterone levels received a high-fat diet followed by a low-fat diet (or vice versa) and their mean total testosterone levels were 10% to 15% lower during the low-fat diet. However, the concentrations were still within the normal range.

This meta-analysis was published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology by Joseph Whittaker, Msc, of the University of Worcester and Kexin Wu, Msc of the University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.

Scientists Suggest Healthy Fats with Mediterranean Diet

The study authors believe that if someone has borderline low testosterone levels (around 250 ng/dL), they should try increasing their fat intake while sticking to a Mediterranean diet. Doing this could increase their testosterone levels by 60 ng/dL. This amount was the weighted mean difference in total testosterone levels between the low-fat and high-fat diets used in the study.

Whittaker says that the “Mediterranean diet is a good way to increase healthy fats” and this will most “likely decrease cardiovascular disease risk and boost testosterone [levels] at the same time.” What could be better? Healthy fats include mono- and polyunsaturated fats, also known as MUFAs and PUFAs, respectively. Examples of these include olive, canola, peanut and sunflower oil, avocados, nut butters, chicken, beef, pork (MUFAs), soybean, corn and cottonseed oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, salmon, sardines and herring (PUFAs).

Whittaker also says that olive oil has been shown to boost testosterone levels more than butter, while also reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and are also known to decrease CVD and mortality while boosting testosterone.

The results of the study also show that saturated fatty foods could also boost testosterone, but this can also increase cholesterol. This is most likely due to the fact that testosterone and cholesterol molecules are very similar, with cholesterol actually being the precursor molecule for androgens, including testosterone. If you look at their molecular structures, they look very similar with the aromatic rings.

Flaxseeds are a healthy fat source that could boost testosterone levels

Whittaker concludes with, “I think our results are consistent and fairly strong, but they are not strong enough to give blanket recommendations.” This is usually the case with most scientific research because multiple studies need to be conducted and replicated in order to truly verify results. However, it doesn’t hurt to take the scientist’s advice and try incorporating more healthy fats in your diet. Perhaps test your testosterone levels first to get a baseline, start eating the Mediterranean diet focusing on healthy fats and after 6 months or so, get your levels tested again. It’s easy to get your levels tested – just contact our clinic to get started!



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