Testosterone and Diet – How to Support Testosterone Levels with Healthy Eating

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on June 7th, 2024
Reading Time: 5 minutes

For those with severe testosterone deficiency, low-t therapy with testosterone injections, creams, or other forms of prescription testosterone is the only way to get testosterone levels back into a state of harmony, but for those struggling with a mild deficiency, or those looking to pump up testosterone levels naturally, there are some steps that you can take to bolster your testosterone production.

You may be aware of some other ways you can promote healthy t-levels, such as anabolic exercise, interval training, and sound sleeping habits, but in this article, we'll be focusing on how diet may impact testosterone balance.

Vitamin D and Testosterone

Vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in promoting testosterone production, absorption, and utilization. Vitamin D is among the most important. Recent studies have shown that, for patients with significant vitamin D deficiency, testosterone levels also become suppressed.

Doctor-monitored vitamin D supplementation was shown to increase testosterone in patients. Of course, in this study, patients were provided with therapeutic levels of vitamin D, which isn't advisable without a doctor's consent and advice.

On the other hand, it does show us how important vitamin D is for hormone production.

To make sure your body gets enough vitamin D, you should be getting twenty minutes of substantial sunlight at least twice per week.

The older that you get, however, the harder it is for the body to produce its own vitamin D. In this case, choose dairy products and cereals enriched with vitamin D. Also, fatty fish are an excellent source of vitamin D (as well as omega-3 fatty acids!).

In any case, combine vitamin D supplementation with the consumption of fat to ensure proper absorption.

Zinc and Magnesium for Healthy Testosterone Levels

Just like with vitamin D, magnesium and zinc also play critical roles in hormone production, including testosterone.

Recently published research provides substantial evidence that zinc can help men that are obese overcome estrogen imbalance and help them take further steps to improve their health by encouraging improved testosterone circulation.

Increased magnesium consumption is something that the majority of Americans can benefit from. Among the many reasons why magnesium is so essential is because it helps promote free testosterone levels in the bloodstream.

Most testosterone is bound and inactivated in the bloodstream. Magnesium helps regulate the appropriate level of testosterone in the blood by preventing testosterone from linking with sex-hormone binding globulin.

Fat Intake and Testosterone

For your body to produce sufficient testosterone, you need to make sure that you get enough fat in your diet.

Testosterone is one of many hormones that is composed mostly of fat.

Of course, for your heart's sake, it's crucial that you choose a diet with the right kind of fat and the right balance of fat with carbohydrates and protein. It's generally agreed upon that around fifteen percent of your daily caloric intake should come from fat.

You should mainly be getting fat calories from monounsaturated and unsaturated fats. Too much-saturated fat is strongly correlated with heart disease.

Obtaining a good ratio of HDL/LDL cholesterol is also necessary both for sex hormone production as well as proper cardiovascular function. In addition to fatty acids, the body also utilizes cholesterol in the production of testosterone. HDL is good cholesterol, and we need it.

We need LDL cholesterol as well, but it is so abundant in the American diet that a considerable segment of Americans get too much LDL cholesterol and not enough HDL. When our bodies have too much LDL cholesterol, this is disastrous for long-term cardiac health.

Body Fat and Testosterone

It may seem ironic, but the same fat that you consume in your diet that benefits your testosterone levels is a significant hindrance to hormone balance when it's attached to your body.

Your body's fat cells have a nasty habit that can lead to severe issues with testosterone balance if you are significantly overweight or obese — fat cells release their own estrogen.

They also consume precursor hormones intended for testosterone production to produce that estrogen, preventing your body from producing adequate amounts and producing symptoms of low-t, even in men that would be far too young to experience the condition at a lower weight.

About diet, this means that calorie consumption and control are vital to promoting healthy testosterone production, in addition to eating the right combination of foods.

Testosterone and Soy – How Much is Too Much?

Over the last twenty years, soy has sent some seriously mixed messages.

Not too long ago, it was believed that soy was a severe offender of the testosterone suppression category, but this no longer appears to be the case under all circumstances.

As with many of the choices that we make with our diets, moderation seems to be the key. Recent studies have shown that light consumption of foods containing phytoestrogens, such as soy and tofu, can protect testosterone production by limiting estrogen production.

On the other hand, if you get too much of these phytoestrogens, this increases the volume of estrogen in the bloodstream, and — as we mentioned earlier, the more estrogen in a man's blood, the less testosterone his body is producing.

Avoid Testosterone Supplements and Amino Acid Supplements

It may be tempting to turn to OTC supplements to try to boost testosterone levels, but we strongly recommend against such a decision.

For one, oral testosterone is broken down into component protein fragments, which isn't going to provide a consistent boost in testosterone levels. Also, both amino acid supplements and oral testosterone can be very hard on the liver, giving minimal benefits at an elevated risk.

If you believe that you may be suffering from low-t, or if you want to use testosterone to improve your strength and vitality, we urge you to only use testosterone after meeting with a licensed physician, and only with a prescription.

Though testosterone replacement therapy can be incredibly beneficial to those that have a clinical need, increasing testosterone levels above the normal range is risky business.

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