Testosterone is the hormone often considered the "male" hormone, produced in the male testes, the female ovaries and the adrenal cortex of both genders responsible in part for the body's musculature and libido. Diet can influence a body's production of testosterone, as can use of certain herbs. Estrogen, the primary "female" hormone, inhibits the body's production of testosterone. Therefore, foods and herbs that decrease estrogen levels may indirectly promote increased testosterone levels as well. Check with your doctor if you have concerns about testosterone levels and before attempting to self-treat, especially if you have other health problems.
To promote testosterone production, researchers recommend a diet of at least 30 percent fat. Monounsaturated fats and saturated fats have been associated with increased testosterone production, although polyunsaturated fat has not. While increasing saturated fats in one's diet is not generally recommended because of related health risks, such as heart disease, monounsaturated fats do not have such health risks associated with them. Foods high in monounsaturated fats include:
- pistachio nuts
- olive oil
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in testosterone production and are described in Ori Hofmekler's "The Anti-Estrogenic Diet" as estrogen-lowering nutrients 3.
- To promote testosterone production, researchers recommend a diet of at least 30 percent fat.
- Foods high in monounsaturated fats include: * almonds
* pistachio nuts
* olive oil Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in testosterone production and are described in Ori Hofmekler's "The Anti-Estrogenic Diet" as estrogen-lowering nutrients 3.
What Foods Increase Testosterone in Women?
Animal protein sources such as beef have been associated with higher testosterone levels than vegetarian protein sources. In terms of the ratio of protein to the other macronutrients, however, high protein diets in general have been associated with reduced testosterone levels, no matter the protein source. A 1987 "Life Sciences" study found that men on a high-carbohydrate diet for 10 days had consistently higher testosterone readings than men on a high-protein diet for that same length of time. The consensus among nutritionists and personal trainers is that the ideal ratio of carbohydrates to protein for keeping testosterone levels high is approximately 2:1.
- Animal protein sources such as beef have been associated with higher testosterone levels than vegetarian protein sources.
- In terms of the ratio of protein to the other macronutrients, however, high protein diets in general have been associated with reduced testosterone levels, no matter the protein source.
Vitamins & Minerals
The vitamin and mineral most beneficial to testosterone production are vitamin B and zinc. The B vitamins are instrumental to testosterone production, and aid in absorption of zinc. Zinc deficiencies have been associated with reduced testosterone production. Foods high in B vitamins include avocados, eggs, watermelons, bananas and raspberries. Foods high in zinc include:
- pumpkin seeds
- cocoa powder
- The vitamin and mineral most beneficial to testosterone production are vitamin B and zinc.
- The B vitamins are instrumental to testosterone production, and aid in absorption of zinc.
Oregano & Hormones
Horny goat weed is widely marketed for its ability to increase testosterone levels, but according to the Langone Medical Center at New York University, the research cited to back up those claims is inconclusive at best 45. Other herbs reported to increase total or free testosterone levels despite a prevailing lack of supporting evidence include maca and oat straw. Garlic, however, contains a substance called allicin that has been found to raise testosterone levels. In the February 2009 issue of "Biology of Reproduction," the Chinese herb prunella vulgaris, more commonly known as self-heal, was found to have anti-estrogenic properties 2. Ask your doctor before trying herbal treatments.
What Foods Increase Testosterone in Women?
Oregano & Hormones
Herbs for Estrogen Dominance
How to Naturally Increase Testosterone in Men
Carbohydrates & Testosterone
Herbs to Decrease Testosterone
Meat Diet for Testosterone
Fats & Testosterone
Foods That Reduce the Production of the Androgen Hormones
OTC Testosterone Supplements
- "Life Sciences"; Diet-hormone Interaction: Protein/Carbohydrate Ratio Alters Reciprocally The Plasma Levels Of Testosterone And Cortisol And Their Respective Binding Globulins In Man; K.E. Anderson, et al.; May 1987
- "Biology of Reproduction"; Characterization Of Antiestrogenic Activity Of The Chinese Herb Prunella Vulgaris, Using In Vitro And In Vivo (Mouse Xenograft) Models; N.H. Collins, et al.; Feb 2009
- "The Anti-Estrogenic Diet: How Estrogenic Foods and Chemicals Are Making You Fat and Sick"; Ori Hofmekler; 2007
- NYU Langone Medical Center; "Horny Goat Weed"; Feb 2011
- NYU Langone Medical Center; "Impotence"; Feb 2011
- Volek, J. S., Kraemer, W. J., Bush, J. A., Incledon, T., & Boetes, M. (1997). Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 82(1), 49-54.
- Wang, C., Catlin, D. H., Starcevic, B., Heber, D., Ambler, C., Berman, N., ... & Swerdloff, R. S. (2005). Low-fat high-fiber diet decreased serum and urine androgens in men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 90(6), 3550-3559.
- Heller, R. F., Wheeler, M. J., Micallef, J., Miller, N. E., & Lewis, B. (1983). Relationship of high density lipoprotein cholesterol with total and free testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin. Acta Endocrinologica, 104(2), 253-256.
- Blesso, C. N., Andersen, C. J., Barona, J., Volek, J. S., & Fernandez, M. L. (2013). Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Metabolism, 62(3), 400-410.
- Steels, E., Rao, A., & Vitetta, L. (2011). Physiological Aspects of Male Libido Enhanced by Standardized Trigonella foenum-graecum Extract and Mineral Formulation. Phytotherapy Research, 25(9), 1294-1300.
- Prasad, A.S., et al. (1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition, 12, 344.
- Topo, E., Soricelli, A., DâAniello, A., Ronsini, S., & DâAniello, G. (2009). The role and molecular mechanism of D-aspartic acid in the release and synthesis of LH and testosterone in humans and rats. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 7(120), 1482-1488.
- Wehr, E., Pilz, S., Boehm, B. O., Marz, W., & Obermayer?Pietsch, B. (2010). Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men. Clinical endocrinology, 73(2), 243-248.
- ZELIGS, M. A. (1998). Diet and estrogen status: the cruciferous connection. Journal of Medicinal Food, 1(2), 67-82.
- Shaner, A. A., Vingren, J. L., Hatfield, D. L., Budnar Jr, R. G., Duplanty, A. A., & Hill, D. W. (2014). The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(4), 1032-1040.
- Kraemer, W. J., Marchitelli, L., Gordon, S. E., Harman, E., Dziados, J. E., Mello, R., ... & Fleck, S. J. (1990). Hormonal and growth factor responses to heavy resistance exercise protocols. Journal of Applied Physiology, 69(4), 1442-1450.
Based in Maine, Sage Kalmus has written extensively on fitness, nutrition, alternative health, self-improvement and green living for various websites. He also authored the metaphysical fiction book, "Free Will Flux." Kalmus holds a Bachelor of Science from Boston University's College of Communication and is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor with special training in Touch-For-Health Kinesiology.