Though testosterone and diet are connected, and though you can, to an extent, regulate your hormone levels through dietary choices, I want to make something really clear:
If you suffer from clinically diagnosed low testosterone, a form of hypogonadism, it is unlikely that dietary choices are going to return your hormone levels to normal.
It is much more likely that you’re going to have to get on a form of testosterone replacement therapy to get your body back to normal and keep it there, especially if you’re suffering from the symptoms of low T.
That being said, testosterone and diet are absolutely related, and this is true of other hormones as well. If your testosterone levels are simply on the low end of normal, changing your diet may be exactly what you need to get your levels back into a higher range.
This is especially the case if you don’t suffer from a condition, illness, or disease that would cause your testosterone levels to be low.
Just for your reference, we define normal testosterone levels as follows:
- Men — between about 300 ng/dL and 1000 ng/dL for total testosterone and between about 9 ng/dL and 30 ng/dL for free testosterone
- Women — between about 20 ng/dL and 60 ng/dL for total testosterone and between about 0.3 ng/dL and 1.9 ng/dL for free testosterone
If you’re not sure what your testosterone levels are (but you’re experiencing the symptoms of low testosterone), you should probably start by getting a consultation with a hormone specialist.
Once this has been done, if you’re still falling in the low end of the normal range, diet may be a valid way to address your symptoms.
Testosterone and Diet — Food to Avoid
Let’s start with a myth.
There’s a long-running myth concerning testosterone and diet — namely, that eating soy, in any form, will reduce your testosterone levels.
There is little evidence that soy reduces testosterone levels — and in fact, soy is such a healthful food that it’s probably just a good idea to eat it regardless of your hormone levels.
So, soy is ok, but here are some food items (and other substances) that you should probably avoid:
- Street drugs (including opiate medications and marijuana)
- Processed food
- Fast food and fried food
Honestly, this is probably about it. I’m sure I’m not blowing your mind with this information — you’re probably very aware that alcohol and drugs aren’t exactly good for you, just as you’re probably aware that sugar intake is about as bad for you as eating fried food and processed food.
Testosterone and Diet — Alcohol and Drugs Could Seriously Depress Hormone Levels
Most of the food items listed above, including alcohol, lead to increased insulin levels, which in turn inhibit the production of testosterone. Diet matters, but the “recreational substances” you ingest matter as well.
Though the effects of alcohol and drugs on the body vary widely by drug, they generally wreak havoc on hormone levels, especially if they are abused or used in excess.
Alcohol and opiates are probably the worst offenders, but large-scale studies on the effects of illegal drugs on hormone levels, including marijuana, have generally either been inconclusive, flawed, or are non-existent.
For legal substances, like alcohol and opiates, we have a pretty clear picture of how these substances affect your hormones.
For now, the best course may be to abstain.
Testosterone and Diet — Food That May Help Increase Testosterone Levels
Here are a few food items that may increase your testosterone levels:
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Healthy fats
- Whole milk
- Seeds and nuts, especially pumpkin seeds and almonds
- Eggs (including the yolk)
Additionally, there are a handful of vitamins and nutrients that you can eat to increase your testosterone levels. It’s best if you can eat food that contains these nutrients (as opposed to taking supplements).
- Vitamin D
Testosterone and Diet — Your Best Bet Is to Eat Healthy
Like I mentioned above, none of this is likely surprising information — if you cut food from your diet that you already know is bad for you and start eating food that you already know is good for you, your hormone levels are likely to benefit.
If you’re not sure what your hormone levels are to begin with, click the button to set up a free consultation with one of our hormone specialists.