Foods that lower testosterone can be dangerous to your health – and we are specifically talking to those who are already past the age of 40, the age when men’s testosterone levels start to dip.
Catabolic vs. Anabolic
One way of classifying metabolic processes in our body is by designating them as either anabolic or catabolic. Hormones such as testosterone can also be classified as anabolic or catabolic.
Anabolic processes and catabolic processes are two sets of opposite metabolic processes. Whereas catabolic processes are geared toward the breaking down of macromolecules into smaller units, anabolic processes combine smaller units to form larger molecules – such as in the case of muscle building.
Anabolic Processes - Building Body Parts
Metabolic processes occur in three levels: cellular, organ and organism level. Anabolic processes at the organ level produce tissues and organs.
Hence, when you see experience muscle growth, you know that the anabolic processes of your body are the ones responsible for it.
What Else Can Anabolic Processes Do?
This is an important question, because if you know what anabolic processes can do, you will also know the bodily changes that will take place once you enhance these processes.
Changes to expect include:
- Increase in Energy – Anabolic processes gather huge amounts of energy to form bigger molecules. You will be able to use this stored energy for your daily activities.
- Increased Bone Mineralization – Expect to have stronger bones. More minerals will be deposited into your bone matrix. A large percentage of these minerals consist of calcium and phosphorus.
It is also important to note that anabolic processes are the ones at play in cell differentiation, a process where a less-specialized cell becomes a more specialized cell. This upgrading process that takes place at the cellular level dramatically changes a cell’s size, responsiveness to signals, and metabolic activities.
What’s Testosterone’s Relevance to All of These?
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone. It is synthesized in many steps from cholesterol. Its conversion to inactive metabolites takes place in the liver.
The hormone is also credited for anabolic effects. It is deemed as a hormone that has a major role in increasing muscular mass and bone density.
Testosterone plays important roles in the body of males. In men, this hormone is the main regulator of sex drive and is the one responsible for the production of sperm and red blood cells.
Testosterone also promotes secondary sexual characteristics such as hair growth, and bone and muscle mass.
Researchers found that testosterone has more anabolic effects.
The study also found the testosterone can reverse catabolic effects on bones. Furthermore, it also showed that the effects of testosterone on prostrate are different compared to its effects on muscles and bones.
How to Boost Testosterone Levels in Your Body
Distance yourself from the foods below to increase the hormone, but before we give you the details related to these foods, let’s explore other ways on how you can boost your testosterone. A short list follows.
- Keep Estrogen-Like Chemicals at Bay – Parabens and BPA are two of these chemicals.
- Get Enough Sleep – People who sleep only 5 hours per night reduce their testosterone by about 15%.
- Get Under the Sun – Expose yourself to the sun and you’ll get vitamin D and consequently increase your testosterone.
- Minimize Cortisol Levels and Stress – The hormone cortisol counteracts the effect of testosterone.
There are also food items that can reduce testosterone levels. Some of the food items in this list are generally good for the average person’s health. However, they might do more harm than good for those suffering from testosterone deficiency.
For all the hype that was put into promoting the health benefits of flax seeds due to their Omega-3 fatty acid content, it was found that high consumption of these seeds bring about negative health effects, too.
Some of these are:
But that’s not all. They also reduce the levels of testosterone in your body. The main culprit behind this is the seeds’ lignan content.
According to a study, some of the richest sources of lignans are flax seeds and lignans have strong estrogenic activities that have the power to inhibit testosterone bioavailability and metabolism.
To further explain such a counterproductive mechanism, research has found that lignans and other chemicals similar to lignans can suppress the enzyme called 5-a reductase whose function is to convert testosterone into its stronger form – Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
In addition, lignans have the capacity to increase SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) levels. SHBG captures testosterone molecules, making them inactive and not free for usage by androgen receptors.
Additional studies were conducted. One of them involved participants that were given only small amounts of flaxseeds.
Results showed no significant increase in the participants’ testosterone levels. However, the researchers noted that flax seeds affected testosterone production even at lower amounts.
In another study, a big decrease was noted. Data analyses showed a drop of 15% and 20% for total testosterone and free testosterone, respectively. These last two studies differ only in the fact that the participants in the second study limited their fat consumption during the experiment while the ones in the first were free to eat large amounts of fat.
For more info to enlighten you on the inhibitory activities of certain chemicals, check out this discussion on foods that increase estrogen levels.
Vegetable Oils Rich in PUFA – the Omega 6 Restriction
It’s time to learn more about fat consumption as a way to increase production of testosterone.
First off, not all fats are bad. In fact, increasing fat consumption may actually help in amplifying natural testosterone.
The next time you take a look at product labels though, make sure to check the omega fatty acid content. Does it contain vegetable oils? If it does, it’s probably not a good idea to buy it. Most of these products contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and these substances could spell disaster for your testosterone levels.
From another study on fats, findings revealed that:
- Both monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids are good at increasing testosterone.
- Increasing total fat intake is directly correlated with an increased production of testosterone.
- PUFA consumption decreases testosterone.
This basically means that when it comes to their effect on your testosterone levels, some fats are good for you, and some fats are not.
Not all vegetable oils have the same effect. For example, olive oil, palm oil, avocado oil and coconut oil can be consumed without the need to worry about their effects on testosterone.
What makes these types of vegetable oils different? For sure, they also have omega fatty acids. Yes, they do, but the one that all of them don’t have is the dreadful omega 6.
Now, omega-6 is still a vital part of your healthy diet, but its consumption should be put under management. Otherwise, if you consume too much, you will run the risk of developing chronic diseases that are now prevalent among Americans and citizens in developed countries where many people have a sedentary lifestyle.
How do you know the safe level? The safe level is that where the omega 3 and omega 6 ratio is 1:2 or 1:1.
Currently, Americans consume omega 6 fatty acids at the ratio of 1 part omega 3 and 16 parts omega 6. To correct this, Americans should increase their intake of omega 3 and lower their intake of omega 6.
Therefore, if it is PUFA, make sure that if you do consume it, keep your consumption at healthy levels. Just keep an eye out for the word “polyunsaturated” to keep yourself safe.
But then do remember that low-fat diets won’t do you good as well. Eating healthy fats from these food items more often is a necessary part of achieving a fit and masculine body.
Be careful about eating saturated fat food items as they can increase cholesterol levels and bring damage to the circulatory system and too much consumption of it can lead to heart diseases.
Get your hands off licorice-containing products. The popular candy ingredient is used in many countries and its usage extends to flavoring agents and breath fresheners.
Licorice’s main compound is glycyrhizzic acid. It is this component that makes licorice a bad candidate for inclusion in a testosterone boosting diet.
In one study, glycyrhizzic acid had been shown to have the capacity to block testosterone synthesis in rats by inhibiting 17β-HSD enzyme activity. This enzyme is a necessary catalyst in this synthesis.
Years after the above-mentioned study, the compound was tested on humans. Participants were given licorice through candy tablets that contained 0.5g of glycyrhizzic acid each. An average of about 50% decrease in testosterone was recorded after four days of licorice consumption among the participants.
Look for healthier alternatives instead. For instance, look for grass fed butter candies. Grass fed butter is a good source of testosterone-increasing nutrients. Grass-fed beef can also help.
Peppermints were subjected to a study reported in 2004. In the research, luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones increased out of peppermint usage.
However, the use of peppermints decreased the testosterone levels of the participants. The study was conducted in response to complaints from men claiming that the herb has adverse effects on their reproductive function.
It seems that all members of the group of mints have the same effect. In another experiment, two members, spearmint and peppermint, were used in rats.
Results from the study suggest that peppermint can reduce testosterone by 23% and spearmint by over 50%. Researchers from another study hypothesized that the testosterone-reducing effect of spearmint is due to its ability to induce oxidative stress to the hypothalamus, which can lead to inhibition of testosterone synthesis in the testicles.
These findings suggest that people ought to be really careful about the ingredients they put in their food and the products that contain mint, such as toothpaste and cough relievers, should think of alternative plant ingredients that are not harmful to the reproductive process.
Let the mints go (or limit the use), and just go for cruciferous vegetables. Vegetables such as cauliflower, kale, cabbage and broccoli have indole-3-carbinol, a powerful chemical that can help the body eliminate estradiol, which is a certain type of oestrogen.
It depends on the dosage. Moderate drinking seems to favor production of the hormone. This study shows that only 0.5g per kilogram of alcohol slightly increases testosterone.
Another study suggests that resistance training combined with moderate drinking can even double testosterone concentration.
On the other hand, alcohol consumption in rats has been shown to decrease testicles to half their original size.
What we can say is: You may drink alcohol if you want, but always check if the dosage you’re taking is healthy or not. In particular, check if there will be changes in the physical attributes of your sexual organs.
Checking Testosterone at Home
If you’re in your 40s and you’re wary about decreasing testosterone levels, you can get a home testing kit for testosterone.
The advantage of using a kit like this is you can use it any time you suspect that your testosterone level is abnormal – or if you just want to be sure. The saliva sample must be submitted to a clinic for analysis.
The result from a saliva test is generally not conclusive. It will not be accepted as a basis for low testosterone diagnosis. Your doctor will still require you to give a blood sample even if you already have a result from a saliva sample.
Doctors are inclined to do that because they want to check other areas of health as well, not just the amount of testosterone in a person’s body. For blood tests there are some good options such as MyLabFax.