Certain foods can enhance testosterone’s bioavailability or boost the hormone’s production in the first place.
Fructose, for example, can decrease the production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which means you'll have higher levels of free testosterone (not bound to SHBG).
Fructose is the main sugar in most fruits, but it’s also found in processed foods like soda and sweets. So, can you just stuff yourself with chocolate and Mountain Dew to boost your testosterone through fructose?
Definitely not. The way in which your body absorbs fructose plays an important role in determining whether it’ll be beneficial or harmful for you.
The fructose you get from eating fruit gets processed slowly thanks to the dietary fiber and water you get along with it. Processed food, on the other hand, is digested quickly and lead to blood sugar spikes.
Simply put, getting fructose from fruit supports insulin sensitivity, which has been linked to significant improvements in testosterone production and availability.
Foods that contain vitamin D also support healthy testosterone levels, albeit in a different manner. The exact mechanism remains a mystery, but many studies suggest the possible role of this vitamin as a precursor of testosterone.
Many foods have testosterone-lowering effects and can cause hormonal imbalance. Examples include soy, flax, and pasta.
Some other foods affect testosterone bioavailability by wrecking other hormones and systems. For example, foods that disrupt the function of the thyroid gland (soy is one of them) also drive down testosterone levels.
Thyroid issues are commonly associated with testosterone problems (even full-blown hypogonadism). And given how important the thyroid is in ensuring proper tissue function, other problems will surely emerge along the way.
Food items with estrogenic effects (such as flax) can also cause hormonal issues. First and foremost, they lead to an increase in estrogen levels—and this impairs testosterone too.
Whenever there’s an abundance of estrogen, testosterone production is temporarily halted. This, in turn, results to the further lowering of the male hormone’s levels, eventually triggering symptoms of testosterone deficiency.
Lignans, a specific type of phytoestrogen, don’t merely interfere with testosterone production. They also prevent the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), its more potent form.
This effect is based on the ability of phytoestrogens to inhibit the action of 5 alpha-reductase, the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget about the harm brought by processed food (pasta, cured meat, sweets, etc). These foods are way too easily digested and always lead to a spike in blood sugar.