No other hormone is more associated with masculinity or muscle growth than testosterone.
Simply put, it is the king of anabolic hormones.
Besides helping you build more muscle, testosterone is also important for mood, cognitive function, bone mass, body hair, and, of course, reproduction.
Furthermore, testosterone isn’t just important for men...women need it too!
Now, a great many things affect one’s natural testosterone levels.
Things such as gender, age, genetics, body composition, stress, and lifestyle habits all play a role. Your diet can even impact testosterone production to a certain extent as well.
In recent years, self-proclaimed “experts” have even floated the idea that consuming certain foods “kill” your testosterone levels. They’ll point to the research showing that sperm counts in America, Europe, Australia have dropped by 60% over the last forty years.
And shortly after stating that observation they’ll insert the food of choice that’s responsible for tanking testosterone across the globe. Notable scapegoats include:
- Refined carbohydrates (beware the glutenz!)
- Processed foods
The list goes on and on, but to date there hasn’t been a single food (or food group) that has been conclusively shown to directly cause testosterone levels to drop. Thus far, all that has been seen are associations between the intake of certain foods and low testosterone levels.
But remember, the individuals who consume these types of foods en masse also are more likely to live a sedentary lifestyle and carry around excess body fat -- both of which have a profoundly worse impact on testosterone levels than whether or not you had a bread roll or side of fries with dinner.
It is worth stating, however, that high intakes of alcohol will suppress testosterone levels in men (it actually increases testosterone in women, though).
As such, if you’re looking to maximize natural testosterone production, don’t go on a drinking bending nightly. One or two drinks here or there is ok, but if you’re killing a 6-pack a night, you may want to reconsider your beverage selections.
Furthermore, maintaining a healthy body composition, eating a balanced diet, performing resistance training, sleeping 7-9 hours per night, and mitigating stress all help maximize natural testosterone production.
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- Sharpe RM. Sperm counts and fertility in men: a rocky road ahead. Science & Society Series on Sex and Science. EMBO Rep. 2012;13(5):398–403. Published 2012 May 1. doi:10.1038/embor.2012.50