How to Naturally Raise Testosterone: The Top 6 Foods That Raise Testosterone in Men

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How to Naturally Raise Testosterone: The Top 6 Foods That Raise Testosterone in Men

Although it is considered typical for testosterone levels to decrease as men age, it doesn’t have to be the norm. Today, the average male has approximately 20% less testosterone than the same-aged man did 20 years ago. 

Some reasons for this decline in the primary male sex hormone include an increased prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Lifestyle factors may also play a role, including unhealthy diets and lack of exercise. 

Symptoms of low testosterone include low libido, depression, fatigue, low muscle mass, obesity, hair loss, and memory loss. Essentially, having adequate testosterone is crucial for men to feel their best. 

Rather than join the millions of men who are prescribed testosterone replacement therapy, try adding the following six foods that raise testosterone levels naturally to your diet first. 

Testosterone: The Basics 

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone (also known as an androgen hormone); it is also found in females, albeit in smaller amounts. Testosterone is produced by the testes and is controlled by the pituitary gland in the brain, leading to the development of male physical features and characteristics, sexual and reproductive function, and muscle and bone strength. 

Male testosterone levels first increase during puberty, peak during their 20’s, and begin to decrease gradually beginning around age 35 by about 1-2% each year.

Low testosterone levels in men, also described as hypogonadism, have been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, reduced sexual function, infertility, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Top 6 Foods That Raise Testosterone Levels

1. Oysters

Oysters top the list of foods that raise testosterone levels, as they are high in many androgen-boosting nutrients. These slippery bivalves contain more zinc per serving than any other food. Just one Pacific oyster contains almost 19 milligrams (mg) of zinc; for reference, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 8 mg for men. 

Zinc has been linked to sexual and reproductive function in men, as the mineral reduces the action of an enzyme that converts testosterone to estradiol (a form of estrogen). A study on rats found that those who supplemented with bivalve shells had a significant increase in testosterone levels. 

Although there have been no studies on humans and oyster consumption yet, one study looked at the relationship between males and zinc intake. The researchers found that restricting dietary zinc led to lower serum testosterone in young men while supplementing marginally deficient older men with zinc significantly increased their testosterone levels. 

One thing to note is that zinc supplementation does not consistently show benefits to testosterone levels; thus, it’s best to get it from food. 

Another notable nutrient found in oysters is vitamin D, which has been shown to play a role in both men’s and women’s reproductive function. Oysters also contain D-aspartic acid, an amino acid involved with making and releasing hormones, one of them being testosterone. 

While the claim that oysters are an aphrodisiac may be an old wives’ tale, there is convincing evidence that they are beneficial for reproductive and sexual health. Other shellfish like clams and mussels also contain these nutrients, but in lower amounts than oysters. 

oysters contain high levels of zinc and vitamin D, which promote testosterone production

2. Eggs 

Egg yolks are one of a few sources of naturally occurring vitamin D in foods, especially eggs from pasture-raised chickens. Vitamin D is more of a hormone than a vitamin itself, and low vitamin D levels have been linked to low testosterone levels. 

Eggs also contain healthy levels of fat, which is vital for hormonal production. Men who eat low-fat diets tend to have lower testosterone production than those who don’t restrict fat. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in June 2006 found that middle-aged men consuming a low-fat diet experienced a 12% reduction in circulating androgen concentrations after eight weeks. Don’t toss those yolks - your testosterone levels can benefit from them!

3. Ginger 

The spicy ginger root may raise testosterone levels by enhancing the production of luteinizing hormone (LH), which increases cholesterol production in the testes. This, in turn, can lead to more testosterone production. 

Ginger has been widely studied for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may promote male reproductive health by protecting those organs from oxidative stress.

One study found that treating infertile males with ginger supplements for three months led to a 17.7% increase in serum testosterone levels, serum LH levels, sperm count, and sperm motility. 

Similar results were found in a study that supplemented male diabetic rats with ginger; they experienced increased testosterone and reduced MDA levels, a marker of oxidative stress.

4. Brazil Nuts 

Brazil nuts are known for their high levels of selenium; just one nut provides adults with the RDA of 55 micrograms per day of the essential mineral. Selenium acts as an antioxidant in the body and may help with fertility and reproductive health. 

In a February 2009 study published in the Journal of Urology, infertile men received selenium supplementation at 200 micrograms per day for 26 weeks or a placebo. The researchers found that taking selenium increased serum testosterone, sperm count, and sperm quality.  

Brazil nuts are also high in magnesium, a mineral that supports over 300 biological processes, including testosterone production. The effects of magnesium are especially beneficial if a male is low or deficient in the mineral. 

A study of athletes found that their total and free testosterone levels increased when supplemented with magnesium, compared to athletes doing the same exercise with no magnesium supplementation.

5. Fatty fish

Oily and fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring, can raise testosterone due to their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. 

These fish are thought to benefit male hormones because of the ability of omega-3 fats to reduce levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).  High levels of SHBG lead to reduced levels of free testosterone because SHBG binds to it and carries it in the blood, making it less available. 

A cross-sectional study published in March 2017 found that men who consumed more omega-3 fats had increased testicular volume. Fatty fish also contains vitamin D, which may contribute to its testosterone-boosting effects. 

However, fish oil supplements have not been proven to raise testosterone levels. Therefore, the benefits may be within the synergy of fats and nutrients in the fish itself, rather than from isolated supplements.

Fatty fish, like salmon, may raise testosterone levels due to their omega-3 fat and vitamin D levels.

6. Ashwagandha

Although not technically a food, the herb ashwagandha has been studied for its effects on testosterone production. Often used to help with anxiety, ashwagandha is an ancient Indian herb that works as an adaptogen, meaning it can help your body adapt to stressors. 

A randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Men’s Health in March 2019 looked at ashwagandha’s effects on testosterone levels. In this 16-week study of overweight and aging males, the researchers found that ashwagandha supplementation significantly increased testosterone levels compared to the control group. The ashwagandha group also had significant increases in DHEA, a hormone that converts into testosterone in the body. 

A second study supports these results; younger men randomized to receive ashwagandha supplementation experienced significantly increased testosterone, increased muscle mass, and reduced exercise-induced muscle damage throughout the 8-week study.

Key Takeaway: 

  • Testosterone production decreases as males age; however, there are some foods you can consume to slow down or prevent this decline.
  • Low testosterone is linked to low libido, infertility, obesity, mood disorders, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • The top foods that raise testosterone are oysters, eggs, ginger, brazil nuts, fatty fish, and the herb ashwagandha.

Show references

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