Intermittent Fasting And Its Effects On Testosterone Levels
Let us, for a moment, think about our ancestors who lived thousands of years ago. They were all evolved from apes. Modern human beings appeared about 250,000 years ago. At that time, even until the dawn of agriculture ten thousand years ago, humans lived as hunter-gatherers.
During that period, humans never ate food with a strict schedule marked as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They sometimes were hungry for days till they got hold of any meat or fruit. There weren't specific times in the day to eat. Maybe after sixteen hours of no food, they would consume a lot within the next five to six hours.
What if we apply the same dietary schedule in modern times? Is that beneficial in any way?
Well, according to some studies, it is.
According to some, intermittent fasting is the best way to increase your testosterone levels fast.
Fasting and testosterone blood tests
Although fasting is not required for testosterone blood tests, researchers suggest that the tests should be done around 7 in the morning.
The Journal of Urology published a study which reviewed the charts of 2,569 men who presented with erectile dysfunction for total testosterone and draw times.
The researchers came to a conclusion that testosterone tests should be drawn as close to 7 a.m. as possible because a statistically and clinically relevant decrease in testosterone will occur during the day. This might probably due to the general consumption of food during the daytime.
Does intermittent fasting raise testosterone levels?
Let's check out some scientific studies to answer the million dollar question-
- A study was conducted in 1987 to investigate whether short-term fasting affects serum testosterone in healthy subjects. The researchers studied ten healthy men of a healthy weight on two occasions: after an overnight fast (8 h) and after an additional 48 h of fasting. They found out that fasting could increase testosterone levels.
- The Journal of Clinical Investigation published a study titled Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. The results of the study showed that short-term fasts of around 24 hours induced growth hormone levels by an overwhelming 2000% in humans subjects.
- Various studies have shown that the testosterone levels in the human body drop every time a meal is consumed. Studies such as Postprandial changes in sex hormones after meals of different composition, an Abrupt decrease in serum testosterone levels after an oral glucose load in men and Effects of a fat-containing meal on sex hormones in men all conclude that the levels of testosterone would plummet any time a meal is taken. This means that if you have the habit of frequently eating in multiple small meals throughout the day, then there is a chance that you would probably be decreasing your testosterone levels with every meal. While you are on intermittent fasting, you’ll consume calories or fats in a much narrower time frame. This means that you are not harmfully altering your testosterone levels throughout the day.
- This study titled Pituitary-testicular axis in obese men during short-term fasting investigated whether short-term fasting affects the pituitary-testicular axis in obese subjects. Non-obese ordinary men were investigated for comparison. All of them were studied according to the same protocol as the obese group. In the end, short-term fasting increased the luteinizing hormone (LH) response by 67% in the non-obese group while the corresponding testosterone response increased by a whopping 180%. LH, also known as an interstitial cell stimulating hormone (ICSH), stimulates Leydig cell production of testosterone, acting as a precursor to testosterone.
- The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published a study to determine the effects of fasting, refeeding, and dietary fat restriction on plasma leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone predominantly made by adipose cells that helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Leptin level is decreased by increases in testosterone levels and increased by increases in estrogen levels. An increase in leptin levels thus inversely affects testosterone levels. The study shows that fasting regulates leptin levels and keeps it under check. This means that without the activities of leptin you can raise your testosterone levels.
On the whole, the above-mentioned studies indicate that intermittent fasting raises testosterone by regulating all the right hormones that support healthy testosterone production all the while restraining the hormones that hinder with testosterone production.
You don't have to follow intermittent fasting daily with a strict schedule. Just make sure not to overload and dump meals frequently. Fasting for 16 hours once in a while would work for you.