Are you hearing conflicting views about whether intermittent fasting raises or lowers your testosterone and want to know more?
There’s a lot of misinformation floating around, so it is important to take a look at the science and see how intermittent fasting affects testosterone.
Keep reading to get basic, no-nonsense answers to all your questions about how testosterone works and what you can do to alter your levels through your diet.
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Benefits of higher natural testosterone levels
Of course synthetic testosterone supplements are associated with a variety of health problems, but what about natural testosterone?
It turns out that testosterone plays some very important roles in the body. 2017 research reports that people who naturally have higher testosterone levels tend to get some very helpful benefits (1).
- Stronger bones
- Higher muscle mass
- Lowered body fat
- Improved strength and endurance
- Reduced urinary tract problems
- Better insulin sensitivity
- Increased energy and sense of wellbeing
Can Fasting Increase Testosterone?
Most people who think about improving testosterone levels with their diet think about foods to add. However, it turns out not eating can actually increase testosterone.
In the short term, men experience a 180 percent boost in testosterone following an overnight fast (2).
Fasting can also drop weight, which is important because overweight men have reduced testosterone.
However, a study that followed people doing intermittent fasting over the course of two months found people had reduced levels of testosterone overall (3).
What does this all mean? Essentially, short fasts provide a little boost in testosterone. However, depriving yourself over the course of multiple months can make testosterone drop, so you should be careful.
Does Keto increase testosterone?
Keto is another form of fasting you should consider, since it mostly involves fasting from carbohydrates without avoiding proteins and fats.
Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research followed test subjects over an 11 week keto diet. It found that testosterone increased in significant levels (4).
This seems to happen because a keto diet provides the fat needed to synthesize large amounts of testosterone.
At the same time, it helps people burn weight, so they lose the fat stores that were suppressing testosterone production.
Does fasting get you into keto?
So what is keto and can you reach it just by fasting?
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy instead of sugar. It can help you get rid of stored fat in your body.
To transfer into ketosis, most people focus on eating a diet low in carbs and high in fat.
However, you can reach ketosis just by fasting. When your body goes through all its stored glucose from your past meals, it will turn to ketosis to get enough fuel to keep your body running.
How to use fasting to get you into keto
Getting into keto can be as simple as not eating and only drinking zero calorie beverages like water, coffee, and tea.
People can usually get into low levels of ketosis after 12 to 16 hours of fasting and reach full ketosis after 24 to 48 hours of fasting (5).
Keep in mind that fasting is a great way to jumpstart your keto diet, but it is not a long term solution.
After a few days of fasting, you run out of the nutrients and electrolytes your body needs to function, so never fast more than 72 hours.
How to use fasting to boost your testosterone
All the research shows that fasting is going to boost your testosterone in the short period right after a fast (2).
Therefore, you should think carefully about the times you can best benefit from a testosterone boost, such as right after a workout, and time the end of your fast to coincide with the time you need a boost.
You can also use fasting to increase your testosterone by lowering your weight. If you are overweight, try to regularly fast to help you drop the weight inhibiting testosterone production.
Best Methods for Intermittent Fasting
Interested in using intermittent fasting for testosterone boosts? Here are a few of the most common methods.
This method gets its name from the idea of fasting for 16 hours out of each day and only eating meals during an 8 hour period.
It’s a versatile and easy method of intermittent fasting. You can just wake up, have coffee instead of breakfast, eat lunch and dinner at normal times, and have a bedtime snack.
This is an unusual method of intermittent fasting because it doesn’t have any actual strict fasting periods. Instead, you eat on every day of the week at any time you want.
This still counts as fasting because you eat normally on five days and only eat about 500 calories per day on two days.
The end result is that you eat way less calories without any actual fasting.
The warrior diet is one of those diets that tries to mimic the lifestyle of early humans. It’s based on the diet of warriors who would be busy during the day and only eat at night.
People on the warrior diet avoid having any meals for 20 hours of the day. Instead, they just have snacks and fluids.
Then for four hours of the day in the evening, the warrior diet allows people to eat a large, protein rich meal and a couple big snacks.
The OMAD diet is similar to the warrior diet but its eating window is even smaller. On this diet, you only have one meal a day.
Generally, people eat this meal in the evening, but some prefer to have it at midday or morning.
The OMAD diet is strict in its fasting time, but it is very versatile. You can pick whatever you want to eat and have it whenever you want as long as you stick to a single meal.
Other Methods to Boost Testosterone naturally
Fasting might be a great way to increase testosterone, but it’s not the only way. Here are some other things you can do to naturally raise your testosterone levels.
- Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do according to 2012 research (6).
- Reducing stress will help to lower cortisol levels, a type of hormone that can reduce testosterone.
- Vitamin D is essential for testosterone production, so get enough sunlight or eat plenty of fatty fish and eggs.
- Research has found that every hour of sleep you get after four hours increases your testosterone by 15 percent (7).
- Ashwagandha, ginger, horny goat weed, tongkat ali, and shilajit are all herbal supplements that may improve testosterone.
How to use fasting to boost HGH
Human growth hormone (HGH) is a type of hormone closely linked to testosterone. HGH helps boost metabolism, build muscles, and improve performance.
Dr. Jason Fung explains that intermittent fasting stimulates HGH levels (8). People who fast can have up to five times as much HGH as those who don’t.
Longer fasts tend to do a better job of boosting HGH, so you may want a more rigorous intermittent fast like the OMAD diet.
Does fasting help you sexually?
Fasting’s ability to increase testosterone and HGH levels can greatly enhance several aspects of sexual performance.
The biggest thing testosterone does is enhance sex drive. This results in more enthusiastic and exciting encounters.
Testosterone’s ability to improve sex drive are present in both men and women.
Both HGH and testosterone can also help men maintain erections and have more frequent orgasms. Some men have found that increasing testosterone can help with various erectile dysfunction issues.
Does human growth hormone (HGH) raise testosterone levels?
So HGH is linked to testosterone, but does it actually boost testosterone levels directly?
There has been a few different research studies showing that higher levels of HGH are linked to higher levels of testosterone.
One from 2000 found that growth hormone directly stimulated testosterone secretion (9).
This happens because HGH is a precursor of testosterone. It’s involved in the chemical reactions the body uses to produce testosterone, so without it, it’s harder to make testosterone.
Does fasting raise HGH?
HGH is a hormone that is normally suppressed when a person eats. This occurs because HGH increases glucose levels, and the body knows it doesn’t need more glucose when its already eating it.
Therefore, HGH levels naturally rise at times when we are not eating. When you go for a while without eating, HGH levels continue to rise.
There doesn’t seem to be a limit to when it stops rising after you quit eating. In longer fasts of up to 40 days, HGH can increase by up to 1,250 percent (8).
Is HGH safer than testosterone?
Both HGH and testosterone are a normal part of bodily functioning, so they are safe as long as you increase levels naturally.
For those who supplement HGH and testosterone or have abnormally high levels, the safety of these hormones is more complicated.
HGH is generally slower acting, so it does not quickly cause severe problems like shrunken testicles, liver problems, and kidney issues like testosterone abuse can.
However, in the long term, HGH abuse can be more damaging than testosterone abuse because it essentially makes the body grow without stopping.
Abnormally high amounts of HGH over a long amount of time can increase cancer risks, result in joint problems, cause mental issues, and enlarge bones.
Does HGH make you aggressive?
Naturally occurring levels of HGH will not have any affect on your mood.Unlike testosterone, abnormally high HGH due to supplementation does not make you aggressive.
In fact, HGH has been associated with reduced severity of depression and anger.
However, it can result in other mental health problems. Unregulated, heightened HGH levels can result in psychosis, paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations.
Depending on a person’s mental state, this psychosis can lead to aggressive behavior. It is not always reversible.
This usually is not something you need to worry about though unless you are abusing HGH supplements.
Does HGH damage kidneys?
Some types of muscle boosting hormones can harm the kidneys when a person takes too many, but this is not something that happens with HGH.
HGH has not been linked to any adverse kidney effects.
In fact, it can actually help. In some people with chronic kidney disease, HGH is supplemented to help them manage symptoms of their disease.
HGH can improve kidney function by increasing the flow of plasma through the kidneys and improving the rate at which kidneys filter toxins from the body (10).
Case studies of people using fasting to boost testosterone with results and testosterone measurements
- Scott Britton – This informative guide provides insight into Scott’s experience boosting testosterone through fasting.
- Damien Blenkinsopp – This is an interesting look at fasting’s effect on testosterone that shows how testosterone rebounds following a fast.
- Ben – This reddit user talks about his experience with IF and discusses how it boosted his testosterone by 25 percent.
- Marwin Jamal – Marwin Jamal discusses how he boosted his testosterone with a long term intermittent fast.
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Youtube videos of people using fasting to boost testosterone with results and testosterone measurements
- Live Anabolic – This channel explains how the vlogger increases his testosterone through fasting.
- Black Superman – Check out this video to learn a little about how this man increased his testosterone levels by trying water fasting.
- TrainHylete – Coach Thomas DeLauer goes into great detail over the effects of fasting on testosterone.
- Dr. Eric Berg – This informative video shows you exactly why fasting will make your testosterone spike.