Can eating fat be good for testosterone production?
Or can fat actually lower testosterone production?
It turns out, it depends on the fat.
This study set out to determine the effects of different fats on testosterone production.
The researchers chose to study the effects of various types of fats on the Leydig cells, the cells in the testicles that produce testosterone.
The fats they used were common fats in physiologically normal quantities — the same quantities of fats likely to be found in the blood in the form of triglycerides.
And it turns out that high triglycerides can inhibit testosterone production.
However, some fats actually increase testosterone production, while others lowered it.
The fat that is found in high quantities in coconut oil increases testosterone production.
The fat most commonly found in beef lowers testosterone production slightly, and PUFAs lower testosterone production a LOT.
Olive oil inhibits testosterone.
Oleic acid was the most potent inhibitor of steroidogenesis of the fatty acids tested.
50% to 80% of olive oil consists of only oleic acid.
Stearic acid, like linoleic at high concentration (above 400 PM), inhibited steroidogenesis,
Stearic acid is the most common fatty acid found in beef especially industrial beef, but not farm-raised beef.
And linoleic acid is the fatty acid found in nuts and seeds.
Both of these types of fatty acids prevented the testicles from producing testosterone.
The study found that the active fatty acid in coconut oil, palmitic acid, can increase testosterone production.
There were two things needed to produce testosterone: luteinizing hormone (LH) and sex steroids.
But with the “bad” fats present, even with luteinizing hormone, testosterone was not produced.
The authors suggest that this lower testosterone production
might account in part for the results reported in humans during fasting, obesity, diabetes, and aging as [these fats] rise and testosterone levels fall.
So eating the wrong kind of fats including and especially PUFAs, and then fasting, or just being overweight and diabetic, lowers testosterone and this may be the mechanism.
What to do now?
There are several ways of minimizing triglycerides which are otherwise known as free fatty acids, and which are the culprit in this study.
It’s almost a given now that high amounts of free fatty acids can actually cause insulin resistance and diabetes.
This study shows that high levels of free fatty acids suppress the production of testosterone.
So what you can do is this.
- You can lower your consumption of vegetable oil and fish oil, hopefully to zero.
- And you can eat carbohydrates because insulin suppresses free fatty acids very effectively in the body.
- And you can avoid fasting.
These are all ways of preventing free fatty acids from being high in the blood, and therefore, these will help you increase your testosterone levels.
Maybe better than any drug.
- Nonesterified fatty acids modulate steroidogenesis in mouse Leydig cells
- Chemical characteristics
- Effects of free fatty acids (FFA) on glucose metabolism: significance for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Free Fatty Acids - UI Health Care - University of Iowa