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Do Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone Affect Each Other? Find Out Here
Intermittent Fasting

Do Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone Affect Each Other? Find Out Here

HR_author_photo_Thalia
Written by Thalia Oosthuizen | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 14, 2022
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6 min

Testosterone is a vital hormone in the body. Can intermittent fasting have an impact on the balance of this hormone, and is it good or bad?

Intermittent fasting and testosterone
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There are many different health trends worldwide, but one of the most popular is intermittent fasting, which has been shown to have many other effects on a wealth of hormones within the body, including testosterone.

But what effects does this fasting trend have on the hormone itself? In this article, we’ll look at that and many other key factors for you to understand intermittent fasting and testosterone.

Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone: Is There a Link?

A conclusive determination on just how much intermittent fasting affects testosterone is yet to be determined. That being said, several studies point to the fact that fasting impacts testosterone production.

As the popularity of intermittent fasting grows, it is no surprise that many medical researchers and scientists are looking into the link between intermittent fasting and hormones. In particular, the effect of this particular diet on testosterone.

Some things, though, are evident during these studies – hormone resistance and an unhealthy diet can impact testosterone levels.

That said, hormones can be balanced through fasting, and this, in turn, can help affect your appetite. That means that when an individual takes a blood test to measure testosterone levels, it could be affected by an improper diet, which is why intermittent fasting could be beneficial.

What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is often thought of as the male hormone but can also be found in females. In men, it is produced in the testicles, whereas women produce it in their ovaries (in much smaller amounts).

The human body is full of different hormones that do many things. From the human growth hormone to testosterone, our body is designed to utilize them to execute certain processes within our body.

Testosterone begins its production cycle during puberty and drifts off after age 30. Testosterone production and the areas it affects most are often associated with sex drive and sperm production.

But testosterone doesn’t only affect the sexual desires of an individual. It also affects how men store fat in the body; it can impact bone and muscle mass and even produce red blood cells.

Why do testosterone levels matter?

The simple answer to why testosterone levels matter is that whether you have excessively high or excessively low levels factors into your overall health in many ways. Several factors will affect it, but in the end, the symptoms are the same. Those suffering from low testosterone levels may experience moodiness, weight gain, and even low sex drive.

Unfortunately, the appropriate testosterone levels differ from person to person. If you have excessively high testosterone levels, you could see an elevated level of acne, aggressive behavior, headaches, and high blood pressure.

These symptoms and the effect of this hormone on the body are why testosterone levels are so important to watch both in men and women. Though it is much more important when it comes to men. This is because the hormone is more prominent in the male body as it is their primary sex hormone.

Symptoms of low testosterone

When it comes to low testosterone, you want to understand the factors that could cause it. Things like lack of sleep or exercise, obesity, certain types of food, substance abuse, or lack of vitamins and minerals in your diet could cause your testosterone levels to dip.

You will never know without a blood test unless you pay attention to the symptoms that come with lower testosterone levels. Below we’ll take a look at a couple of the issues regarding a significant decrease in testosterone.

#1 Reduced sex drive

Regarding sex drive, there are two primary hormones that you have to pay attention to, namely testosterone and estrogen. Estrogen opposes testosterone, but they have many of the same effects. Both hormones are present in everyone at varying levels.

No matter what, when you have a reduced level of a sex hormone (though testosterone doesn’t only affect the sex drive), you’re bound to have a decreased desire for sex.

#2 Decreased energy

You may see a heightened drop in energy leading to fatigue when you suffer from low testosterone. The decreased energy comes from the drop in things like a lack of motivation and a lack of sleep.

On top of that, many people suffering from low testosterone will see increased body fat, which naturally creates mental and physical tiredness.

#3 Weight gain

The lack of energy can lead to weight gain. This is because as you lack motivation and energy to get out to the gym, you might find that you are putting on more body fat, and this, in turn, will create an excess body fat store and continue the loop of lack of energy. Testosterone has an impact on all of this.

These are just some of the major symptoms to look for that could delineate a reduction in your testosterone. But they are definitely not the only symptoms. Here are some other symptoms:

  • Reduced bone strength and density
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of concentration

Does Fasting Increase Testosterone?

Whether it’s intermittent fasting or another type of fasting, it does play a role in affecting testosterone production levels. No matter how you change your diet, your hormones will be impacted. For example, when looking at testosterone and intermittent fasting, it has been shown in obese men that after taking in glucose, there is a decrease in the production of this hormone.  

This is because as you fast, estrogen in your body is eliminated during a process called autophagy. This is the process that removes old cells to replace them with new ones. Estrogen naturally opposes testosterone, so when it is removed, you will see an increase in testosterone. But how does this affect other hormones related to testosterone?

Even though the testosterone precursor hormone DHEA doesn’t seem to be altered by this, the body that plays a part in the production process of testosterone is affected. Another precursor hormone that is affected is LH. Testosterone is significantly affected by intermittent fasting. The longer you utilize this diet, the higher your testosterone levels will be.  

4 Benefits of Fasting for Testosterone

When most people think about intermittent fasting, they’re thinking about the idea of losing weight. But there are so many other benefits when it comes to intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting has an impact on several hormones, as well as helping you lose body fat. So we’ll look at four of the main benefits you can take advantage of when adding intermittent fasting to your daily life.

#1 Increase insulin sensitivity

Testosterone correlates with insulin sensitivity. This is because as you sleep, your cortisol levels increase and finally spike when you wake up in the morning. Cortisol at high levels can affect your metabolism, which is why you find yourself ready to eat when you wake up.

But testosterone helps reduce cortisol levels, which can lead to weight loss. Therefore, regulating and using a restricted feeding schedule could help improve your testosterone activity and help you lose weight.

By not eating, you will be helping your body regulate insulin, cortisol, and blood sugar levels, leading to improved testosterone insulin sensitivity, which will improve insulin resistance and help with weight loss.

#2 Boosts hormone adiponectin

Adiponectin is a hormone derived from adipose, and it significantly impacts many metabolism processes. This means it is directly correlated with and regulates blood sugar levels and the oxidation of fatty acids.

An increase in this hormone could help with insulin sensitivity, and when utilizing intermittent fasting, the individual will see a marked increase in this hormone.

#3 Increased LH hormone

Intermittent fasting can increase the luteinizing hormone, otherwise known as LH. Our luteinizing hormone is a hormone that plays a massive part in our body’s testosterone production process.

Studies have shown that the testosterone increase could be up to 78%. This means good LH hormone health will lead to more energy and many other amazing changes in your overall health.

Good LH hormone health ensures that you’re going to see an increase in testosterone, which will give you more energy and help with other vital processes in the body.

#4 Reduced body fat levels

Intermittent fasting will affect testosterone, which may help reduce body fat. Reducing body fat can help with insulin resistance and other health issues you may struggle with if you are overweight.

These are just some of the benefits of intermittent fasting boosting testosterone. Other benefits include an increase in growth hormone production and better regulation of leptin and ghrelin.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Intermittent fasting is a fasting regime centered on scheduled meal times. There are multiple styles, such as the 5:2 or a 16:8 diet.

Some would even choose to fast for 24 hours. Intermittent fasting benefits your body in many ways, from increasing growth hormone production to helping you lose body fat.

It is a healthy option that should be entered into with the assistance of a nutritionist or a physician, especially if you have pre-existing conditions, as it will affect your testosterone greatly.

Conclusion

Intermittent fasting and testosterone production don’t have a definitive connection per se. However, many studies have shown that fasting positively affects testosterone production.

When fasting, testosterone will help regulate things like the LH hormone, growth hormone, and other major hormones that help your body work properly.

So with that being said, you can see why doing intermittent fasting to boost testosterone could be a good choice for many.

HR_author_photo_Thalia
Written by
Thalia has always wanted to be a writer, starting her first local newspaper at the age of 11. She also has enjoyed a passion for health and fitness since a young age, playing many sports through her schooling career, and still enjoys biking, running, and swimming today. She studied English Language at University for 3 years, developing a passion for spelling, grammar, and research. She now has over 10 years of experience writing, proofreading, and editing, and has paired this with her love for health and fitness by writing health content.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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