What Is The Relationship Between Testosterone And Protein Intake? You do not need large amounts of proteins for more testosterone. Yes, you read that right. The “protein=testosterone=lean muscles” notion is nothing but a huge myth.
You do need protein for vital body processes like muscle building and repair, but you don’t need to binge on meat just to boost your testosterone levels and build more lean muscles.
The Truth about Proteins and Testosterone
For decades, many people believed that eating more proteins would help the body produce more testosterone, meat is manly. It has become common among many bodybuilders to eat massive amounts of protein through food and protein shakes in the hopes that it will help build more mass.
It is true that our bodies still need proteins for various functions. Proteins, after all, are necessary for the synthesis of various enzymes and hormones, including testosterone. It is an indispensable ingredient in the reproduction, growth, and development of all the cells in the body, including muscle cells.
However, it isn’t the single, most important thing you have to eat in large amounts to increase testosterone levels and muscle mass.
The Journal of Life Sciences published a study that debunked the notion of eating more proteins to increase testosterone. The study involved 7 men and compared the effect of a diet high in carbohydrates to one high in protein. At the end of the study, total testosterone levels significantly increased in the carbohydrate group, not protein.
That result went against the prevailing idea that only large amounts of proteins can boost testosterone. However, the increase was on total testosterone level. Closer inspection reveals that the increase in free testosterone isn’t that large eating more carbs (about 7% in the study). Free testosterone is the more important form because this is what is immediately available to the muscle cells.
What this study revealed was that proteins are not the answer to boosting testosterone.
Truth About Post Workout Protein Supplementation
This is another widely accepted idea:
If you want to build muscles and improve hormonal production, you should take massive doses of protein right after a workout.
However, a 2015 study showed that post-workout protein supplementation is overrated.
In this study, a protein shake with 20g proteins, 1 g fat and 6 g carbohydrates was taken after a workout. This did not produce significantly large amounts of important signaling proteins (e.g., p70S6k, RPS6, mTOR and Akt) or of anabolic hormones (e.g. testosterone, growth hormone and insulin) compared to the group that received placebo.
What this study tells is that expensive, massive protein intake during the anabolic window after a workout will not produce higher testosterone levels and more muscle gains.
Truth About Carbohydrates
Another myth we will debunk is about eating more carbohydrates, especially after an intense workout. This is called carb loading. The idea is to provide the muscles with glycogen. This compound is used by the muscle tissues for recovery. This will also help in extending the anabolic activity stimulated by high intensity training.
This is true, but only up to a point. Carbohydrates do help in lean muscles gains. Some studies even showed that the right kind of carbohydrates can contribute to testosterone increase. However, the most likely explanation for these effects is on the amount of calories that carbohydrate-rich foods contain. Hence, it is highly likely to be more a result of high calories rather than of carbs themselves.
Truth about Fats and Calories
So, massive protein intake is not answer. What then?
The answer lies in fats and total calorie intake. It’s all too common to see bodybuilders and athletes keep carbs and fat intake too low and take large amounts of proteins. That in itself is already unhealthy because you have to keep all the macronutrients in the right ratios to maintain good health.
One important type of fat is CLA or conjugated linoleic acid. This fatty acid helps the body burn excess body fat and it is popular in supplement form. Studies have also shown that CLA can boost levels of testosterone, as well as boost lean body mass and increase muscle strength. Body fat reduction is achieved with 3,200 mg of CLA each day. The average person takes only about 200mg.
CLA can be obtained from natural food sources. If taking supplements is not up your alley or you wish to take CLA naturally, eat more dairy products and beef. Ground beef contains up to 7 times more CLA than other meats like chicken and pork. Other good dietary sources are:
- Mozzarella cheese
- Plain yogurt
- Homogenized milk
Other Ways To Boost Testosterone
Now you know that it’s not all about massive protein intake to improve testosterone levels. It’s about eating more calories and the good fats, particularly CLA.
Aside from these, there are still more foods that can naturally boost your male hormone levels. These foods are those that act as natural steroids or boost the body’s own steroid production.
Truth About Steroids
Steroids are not just the substances some people inject in their bodies to make their muscles plump up in no time. That is synthetic steroid. That kind is usually not good for your body.
Synthetic steroids are used as medications that help in various medical conditions. These kinds of steroids are legally prescribed to people suffering from delayed puberty or reduced testicular functions in order to improve their condition.
Some people use these synthetic anabolic steroids for quick gains, though. It does help enlarge your muscles -- but at a cost.
Synthetic anabolic steroids are artificial forms of testosterone. Inject it and testosterone levels in the body shoot up. However, because this is synthetic and artificially introduced in the body, it might have a negative effect on overall hormonal balance.
The body can only accommodate a certain range of testosterone level. Any excess will be converted into estrogen- the hormone that has an inhibitory effect on testosterone.
This is what often happens when you take too much synthetic anabolic steroids:
Anabolic synthetic steroids = higher testosterone levels, creating excess in the body = excess testosterone gets converted into estrogen = higher estrogen levels = reduced production of testosterone by the body = feminization (e.g., gynecomastia or enlargement of the breasts, impotence, shrinking testicles, etc.)
The body produces its own steroids, too. In fact, testosterone IS a steroid hormone. But instead of taking synthetics, you can opt to boost these hormones naturally through natural anabolic foods such as celery, raw eggs and wild oats that you could find at your local convenience store.
You do not need to consume large amounts of proteins for more testosterone. What you can do is to pay attention to your macros and make sure you eat the right kind – and the right amount of fats and carbs as well, in addition to the natural anabolic foods mentioned.
“Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals. Check out anabolichealth.com to learn more about Alex and his work. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.”
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