Calcium and Testosterone: Not Only for the Bones & Teeth

By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Tue 25 September 2018

Medical Review by Dr. Vlad Belghiru, MD

Calcium is the fifth-most-abundant mineral in the crust of the planet Earth. In humans, 99% of the calcium in our bodies is located in bones and teeth.

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The 1% that’s left has a role in various processes inside the human body, such as cellular functioning, neurotransmitter release (think dopamine), muscle contraction, conducting the heart, etc.

Which is why calcium is one of the 20 essential vitamins & minerals for human survival.

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The governmental recommendation for calcium is roughly 1-gram a day for a normal sized adult male. In my opinion, you should aim a bit higher than that, while also adding in vitamin D, magnesium, boron, and vitamin K2, which all work in a synergy with calcium.

If you’re consuming plenty of products that already contain calcium (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc), extra supplementation might not be that useful. For example, here in Finland – and if I recall correctly, in the whole Scandinavia – milk consumption is so high that calcium supplementation would be somewhat just a waste of money.

The thing that got me interested in calcium, however, is the fact that it seems to have a role in testosterone production.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Calcium and Testosterone

dairy cowCalcium is not that often linked to testosterone production, but still, there are few studies that show some promising results with the mineral.

The researchers aren’t even sure how calcium works to increase testosterone…

…Few logical explanations could be the fact that it controls neurotransmitter release (dopamine, for example, rises in correlation with T), and plays a role in cellular functioning (which in theory could improve the signaling between cells and hormones).

Whatever the reason, here’s what the studies say:

a) Back in 1976, a group of researchers studied the effects of calcium ions on isolated rat Leydig cells. They found out that in combination with luteinizing hormone (LH), calcium significantly increased testosterone synthesis. When the researchers tested LH’s effects on the cells without the calcium, the increase in testosterone was significantly smaller.

b) 33 Years later, this study gets published in the Journal of Biological Trace Element Research. The researchers found out that calcium supplementation (35 mg/kg) didn’t really alter testosterone levels on the subjects who remained sedentary when compared to placebo. However, there were also two groups on the study that did resistance training for 90 minutes, 5 days a week. The first group received 35 mg/kg of calcium, and the other group got a placebo pill.

Both of the training groups noted increases in their testosterone levels. However, the group that received the extra calcium had 18% higher free testosterone levels after the workout than the placebo group did.

The researchers weren’t sure why calcium was able to increase the amount of bio-available testosterone in resistance trained men, but they suspect that it increases the sensitivity of the messenger hormones LH and FSH.

Five Foods High in Calcium to Support Androgen Production

1. Cheese

plate of cheeseCheese is a good source of high-quality casein protein, along with a good amount of testosterone boosting saturated fat.

It’s also rich in multiple important vitamins and minerals for testosterone production, such as vitamins K2A, selenium, and zinc.

And then there’s the calcium. Cheese is the richest known natural source of calcium with 100 grams of Cheddar cheese having 721mg’s of calcium, covering 72% of the RDA.

NOTE: There is some mixed evidence towards high-fat dairy products having hormone traces which could lower testosterone levels, so if you want to be extra sure that this doesn’t affect you, opt for low-fat dairy, it still has the calcium.

2. Eggshells

crushed egg shellsWhat you do with eggshells after using the insides? Throw it away?

Mistake. Eggshells are one of the best natural sources of calcium and you should eat them.

Not whole, obviously. Instead, make natural eggshell calcium supplement;

  1. Fill a stock pot with some water, bring to boil.
  2. Pour the eggshells into the water (this destroys pathogens).
  3. Cook for 10 minutes and then drain the pot.
  4. put the eggshells on a baking tin and allow to dry for a day.
  5. Use a coffee grinder or pestle & mortar to grind the dry shells into powder.
  6. Store the powder in a jar.

Now, you have a high-quality calcium supplement, with a teaspoon providing you the 1000mg’s (100% RDA) of calcium.

3. Milk

dairy productsLike all dairy products, milk is rich in calcium.

And just like the cheese above, it’s rich in high-quality casein protein, and some key micronutrients like zinc and selenium.

100 grams of milk (1dl or 3.3oz if you’re from US) contains 125mg’s of calcium, which covers 12% of the RDA.

Drinking a liter (usually whole carton) of milk per day is a great way to get in that quality protein and all of your needed calcium.

4. Yogurt

yogurtYogurt is filled with probiotics that have shown to favorably impact testosterone levels in studies.

yogurt is also a relatively good source of protein and certain micronutrients such as zinc and iodine.

When it comes to calcium, 100 grams of yogurt provides 110mg’s of calcium (11% RDA).

We at Anabolic Men recommend few servings of grass-fed yogurt daily, mostly due to its probiotic density but also to cover vitamin and mineral intake.

5. Leafy Greens

leafy greensIf you’re not a fan of dairy products or eggshell calcium, you may find that it’s really hard to cover the daily need for calcium through foods.

Which is why we recommend high-quality multivitamin supplementation for everyone not consuming plenty of dairy products.

Aside from dairy, eggshells, and calcium supplements, there is one group of foods that still ranks pretty high in calcium content…

…And that’s the leafy greens, such as;

  • kale (150mg/100g)
  • spinach (99mg/100g)
  • collard greens (232mg/100g)
  • mustard greens (115mg/100g)

NOTE: Another great benefit of eating lots of leafy greens is their high natural nitrate content which can beneficially impact erection quality.

Conclusion

Calcium seems to increase free testosterone in men who practice resistance training. The mechanism of action is somewhat unknown, and more studies are needed to validate the claims.

All-in-all, you should probably consider a calcium supplement if you’re not a big fan of dairy products, but still, love to workout.

For those guys, my recommendation would be this brand, 1-2 grams a day (affiliate link).

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men. He has authored and co-authored multiple men's health books and focuses on uncovering the methods of optimizing hormonal health. To date, his articles on various websites have been read more than 15-million times. To read more about Ali, visit his Medium article.