Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone: The Evidence
By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Tue 25 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Vlad Belghiru, MD
I often get asked what was the big thing that boosted my testosterone levels the most during this 4-5 year journey of natural hormone optimization.
And even though there has been a lot of factors in play, I still believe that the biggest increase was due to the fact that I started following a pattern of intermittent fasting. I think it was at the beginning of 2013 when I was in army that I found out about IF. I briefly remember that I was laying in my bunk watching videos on Youtube
Somehow I stumbled upon this video made by these guys, the Hodge twins:
But then the inner skeptic in me woke up, and I started thinking about things like: “Hey wait a minute! I will go into starvation mode and lose all my muscle, this can’t work, this is just some bullshit!”
But luckily I didn’t forget the idea. Instead I Googled some terms like “intermittent fasting and starvation mode”, “intermittent fasting and muscle loss”, “studies about intermittent fasting” etc…
It didn’t take long until I found two of the best resources online about intermittent fasting:
1. Martin Berkhan’s LeanGains.com
2. Brad Pilon’s EatStopEat.com
I first started reading all the information I could process from the LeanGains.com website, and boy was it fascinating, as Martin Berkhan clearly stated all the studies about how fasting didn’t trigger any mythical “starvation mode” and how there really was no correlation with short term fasting and muscle loss (here’s more about that).
After I was done with Lean Gains, I got Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat e-book. From there I found a study which showed that a short term fasts of 24 hours induced growth hormone levels by a staggering 2000% in humans.
I was sold. Those two guys literally changed my life, because without intermittent fasting, I honestly believe that I would still be eating those lousy six small meals a day, being neurotic about how my muscles would otherwise melt away.
What is Intermittent Fasting
In short, intermittent fasting means that you’re abstaining from calories for a brief amount of time.
During this time of calorific abstinence you can drink water and basically everything with no calories in it.
The Lean Gains pattern designed by Martin Berkhan, uses a fasting window of 16 hours, after that comes the eating window where you consume all your daily calories in the time span of 8 hours. This process is repeated daily.
The Eat Stop Eat pattern by Brad Pilon, uses a bit different approach. You fast for a full 24 hours 1 or 2 times a week.
Then there’s also the lazy man’s method, where you just skip breakfast and start eating around at lunch.
Basically you’re just simulating the eating patterns of a primal human. Eating patterns of which truly suit the human body.
Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone
Now that you have a clue what I’m talking about when I say intermittent fasting, let’s see the real reason why I follow it.
The reason is of course the big T.
You see intermittent fasting is really a great”trick” to increase testosterone levels.
Don’t believe me?
Then check out these facts:
1. It’s a well researched fact that every time you eat something, your testosterone levels will acutely plummet (it doesn’t matter if it’s only fat, only carbs, or only protein). Thus eating breakfast and multiple small meals throughout the day would only plummet your testosterone levels with every meal. When doing IF you’ll consume your calories in a shorter window, which means that you’re not negatively altering your hormones throughout the whole day.
2. In this study the researchers noted that in non-obese healthy single men, short ramadan fast was enough to increase serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels by a staggering 67% (LH is the direct precursor hormone of testosterone).
3. In the same study those healthy non-obese single guys noted an amazing 180% increase in testosterone utilization, just from short period of fasting. Meaning that intermittent fasting will have instant effect on your testosterone levels.
4. In this human study, the researchers saw that after 24 hours of consuming no calories, growth hormone levels were elevated 2000% from the baseline. Growth hormone rises in correlation with testosterone and is highly anabolic. Meaning that the result of this study is nothing short of amazing.
5. Intermittent fasting is by far the wasiest way to burn body fat (12 hours in fasted state and your enzymes will shift to burning body fat as fuel). The lower your body fat, the higher your testosterone. (providing that you’re a man of course).
6. Fasting induces autophagy, which is the process where your cells remove toxins and estrogenic chemicals from them. Obviously getting rid of xeno-estrogenic toxins is pro-testosterone.
7. Fasting down regulates leptin, and decreased leptin will stimulate testosterone secretion.
Basically what we can draw from those studies is the fact that intermittent fasting increases testosterone and it stimulates all the right hormones that support healthy testosterone production, while suppressing the hormones that interfere with testosterone production.
In other words, if you’re a man, intermittent fasting just may be the best kind of way to eat for hormonal health. My personal experiences with fasting and what it has done to my T levels, have made me a lifelong participant in the habit.
This post is too short for you to fully understand the core of intermittent fasting. That’s why I recommend that you get yourself a copy of Eat Stop Eat or read Martin Berkhan’s website from top to bottom for full understanding of the subject.
But at least now you know that intermittent fasting is one of the best tools you could use to increase your natural testosterone production.