Is there a relationship between intermittent fasting and testosterone levels? While many men's health sites make this claim, the science has yet to agree.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting has become a fairly common practice for health and wellness. It consists of restricting energy consumption to certain periods, so that periods of fasting and normal food consumption alternate in a day or a week. Its health benefits are regularly celebrated and it appears to have a positive effect on hormone levels.
Is there a link between intermittent fasting and testosterone?
Unfortunately, research on the link between intermittent fasting and testosterone has yet to reveal a clear picture. While studies seem to suggest that fasting impacts the process that produces the male hormone, there is still no consensus on whether it increases that hormone or, in fact, decreases it.
A study cited often used to support the idea that fasting increases testosterone is from 1989. Nine obese and eight non-obese men were included in the study, which investigated the effect of overnight fasting on luteinizing hormone (LH), a hormone crucial for testicular function and testosterone production. Although no effect was found in obese men, fasting increased LH by 67% in non-obese men, giving a corresponding 180% increase in testosterone.
The small sample size makes it an unreliable study. Meanwhile, other studies have failed to corroborate their conclusions. One, investigating the effect of fasting on LH and testosterone, found that both hormones decreased after periods of restricted energy intake. A more recent study found again that energy restriction actually led to decreased testosterone levels.
No link between intermittent fasting and testosterone has yet been confirmed, and studies to date have given conflicting results.
However, there are promising signs that this diet has positive effects on different hormones, including human growth hormone and insulin.
In the meantime, the other health benefits that intermittent fasting promises may convince you to give it a try anyway.
Take care, man.