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Calories and Testosterone

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 07, 2012 at 11:13 PM

I know fats and cholesterol are important for testosterone production, but do calories matter as well? On days where I eat more, I feel way more motivated to go do my strength training, and my libido is noticeably higher. When my calorie intake is lower, I feel the opposite (low libido and I don't want to strength train).

So my question is, does calorie intake have a major effect on testosterone levels and production?

I am 18 years old and 6'2" 170lbs. Thought I'd add that in case anyone asks :)

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on January 08, 2012
at 12:32 AM

Probably correlation, quality of the calories changed big-time.

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4 Answers

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2
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on January 08, 2012
at 12:21 AM

I think you're right in your observations.

Calorie restriction will increase cortisol levels.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20368473

Among other things, this could induce a pregnenolone steal syndrome which takes pregnenolone away from DHEA (and in turn testosterone) in order to make cortisol.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/k63503537q3422rv/

although this study showed no change in testosterone with a 15% calorie reduction

Here's a pretty good article answering your question http://thinkmuscle.com/nutrition/diet-and-testosterone-calories-protein/

2
87a310f79e3905ba9a3aa9e9165dfbd6

(20)

on February 04, 2012
at 05:11 AM

Yes. Scientific research has shown that 25% (moderate) and 50% (severe), though not 15% (low) calorie restriction (CR) decreases total testosterone (T), free testosterone (fT) (that which is not bound to SHBG and thus is biologically active), and luteinizing hormone (LH) (which facilitates testosterone production from cholesterol) by 30-50% in both animals and humans. I'm not sure acute fluctuations in calorie intake would have much of an effect though.

Sources:

  1. http://thinkmuscle.com/nutrition/diet-and-testosterone-calories-protein/
  2. http://www.lef.org/protocols/prtcls-txt/t-prtcl-160.html

2
Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

on January 08, 2012
at 01:10 AM

The effects you're feeling are not mediated via testosterone. Acute caloric surplus upregulates sympathetic activity, orexins are very important here as well.

And, chronic caloric restriction will certainly lower testosterone (diet too hard and libido drops). The reverse is not true, by overeating you can certainly fix a diet-induced testosterone drop but to optimize things like testosterone it is important to not let yourself get fat. Hormones tend to be best suited for sports around 10-15% bodyfat for men.

So to answer your question, you are correct caloric intake can lower or raise testosterone. However, that's not what's at play here.

0
1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

on January 07, 2012
at 11:19 PM

Well, Testosterone levels in men on average were much higher 30-40 years ago, and people ate less calories on average. Causation or Correlation? I suspect correlation is at work here.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on January 08, 2012
at 12:32 AM

Probably correlation, quality of the calories changed big-time.

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