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Low carb, high protein... low testosterone??

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 17, 2012 at 3:36 PM

I see conflicting information on this all over the interwebs. Does a low carb diet lower testosterone? How about having high protein consumption?

I've been experiencing lowered libido since getting stricter on my low carb diet, but I also noticed that when I shifted some calories from protein to fat the problem faded a bit. Does anyone know what this is about?

Normally I ask my father-in-law when I have diet/nutrition questions since he's a paleo-nutrition nut and a physician, but there are some things I'd prefer not to talk to him about :)

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on April 18, 2012
at 04:42 PM

@Sam - I don't know, but I would take an educated guess and say it would have a slight increase in testosterone lowering rates (if you are already susceptible). I eat about 1.5lbs of seafood every two days, FWIW. ;-)

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 17, 2012
at 07:38 PM

I take some fish oil every day (2 capsules from whole foods). Would that have more of an effect than, say, eating a lot of fish?

130e03323ec1beda6494050a9c018d3c

on April 17, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Really, why? .

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on April 17, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Are you also taking fish oil? That is another thing that is known to lower testosterone in some men.

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7 Answers

2
B23318c968ac589b87131d5b489d6e16

(1294)

on April 17, 2012
at 04:35 PM

Yes, definitely libido came back when I added sweet potatoes.

1
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on April 17, 2012
at 04:28 PM

If there is an effect it is probably very minimal. As long as you are eating paleo, exercising, reducing stress (i.e. living a healthy balanced life in general) the effect would be barely noticeable. I do noticed a lowered libido doing very low carb but that may just be to having very little energy. I eat high protein, moderate fat, moderate carbs most days and my libido is outrageous. Then again, I'm also in my early 20s.

1
4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

on April 17, 2012
at 03:54 PM

Thank you for posting this. I, too, have experienced a lower libido since going Paleo and being strict about my carb consumption. Most of my other health maladies are now gone so it seems a small price to pay, but I bet my husband would beg to differ on that front. :) Please everyone, chime in - let me know if you think that upping carbs (sweet potatoes, acorn squash, white rice) might help in this department. Thanks!

0
Medium avatar

(2338)

on April 18, 2012
at 11:19 AM

i think semen has sugar in it and i wonder if not giving your body any sugar would disrupt the production of it, thus leading to lower testosterone? i have no scientific reason for saying that it was just the thought that popped into my head when i heard the question.

0
D12142c8cafb16d9af10b3362cb8fb62

(1590)

on April 18, 2012
at 07:52 AM

Low carb means more cholesterol is eventually turned into cortisol (to convert the protein into sugar) and less is available to turn into testosterone. Also low carb negatively impacts T3 levels which is needed to make the conversion in the first place...

0
901d843c6a01089575ef1751a9e6e9fd

on April 17, 2012
at 04:17 PM

I've also experienced this on paleo — I'm trying ZMA supplementation which does seem to have produced an improvement.

0
Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260

on April 17, 2012
at 04:06 PM

Too low carbs has been shown to reduce testosterone levels. I'd suggest experimenting with adding more carbs and see how you feel.

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