Table Of Contents
We are continuing our series of posts on exploring natural and proven ways to increase your testosterone levels.
The reason we are hitting this topic so hard is because we are facing a serious problem in our current time. There are many reasons to be thankful and blessed to be alive during this time period, but when it comes to testosterone levels in men across the board, that’s not one of them.
The issue is that due to a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors, the testosterone level in men today is lower and decreasing faster than previous generations.
Even just 20 years ago, the average testosterone level in men was about 20% higher than men in today’s modern times.
Younger men are now being examined and treated for issues relating to low levels testosterone when it never used to be that way.
It’s very easy to just categorize testosterone as the “sex hormone” and that’s it. The truth is that, for men, testosterone plays a much more significant role in their lives and affects more than just libido.
It affects muscle mass, bone density, liver & kidney function, immune system, aging, heart function, mood & emotional disposition, and more.
It hasn’t been that long since men have even known about testosterone and how important it is in their lives. Most of the information has really come to light in the last 50 years or so, and probably more so in the last 25 years.
It used to be that when men found out they had low testosterone, there was really only one route to go, and that was testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
If you were wealthy enough to afford this expensive treatment, you could get testosterone replacement therapy. That was also before much was known about the potential health risks and negative side effects that may come with TRT.
What kind of negative side effects?
In the last 10 years especially we have learned that there are more options to increase testosterone in addition to TRT. Not only that, we have learned that there are numerous natural ways to increase testosterone without having to deal with or worry about all the negative side effects and potential health risks.
That’s one of the reasons why testosterone boosters have exploded in popularity because men are experiencing some fantastic results with them, provided they are taking a good T booster with proven ingredients.
In addition to natural testosterone boosters, there are also other things that we have learned that can increase testosterone levels naturally in terms of diet, exercise, environment, and lifestyle.
One of those things is a dietary approach called intermittent fasting.
It turns out that intermittent fasting provides a whole host of health benefits including the fact that it has been shown to provide a significant increase in testosterone levels.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is currently one of the hottest health & fitness trends in the world right now due to the fact that you can lose weight, burn fat, and get so many other health benefits from it.
Back in the day, before I knew what intermittent fasting (IF) was, I thought it was a way of starving yourself for some number of days at a time or some sort of fad diet. Then I did some investigating, and found out that it was not what I thought.
Intermittent fasting is a method or system of eating that is based on two blocks of time.
One block of time is called the fasted state, and during this block of time, you are to consume no calories.
The other block of time is called the fed state, and during this block of time you consume any and all of the calories that you are going to consume for that time.
Let’s look at a popular example of IF that is based on 16 hours of fasted state and 8 hours of fed state in a 24 hour time period. This is called the 16/8 method, and it was made popular by Mark Berkhan from LeanGains.com
With the 16/8 method of IF, imagine finishing dinner on Monday night at 7pm. At this point, you would then enter your fasted state for the next 16 hours. This would take you until 11a.m the next morning. At 11a.m. Tuesday morning you would then enter your fed state for the next 8 hours. In this state, you would consume all of your daily calories in the next 8 hour time period (from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Then at 7 p.m. you would enter back into your fasted state and consume no calories again until the next day at 11 a.m.
If you think about it, we all do some form of intermittent fasting today without even knowing it when we go to sleep at night. We are fasting during that time, and then in the morning, most of us have breakfast, which is breaking the fast (break / fast).
Popular Methods Of Intermittent Fasting
Mark Berkhan’s 16/8 method is one of the most popular forms of intermittent fasting. The reason is probably because to most people it is the closest method of eating to their usual way of eating except that for all intents and purposes, you’re just skipping breakfast and then having no after dinner snacks.
This method allows you to experience many of the benefits of IF without having to make huge sweeping changes to your life.
Two subset hybrids off of this method would be 18/6 and 20/4.
The idea is that you would follow this method as your new normal eating pattern 7 days a week.
Eat Stop Eat Method
This method was made popular by Brad Pilon, and using his method, you would eat like you normally would for 5 days a week, and then 2 days a week you would do a 24-hour fast.
In this example, you may finish lunch at 1 p.m. and then you would fast until 1 p.m. the next day. The bottom line is that whatever point you decide to stop eating food on a given day, you would then fast after that for the next 24 hours before you ate food again the next day.
Personally speaking, this is my favorite method of IF. I feel like I experience the most amount of benefit from this method, and it has really helped me gained control over my patterns of eating emotionally vs. eating when I am hungry.
I come from a family where food played a much larger role than just fuel for our bodies. It provided everything from fun & entertainment to stress relief and helping with emotional turmoil as well as anything in between. As a result, I have struggled with food controlling me rather than the other way around, and the Eat Stop Eat method of IF has been an incredibly powerful way to get that control back and change some unhealthy attitudes about food that I have carried with me my whole life.
The 5:2 Method
This method is somewhat similar to Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat method, however, instead of fasting for 24 hours two days a week, on those two days you would only consume roughly 500-600 calories. This method was developed and made popular by a British doctor named Michael Mosley.
An example of this method may be eating only 500-600 calories on Mondays and Thursdays, and then Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday would be “normal” eating days.
It’s important to note here that just because you have a low cal or fasted day doesn’t mean that the wheels can come off and you can go crazy with junk food and excess calories on your non-fasting times.
You still need to eat sensibly and eat with the prevailing thought that food is fuel for your body, and you want to put the best fuel in your body for the best health benefits and results.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
IF Increases Testosterone
This is really what I was after. I wanted to see scientific proof that intermittent fasting increases testosterone levels, and it does!
In this powerful study, researchers monitored the testosterone level effects of IF on a group of healthy non-obese men, and the results of their research showed an average increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) of 67%! Remember, LH is a precursor to testosterone, so as LH increases, so does testosterone. What’s even more amazing was that in this study it was also noted that that due to IF these men had a 180% increase in testosterone utilization meaning that IF instantly effects T levels!
Here’s another study that shows that men who fasted for a short period of time increased their testosterone levels by 200%, and some were as high as 400%!
This study was done by the University of Virginia Medical School, and it found that a 24-hour fast produced a 2000% (not 200, but 2000) increase in growth hormone levels over baseline. We know that growth hormones are correlated with testosterone.
Most people use IF because it’s most noted for it’s incredible ability to help you effortlessly lose weight by reducing calories and also having your body lose fat by way of forcing it to use fat as fuel and energy during the fasted state.
We already know how closely testosterone levels are tied to weight. The more overweight you are, the less testosterone you have and visa versa, so that is also another angle at which IF can positively affect testosterone levels.
In addition to the fact that that intermittent fasting is an amazing natural testosterone booster, it also provides other incredible health benefits that I had no idea about. Some of these other health benefits would be reason alone to incorporate this eating method into your life, but when you look at all the different benefits combined together, it really becomes a no brainer.
In addition to the substantial increase in you get in testosterone, check out 13 more benefits you get with IF:
- You lose weight by reducing calorie intake and increasing your metabolic rate
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Increases growth hormone levels (shown to increase as much as 5X) which also facilitate fat burning
- Increases the release of norepinephrine
- Increases your metabolic rate
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces oxidative stress
- Improves heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and insulin resistance
- Multiple studies suggesting that IF can help prevent cancer (1, 2, 3, 4)
- Increases life span (anti-aging)
- Improves brain health (growth of new nerve cells, may also prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s)
- Can help prevent brain damage due to stroke
- Increases autophagy (removes waste from cells)
Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone Summary
Sometimes you come across something that might give you some marginal benefit when it comes to boosting testosterone levels, and you consider it because Low T and declining testosterone levels is such a serious matter you want to attack this problem from any angle.
However, there are other times when you come across something that is a slam dunk or home run to use a sports analogy. That’s what intermittent fasting is.
Even if IF didn’t affect testosterone levels at all, it would still be considered a game changer just for all the other incredible health benefits you get with it.
Given the fact that you get all those health benefits PLUS you get one of the most powerfully effective ways to increase T levels, this makes it a definite keeper in your arsenal of strategies and tactics to increase testosterone levels naturally!
As we have continually said, you have to attack this problem from as many angles as possible. Make positive and powerful changes & adjustments in lifestyle, environment, exercise, diet and supplementation and your testosterone will be flowing through your body at optimal and peak levels!
Mike is our resident personal trainer specializing in men’s health & fitness. He is an avid enthusiast when it comes to understanding and implementing the best strategies & tactics for optimal healthy living, and he is completely obsessed with how to achieve peak performance levels.