by Tony Gjokaj July 14, 2021 4 min read
When it comes to testosterone production, many men scour the internet in hopes of finding various ways to improve testosterone naturally.
The big secret about all of this is that it is well within our grasp for most of us.
Nutrition, for example, can play a huge part in testosterone production and is essential to optimize.
So in this post, we are going to talk about nutrition and how we can use it to optimize our testosterone levels.
Let's dive in!
When it comes to nutrition, total calories consumed plays one of the biggest parts in testosterone production.
According to a 12 month case study done on a natural bodybuilder during their contest prep, his testosterone dropped dramatically with a 77% decrease. This was due to the fact that his caloric intake went from an average of 4750 calories down to 2100, and they dropped down to the high end of 4% body fat.
While this was a long period of dieting, rapid weight loss has been shown to decrease testosterone levels as well. In one study of wrestlers, consuming only 500-1000 calories in just 2-3 weeks showed a 66% decrease in testosterone.
While calorie restriction can impact testosterone levels, so can caloric overfeeding. In one study, chronic overfeeding led to a reduction of testosterone levels.
What this means is that there is some sort of individual body composition (with respect to lean body mass and body fat) that aids in optimizing your testosterone levels. For men, this is an average of ~10-15% body fat.
While calories play the largest part on testosterone levels, macronutrient composition can aid in testosterone optimization as well.
For example, high fat diets tend to produce more testosterone compared to low-fat diets. One study showed that young men improved their testosterone levels by 13% by having a higher fat intake. On the opposite end, a study done on low-fat diets showed a 12% decrease in testosterone levels in older men.
When it comes fat consumption, 20-30% of total calories from fats is an optimal range for a fat intake and testosterone levels. This means that you don't necessarily need an extremely high fat intake, so if you're a carb lover like myself, 20-30% of total calories is not too bad.
You should, however, consider prioritizing your omega-3 intake, as it provides you the poly and monounsaturated fats necessary for not just testosterone, but for overall health.
There are also studies that say that saturated fats may help your testosterone levels to an extent, with one study showing consumption of both saturated and unsaturated fats improved testosterone.
If you're a meat eater like myself, you should be in a good spot with saturated fats and should focus on your omega-3 intake.
Lastly, we recommend you avoid trans-fats completely. One study showed high consumption of trans-fats lead to decreases in testosterone in animals.
So keep your fat intake around 20-30%. Eat a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. Prioritize Omega-3's. Avoid trans-fats.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can reduce testosterone levels if you're lacking an adequate intake for them.
For example, zinc deficiency can lower testosterone levels. Consider eating red meat or supplementing with zinc if you aren't getting enough.
When it comes to Vitamins, one of the reasons why we encourage getting direct sunlight often is for Vitamin D production. Vitamin D regulates testosterone levels, so if you don't get enough exposure, consider supplementing with 3000 IU of Vitamin D per day.
When it comes to supplementation, studies show little to no evidence in most supplements. Contrary to popular belief, supplements like tribulus or horny goat weed have weak evidence.
We should take a look at ashwagandha though. According to one study, ashwagandha supplementation improved testosterone in young men by 15%. However, more studies need to be done to prove efficacy.
Regardless, ashwagandha is still a great supplement for overall health, performance, and wellbeing. In fact, our post-workout drink, Synergy, has an efficacious dose of 300mg ashwagandha in it, providing you a variety of health benefits that go along with it.
Ultimately, we recommend prioritizing your nutrient intake and reaching a healthy body fat percentage to optimize your testosterone levels. This can be done by eating in the amount that helps you sustain a 10-15% body fat percentage. Being higher or lower than this is associated with lowered testosterone production.
In addition to that, 20-30% of our total calories should come from fats, with us regularly consuming saturated and unsaturated fats. These nutrients can be acquired from red meat, fish, fish oil, nuts, and oils.
For micronutrients, consuming red meat, nuts, veggies, fruits and starches can help with getting the right amount of nutrients in so you aren't deficient in vitamins and minerals. In addition to that, consider embracing the outdoors daily, or supplement with Vitamin D if you aren't getting adequate sunlight.
When it comes to supplements, there isn't any strong evidence for testosterone production directly. However, as ashwagandha showed some promise in one study, consider supplementing with ashwagandha to improve workout performance, manage fatigue, and more. If nutrients and exercise are in check, expect the supplements to help you out just a tad.
I wanted to thank you all for reading this post!
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Until next time!
Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.
by Tony Gjokaj February 21, 2024 4 min read
In the battle against depression, exercise stands as a powerful ally.
Yet, for many, the mere thought of hitting the gym or going for a run can feel daunting.
The key lies in transforming exercise from a chore into a journey.
A place where you not only become physically stronger... but mentally as well.
In this guide, we'll explore actionable strategies to enhance motivation, streamline the exercise process, and cultivate a consistent routine that amplifies its mood-boosting benefits.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj January 25, 2024 3 min read
Did you know that our relationship with food is deeply intertwined with our psychology?
The convenience and allure of processed foods often tap into our psychological triggers, making it challenging to break free from their hold.
However, by understanding our behaviors and implementing strategic psychological practices, we can successfully reduce our reliance on processed foods.
In this blog, we'll explore five behavioral strategies that leverage psychology to foster healthier eating habits.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj January 11, 2024 4 min read
Navigating through the challenges of depression can be a difficult journey for many.
In the quest for mental well-being, you know that exercise is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.
However there will be days where you're not motivated... and only with carefully crafted discipline, can we do what we need to do when we aren't motivated to do it.
What exactly is discipline, and how can we use it on our journey?
In this blog post, we will explore the essence of discipline and delve into five effective ways to cultivate this invaluable trait.
Let's dive in!