An abundant supply of testosterone is the difference between being a proud guy or a miserable boy. It’s the primary male hormone responsible for a multitude of body functions.
From strengthening bones to building muscle mass to driving your libido, testosterone is key to a healthy lifestyle. Natural testosterone levels peak for men around the age of 30 then begin to decline based on a number of factors such as diet and genetics.
Low testosterone levels may come with symptoms such as mood swings, loss of sex drive, and decreased levels of lean muscle mass, so it’s a good idea to keep testosterone at optimal levels. Intermittent fasting is a relatively new eating style that has been shown to boost your natural levels of key anabolic hormones.
Breaking Down Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting involves restricting your food intake during a very specific window of time each day and night. Likewise, you will also have a strict eating window that falls immediately after your fasting has completed.
Your fasting window will be between 16 and 24 hours, although you can opt for a longer period once you’ve adjusted.
What’s allowed during the fast?
The idea is to restrict your caloric intake for a set period. That means you can consume calorie-free items such as the following during your fast:
How to use intermittent fasting
There are two very popular variations for those just starting out with intermittent fasting.
The 16-Hour Fast
This method became popular thanks to Martin Berkhan. This fast can be utilized as often as you see fit. You can do it every day or just a few times per week. Here is the layout:
- Pick a start time. (for example 8:00 PM)
- Consume no calories for 16 hours. (Remember that water, coffee, tea, and non-caloric beverages are okay.)
- Stop fasting after 16 hours (for example 12 PM the following day)
- Begin your 8-hour feeding window of clean and healthy food.
The 24-Hour Fast
If you’re ready to try a 24-hour fast, this fast is recommended for once or twice a week. Here is the layout:
- Pick a start time. (for example 6:00 PM)
- Consume no calories for 24 hours. (Remember that water, coffee, tea, and non-caloric beverages are okay.)
- Stop fasting after 24 hours (for example 6:00 PM the following day)
- Eat as you usually would during your training and non-training day.
What Does the Research Say?
Eating impacts testosterone levels
As you can see in this study from the Journal of Metabolism and this study from the British Journal of Nutrition, caloric ingestion, regardless of the macronutrient, causes a decrease in testosterone in the male body.
Fasting will boost to testosterone levels
On a hormonal level, intermittent fasting has been shown in this study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism to decrease the hormone leptin. This decrease in leptin causes an immediate stimulation of testosterone secretion. This means your blood testosterone levels will shoot up.
Numerous clinical studies such as this one published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation have proven that fasting for a 24-hour time period showed a dramatic elevation of human growth hormone levels. In this particular study, the result was a 2,000% increase.
A very interesting study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology focused on two sets of male subjects: 9 massively obese men and 8 non-obese men. Both groups took part in an overnight fast as well as a 54-hour fast. The obese men saw a 26% increase in the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, or GnRH, a testosterone precursor. The non-obese men experienced an increase in GnRH by 67% as well as a 180% increase in serum testosterone levels.
Fasting triggers fat burning
As shown in this study from the Journal of Obesity, subjects who fasted experienced an elevated level of fat burning.
Fasting encourages healthy detoxification
Your body collects a number of harmful agents as you go about your day. Due to the consistent demand of digestion, your body doesn’t get the appropriate time it needs to engage in detoxification.
As you can see in this study published in the American Journal of Physiology, fasting-induced autophagy increased the efficiency of the removal of toxins and estrogenic compounds, and blocking estrogen is definitely optimal.
Summary of Research
All caloric ingestion plays a direct role in the temporary lowering of testosterone. Given the fact that many guys eat several times throughout the entire day, you can see how over time this type of eating pattern would only come to permanently lower already fluctuating levels of testosterone. This is especially true if you are past the age of 30.
Even in morbidly obese men, fasting has been proven to boost growth hormone levels. The greatest benefits come when you are already in a healthy state. The healthier you become, the more testosterone your body can create. One of the best ways to ensure health is through the body’s natural detoxification process.
There are harmful estrogenic compounds all around you, and your body soaks these agents up as you simply walk about or drive around. An abundance of estrogenic compounds only works against your testosterone levels. Intermittent fasting helps to remove this harmful estrogen, restoring your natural testosterone levels.
If you are looking for a proven and tested method of naturally increasing your testosterone levels, then look no further. Given the monumental research, intermittent fasting is a powerful way to boost testosterone, decrease body fat, and remove harmful agents from your body.