Notes on "How To Eat For Optimal Testosterone | A Complete Guide"
Do's and Don'ts
There are four pillars to optimizing testosterone naturally: nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management.
Today’s post is about nutrition — what to eat for optimal testosterone production.
Nutrition is a deep and broad topic, so I don’t have one specific paper to summarize today. Rather, I’ll share the Do’s and Don’ts that I got from this 35 minute video from the YouTube channel Nutrition Library, by Zachary Allison.
Zach has a Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Food Science and this video cites dozens of research papers.
I recommend watching the whole video if you have time for a deeper understanding.
Table of Contents
Notes from How To Eat For Optimal Testosterone Production
Inconclusive: Soy and Carbs
Thoughts on Carnivore Diet
3 High T Links
I’m currently recruiting participants to replicate the 7-day semen retention study to increase T 150%. We have 10 people in, and I’d like to get 30.
I also spoke to a Stanford MD and Professor of Urology yesterday, and he said he’d be down to co-author the paper with us. Who doesn’t want to join a testosterone and semen retention study published by Stanford??
I will kick it off the day of the SF T Party on August 19. Let me know if you are interested in joining either.
You can either join by coming to the SF T Party or doing it remote. If you do remote, I will send you two test kits and invite you to the group chat.
Do buy and eat organic food, to avoid industrial herbicides, pesticides, and plasticizing agents.
Do drink reverse osmosis water. Either buy it or install a reverse osmosis filter at home.
Do eat a high fat diet, especially animal fats and saturated fats.
Do get most of your protein, fat, water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals from animal-based products.
Do lose weight to increase T if you are above ~15% body fat. If you are overweight or obese, losing body fat is probably the highest leverage thing you can do to gain T.
Do get most of your protein from animal sources. It is both more bioavailable and has higher quantities of amino acids like creatine, taurine, carnosine, anserine, hydroxyproline, histidine, methionine, and cysteine.
Do get fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E, and K from animal sources such as red meat, fish, eggs, and full fat dairy.
Do get water-soluble vitamins like B 1-12, choline, and Vitamin C. You can get these from plant-based sources but Zach still prefers animal sources.
Do supplement magnesium and boron because it’s hard to get enough of these from food alone. You can get these from high quality spring water, or supplement liquid magnesium and liquid boron into your water. Zach hypothesizes that spring water is historically probably how people got magnesium and boron.
Don’t drink water from water bottles.
Don’t eat food wrapped in plastics.
Don’t be in a calorie deficit for too long. It will put you in survival mode, elevating your cortisol and decreasing T.
Don’t fast or intermittent fast to boost T. There is zero evidence that either does anything for T.
Caveat to the the last two points on calorie deficit and fasting is that if you are overweight and above 15% body fat, you would maintain T or more likely even gain T from weight loss.
Don’t eat >40% of your calories from protein. If you don’t get enough carbs or fats, your body will still go into “survival mode” as if it were in a calorie deficit.
Don’t eat a low-fat diet.
Don’t rely on supplements over a nutrient-dense diet.
Don’t rely on secondary herbal supplements like tongkat ali, ashwagandha, shilajit, cistanche, fadogia agrestis, over a nutrient-dense diet that has foundational micronutrients like amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Herbal supplements may only give a temporary boost, and they need to be cycled, so it’s not a long-term strategy.
Don’t eat too many polyunsaturated fats from plant oils.
Don’t eat too many vegetables and fiber because they have polyphenols, oxalates, phytates, and lectins.
Inconclusive: Soy and Carbs
Soy — there is inconclusive evidence that soys and other phytoestrogens (like flax) promote estrogenic effects. It continues to be a hotly debated topic.
Carbs — there is inconclusive evidence on how carbs affect T, and this is something Zach has changed his mind on over his career. Zach likes low carb diets now. However, athletes and people who train a lot should definitely still eat a lot of carbs.
He doesn’t mention anything about seed oils, and I haven’t dug into them yet either.
Thoughts on Carnivore Diet
Zach is a big fan of animal-based diets. He believes animal sources are superior as a source of protein, fat, fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins, amino acids, etc. He also mentions downsides of eating too many plants, such as too much polyphenols, oxalates, phytates, lectins, and fiber.
That said, he’s not advocating for a pure carnivore diet. Furthermore, he recently published a follow-up video acknowledging his strong stance for animal-based foods, but also discusses some the downsides of the carnivore diet.
Editor’s Note — Something is in the water, food, or culture.
Yesterday JP wrote an amazing thread diving into why glyphosate/herbicide/pesticides might be one of the drivers of Low T.
I highly recommending reading the thread or blog post.
"Everything you eat is making you sick and reducing your testosterone."
I heard this a few weeks back and dismissed it because it sounds like a conspiracy, and slapping down dumb conspiracies makes me feel smart!
Except, uh, guys? We might actually be in trouble. Let me explain.
— JP (@inflammateomnia)
Jul 31, 2023
It’s a very important point to reiterate — we do not yet have a definitive answer as to why T levels have declined when researchers control for lifestyle variables like BMI and exercise.
There are so many environmental theories that sound like conspiracy theories — herbicides and pesticides in our food; polyesters in our clothes; birth control in tap water; non-stick pans; sunscreen.
These are all so hard to validate or invalidate empirically.
What we can say is that T levels are going down. And we don’t know yet why for sure. Figuring out why is one purpose of this newsletter.
3 High T Links
Newsletter: Joseph Everett, a Youtuber with over 2M subscribers, mentioned me in his weekly newsletter. Please vote for me in his poll as the most interesting one so I can beat David Sinclair 😂! Joseph also has some good notes on social dynamics, sex, and testosterone, which I will of course cover in future posts. His Youtube channel is good in general too.
Tweet, @esofiaoaks: Feminine energy is extremely nurturing and healing but no one talks about how wonderfully healing masculine energy can be as well. It is like hugging a mountain.
Quote Tweet, @theadriantrice: Yes let's elevate divine masculinity as it is not toxic. It pushes, protects, leads.
Jeff “Big T” Tang
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