As men get older, it sometimes seems like keeping testosterone levels high can be a losing battle.
Before going into how to boost testosterone, let us show how it is developed.
Like other hormones, the sex hormones are produced by the pituitary glands. At puberty, the pituitary gland normally begins to release certain substances which act on the gonads (the Testicles and the Ovaries).
The master sex hormones released by the pituitary are FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and ICSH (interstitial cell-stimulating hormone). These master hormones stimulate the testicles to produce sperm cells and Androgen (male sex hormone). They also stimulate the ovaries to produce egg cells and Estrogen (female sex hormone).
Normally, estrogen are secreted in insignificant amounts in men, and androgens in insignificant amounts in women. Irregularities in the proportions of estrogen and androgen may produce abnormal sexual characteristics, such as breast development in men or growth of facial hair in women.
The principal androgen is called Testosterone. It stimulates the changes that take place in boys at puberty, such as increase in size of the genitals, deepening of the voice, growth of hair on the face, muscular strength, and heavy bone development.
Testosterone is produced fairly steadily in the testicles throughout the adult life of a man, although there is some decline with age.
But what if there was a common, simple food that boosts testosterone and can help men win the battle against falling testosterone levels?
Well there is and men can boost testosterone levels with the help of foods that contain Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is often overlooked.
It protects against oxidative stress which is a major cause of aging and cellular damage.
Japanese scientists discovered that vitamin E can boost testosterone levels.
These scientists conducted animal and human experiments at the Third Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Japan and published their results in the Japanese Journal of Endocrinology.
Science discovered the central role vitamin E plays in male health almost 100 years ago.
Back in the 1920s, there was not adequate technology to test for the hormonal effects of vitamin E. But doctors could still see its effects.
“No systematic hormonal study on the role of vitamin E in the endocrine system has been carried out.”
So these Japanese scientists decided to conduct some studies in rats and in human men.
Young rats were assigned to three groups.
The researchers fed them diets that differed by vitamin E content.
They raised the rats on diets that were either deficient, sufficient, or supplemented with extra vitamin E.
Rats supplemented with vitamin E ended up with significantly higher levels of testosterone.
“The level of testosterone in the vitamin E supplemented group was significantly greater than that in other groups.”
Luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone control testosterone and sperm production.
They are important to male fertility.
Rats supplemented with vitamin E had significantly higher levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone.
“…follicle hormone and luteinizing hormone levels in the tissues of Vitamin-E-supplemented rats were significantly higher.”
The scientists then performed some experiments with human men between 30 and 69 years old.
They supplemented the men with 483mg of vitamin E daily.
After 2 weeks of vitamin E supplementation, testosterone levels were significantly boosted in the men.
“Basal testosterone and free testosterone increased in the blood, reaching significant levels at eight weeks.”
By the eighth week, total testosterone went from an average of 416 to an average of 544.
Free testosterone increased from an average of 236 to an average of 303.
It was observed that Vitamin E boosts testosterone.
“It was also demonstrated that basal plasma testosterone was increased in normal male subjects following oral vitamin E administration.”
Luteinizing hormone dipped initially in the men supplemented with vitamin E.
But then it recovered and was almost back to its peak by week eight.
The results of the study led the scientists to conclude the importance of vitamin E in male health.
“These results suggest that vitamin E may play an important and potent role in hormone production in the pituitary-gonadal axis in humans.”
It seems that the observations from the 1920s were correct.
Low testosterone and high estrogen are some of the biggest risks for men and these risks increase as men age. Testosterone plays a large role in the amount of muscle men have and young men have the highest levels of testosterone.
One of the things that make men lose the battle against dropping testosterone level is a depletion of testosterone caused by estrogen. Things that men consume converts the testosterone in their bodies into estrogen. And estrogen is supposed to be very low in men and high in women.
Testosterone can be converted into estrogen by an enzyme called aromatase.
A number of things can lower aromatase, thus protecting testosterone and lowering estrogen.
Vitamin E is one of the best natural aromatase inhibitors. Vitamin E is protective for men because it decreases the conversion of testosterone estrogen.
In recent decades, we have increased our consumption of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).
In nature, vitamin E usually comes along with polyunsaturated fats.
But the ability of machinery to refine polyunsaturated fats from grains means that we are getting a lot more of these fats and the processing removes the vitamin E content.
Men are consuming too much PUFAs and not enough vitamin E.
This leads to cellular damage that may be causing low testosterone and infertility.
“Vitamin E is important for its anti-oxidative effect…in particular, its effect on preventing oxidation of polyunsaturated fats which are the main component of intracellular membranes.”
Vitamin E prevents cell membranes from the oxidative damage that PUFAs (vegetable oils and fish oils) cause.
That oxidative damage doesn’t just cause low testosterone, it can also cause shrinkage.
Therefore, in order to boost testosterone levels in men, taking Vitamin E supplements and eating a diet rich in Vitamin E is very important. Some good Vitamin E food sources you can add to your diet are: red bell pepper, mango, walnut, wheat germ oil, asparagus, sunflower seed, avocado and pumpkin.
Would you like to learn how to use healthy eating to prevent diet-related illnesses?
This free online Introduction to Human Nutrition course will give you a broad insight into nutrition and help you make wise choices when it comes to the food you eat every day. These days, health problems such as obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are becoming more and more common. By the end of this course, you will understand the role nutrition plays in personal health and be able to create a healthy diet for yourself. Learn more and register for the course here
Effect of Vitamin E on Function of Pituitary-Gonadal Axis in Male Rats and Human Subjects by Fumio Umeda, Ken-Ichi Kato, Kazuo Muta and Hiroshi Ibayashi
Vitamin E as an Antioxidant in Female Reproductive Health by Siti Mutalip, Sharaniza Ab-Rahim and Mohd Rajikin