Can Keto Help Boost Testosterone
Testosterone and the ketogenic diet are a lot more closely related than people seem to think. See it all comes down to the good old foundation of cholesterol. And whether you like it or not, cholesterol is actually good for us. I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto-Mojo and we’re going to break down how the keto diet can actually help boost your testosterone levels.
What is Cholesterol?
You see the first thing we have to look at, again, is cholesterol. Cholesterol is what is known as a steroid hormone. Now the word steroid automatically gets a bad rap, but in reality, a steroid hormone is a perfectly healthy thing within the human body. So cholesterol is a steroid hormone, and testosterone is a steroid hormone, and they’re called steroid hormones because they have a common theme. And that is the steroid ring which actually makes up the molecular structure of these hormones. Now we don’t need to go into the molecular breakdown, the molecular structure and all that. We’re going to save that for another day. We want to talk about the ketogenic diet and how it boosts testosterone levels.
How Does Cholesterol Become Testosterone?
So first we have to look at how cholesterol becomes testosterone. You see, cholesterol gets converted into something known as pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is sort of a master hormone that can be broken down into various other hormones. It can be broken down into estrogen, it can be broken down into testosterone. It all depends on the circumstance. And it’s done so by an enzyme known as Cytochrome P450. The Cytochrome P450 breaks down a lot of things. In fact it’s even involved in alcohol metabolism. But it has a big role when it comes down to taking the root core of cholesterol and breaking it down and turning it into something that’s usable by the body, generally, hormones. Now when we look at the ketogenic diet, 75%, or roughly thereof, is going to be fats when we look at our diet. So we have to remember that when we’re supporting our healthy cholesterol levels through the diet, we’re potentially giving ourselves more of a foundation to build testosterone off of. So this is all a very positive thing.
What are Lipid Rafts?
Cholesterol also plays a role in what are called lipid rafts. Now these lipid rafts are what essentially carry different proteins and different fats. And these lipid rafts assemble components for things like mTOR and IGF. Now what that means is it’s going to help someone build muscle, which has a direct correlation with testosterone. So when we have mTOR, which stands for mammalian target of rapamycin, we essentially have the anabolic switch. When mTOR is turned on and mTOR signaling can work because we have the healthy cholesterol, the testosterone within the human body can actually do the work. It can actually build muscle. It can actually do things. This also plays a big role with IGF. IGF is another thing, although unrelated to testosterone, it is related to overall muscle building. And the more muscle that we have, generally we start having more testosterone as well. So there is sort of a feedback system that happens there.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research Study
Now let’s go ahead and look at a study that found the ketogenic diet had a powerful effect on not only cholesterol, but on testosterone, too. So this study was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It was an 11 week study that took a look at people that were doing the traditional western diet, versus a very low carb ketogenic diet. Well what they found at the end of 11 weeks was that they did have an increase in total cholesterol levels. At first glance, people are like wow, we don’t want this increase, even though it was a subtle increase, it still goes against the grain of what we are normally hearing is good. But they also found that there is a 118 nanogram per deciliter increase in testosterone.
Now to give you an idea of reference range, the general positive reference range for testosterone levels is going to be anywhere from like 300 to 900 nanograms per deciliter. So when you see a 118 nanogram per deciliter increase in 11 weeks, that is a huge increase. That’s enough to take someone that is considered low testosterone into significantly higher testosterone and within normal range. That is very powerful. Now they also saw that there was a decrease in overall insulin levels. So there could be a correlation there. You see, the way that we can go down that rabbit hole is to start looking at how insulin plays a role in leydig cell function. You see we have leydig cells that come out of the testes. These leydig cells actually promote testosterone. They create testosterone. They are the epicenter for lack of a better way of saying it. Well, it’s been shown that insulin resistance because if we’re being exposed to so much insulin that we become resistant, can actually end up impeding the ability to produce leydig cells. So what that means is that the brain is still able to send the signal to say “Hey, create testosterone,” but then the leydig cells never have the opportunity to.
Ketogenic Diet Affects Testosterone in Two Ways
So in essence, the ketogenic diet affects testosterone in two ways. It affects it directly with the foundational fuel that it needs, the cholesterols, but then it also stops something that would normally stand in the way of the process. Now this is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re just seeing that it’s positive results. We have to dive more into the research and we have to wait for more concrete evidence to come out as to exactly why this is occurring. But all we know, is if we give our body the foundation that it needs, then it can make what it needs for a successful, happy life. As always, keep it locked in here with Keto-Mojo and make sure if you’re testing, that you’re leaving the guess work out of the equation and leaving your measuring to the meter. I’ll see you in the next Keto-Mojo video.
For more information on keto and testosterone, read here.