Is the Carnivore Diet Good For Testosterone?

Testosterone is an important hormone in both men and women but of course is present in much greater levels in men. In men, testosterone is responsible for increased muscle strength and mass in addition to sex drive. Having high testosterone is a common desire of every man. 

Given that the levels of testosterone begin to decrease in men every year once they enter their 30s, different methods of increasing T levels have been issues of much debate.

There are different solutions for raising testosterone, some artificial, and some completely natural. 

One of the most effective natural methods is following the tenants of a carnivorous diet.

It may not be the diet itself which is directly causing some of these effects, but some of the inherent attributes which come with the diet do lead to higher testosterone levels.

A carnivore diet can be defined as an animal-based diet where you consume only animal products and by-products. There are no plant-based products of any kind, including fruits, vegetables, and drinks like alcohol. 

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Though there is no academic study showing a carnivore diet directly increases testosterone, many N=1, anecdotal studies have been shown. 

Measuring testosterone levels is the first place to start.

Some reasons why the carnivore diet is attributed to being a testosterone boosting diet include:

High Consumption of Saturated Fats & Proteins

According to the best-selling author of the Four-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss, saturated fats and proteins are great at increasing the level of testosterone. The author developed a two-protocol practice that resulted in his testosterone tripling from 248 Ng/dL to 653 Ng/dL.

The majority of the protocol calls for adding blue ice butter oil with fermented cod liver oil and Vitamin D3 into his diet. He would take this combination before going to sleep and immediately upon waking. Aside from these supplements, the main factor he attributed this increase to was a massive 20 oz ribeye. His research leads to the conclusion that this large amount of saturated fat and protein before bed was a substantial contributor to the spike in testosterone. 

Because testosterone is primarily produced in the body in the early morning hours of sleep, consuming this meal before bed provided the right resources for the body when it could use them he would have on training day. Tim was also supplementing with brazil nuts because he was deficient in selenium, but this isn't an important point. 

The carnivore diet is mainly a high-fat and moderate-protein diet. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a high-fat diet alters endogenous sex hormone metabolism in men resulting in an increase in testosterone. 

There are many studies that establish a relationship between saturated fats and testosterone which all come to the conclusion that an increase in the consumption of saturated fat may increase testosterone levels, especially in strength training individuals.

Improved Libido

According to Tim Ferris, consuming at least 800 mg of cholesterol a few hours before bed greatly improves libido and results in great sex. This is because testosterone is derived from cholesterol, which is produced during sleep between midnight and 5 AM.

Most people think that cholesterol is bad because studies of the past century incorrectly linked it to heart disease and many other problems. While these factors may have grounding when speaking of a standard American diet, there is not much basis for this when looking at a Carnivore Diet. There also must be an understanding of the type of cholesterol because there are good and bad types. 

As is commonly known, HDL is touted as being good, and that is true. Conversely, LDL is associated with being bad cholesterol but it is not as simple as that. There are also different patterns of LDL cholesterol, one of them being good and one being bad. 

Rarely do medical tests make the distinction between these two patterns, so cholesterol testing is difficult to take value from without knowing exactly what it means. 

Dave Feldman is doing great work in this area and is disproving the myth that cholesterol is always harmful. In this case though, cholesterol is good for the production of testosterone.

The carnivore diet is a great source of saturated fats and cholesterol, especially if eating eggs and red meats. People on the carnivore diet have more cholesterol than people who are not on the diet. With only 4 eggs, you can get the 800mg of cholesterol recommended by Ferriss.

The other reason that the carnivore diet helps to improve libido is that this diet helps in balancing hormones because an imbalance can lead to lower testosterone. The main reason behind this is that the carnivore diet increases the quality and output of cholesterol as mentioned earlier. 

Cholesterol not only helps to increase sex drive naturally but it also helps with hormonal balance since is it an ‘ingredient’ from which some of the body’s hormones are produced.

Eating a low-carb diet tends to increase the utilization of testosterone too. This is the hypothesis Shawn Baker had for his testosterone blood work. When you look at a man of that size and strength, you certainly do not see any sign of low testosterone. 

Many anecdotal testimonials lend to the simple fact that those who are looking to improve their sex life should expect to see good results from an all-meat diet. 

Lower Inflammation Upregulates Receptors For Existing Testosterone

Receptors have a role to play when it comes to the production of testosterone. The most important receptor at this point is the androgen receptor. In the common analogy of a ‘key and lock’ relationship between hormones and receptors, testosterone is the ‘key’ while the androgen receptor is the ‘lock’. Both lock and key must function properly, otherwise, testosterone will decrease, as the production is stiffled. The aim of most testosterone boosting diets is to increase the sensitivity of receptors because a well-working lock means a performing key. One of the problems that can cause a lack of sensitivity of the receptors is inflammation.

There are different ways to increase the sensitivity of androgen receptors. The first method is the synthetic one where people take a product known as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators which makes androgen more sensitive and receptive to testosterone. However, SARMs have not been studied extensively and they are sold in a grey area of the market. They are not legal for human consumption and there are currently regulator efforts to limit their use.

The other method of increasing androgen sensitivity is the natural way and this is what we are more interested in. Carnitine enhances the sensitivity of androgen receptors thus better utilizing free testosterone. The best source of carnitine is red meat which is an integral part of the carnivore diet. Just four ounces of cooked beef steak contains 56 - 162 mg of carnitine and 4 ounces of cooked ground beef has 87 - 99 mg. Generally, beef is the best natural source of carnitine.

The carnivore diet has also been proven to play a role in reducing inflammation. Inflammation of the androgen receptor makes them unable to utilize the existing free testosterone in the body. Fortunately, foods like eggs contain nutrients like Zinc which has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, a carnivore diet helps to keep inflammation at bay so that the receptors are more sensitive to existing testosterone.

It is easy to forget that saturated fats are taking on a whole new image in today’s world with new research coming out all the time. People following Dave Asprey often forget that the touted coconut oil elixir of Bulletproof is completely saturated fat. 

Tim Ferriss is just one among many who have clearly benefitted from such a diet. Therefore, it is only wise to try it out and see how it works for your testosterone. Fortunately, you can easily and reliably test your testosterone levels at home with the testosterone kit from healthconfirm to find out where you are at in terms of testosterone, cortisol, and a few other markers.

If Your Testosterone Is Still Low

If you have measured your testosterone and still have a low number or don’t quite feel your best, beginning testosterone replacement therapy might be your best bet. Speaking to a doctor or reviewing other resources may be your best bet. 

Knowing your testosterone levels is a great place to start though.

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