Article last updated: November 2019 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
Today I will let you in on a secret that allows me to consistently normalize my clients’ testosterone levels.
There are currently very few experts out there who can take a teenage or early 20s client with low testosterone levels and almost no response to resistance training and normalize their levels and body-composition within 1 year.
I’ve done that with countless clients in my Online Transformation Program over the last 7 years and the main way I’ve done it is by doing the opposite of everyone else.
Every other testosterone expert is focused on looking up studies about foods that increase testosterone.
Then they write blog posts and YouTube videos such as “6 Foods that Increase Testosterone”.
Or “20 Foods That Lower Testosterone”.
The problem is that looking at dietary factors in isolation doesn’t conclude anything since it’s important to get the big picture right rather than just one thing.
When I focus on raising testosterone I don’t focus on including specific foods that increase testosterone.
Instead, I focus on including nutritious foods that do not increase estradiol and which cause no inflammation for the client.
This is done through on going assessments of the clients digestion, satiety and overall response to the diet.
That allows the body to operate in its most efficient way.
Unless you had an injury to the brain or testicles, have a rare genetic disorder such as Klinefelter syndrome (+99% of skinny-fat guys have the symptoms but it’s extremely rare so almost no one has it) or you’re in old age, your body is already capable of producing testosterone without any negative interference.
You just have to give it the chance to do so by reducing inflammation in the body and living a circadian lifestyle.
And that brings me to the next point… The way your body absorbs foods is determined by your natural body clock.
By staying up late and looking at blue lights you take away your body’s ability to regenerate and recover in the evenings and night time.
This messes up your nutrient partitioning on the next day (and during the time where you’re eating but you should instead be resting and sleeping).
The next thing to consider is studies about increasing testosterone.
Most studies about testosterone and training aren’t well designed since it’s not a big focus in the medical community.
Things such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease are the main killers so almost all the fund money goes into researching that.
Usually the first thing you have to look at when looking at studies is to look for flaws in the design since most studies are not designed to conclude a topic but rather to start a discussion and then build further studies on it.
E.g. a lot of studies use shorter than ideal time-spans or diets that are self-reported or not controlled.
When you look up most studies, there are big flaws that make them practically useless for anything but starting a discussion that can lead to further studies.
I recently had a reader sending me a study showing that consuming walnuts and almonds daily increase the levels of SHBG in women which thereby decreases free testosterone.
I was surprised about this since I and most of my clients consume nuts on a regular basis and nuts are known to be packed with nutrients and fats… and none of us have seen a decrease in testosterone from it.
Then I looked through the study and it uses self reported diets with guidelines and the sample size was only 31 women.
To me, this type of study does not provide any conclusions. If anything, it just makes you more confused.
A study that tries to gauge the effect of nuts on testosterone would need to have a big sample size, a good base-line diet plan that is controlled and not self-reported and measure the right things at the right time (i.e. when looking at testosterone they need to measure the effect on free testosterone, SHBG, estradiol and not just SHBG).
This is very difficult and costly to do therefore it’s rare that a well-designed study is carried out.
As I mentioned earlier, this money is usually reserved to solve the big problems that kill millions of people each year such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
And if you really want to, you can find a study that supports any diet strategy you want it to support.
Therefore, when it comes to optimising testosterone you’re better off listening to the experts in the trenches who have experience and can prove their results with their own blood work.
Forget about the studies and articles and videos advising you to eat a few special testosterone boosting foods.
Anyone can claim they’re a testosterone expert because they have got a bit higher sex drive or gained a bit of muscle, but where’s the blood work? Unless someone can show you their own increase in testosterone and they’ve helped a lot of clients achieve similar results, their advice is mostly useless.
Reading poorly designed studies does not equal getting results in a real world setting.
For your reference, here’s my bloodwork showing my increase from 297 ng/dl (bottom of the range) to 1105 ng/dl (above top of the range):
The labs use different ranges because the first 3 were taken in Denmark and the last 2 were taken in Bangkok, Thailand.
But I have converted them for you below to ng/dl (the unit typically used in America) together with my age next to them:
- 1 October 2010: 10.30 nmol/l > 297 ng/dl (age 18)
- 21 December 2010: 19.06 nmol/l > 550 ng/dl (age 18)
- 27 July 2012: 22.59 nmol/l > 652 ng/dl (age 20)
- 16 June 2017: 8.31 ng/ml > 831 ng/dl. (age 24)
- 25 September 2018: 11.05 ng/ml > 1105 ng/dl. (age 26)
You can verify the accuracy on this link: testosterone unit converter
As you can see on the numbers above, it has been a gradual improvement from having hypogonadism to having supremely optimal testosterone levels.
Be proud but stay hungry!
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer