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episode #233

New Study: Can Low Carb Help Increase Testosterone?!

March 13, 2023 in Podcast


This week I discussed a Feb 2023 study comparing a normal diet vs. a low carb diet on total serum testosterone and improving erectile function in hypogonadal men with metabolic syndrome.

Testosterone deficiency, also called hypogonadism, is a prevalent condition, affecting around 5 million American men. Eighteen men were evaluated over 3 months. Mean age was 59.8 and 57 years in the control and low-carbohydrate groups, respectively. The participants all had metabolic syndrome and subnormal testosterone levels.

The control group was instructed to continue eating normally but received guidance about healthy eating patterns. The low-carbohydrate group was instructed by a nutritionist, to reduce carbohydrate intake and increase protein and fat intake. Their diet could not contain more than 25–30% carbohydrates per day, aiming for 20–30 g carbohydrates per day. The two diets have the same amount of calories.

The results:

The study demonstrated that a low-carbohydrate diet could reduce weight, systolic blood pressure and abdominal circumference. Furthermore, a period of three months on this diet also raised serum levels of total and calculated free testosterone which could improve erectile function. However, larger studies should be done to demonstrate the potential effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on serum testosterone level and erectile function in hypogonadal men with metabolic syndrome.



Table of Results:


Brian (1s):

Hello and welcome to the Get Lean and Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Grn. I'm a certified health coach, trainer and author, and this podcast is for middle-aged men and women looking to optimize their health and get their bodies back to what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. I will give you simple, actionable items to get long-term sustainable results. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. All right, welcome to the Get Lean E Clean podcast. My name is Brian Grn and hopefully you had a great weekend. Happy Tuesday. If you're listening to this on Tuesday, hope you listen to my interview with Dr.

Brian (42s):

Molly Malouf, the author of Spark Factor. We touched on all about her book, supercharging Energy, becoming Resilient, enhancing Mitochondrial Health, and much, much more. So if you haven't already, check out my interview with Dr. Molly Malouf. Now today we're gonna touch on a study that was published recently, February of 2023. I'm enjoying sending these out to you guys and giving you sort of a, the overview and the conclusions from it. Let me share my screen if you're watching on YouTube real quick here so you can see the study. I'll also put a link in the show notes if you wanna look up the study as well. And here you have it.

Brian (1m 22s):

There's the title, the Effects of a Low Carb Diet on Erectile Function and Serum Testosterone Levels in Hypogonadal Men With Metabolic Syndrome. A ran a randomized clinical study and so really the objective of this study was to obsess whether a low carb diet can increase total serum testosterone, improve erectile function in hypogonadal men with metabolic syndrome. And so let me pull away from the study, now that you see it, you might be asking, well, for one, what does hypogonadal mean? Hypogonadism is actually something that's fairly, fairly prevalent in aging men.

Brian (2m 8s):

Testosterone deficiencies is pretty much what it means, having less than 300 nanograms per deciliter of testosterone. And so this can hamper your health in many ways. You could, you know, decrease his lean mass, lower bone, bone mineral density cause erectile dysfunction, decreased libido. So obviously this is a topic that I'm sure quite a bit of men are interested in. That's part of the reason why I wanted to look into this study. And you know, they talk about metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome can mean a lot of things. One of those things could be o you're overweight or obesity. And the studies show that the obesity rate individuals aged greater than 20 years old, more than doubled from 12.2% to 26.8% from 2003 to 2019.

Brian (2m 59s):

So to say, this is not an issue, this is a major issue. It's gone from 12.2 to 26.8% in the matter of 16 years. And during this period, gosh, it's male obesity is gone from 9.6 to 22.8. Okay, so there you have it. So the bottom line is, I think, you know, that was part of the reason why this study was put together. This is obviously something that has been hampering a lot of Americans and the world in general is this testosterone deficiency. And so it's interesting, they, they have, they evaluated 18 men, so not a huge sample size.

Brian (3m 40s):

So take it for what it is. And the average age was about 58 years old and they had a control group. They also had a low carb group. The men were obviously had metabolic syndrome and have subnormal testosterone levels. So they had consultations going on that was held throughout a three month period. So over three months. And the control group was instructed to continue eating normally they did receive some guidance from healthy eating for healthy eating patterns. It didn't go into a ton of detail regarding the control group. So again, take that with the grain of salt. I would've loved to have known what those healthy eating patterns that they were instructed were.

Brian (4m 24s):

But either way, the low carb group was instructed by a nutritionist to reduce carb intake, increase protein and fat intake. And their diet contained as about 25 to 30% carbs per day, excuse me, 25 to 30% yes, of carbs per day, aiming for just 20 to 30 grams of carbs per day. So pretty low amount of carbs right there. And the two diets did have the same amount of calories consumed. So you know, same amount of carbs, excuse me, same amount of calories. The carbs were lowered. And the, in the, in the, in the one group, the other group continued eating.

Brian (5m 8s):

Normally they got some instruction as far as halted eating patterns, which it doesn't really lay out what those were. But either way, the study pretty much came to the conclusion that the low carb di did reduce weight, systolic blood pressure and abdominal circumference. And furthermore, a period of three months on this diet also did raise the possibility increasing serum levels of total and free testosterone, of improving erectile dysfunction. Now it, you know, does say it in larger studies should be done to demonstrate the effects of this low carb diet on serum testosterone level and erectile function in hypogonadal men with metabolic syndrome.

Brian (5m 50s):

So these are overweight men who have low testosterone will a, a low carb diet help. This is showing it did have some effect. And not only that, it helped with blood pressure, abdominal circumference, reducing weight. Now I will say this, I would like to know what the control group was eating more. I mean, and also too the, the individuals that were taken on the low carb group. A lot of times when people go from eating normally, let's just say standard American diet, which I'm assuming a lot of these individuals were doing to, you know, cutting down their carbs, a lot of those carbs that they're cutting down were processed grains, sugars, highly unsaturated fatty acids, you know, these vegetable oils.

Brian (6m 32s):

So you know, I think if anyone goes from standard American diet to whatever diet they're going to, they're gonna see some effects. And so you saw that with going to a low carb diet. I'm not advocating that everyone needs to be on a low carb diet. I think carbs can play a positive role, especially if you're eating whole food carbs. But the bottom line is from this study is they pretty much took individuals who were probably going from a standard American dive because they both had low testosterone and metabolic syndrome. So some type of obesity and you know, had some great results. You know, so I think it can help. And it's showing in this study, granted it was over a three month period, which is a decent amount of time, but it was only 18 individuals, 18 men were evaluated.

Brian (7m 16s):

And like I said, the average age was about between 59 and 57 ish years old. So there you have it. I'll pull up this chart and I'll share it with you on the screen if you wanna take a look. It does a nice job of giving you a table of a, the control group versus the low car group. Control group had six individuals, the low car group at 12 individuals. And I'll, if you're not watching on YouTube, I'll read it out to you. The weight went down in the control group a little bit. Point oh four was the P value I saw. So went from 98.3 kilograms to 97.3.

Brian (7m 56s):

The before after of the low carb group went from 96.5 to 91.9. So a decent amount of change in the weight body mass index, little bit in the control group, 30.2 to 29.7. And the body mass index for the low carb group went from 31.7 to 30.0. So I think the biggest impact, just looking at it straight away, is the abdominal c circumference in the control. In the control group. It went down from about one 13 to about one 10. And in the abdominal circumference in the low carb group went from one 12 to 1 0 6. So quite a bit of change there.

Brian (8m 36s):

And then testosterone went up in the low car group from 2 29 nanograms to three 10. And then in the control group it went, it did go up as well. Testosterone total two 17 to 2 27 and then free went up a little bit from 4.3 to 4.8 in the control group. And in the low carb group it went from 4.7 to 6.7. So interesting study thought it would, you know, thought it'd be something to look at. And yeah, I'll leave a link in the show notes if you want to read more about this study, but I thought this would be advantageous for all of you guys.

Brian (9m 17s):

And you know, something to think about. So if you are going from the standard American diet, maybe, you know, cutting out those process cards can make a huge difference as, and it's showing in this study. So if you have any questions, feel free to email me, brian brian grn.com. And I appreciate you guys listening and or, or watching on YouTube. Feel free to leave a review or if you have a comment, a hopefully a good comment, feel free to write that. Or if you have any questions, you know, write up below and and let me know. So that's all I'm gonna talk about today. Have a great rest of the week and I will talk to you on Friday with another great interview. Thanks so much for listening. Thanks for listening to the Get Lean EAN podcast.

Brian (9m 59s):

I understand there are millions of other podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned in this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again and have a great day.

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