Testosterone Boosters & Estrogen Blockers
Stop following diet tips designed for the female body!
I found this to be case whilst exploring the internet's maze of dietary tips to fight cancer, boost energy, detox, reduce stress , reduce body fat etc etc. They all featured foods that do all the above, but mainly for the female body, which is fine if you're female. HOWEVER, if you're not, you may end up throwing your testosterone & estrogen levels completely out of balance, resulting in male body hell. This is a reality for quite a few men who are gradually learning a fundamental of Manhood, The fuel they put in their bodies increases or decreases their ability to create the reality they want for themselves.
So to aid your journey I've comprised a useful male orientated food guide to boost your body's production of the male hormone testosterone and help regulate your body's levels of the female hormone 'estrogen' which still plays an equally important role within a healthy male body just as testosterone does in a healthy female's.
What is Estrogen why is it present in men?
Before we get to the good stuff its worth understanding the above statement about the types of estrogen within your body and what role they play. Estrogen, primarily thought of as a female hormone, ensures that the male body functions properly. As you age your testosterone levels will fall so it's important not to consume foods that are high in estrogen or cause estrogen levels to surge otherwise you increase the risk of causing certain types of cancer, as well as diabetes & a whole range of health issues.
There are three types of estrogens found in men, but two that should be of primary concern. These are estrone & estradiol. As adult males you should have an average level of both the former in the following amounts:
measured in picograms per milliter (pg/ml)
Estrone - 10-60pg/ml
Estadiol - 10-40pg/ml
N.B. Making an appointment with your general practitioner to inquire about your levels is the best way to discover more about your own body. Doing so will provide you with the ability to make informed decisions about your own diet and lifestyle.
What do they do?
Estradiol is the primary type of estrogen that is active in men. It plays a vital role in keeping men’s joints and brains healthy. It also allows sperm to develop properly. However an imbalance of Estradiol can lead to gynecomastia i.e the development of female-type breast tissue, cardiovascular issues, increased risk of stroke, weight gain & deadly prostate problems.
Estrone and it's impact on the male body is less understood than estradiol. However studies do show that men with Type 2 diabetes exhibit high levels of Estrone. Hence what we do know is that increased levels of estrone in men is linked to Type-2 Diabetes. Therefore consuming foods, using products that contain, or prolonged environmental exposure to estrogenic sources is likely to result in the onset of Type-2 diabetes and a range of other health risks such as Erectile dysfunction, low libido, low sperm count, increased fatigue, depression, hair loss, osteoporosis & blood clots.
THE BEST FOODS FOR THE MALE BODY?
We'll start with the mythical and historically revered fruit of Hellenic legend. Thought to represent abundance, new life & sexual potency, the pomergranate has been proven to play a vital role in fight against the early onset of cancer, studies also show that pure pomegranate juice can significantly increase salivary testosterone levels by an average of 24% in addition to positive effects on blood pressure, mood, the reduction of anxiety & healthy regulation of emotions.
I used to prefer to buy the pulps and mix them into yogurt, until I learned of the dangers of diary (see Male Diet Tips 02 for more detail). Better to mix the pulps with porridge & plant based milk. Some people add them to salads, but for me, fruit & salad doesn't work, you may feel different. Sustained pomegranate consumption can also reduce plaque in your arteries which helps look after your heart. You'll want to opt for pure organic juice if possible, just be sure drink in moderation due to sugar levels present in juice. Too much sugar counters testosterone production. So a 'no added sugar' alternative if available, works best.
Regarding estrogen - Studies show the seeds of pomegranate reduce the activity of 17-beta-estradiol which is one of the three types of estrogen mentioned above. Furthermore Pomegranate juice can reduce macrophage oxidative stress, free radicals, and lipid peroxidation. Pomegranate fruit extracts also have strong anticarcinogenic effects which for smokers helps protect the lungs from lung cancer. Studies also show pomegranate fruit can be used in the treatment of male prostate cancer patients because it inhibits prostate cancer cell growth. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effects of pomegranate juice on the signaling proteins in HT-29 human colon cancer cell line means this amazing fruit should be a staple part of every man's diet!
For what we're trying to achieve Cherries should be considered another 'man's best friend' for number of reasons.
1) Scientifically proven to reduce recovery time post workout.
2) An excellent source of Vitamin A to boost your testosterone and aid libido.
3) High in Fiber, cherries will help you feel full while consuming a low amount of calories thus helping you to stave off satiety (over eating) & thus avoiding necessary weight gain.
Regarding estrogen - Cherries aid your bodies healthy regulation of estrogen by helping your liver to breakdown estrogen and clear it from the body via the use of glucarate or glucaric acid. Other fruits such as apples, oranges, raspberries, legumes and cruciferous vegetables also help in the same way, but cherries provide the boost to testosterone & recovery that's pertinent to this post. Cherries are also an excellent antioxidant and source of melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain which regulates the body's sleep cycles.
Eating fresh cherries is the best way to go. If you can source organic tart cherry juice you're golden! Otherwise fresh cherries from the supermarket will suffice. A small cup full a few days a week is all you need over a prolonged period of time. Essentially, making cherries a part of you weekly routine is could be viewed as a kind of unofficial health insurance you most certainly won't regret. However! due to the high fructose levels found in cherries those with sensitive stomachs would be advised to have half a cup instead as desert after a meal and never on an empty stomach. Oh & wash them well! Furthermore, you don't want to have them as part of a pie or any other form of pastry. This is highly counter intuitive to the goal of achieving a healthy balanced diet. Canned cherries too are no go, as these are soaked in sugar which as mentioned before, counters testosterone production. One last benefit for you OGs out there is the fact that cherries help stave of and treat gout flare ups.
The last of the fruit in this post. Rather than list an entire an shopping list's worth of food we'll keep it short and sweet. Sometimes a bombardment of choice makes change far more complex than it needs to be. Sometimes less is more. So focus adding these three to your diet and if you wish to go deeper and conduct your own research then please do! Regarding estrogen red grapes contain naturally occurring Phytoestrogen called resveratrol.
(meaning plant estrogens on account of their molecular structure resembling the female hormone estradiol)
Phytoestrogens can be broken down into different types, lignans, Isoflavones, Resveratrol & Quercetin (there are more and are definately worth researching). Some bind to estrogen receptors in the body & block subsequent estrogen cells from reacting with the same receptors thus nutralise high levels of estrogen in the body and helping to restore balanced levels of estrogen and testosterone in the male body.
Is a compound synthesized by plants. It's found in the skin of the grape. So eating grapes rather than drinking them is the best way to access the fruit's benefits. Resveratrol exhibits anti-tumor properties, and is considered a potential candidate for the prevention and treatment of several types of cancer. Indeed, resveratrol's anti-cancer properties have been confirmed by many in vitro and in vivo studies, which shows that resveratrol is able to inhibit all carcinogenesis stages (e.g., initiation, promotion and progression). It also exhibits other bio-active effects, namely anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, vasorelaxant, phytoestrogenic and neuroprotective qualities.
Certain Red Wines also feature Resveratrol. Studies show red wine assists the oxidation of fat by turning white fat to brown fat and allowing the body to burn it off as body heat. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot contain good levels of this compound. Of course any alcohol consumed in large quantities will damage your health. However, for the purpose of staying trim, switching from beer or cider to red wine will benefit your breath, increase your level sophistication by refining your palette, and of course helping to reduce your overall body fat. Which makes you all the more more attractive! The best alcohol option for low calorie intake is of course whisky, but for very obvious reasons I can't bring myself to responsibly encourage regular consumption of spirits!!
It's worth noting that supplements are available for resveratrol, & while this post would support the naturally occuring resvertrol that occurs in the skin & seeds of grapes, if you have an allergic reaction to the skin on grapes then consulting your GP is advisable. There is also evidence that suggests resvertrol will interact with blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin), and NSAID medications like aspirin and ibuprofen. This may raise your chance of bleeding due to its anticoagulant effects.
As a group, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage & spinach all feature a chemcal called
Diindolylmethane or DIM for short. This is the principal breakdown product of indole 3-carbinol (I3C), the phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables like the above as well as others like cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, collards, mustard greens, radishes, watercress, and turnips. DIM, has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of prostate and other hormone-driven cancers by helping the body to make a better balance of hormones.
Regarding estrogen, It does so by supporting healthy estrogen metabolism by favoring the production of a less-reactive (healthier) form of estrogen called 2-hydroxyestrone instead of the more reactive (less healthy) 16α-hydroxyestrone. Elevated 16α-hydroxyestrone level in males has been linked to gynecomastia(man boobs), decreased libido, and poor prostate health. DIM can also inhibit aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. With so may options to choose from there's really little excuse for failing to increase you intake of cruciferous vegetables becuase they're so easy to prepare. With Spinach you merely wash it and thats it. You could drizzle balsamic vineger, extra virgin olive oil or a pinch of rock salt for added flavor, or if you have little time, wilt the spinach and add garlic granules & dairy free butter. Regardless which vegetable you prefer, the preparation is hardly exhaustive, especially when you consider the benefits.
Sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS)
As if DIM wasn't enough of a reason to load up on cruciferous veg, this food group contains yet another amazing compound in the form sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS). Broccoli seeds and sprouts are rich in SGS (also known as glucoraphanin). When orally consumed, SGS reacts with the healthy microflora in the gut to produce its active form, sulforaphane, which is a potent natural inducer of phase 2 detoxification enzymes. During phase 2 detoxification, the liver uses one of two key enzymatic pathways to transform potentially toxic substances like drugs, chemicals, and excess or exogenous estrogens into less toxic substances that the body can excrete more readily. Typically via urine. This allows SGS to play a chemoprotective role in the body, supporting the inhibition of abnormal cell cycle progression and inducing apoptosis (cell death) of abnormal cells. SGS also acts as a long-lasting, indirect antioxidant, activating the body’s antioxidative processes to protect healthy cells from free-radical damage. Such outstanding Anti cancer and anti estrogen benefits from such affordable sources almost seems to good to be true. Well the only drawback of foods a like broccoli is the High FODMAP content. So if you suffer from some form of IBS or delicate gut, it may be diffucult to digest on a regular basis. So experimenting with tolerance levels is advised. For safest results consult your general practitioner or a qualified nutritionist who can help you establish the perfect balance. If for whatever reason this isn't possible then do it yourself starting with small meals consuming the FODMAP food towards the end of the meal i.e. 'not' on an empty stomach.
Activation and Ingestion
Within cruciferous vegetables Sulforaphane is only activated when glucoraphanin comes into contact with myrosinase, a family of enzymes that play a role in the defense response of plants. Myrosinase enzymes are only released and activated when a plant is damaged. Therefore, cruciferous vegetables must be cut, chopped, or chewed to release myrosinase and activate sulforaphane. Consequently, raw vegetables are best as they provide the highest levels of sulforaphane. Studies suggest raw broccoli can provide ten times more sulforaphane than cooked broccoli.
Steaming vegetables for one to three minutes may be the best way to optimize sulforaphane levels when cooking.
It’s best to cook the vegetables below 284˚F (140˚C), as exceeding this temperature results in a loss of glucosinolates like glucoraphanin. For this reason, it’s best to avoid boiling or microwaving cruciferous vegetables. Instead, eat them raw or lightly steamed to maximize their sulforaphane content. You can also source SGS via suplements. This provides already activated glucoraphanin & myrosinase enzymes.
Prostate & Cancer Defense
Further research regarding DIM & it's positive impact on estrogen in the male body shows that unmetabolized estrogen accumulates in prostate tissue in men as they age. Exposure of human prostate tissue to unmetabolized estrogen in the laboratory studies resulted in activation and increased production of prostate specific antigen protein (PSA). The PSA protein level in men’s blood is now used as a screening test to determine the severity of prostate enlargement or to determine the chance of prostate cancer. Recent studies also have shown that estradiol, the active form of estrogen, causes the prostate gland to increase it's production of prostate specific antigen (PSA). Increased PSA production, however, can be inhibited by the “good” estrogen metabolites promoted by DIM. This indicates that “good” estrogen metabolites are more beneficial for prostate health than unmetabolized estrogen-like estradiol. (53)
Vitamin D can help maintain your immune system and support strong bones, but in actual fact vitamin D is a hormone rather than a vitamin? As we spend more time in our homes, consistent daily doses of Vitamin D have never been more important. When your body gets Vitamin D from sunlight, food, or supplements it turns the Vitamin D into a hormone. This hormone is called 'activated Vitamin D', or calcitriol, which is very important to your overall health and wellbeing. Your body makes around 90% of the Vitamin D it needs, but this only happen when your skin gets sufficient direct UVB rays from sunlight. The other 10% comes from foods rich in the vitamin. Therefore, If regular sunlight isn't possible due to work, geographic location, cold seasons (autumn to winter) i.e. October to March or for religious reasons that require covering almost all skin parts, then supplements from health food stores with various strengths may be next best substitute alongside a vitamin D rich diet. 15-20 minutes of direct sunlight can provide you with that 90% daily requirement. However, this will vary according to your skin type. For people of African, Afro Carribean, Mediterranean, West Asian & North Africans with richer complextions & those aged 65 or older, this daily UVB ray intake will evidently vary.
Whilst there are plenty of meat sources such as salmon, eggs, tuna & sardines, they all require compromising a plant based diet, which unbiased studies now show to be the healthiest possible diet. As this guide is aimed at providing the best possible means of testosterone production and estrogen control I simply can't promote meat consumption. This is explored in further detail below, but for this part of the post the best alternatives to direct sunlight are fortified juice or cereals. A great source vitamin D. It's a great alternative to the dairy. Now that we know the link between Dairy consumption and male prostate cancer, & 70% of the world being lactose intolerant, milk is completely out of the question. In the UK, Tropicana offer a Calcium & Vitamin D variant.
Regarding testosterone Studies show that increased stores of vitamin D increases testosterone production and sperm quality. Thus the food and sufficient daylight & supplements during the Winter & Autumn months.
Straight out the gate, people who eat nuts are considered likely to live longer than those who don't due to their zinc content. More specifically pine nuts, peanuts, cashews and almonds are quick wins to ensure your body receives protection from heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A 28 gram serving contains 15% of your daily value of 2000 calories.
Studies suggest increasing your levels of zinc will reduce the severity and duration of the common cold via boosting the strength of your immune system and enabling your wounds to heal quicker by reducing inflammation and activating immune cells at the area of injury. Zinc is also known to positively affect thyroid function, improvement of eye health via the progression of age-related macular degeneration.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that your body doesn't store, so you need to eat enough each day to ensure you body gets it's daily requirement. This is roughly 11 mg for men. Regarding testosterone - Having a Zinc deficiency can lead to low testosterone, & studies suggest men who were given 30mg of zinc per day showed increased levels of free testosterone in their bodies. However it's worth noting that if you receive enough zinc via your food intake there is no need to consume health supplements as this 'double dose' won't further increase your testosterone levels. Also its worth noting that some nuts are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids which have been associated with decreased testosterone levels. The worst culprits are walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds or oil.
Magnesium is a mineral that is vital to every organ in the body, particularly the heart, muscles and kidneys. While magnesium is present in many foods, its quite common for westerners to lack sufficient amounts of magnesium in their diet. According to a study published in 2011 in "Biological Trace Element Research," magnesium may play an important role in testosterone production. The study found that supplementation with magnesium was able to increase total free testosterone in both athletes and sedentary individuals, i.e people who spend a great deal of time seated, although athletes saw greater increases. Thankfully nuts are generally rich in magnesium!
Zinc - Caution
Although this mineral is good for you health it is possible to take too much zinc. Toxicity may occur in adult men who consume more than 40 milligrams per day. Well known symptoms of zinc toxicity include nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea & abdominal cramps. There was notion of a link between veganism and zinc-deficiency as vegetables such as legumes, soybean, nuts and whole-grain foods contain phytates. Phytate 0r phytic acid, is a naturally occurring compound found in all plant foods that can impair the bodies ability to absorb nutrients. However any potential anti-nutrient effects would only occur if your diet lacked significant nutrition. In order to ensure you body absorbs the minerals it needs use enhancers like garlic & onions. These ingredients help to increase the bio-availability of iron and zinc in plant foods. Also, people with the following chronic conditions may experience zinc deficiency:
Alcohol addition, cancer, celiac disease, chronic diarrhea, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, Crohn's disease, diabetes, pancreatic disease, sickle cell disease, ulcerative colitis.
Age also plays role in the bodies access to zinc via the inability to eat certain zinc rich foods. Also some medications such as thiazide diuretics, chlorthalidone or hydrochlorothiazide.
One of the easiest hacks to stay healthy requires merely boiling water and pouring it into a flask or mug. Widely respected as one of the wealthiest drinks available today for a range of reasons, drinking green tea a few times a week can have long lasting health benefits such as improved brain function, fat loss, lowered risk of cancer and reduced risk of heart disease. Green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG for short, a type of catechin commonly used in dietary supplements for it's antioxidative properties. Catechins help prevent cell damage and reduce the formation of free radicals in the body. Unfortunately with green tea, you get what you pay for. Cheaper brand green teas tend to contain excessive amounts of fluoride, so opt for more premium brands with unbleached teapags, Oranic if possible.
Improved brain function
With caffene as a key ingredient green tea provides a little kick thats less strong than coffee so you can avoid the jittery affects that comes with the over stimulation of most coffee drinks. Caffeine achieves this effect by blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. This increases the firing of neurons and levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinphrine. This results in general improvements of your mood, vigilance, reaction time and memory. Hence why so many turn to coffee during periods of prolonged required consentration. But green tea goes a step further and features the amino acid L-theanine a brain boosting compound thats known to improve cognative function and improve you capacity for multi-tasking.
Studies suggest green tea boosts your metabolic rate,this is why you'll see green tea extract as a feature on weight management supplements. Green tea extracts may increase fat oxidation by as much as 17%. This will of course vary between age groups and body types, but is worth taking advantage of.
Lowered Risk of Cancer
Cancer can be defined as the uncontrolled growth of cells. Oxidative damage which leads to chronic inflamation which then leads to chronic diseases including cancers can thus be prevented by use of antioxidants. Fortunately we now know green tea compounds demonstrate such powerful antioxidative effects that help prevent the development of breast, prostate & colorectal cancers.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Cardiovascular diseases & related conditions such as strokes, heart attacks and heart diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, we can safeguard against this by limiting the effects of high cholesterol & LDL (bad) cholesterol. Green tea's helps to increase you blood's antioxidative capacity. This in turn helps protect LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which helps stave of heart disease. Those who drink green tea have up to a 31% lower risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease.
Regarding Testosterone we've explored the benefit of green teas antioxidants. Polyphenols are an antioxidant that bind to estrogen receptors and potentially mimic or inhibit the action of endogenous estrogens .
FOODS TO AVOID
Flaxeed is marketed in most health foods as an excellent source of heart-healthy fats, fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunatley for men, these benefits come with a caveat. There is research to suggest flaxeed decreases testosterone levels. Flaxeed contain lignans which bind to testosterone triggering the excretion of testosterone.
The jury is still out on soy. There are studies that state soy is harmless for men and others that claim soy to be the worst element of a man's diet. Without a clear outlook it's best to know the facts and make an informed decision. . Edamame, tofu, soy milk, miso and certain soy proteins i.e. soy protein isolate are believed to cause a drop in testosterone levels.
Consuming alcohol won't only boost your calorie intake, it inhibits the body's ability to clear estrogen from the blood stream. Not one to knock beers for all those who love them but unfortunately studies confirm regular consumption of alcohol will lower testosterone
A surprising one, licorice root has been linked to causing significant drops in testosterone levels in men over a relatively short period. Licorice root isn't the same as licorice candy, so note well the two aren't the same.
Conventional milk unfortunately contains estrogen because all animals produce the hormone. Milk is after all the hormonal secrection from a cow's genitals. Cow's milk also contains synthetic hormones which coupled with natural hormones may affect a person's testosterone levels over a prolonged period. Also animal feed may contain soy which only increases the likihood of adverse affects on men's testosterone levels.
Grains, Bread & Fine Bakery Wares
Grains are prone to contain a fungus called zearalenone. Prolonged consumption of this mycotoxin may disrupt your hormonal balance via introducing estrogen into the body that are similar to naturally occurring estrogens in the body. Zearalenone is commonly found in maize, wheat, barley, bran, corn, sorghum & rye. Which makes corn flakes, crunchy nut flakes, cereals, homemade & commercial breads a no go. If you can't, then at least restrict consumption to a minimum.
Estrogen levels are generally higher at night. So consume some of the aforementioned foods like cruciferous vegetables before bed to help your body fight the good fight. I'd suggest a toasted avocado, spinach, tomato and pesto sandwich with vinegerette & peppercorn dressing. No mayonnaise or dairy based butter.
Male hygiene products & toiletries have parabens within their ingredient list that contain estrogens. These are unfortunatlely counter intutive to a man's healthy hormal balance. The skin is the body's largest organ & can therefore introduce substances into the system. Body lotion, deoderant, shower gel & soap & shampoo all may contain parabens.
Sedentary lifestyles where sitting and lying down are apart of your daily life are another prominent contributer for low levels of testosterone. Simply put, man was meant to stay moving. Being active is your prehistoric natural state. Of course there are a whole range of other health risks associated with reduced physical activity. The most obvious being the damage to your cardiovascular capacity and the result of the damning impact of weight gain.
Food & drink wrapped-in or preserved with plastic unfortunately comes with unwanted side effects. Many plastics contain xenoestrogens. Anyone wishing to lower their exposure to these chemicals will need to avoid storing drinks in plastic bottles or wrapping food in plastic wrapping or purchasing foods that have been stored in plastic for prolonged periods of time.
Stress & Sleep are both keys elements in the fight to maintain male hormonal balance. Ensuring you get sufficient amounts of sleep whilst limiting your stress levels will hugely benefit your long term health. Eliminating unecessary causes of stress should always be a high priority.