Testosterone production in men is a delicate hormonal balance maintained by a number of essential vitamins like vitamin D & B6. A dip in their concentration can lead to testosterone deficiency. Luckily, the opposite is also true, where increasing vitamin levels through supplements or a vitamin-rich diet can restore testosterone back to normal.
Like the idea of using vitamins as testosterone boosters? Keep reading to find out exactly which vitamins you need!
Vitamin deficiency and low testosterone
Testosterone and vitamin levels are more closely related than many realize. One of the most prominent examples of this connection is vitamin K. Its deficiency lowers the amount of Cyp11a; a cholesterol-cleaving enzyme produced near the testes. This increases cholesterol concentration in that region, signaling the gonadal glands to reduce the rate of testosterone production. Thankfully, eliminating vitamin K deficiency through supplements or green leafy veggies restores Cyp11a production, which in turn brings testosterone levels back to normal.
Studies also show a similar testosterone connection with other essential vitamins like D, A, and B complex. So, if you want to prevent low T from vitamin deficiency, these are the ones you should focus on:
The testosterone-boosting effects of vitamin B1 become more apparent as you get older. It is responsible for maintaining a healthy concentration of anti-oxidative enzymes that slow down the tissue shrinking caused by aging around the testicular region. This keeps your testosterone-producing glands in tip-top condition, which, in turn, slows down age-related infertility in men.
Unfortunately, you might already have vitamin B1 deficiency since your body cannot produce it on its own. What’s worse is that its effects on testosterone aren't noticeable until you're past your middle age. So, eat plenty of beans, fish, and yogurt to maintain a normal B1 concentration.
Enzymes like 5-alpha-reductase and aromatase are some of the biggest threats to your body's testosterone content. These enzymes can cause testosterone deficiency by converting it into other androgen hormones like estrogen and dihydrotestosterone. Luckily, vitamin B2 helps maintain normal free testosterone concentration by inhibiting the production of these enzymes.
Some studies also show its positive effects in preventing lipid peroxidation in Leydig cells found in the testes — which in turn slows down age-related oxidative damage. Want to keep a healthy amount of vitamin B2 in your system? All you need is more eggs, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, and grain products like bread & pasta in your diet.
Vitamin B3 is one of the most important nutrients in your diet as it regulates metabolism and energy absorption through sirtuin enzyme production. More importantly, vitamin B3 acts as an antioxidant and protects testicular cell structure and sperm count from age-related damage. This improved testicular health allows your androgen glands to stay functional, helping maintain normal testosterone levels and sexual drive.
Vitamin B3 can also improve your sexual health further by lowering your blood pressure and counteracting erectile dysfunction induced by high blood pressure.
If you want these benefits, limit your drinking and consume plenty of poultry, bread, fish, and red meat.
Vitamin B5 — aka Pantothenic Acid — is often dubbed as the "testosterone vitamin" for its direct role in testosterone production. A study done by the Gifu university of Japan tested the effects of vitamin B5 in male rats. They divided the test subjects into two groups; one with normal vitamin B5 levels and the other with B5 deficiency.
After a 7-week test period, researchers found that the concentration of serum testosterone in B5 deficient rats was noticeably lower than in rats with normal B5 levels. While this experiment was conducted on rats, researchers believe that vitamin B5 deficiency can have similar effects on other mammals, including humans.
If you want to avoid Pantothenic Acid deficiency and the low T that comes with it, make sure your everyday diet includes poultry, whole grain, dry fruits, and potatoes.
The main role of vitamin B6 is to regulate the number of androgen hormones present in your body. More specifically, its concentration is linked to the rate of testosterone production.
We know this because vitamin B6 deficiency slows down new testosterone production and speeds up the metabolism of free testosterone present in your bloodstream. This leads to low androgen concentration and increased estrogen production — lowering testosterone levels even further.
Fortunately, you can prevent this hormonal imbalance by consuming a vitamin B6-rich diet with salmon, tuna, poultry, bananas, and oranges.
Hypogonadism is a disorder that causes perpetual testosterone deficiency and is often treated with testosterone replacement therapy. However, testosterone replacement can cause a number of side effects, like sleep apnea and increased acne.
That's why researchers have started considering vitamin B7 — or Biotin — as a possible cure for hypogonadism. Similar studies on rats have also found that Biotin deficiency can lower serum testosterone concentration that will only recover after Biotin supplementation is administered.
So, it is in your best interest to maintain normal vitamin B7 levels by including avocados, sweet potatoes, and eggs in your diet.
Vitamin B9 does not have direct effects on existing testosterone levels or testosterone production in men. Having said that, studies do show a strong link between vitamin B9 deficiency and erectile dysfunction diagnosis. According to these studies, the severity of vitamin B9 deficiency directly correlates to the severity of erectile dysfunction in most cases so that they can be treated with the correct medication.
These findings were also backed by a 2017 study that reported positive results in using vitamin B9-derived supplements as a potential cure for erectile dysfunction. It also showed how regular vitamin B9 intake could lower the risk of getting ED in the first place.
So, all you have to do is include more leafy greens, seafood, beans, and whole grain products in your diet.
Taking vitamin B12 will not boost your testosterone levels directly, as it has very little to do with testicular function. But, its deficiency can still hamper your sexual life by decreasing your energy levels. This happens because B12 is an essential component of red blood cell formation, and its deficiency can lower the amount of red blood cells in your bloodstream. This, in turn, decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to your organs — making you feel sluggish and unable to enjoy intimate moments.
On the other hand, taking vitamin B12 supplements or increasing its intake through meat, fish, milk, and eggs can actually boost your energy by increasing the energy yield of metabolism.
Vitamin D is likely one of the most crucial vitamins when it comes to testosterone and associated functions. Studies show a direct correlation between vitamin D deficiency and lower testosterone production. This happens because vitamin D deficiency lowers hCG stimulation and the sensitivity of Leydig cells found in testosterone-producing gonadal glands.
This not only lowers the amount of free testosterone in your bloodstream but also hampers your libido and sex drive. Luckily, you can prevent this fate by getting enough sunlight and consuming seafood like salmon, tuna, and cod.
Can I overload on vitamins?
It's complicated. The answer depends on the type of vitamin and your method of intake.
Type of vitamin
Water soluble vitamins like vitamin C and the vitamin B complex group are not a big issue. Your body only absorbs the necessary amount; the rest is excreted with urine. Though, overdosing on any of these can cause temporary symptoms like dizziness or nausea as long as they’re in your system. Fat-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, accumulate in your body. Their overdose can cause both temporary issues like dizziness & nausea and long-term symptoms such as dry skin, dry eyes, and cracked lips.
Method of intake
You don’t have anything to worry about if your primary source of vitamins is food. For example, it's not possible to overdose on vitamin D by consuming too much salmon.
It’ll just upset your stomach long before you overdose on the tiny amount of vitamin D content present in it.
That said, you can overdose on vitamin D supplements by taking more than the recommended amount for an extended period of time.
What other supplements should I consider?
While vitamins play a critical role in ensuring balanced testosterone levels, they are far from the only supplements you should consider. Your other options should include:
DAA is one of the most common ingredients in testosterone-boosting supplements. A study from 2009 observed its effects on testosterone levels in men, and the results were surprising. The 23 men that received DAA supplements showed an average testosterone increase of 42% in just 12 days.
Supplements with Fenugreek extract are often considered an ideal solution for men with low T. According to a 2017 study by Maheshwari et al., Fenugreek extract supplement users not only recovered from low T rather quickly but also reported improved mood, energy, and sex drive. Though, we need more evidence on how this herb works.
Supplements of this Asian herb are often prescribed as a potential cure for erectile dysfunction, and several studies back this claim. It can also increase testosterone production by boosting luteinizing hormone content near Leydig cells found in the gonadal glands.
L-Arginine supplements act as regulators. They do not boost your testosterone levels beyond the normal amount, but they don't let them get any lower, either. This is possible because L-Arginine can increase the secretion of luteinizing hormone when necessary, which your testes use to produce testosterone.
Vitamins are the building blocks of a healthy life. They support the well-being of everything from your immune & cardiovascular system to your bones & muscles. So, it's not surprising to see that they also have a pronounced effect on testosterone production and regulation.
This is nowhere more apparent than with vitamins like D, B6, and B5, as their deficiency can seriously affect your body's ability to produce testosterone. On a similar note, vitamins like B9, B7, and B1 can counteract testosterone deficiency by signaling your body to increase its production. They can also resolve other testosterone-related issues like low libido and erectile dysfunction.
The best part about utilizing vitamins for testosterone management is that you don’t have to take any pills or capsules. You can just include vitamin-rich food items in your day-to-day diet and keep your androgen hormones balanced.