Ball-and-stick model of the testosterone molecule C19H28O2 as found in the crystal structure of testosterone monohydrate. Photo credit: Ben Mills / Wikipedia

Eating a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods – including foods containing refined carbohydrates and sugars, and polyunsaturated fats – may be linked to an increased chance of developing testosterone deficiency in men, according to a study in the Journal of Urology, Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA).

The risk of testosterone deficiency is greatest in men who are overweight and who eat refined diets, which new research by Dr. Qiu Shi, Dr. Zhang Chichen and colleagues from western China have a high value for the Dietary Inflammation Index (DII) Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. “While these results do not prove a cause, they support previous research suggesting that an anti-inflammatory diet may contribute to testosterone deficiency, along with other potentially debilitating health problems,” said Dr. Qiu and Zhang comment.

Does Diet Affect Testosterone Levels? New study discovers connection

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that plays an important role in reproduction and sexual function. However, 20 to 50 percent of US men have a testosterone deficiency – defined as a testosterone level of less than 300 ng / dL (nanograms per deciliter). Symptoms of testosterone deficiency can include low libido, decreased energy, low focus, and depression. Testosterone deficiency is also linked to chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Studies in humans and animals have linked a lack of testosterone to increased levels of inflammation in the body. Men with low testosterone levels have higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines: small proteins released by cells during injury, infection, or in response to inflammatory factors in the environment. The DII has emerged as a tool for assessing the inflammatory potential of a person’s diet, particularly in relation to other health traits.

The researchers examined the association between DII and testosterone deficiency in 4,151 men from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, all of whom completed a 24-hour nutritional interview and underwent sex hormone tests. Each participant’s DII was calculated based on the nutritional history interview.

The calculated DII values ​​ranged from -5.05 (most anti-inflammatory) to +5.48 (most anti-inflammatory). The average total testosterone level was 410.42 ng / dL in men on the most anti-inflammatory diet versus 422.71 ng / dL in men on the most anti-inflammatory diet. Overall, about 26 percent of men were testosterone deficient.

Men on the most anti-inflammatory diets were about 30 percent more likely to be testosterone deficient than men on the most anti-inflammatory diets. The associations remained significant after adjusting for other characteristics such as body mass index and smoking.

In a fully customized analysis, men with obesity and a higher DII were at greatest risk of testosterone deficiency. In this group, the likelihood of testosterone deficiency was nearly 60 percent higher than that of obese men who had a lower DII.

Drs. Qiu, Zhang, and co-authors note some important limitations of their study, including the fact that the DII was calculated based on a limited number of anti-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory food parameters.

“Our results suggest that men on anti-inflammatory diets, especially those who are overweight, are more likely to be testosterone deficient,” said Dr. Qiu and Zhang comment. “Because obese men are likely to already have chronic inflammation, clinicians should be aware of factors, such as diet, that are likely to make this inflammation worse and add to the risk of other health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.”

Drs. Qiu and Zhang and colleagues are calling for further studies to examine the causal relationship between DII and testosterone deficiency. They also suggest that consuming a more anti-inflammatory diet “might be a viable method to reduce the accumulated inflammatory burden, [potentially] which leads to increased testosterone levels. ”

Low fat diet combined with lower testosterone levels in men

More information:
Chichen Zhang et al. The Association Between Dietary Inflammation Index and Sex Hormones in Men in the United States, Journal of Urology (2021). DOI: 10.1097 / JU.0000000000001703 Provided by Wolters Kluwer Health

Quote: Inflammatory Diets Related to Testosterone Deficiency in Men (2021, April 21) Retrieved April 21, 2021 from

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