The testes, like any other organ, contain a lot of fats (lipids) that influence the effectiveness and health of the organ.
Dietary fats are effective at modifying the fatty acids in specific organs.
There are 3 main kinds of fatty acid groups, namely saturated, monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA).
In those groups, you have fatty acids of different chain lengths as well as unsaturation in the case of PUFA, all of which have different effects on the body.
Fatty acids and testicular health
PUFAs, both omega 3 and 6, because they’re unsaturated, are unstable and prone to being damaged (lipid peroxidation) by reactive oxygen species.
Having high amounts of PUFA in the testes can thus promote oxidative stress, DNA damage and inflammation and this lower testosterone.
Different fats on testicular health
There are many studies that look at different fats, namely coconut, soy, canola, sunflower, safflower, flax, butter, etc., and testicular health.
In general, they show that PUFA-rich oils cause more oxidative stress and these animals have lower levels of testosterone than animals who consume less PUFA.
I want to focus on the following specific study because they did a pretty good analysis of the effects of 4 kinds of fats on testicular health and testosterone.
They fed animals grapeseed, soy, coconut and olive oil and here’s what they found.
Coconut oil and oxidative stress
As you might have guessed, the oxidative stress in the testes was higher with the grapeseed oil-supplemented diet and decreased with the other diets in this order: soybean oil > olive oil > coconut oil (R).
Enhanced oxidative stress leads to lower testosterone, infertility, ED and high incidences of varicocele (R).
If you look at the table below, you’ll see that coconut oil has the lowest oxidative stress and inflammation and the highest anti-oxidants, while being deficient in antioxidants itself, unlike olive oil (R). The anti-oxidant effects are due to the fatty acids themselves.
Coconut oil-fed animals are greatly protected against any toxin that might attack the testes, such as heavy metals. Any testicular toxin would wreak even more havoc in a high PUFA environment.
Coconut oil on the lipids and cholesterol in the testes
Any dietary fat will modify the lipids in the testes either in a beneficial or detrimental way.
Have a look at how coconut oil changed the lipids in the testes. Despite being high in lauric acid (C12) and low in palmitic (C16) and stearic acid (C18), it increased palmitic and stearic the most out of all the diets. It shows that the body is quite good at elongating lauric acid into palmitic and stearic acid and that the testes likely prefer those fatty acids.
The coconut oil group had the highest total saturated fat, and lowest MUFA and PUFA. Interestingly, it still had a “high” omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, which shows that the ratio doesn’t matter that much.
In the table below, look at free cholesterol. The coconut oil group increased free cholesterol the most. What is testosterone made of? Cholesterol.
The coconut oil group had very low esterified cholesterol, but high free cholesterol, which is most important.
Plasmalogen levels have been reported to have antioxidant properties, which are independent of their particular fatty acyl composition, which is highest in the coconut oil group.
Coconut oil on steroidogenic enzymes and testosterone levels
Despite the olive oil group beating the coconut oil group in steroidogenic enzyme activity, the coconut oil group still had the highest testosterone.
It could be just because the coconut oil group had higher free cholesterol, thus more capacity to create testosterone.
The soy and grapeseed groups had higher LH and this indicates testicular insensitivity, which is likely caused by PUFAs reducing LH receptor count as well as binding affinity.
Other studies have shown that feeding animals PUFA-rich diets, which lowers cholesterol, reduces the binding capacity of the LH/hCG receptor in the testicular plasma membrane (R).
Feeding diets high in cholesterol or saturated fat, which increases cholesterol and cholesterol to phospholipid ratios, increases basal and LH-stimulated testosterone synthesis relative to that in animals fed the low cholesterol diet containing PUFA oils (R, R).
In addition, PUFA-rich diets enhance the fluidity of cell membranes and this enhances serotonin and prolactin receptor affinity (R). Both serotonin and prolactin can inhibit steroidogenesis and enhancing their binding will enhance their actions.
PUFAs reduce steroidogenic enzymes as well as testosterone
Other studies have also shown that PUFA-rich oils, including fish oil, can lower testosterone.
This study found that sunflower and fish oil consumption lowers testosterone by reducing kisspeptin 1, GnRH, LH, FSH, steroidogenic enzymes (StAR, CYP11A, 3B-HSD, 17B-HSD), and testosterone (R).
- Can dramatically improve the health of your testes by reducing oxidative stress, DNA damage and inflammation.
- Can also protect the testes against any toxin, such as heavy metals, plastics, drugs, mold, etc., making the testes resilient.
- Enhances free cholesterol in the testes, which boosts testosterone production.
- Improves the testosterone-to-LH ratio, likely by increasing the LH receptor and sensitivity.
The moral of the story isn’t just to show that coconut oil is good, but also that PUFA is best restricted.
Other benefits of coconut oil (in humans)
- Has shown potential as anti-obesity treatment and was also shown to heal several minor illnesses such as diarrhea, skin inflammations, and injuries, among others (R).
- Can reduce LDL oxidation (R). Oxidized LDL promotes atherosclerosis, heart disease, and general inflammation and lowers testosterone, by disrupting mitochondrial function (R).
- Improve neural health. Lauric acid downregulates the oxidative stress response genes and inflammatory genes, thus inhibiting neuroinflammation (R).
- Increases energy expenditure by enhancing the expression of thermogenesis markers in brown adipose tissue (BAT), which is consistent with increased BAT activity (R).
- Dramatically reduces insulin requirements. According to this case study, a 66 year old man on insulin (20 units x2 daily) started taking 1g of coconut oil daily. After a couple of days, he completely stopped taking insulin with meals (R).
- Reduces appetite, and lowers blood sugar and HbA1c with a dose as small as 6g daily (R).
- Reduces inflammation during obesity, which keeping blood sugar normal. It also keeps the microbiome healthy (R).
In summary, doses as low as 1 to 6g daily can have significant effects, so there is no need to drown your food (or coffee) in coconut oil to get the benefits.
To maximize testosterone, I’d personally keep PUFA as low as possible, lose excess weight and supplement 1 tsp coconut oil daily (or 1-2g per meal).
Animal foods, such as dairy, meat, organ meat and oysters are low in PUFA and they will also help to boost testosterone. Eggs are a bit higher in PUFA, but since their phospholipids consist mainly of saturated and monounsaturated fat, plus they’re a good source of cholesterol, I’d still add 3-6 eggs per day to my regimen.
- Why omega 3 isn’t as good as you think
- How to increase testosterone
- Testosterone optimization foods
- How to deplete yourself of PUFA
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5 thoughts on “The best fat for healthy testes (and high testosterone)”
Wow, great stuff Hans. Love it. I eat in line with all that; eggs too because as you imply the benefits outweigh that whatevers.
Regarding coconut oil, what I do is eat coconut butter: https://artisanaorganics.com/collections/all/products/organic-coconut-butter?variant=9032888614956
It is only 60% oil; so has 40% less lauric acid; but it is so delicious that I eat a tablespoon or two with lunch.
Thanks man. That sounds and looks amazing. I’ll have to try it myself.
Coconut Oil works wonders for my mind and gives me great energy, but it seems to effect my erections in an odd, non-desirable way. Perhaps due to it’s 5AR affecting properties.
Are there any derivatives of coconut oil other fats (Saturated fat, MUFA, Hydrogenated, etc…) that can give you similar benefits without the potential side effects of Coconut Oil?
Also, what are your thoughts about using things like grains of paradise or cistanche along side these fats to assist utilization of these them in additionally beneficial ways?
MCT oil will likely give you the same benefits for sure. Any androgenic herb should give you those desired benefits.