Can bread lower testosterone and DHT?
There is evidence to suggest that it can cause androgen resistance!
Read to find out.
Bread and testosterone
There are many different kinds of bread, but let’s talk about the most common bread, wheat bread.
#1 Consuming a diet rich in wheat-based products can lower testosterone
This study found that a diet rich in bread and pastries, desserts and eating out independently predicted hypogonadism. Those who ate the most of these foods had lower testosterone than those who ate the least of it. So it has a dose-dependent inhibitory effect (R).
#2 High GI foods can increase cortisol, which lower testosterone
This study compared high vs low GI foods on salivary testosterone and cortisol.
High GI foods increased salivary cortisol, due to blood sugar dysregulation (R). Low GI foods increased salivary testosterone.
The takeaway is that you want to eat foods that help balance your blood sugar.
Bread and wheat products are often highly refined, which is horrible for blood sugar stabilization.
This can lead to a higher cortisol-to-testosterone ratio and you might wonder why you struggle to lose weight, have a bit of water retention, don’t sleep as well, etc.
#3 Bread is low in testosterone-boosting nutrients
Wheat is low in valuable testosterone-boosting vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B6, fat-soluble vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, copper, etc.
If your diet contains a lot of nutrient-poor foods, then it’s easy to under-consume these important vitamins and minerals.
#4 Gluten-containing bread might lower testosterone
Gluten is an opioid that might increase prolactin and lower LH and testosterone.
Prolactin has been shown to lower GnRH-induced release of LH and causes hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism is a frequent finding in men with celiac disease, and results in clinical symptoms in 5–10% of untreated patients. Celiac disease causes infertility in some cases (R).
Gluten is the most powerful dietary opioid.
Common side effects of opioids are constipation, fatigue, brain fog, low testosterone and sexual dysfunction.
People with Celiac disease (1 out of every 130 to 300 people have it) have elevated prolactin and doing a short gluten-free diet lowers prolactin (R). The increase in prolactin is due to the pro-opioid effect of gluten as well as the increase in inflammation induced by gluten (R).
Prolactin correlated with the degree of intestinal damage (villous atrophy) and duration of damage as you can see in the graph below (R).
There is also a relationship between the consumption of wheat gliadin and related prolamins from other cereals, such as barley and rye and autism (R).
“But I don’t have any negative symptoms to bread“, you might be thinking.
The “beauty” of gluten is that it masks its own symptoms because it’s an opioid (R). Opioids reduce pain, thus you don’t feel the issues that it’s creating/causing. It is estimated that 83% of celiac patients are not conscious of their disease (R).
Can wheat bread lower testosterone?
Yes, it can. The combination of low vitamin and minerals content, gluten and high GI is perfect for lowering testosterone and increasing the cortisol-to-testosterone ratio.
What about sourdough?
Sourdough bread is bread dough that’s fermented for roughly 24 hours. This reduces the gluten content in the bread and enhances digestibility.
In a lot of cases, this does reduce the negative symptoms of bread, but not eliminate them. This study recommends that people with Celiac avoid sourdough as it still contains enough gluten to trigger a negative response (R).
Bread and DHT
Gluten sensitivity can dramatically lower DHT and cause androgen resistance (R, R). Despite having normal total and free testosterone, they have hypogonadal symptoms due to low DHT.
In the short term, eating gluten might increase LH and total and free testosterone. This is due to the inhibition of 5-alpha reductase and lower DHT.
However, over time, testosterone also drops, leading to low T and DHT.
Men with celiac disease tend to have beard growth abnormalities, due to low DHT (R).
DHT is extremely important for:
- Sexual function (erections, short refractory period, ejaculation, etc.)
- Confidence (low DHT can cause low dominance behavior (R))
- Insulin sensitivity
- Stress tolerance
Check out the following articles and video about the importance of DHT:
Why DHT and 5-alpha reductase is so important
Now that you know the importance of DHT, check out how to boost it
Get the ultimate DHT boosting stack.
If your digestion feels a bit off in general, it might be a good idea to cut out bread for a while to see how things change.
A gluten-free diet isn’t just beneficial for such as celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), but also dermatitis herpetiformis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diabetes. (R)
For bread alternatives, check this article, where I discuss the 5 best testosterone-boosting breakfast recipes that don’t contain gluten.