“Does carnivore diet increase testosterone?” you might be wondering.
Most people that switch to a carnivore diet experience an increase in testosterone. However, here’s the nuance…
Hans here! I increased my testosterone to 1254ng/dl and have been maintaining high T naturally. I’ve turned myself into an Alpha Energy Male.
An Alpha Energy Male with high energy, fast recovery, high sex drive, and confidence.
This is why I research obsessively, experiment and write, and have been doing so for the past decade.
Hope you enjoy and join me on this journey.
Why do we want to be an alpha energy male?
Being an alpha energy male is synonymous with possessing both high testosterone levels and abundant energy. Consequently, the question arises: what exactly is the significance of having elevated testosterone and energy levels?
Because high T and energy make us feel incredible and powerups our motivation, drive, confidence, and sexual function.
A life without high T and energy isn’t a life worth living.
Scientific evidence the carnivore diet doesn’t lower testosterone
Since there are no studies on the carnivore diet and testosterone specifically, we have to look at ketogenic diet studies and testosterone for now.
Difference between carnivore and the ketogenic diet
On a carnivore diet, people eat no plant foods and zero carbs and tend to eat more protein than a ketogenic diet. On a ketogenic diet, people tend to eat slightly less protein and still a little bit of carbs (typically around 30-50g daily).
But the overarching premise is low/zero carb. So that’s why we can use ketogenic studies as a close proxy.
Low-carb diets on testosterone
This recent 2022 meta-analysis showed that moderate-protein (<35%), low-carbohydrate diets (<35%) had no consistent effect on resting total testosterone (R). However, they define low carb as less than 35% of your total daily calories. Not really low carb.
So let’s refine our search terms to ketogenic.
Ketogenic diets on testosterone
Let me show you 3 recent ketogenic studies and the effects they found on testosterone.
After 7 and 28 days of a very low calories ketogenic diet, total testosterone increased by 35 ± 64ng/dl and 74 ± 97ng/dl (R).
Hypogonadal peeps (below 300ng/dl) experienced a greater total testosterone increase (+98.12 ± 71.51 ng/dl) as compared with eugonadal subjects.
13 weeks of a very low-calorie ketogenic diet increased LH and total testosterone (R).
Ketogenic diets have been shown to increase testosterone.— Hans Amato || testosterone optimization (@HansAmato) August 21, 2023
After 13 weeks of ketosis, LH went from 3.7 to 4.3 and total T increased from 382 to 498ng/dl.
Why? Because fat loss and insulin sensitivity. That's all. pic.twitter.com/Up4h5eGnr4
12 weeks of a very-low-calorie ketogenic diet increase average testosterone by 218.1 ± 53.9% (R). They also experienced a 14.9 ± 3.9% loss of the initial body weight
Their diet consisted of <30 g/day of carbs, ~44%, and ~43% of fats and proteins (1.4–1.5 g/kg/daily).
Why does a ketogenic diet increase testosterone?
In the short term, very low-calorie ketogenic diets help:
- Lose excess fat
- Decrease in oxidative stress and inflammation
- Decrease insulin
- Decrease leptin
- Increase adiponectin
- Decrease in blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity
In summary, it improves health.
Insulin resistance and obesity are two big reasons for low testosterone. Improving both can help to increase testosterone. So basically, those with the greatest fat loss experienced the greatest increase in testosterone (R).
But carnivore diets are higher in protein, is that bad?
As long as you’re not eating very high protein, then you should be fine.
Very high-protein diets (> 3.4 g/kg/day) appear to decrease testosterone, however high- and moderate-protein diets (1.25-3.4 g/kg/day) do not (R).
Anecdotal evidence that carnivore diet increases testosterone
I’ve worked with a bunch of ex-carnivores who came to me because they had low libido and ED.
Oftentimes, their testosterone is in the upper range of normal and sometimes even over 1000ng/dl.
I want to show you 4 examples.
Example 1 – 51 male
He did a carnivore diet for 2 years after which his testosterone was 732.
But as you can see his free testosterone is 10.5pg/ml. Very close to the lower end of the range.
His testosterone will likely be even higher if his LH increased more, but the low carb diet is keeping his LH low. Also, he lost 30 lbs despite being already slim, so likely he was undereating, which was keeping his LH suppressed.
Example 2 – 38 year old male
He did carnivore for about a year and started experiencing zero libido. He then did some tests and reached out to me.
His total testosterone was just over 900ng/dl, but his SHBG was very high and his free testosterone was also close to the bottom of the range.
Also, his DHEA-S is low.
Example 3 – 52-year-old male
He did carnivore for close to 2 years and his testosterone was close to 900ng/dl. Later on, he did another test which he send to me and his T was over 1000ng/dl.
But as you can see, his SHBG is very high and his free T low. Also, his DHEA-S is very low.
Example 4 – 41-year-old male
This guy didn’t do a carnivore diet, but was doing keto for at least 2 years. His testosterone was almost 1000ng/dl, but his SHBG was very high, which tanked his free testosterone.
His DHEA-S was also on the low end.
As you can see, low carb diets can increase your testosterone, but only if it:
- Helps you lose excess weight
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Replenish nutritional deficiencies
I like carnivore-style diets (not low carb) for increasing testosterone, because it:
- Provides an abundance of micronutrients
- Eliminate problematic, inflammatory foods
A LOT of people experience a big increase in testosterone when they switch to a carnivore diet. But does that even matter?
Oftentimes no, because free testosterone tanks, resulting in zero libido and ED.
Actually, total testosterone is able to increase like that because SHBG is going up. More SHBG, less free T, less inhibition on LH release (less negative feedback loop).
Why did I point out DHEA?
As you can see, I pointed out DHEA in those that got it tested. DHEA is an adrenal steroid, but adrenal-related steroids (androstenedione, androstenediol, DHEA, androsterone, androstanediol, etc) contribute to about 30-50% of the total androgen pool. Yes, 50%!
DHEA and the other adrenal steroids also bind to SHBG, which displaces testosterone and DHT. So if you have low DHEA and related steroids, calculated free T is complete BS, because it doesn’t take into consideration DHEA and other steroids.
How to increase free testosterone
Super easy 2-step process:
- Eat more carbs (shoot for 200-300g daily) – milk, honey, fruit, starches, etc.
- Use 25-50mg topical DHEA (until your levels are optimal)
- No libido on carnivore? Here’s why!
- Complete guide on how to maximize free testosterone
- Free testosterone with age
- Complete guide on how to increase DHEA
- Testosterone with age: does it really decline?
- Complete guide on how to increase total testosterone
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>1000ng/dl Testosterone: My Step-by-Step Guide on How I Do It Naturally!