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Can Intermittent Fasting Boost Testosterone?

Intermittent fasting has been around for a while now. Over time, it has had many potential benefits attached to it. But can intermittent fasting boost testosterone? Or is this just another false claim attributed to the IF diet?

Studies have indicated that fasting can increase and decrease testosterone levels in the short term. The difference (either way) in testosterone levels is minimal and unlikely to affect you positively or negatively. If you follow an IF diet long enough and reduce your body fat levels, you may see increased testosterone. However, this could be accomplished by any diet.

While it is undoubtedly possible to diet for increased testosterone, it is rarely the primary goal of new adherents. Most want to lose weight and improve their health. Any diet that allows you to do this should help to increase testosterone production. So, the real question is will intermittent fasting help you achieve your goals better than regular diets?

What is Intermittent Fasting?

A 24-hour cycle comprises periods of eating and periods of fasting. Most people wake up and break their overnight fast with breakfast (hence the name). They then fast for a few hours before lunch and until their evening meal. After that, they fast for the day’s remaining hours until waking up and repeat the cycle. 

Of course, if you eat snacks in between meals, then your periods of fasting become smaller and smaller. There aren’t periods where you are abstaining from food for most people. Instead, you don’t feel like eating because you are sated after your meal.

With intermittent fasting, you purposely avoid meals and snacks for specific periods. Often, it involves missing meals entirely. For example, if you skip breakfast, you will have been fasting since your final meal the day before. Your first meal of the day would then be lunch, and you would be able to eat until your last meal of the day. 

An excellent example of intermittent fasting would be Muslims fasting during Ramadan. The rules for Ramadan are simple. First, you avoid all food during daylight hours. This means that Muslims will eat before sunrise and after sunset. 

Another form of intermittent fasting is the 5:2 diet. This is where you eat normally for five days and then eat sparingly for two days—dropping your daily calories for those two days significantly. 

Intermittent Fasting differs from most diets because it rarely tells you what to eat but instead restricts the periods where you eat. This makes the diet simple to follow, but it is easy to gain weight by accidentally binge eating during your non-fasting periods. 


Key Point: Intermittent fasting involves cycling periods of normal eating with periods of food abstinence.

Does Intermittent Fasting Improve Health?

It is easy to find many studies that support intermittent fasting as an effective tool for improving health. However, it rarely outperforms traditional dieting techniques.

For example, a 2014 study compared intermittent fasting (IF) to traditional calorie restriction (CR) [1]. It found that both IF and CR decreased body fat, fasting insulin, and insulin resistance, but that CR was more effective for fat loss.

What does this mean? You could argue that this study shows that intermittent fasting can help fight diabetes. But you could also say that it is no more effective than traditional dieting techniques. It could be less effective.

That’s just one study, and many studies have found differing results. The truth is that intermittent fasting is an effective diet for improving many health benefits, but that is only because it often leads to weight loss. If you follow a ketogenic diet, for example, and lose a similar amount of weight, you will gain the same health benefits.

Bottom Line: Intermittent fasting can improve health by creating a calorie deficit and helping you lose excess body fat


How Does IF Affect Testosterone?

Most studies on the effect of IF on testosterone levels show minor changes in production. However, a 1981 study found that fasting led to a significant drop in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels [2]. This is important because low FSH levels can lead to a decline in testosterone production [3].

However, a 1989 study found that men who had fasted for 56 hours saw a 180% increase in testosterone levels [4]. But, of course, this was just a one-off measurement after a particularly long fast and didn’t disprove the previous study!

In the long term, IF diets (like any other diet) should significantly reduce body fat. They can also lead to improved sleep quality and stress reduction. This will eventually lead to improved testosterone production in men with low levels. 


Key Point: Intermittent fasting can help reduce body fat, which can increase testosterone. But intermittent fasting does not directly affect testosterone production.


Intermittent fasting is an effective tool for improving your health and increasing testosterone. However, it is no more effective than traditional diets and does not offer anything that a calorie-controlled diet cannot.
If you feel that intermittent fasting may suit your lifestyle better than a traditional diet, it is a great idea to try it out. But, if you don’t like the idea of IF, you can get the same results following a diet that suits you better.