Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strict Diets Decrease Testosterone Drastically?

Over at Muscular Development is a new article that has some interesting points (this article is directed towards males, as it focuses on testosterone levels):
  • Resistance training while dehydrated can increase cortisol and decrease testosterone response
  • Severe dieting, where calorie intake is highly restricted, causes testosterone levels to plummet, interfering with the body's natural negative feedback loop of testosterone regulation, even when protein intake is considered high and anaerobic training is included
  • That athletes, fitness professionals, and likely anyone training to just lose weight and improve their physique, should reconsider their nutrition if they are experiencing symptoms of testosterone deficiency
What are symptoms of testosterone deficiency? Here are some:
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Loss of strength and/or muscle mass
  • Diminished work capacity
  • Etc.
Normally, resistance (aka anaerobic) training results in increased serum testosterone, as does a diet that provides sufficient nutrition, mainly lean proteins for the basic building blocks of muscle (amino acids), fats for the production of hormones (surprise! cholesterol is vital for sex hormone production in both men and women), and carbohydrates for fueling exercise (though protein and fats can provoke an insulin response, nothing does it better than good old glucose). Yes, I know this is a simplification and I may be wrong about some technical particulars.

This article has me rethinking my decision to start intermittent fasting. Sure, IF can assist in weight loss and there are potential benefits in regards to insulin resistance and hormone balance, and while I do not seem to be exhibiting the symptoms of testosterone deficiency right now, I was diagnosed with low testosterone recently (around the middle of last year). I am wondering if I might be making things potentially worse for myself by fasting. Weight training can decrease insulin resistance, so am I really doing myself a favor by combining them?

Being that I'm still working on figuring out my own testosterone issues, choosing to do IF right now might be muddying up the waters. My calories are really not as restricted as the wrestlers mentioned in that article, but mine might be low enough to eventually cause issues.

I think I'll do some calorie counting, just to see what my intake is.

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