The more fat you eat, the more testosterone your body produces. More fat, more testosterone. The best source of testosterone boosting fat, Argentinean researchers concluded after a study on rats, is olive oil.
Olive oil helps the testes to absorb more cholesterol.
The researchers, working at the Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquimicas de La Plata, did an experiment with male rats. For sixty days, the rats were given feed to which seventy grams of soya oil [S], olive oil [O], coconut oil [C] or grapeseed oil [G] per kilogram had been added. At the end of the period the researchers measured how much testosterone the animals were producing. The figure below shows that coconut oil and olive oil were the best testosterone boosters.
The testes of the rats that had had olive oil added to their feed were also heavier. Because the grapeseed oil diet produced the same results as the soya oil diet, we have left that column out of the table below.
The Argentineans described how this happens in anotther publication. Olive oil and coconut oil increase the activity of the 3-beta-HSD and 17-beta-HSD enzymes. These are involved in the manufacture of testosterone. Olive oil and coconut oil also raise the concentration of the body’s own antioxidants in the Leydig cells, which produce testosterone. In this study, the researchers went a step further. They found a relationship between the diet, the amount of free cholesterol in the Leydig cells and the testosterone level.
The Leydig cells make testosterone from cholesterol. A diet that is rich in coconut oil or olive oil apparently helps the cells to absorb more cholesterol. The cells are also more able to extract the cholesterol from its ester. The more free cholesterol a Leydig cell has available, and the less estered cholesterol there is in a cell, the higher the rate of testosterone production.
So natural athletes could optimise their testosterone production by making olive oil their main source of fat. Maybe this strategy works even better if you also add some cranberries to your diet. Cranberries, although they not raise testosterone production by themselves, [Br J Nutr. 2010 Oct;104(8):1181-9.] increase the uptake of cholesterol by the testes.
Influence of Commercial Dietary Oils on Lipid Composition and Testosterone Production in Interstitial Cells Isolated from Rat Testis
The aim of this study was to examine the influence of dietary fat on lipid composition, as well as on the steroidogenic function of interstitial cells isolated from Wistar rats that had been fed semi-synthetic diets containing four different commercial oils (S soybean, O olive, C coconut, and G grape seed). Steroidogenic enzyme activities, lipid composition, and androgen production were measured in testicular interstitial cells. Lipid analysis included measurement of the contents of major lipid subclasses (neutral lipids, polar lipids, free and esterified cholesterol), as well as principal polar and neutral lipid fatty acyl compositions. Significant differences in lipid composition were observed among the groups, most of them reflecting the specific fatty acyl composition of the diet tested. Testosterone concentration was higher in O and C groups compared with S or G. In agreement with this observation, the activity of both key enzymes involved in testosterone biosynthesis (3-?-HSD and 17-?-HSD) was higher in O and C groups with significant differences between them (O > C). A significant negative correlation was found between cellular testosterone production and cellular cholesterol ester content. Additionally, testosterone concentration directly correlated with cholesterol levels. We conclude that dietary oils qualitatively and quantitatively modified the lipid composition of interstitial cells, producing either a direct or indirect regulatory effect on testicular steroidogenic function.