You’ve probably heard the news. Turmeric, the golden-yellow spice that adds color to mustard and packs a flavorful punch, is having a major moment in the fitness world. You see, it’s not just the bright color that makes this spice “shine.” In fact, besides being known for ironing out digestive issues and lowering the chances of depression, turmeric is also rumored to boost testosterone levels. But, is there any truth to this claim or is it just hype? Read on and find out whether turmeric needs to become part of your testosterone-boosting diet.
The Golden Oldie – The Need-to-Know
Carrying a very long history of medicinal use, turmeric derives from Curcuma longa, a perennial plant which is closely related to ginger. So, in a way, turmeric is ginger’s not-so-distant cousin. Even though various species of this plant are found worldwide, this plant is known to thrive in an environment with average temperatures (between 20 and 30o C) and enough rain.
Unlike most herbs, turmeric doesn’t come stem from the foliage of the plant but from the tuberous rhizomes that develop in the ground. Rocking a dull orange color, these tubes are not consumed as is but turned into a golden-yellow powder which we all know and love as turmeric.
While turmeric is home to various nutrients, the one that stands out from the crowd is curcumin (nope, no cumin reference here). To our surprise, curcumin features a series of uses, from serving as an excellent antioxidant and anticancer agent to reducing inflammation and viral/fungal infections. Even though scientists have managed to isolate this chemical compound from the herb about two centuries ago, we gotta admit: We still prefer curcumin as part of turmeric. The health benefits thanks to this dynamic duo are indeed plenty and extraordinary.
Chemical Composition of Turmeric
Truth be told, turmeric often doesn’t get the attention it deserves, at least on a nutritional level. This vibrant superfood contains various nutrients, all of which favor your health one way or the other. In fact, just 100 grams of turmeric contain 21 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of total fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 8 grams of protein, 69.9 grams of carbs and 2.500 mg of potassium. But, that’s not all. This aromatic superfood is also packed with other nutrients such as iron, vitamins B, and C as well as small amount of calcium and phosphorous. It’s not called a superfood for no reason!
Turmeric and Testosterone
Besides making our meals taste twice as good and look so much more appetizing, turmeric is also used to treat various ailments, especially an irritated stomach. However, these days people seem to focus more on turmeric’s other health benefits, exploring its medicinal properties a little deeper. One of these benefits refers to the male sex hormones, testosterone in particular. But, what does science have to say? Does turmeric increase testosterone levels?
Curcumin, Turmeric, and Testosterone
While curcumin is mostly known for its anti-inflammatory properties, one recent study shows that this chemical compound has much more to offer, especially when it comes to men. More specifically, the study focuses on the effects of curcumin on male fertility as well as the production of steroids in the male body. The findings of this study are pretty impressive, to say the least.
In fact, scientists conclude that curcumin can prevent the degenerative effect of certain substances such as gallic acid on a guy’s sperm count. At the same time, they discovered that curcumin could also increase the rate at which a man produces semen and, consequently, his testosterone levels.
But, this is just the beginning. Curcumin also serves as a potent anti-estrogenic, helping you increase your T levels even more. More specifically, curcumin reduces the production of estradiol which is the predominant form of estrogen. Estradiol usually derives from testosterone which is then converted into the popular estrogen. So, what curcumin does is reduce the rate at which testosterone is converted into estradiol, helping you maintain your T levels as high as possible.
Antioxidants, Turmeric, and Testosterone
Curcumin, the major component of turmeric, also serves as a potent antioxidant which is nothing but good news for your testosterone levels. More specifically, the antioxidants in turmeric tend to prevent cell damage (oxidation) which is usually mediated by free radicals and, as a result, they sustain the cells’ bioavailability. This way your body is free of toxins and can produce more testosterone.
Carbs, Turmeric and Testosterone
Much like fat, carbs are often demonized for adding extra weight. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Weight gain is not a matter of eating too many carbs or fats, but it’s a matter of consuming more calories than you actually need. With that in mind, experts conclude that it’s OK to consume carbs (even on a daily basis) as long as you don’t exceed the recommended daily calorie count.
Now that this is out of the way let’s see how carbs can actually help men produce more testosterone. According to one study, guys who regularly exercise but consume more protein than carbs tend to have lower testosterone levels than those who consume a balanced protein/carb ratio. In fact, the bigger the ratio, the lower the testosterone.
So, consuming enough carbs (and not banning them from your diet) is the optimal way to boost testosterone synthesis. Considering almost 70% of one turmeric serving consists of easily digestible carbs, this spice can definitely do the trick testosterone-wise.
HDL, Turmeric, and Testosterone
Even though HDL cholesterol conjures up images of obesity, research proves that this high-density lipoprotein is positively associated with testosterone, serving as a precursor for the male hormone. Meanwhile, curcumin is known to keep HDL levels at bay, helping you prevent various heart-related diseases. On that note, turmeric is an excellent way to not only shield your heart against diseases but also help you maintain healthy HDL levels and optimize testosterone production down the line.
The future looks promising for turmeric and its positive effect on testosterone. Of course, further research is necessary. But still, findings so far indicate that turmeric with a little help from its major component, curcumin, have what it takes to turn this spice into a potent natural testosterone booster.