Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and is responsible for the development of male characteristics like muscle mass, bone density, body hair growth, and sexual function. After age 30, testosterone levels begin to decline by about 1% per year. Many men look for natural ways to boost testosterone like diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. One popular food that is claimed to increase testosterone is garlic. But how much garlic do you need to eat to getresults? Let’s take a detailed look.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is an androgen hormone produced mainly in the testicles of men and the ovaries of women. However, small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands. It plays a vital role in:
- Growth and development of male sex organs
- Growth of body hair
- Bone and muscle growth
- Sperm production
- Sex drive and sexual function
- Red blood cell production
- Fat distribution
Testosterone levels peak during adolescence and early adulthood. After age 30, they drop by around 1% per year. Factors like obesity, certain medical conditions, medications, chronic stress, and lack of sleep can contribute to low testosterone.
Some common symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Reduced sex drive
- Difficulty getting or maintaining erections
- Low energy and fatigue
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Depression and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reduced bone density
If you have symptoms of low testosterone, get your levels tested. Normal total testosterone levels generally range from 300 to 1,000 ng/dL. Your doctor can diagnose if you need treatment to boost your testosterone.
Health Benefits of Garlic
Garlic is a common cooking ingredient known for its distinct flavor and aroma. This member of the onion family also offers many potential health benefits. Studies show that garlic may help:
- Boost immune function
- Reduce blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Fight infections
- Detoxify heavy metals in the body
The health effects of garlic are attributed to its biologically active sulfur compounds like allicin. Raw garlic contains the highest amounts of these compounds. Cooking garlic reduces their potency. Aged garlic supplements may provide higher concentrations of beneficial compounds compared to fresh cloves.
Can Garlic Increase Testosterone Levels?
Here’s a look at the evidence on garlic and testosterone:
Several rodent studies reveal garlic can boost testosterone:
– A study in mice given a high garlic diet for 8 weeks increased testosterone by over 200% compared to a standard diet. The garlic group also had significantly higher sperm counts.
– Male rats fed garlic cloves for 4 weeks doubled their serum testosterone compared to controls. Their testicular weight and sperm count also increased.
– Aged garlic extract given to male rats for 4 weeks increased testosterone levels and improved sperm parameters like count and motility.
The results suggest garlic may stimulate the release of testosterone and improve reproductive health in male animals.
However, evidence in humans is limited:
– In one small study, men with coronary artery disease took aged garlic extract tablets for 12 weeks. They experienced a slight but insignificant increase in testosterone levels. Larger studies are needed for conclusive evidence.
– A review of research found that garlic supplements improved endothelial function and blood flow in humans. This indicates potential for increasing testosterone production. But direct evidence is lacking.
Overall, human data on garlic raising testosterone is weak. More clinical trials are needed to confirm the results seen in animal studies.
How Does Garlic Increase Testosterone?
Researchers propose several mechanisms for garlic increasing testosterone:
1. Reducing Inflammation
Chronic inflammation hinders testosterone production. Garlic contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may lower inflammation. This can help eliminate factors suppressing testosterone.
2. Improving Blood Circulation
Garlic enhances nitric oxide levels which dilates blood vessels. Better blood flow to the testicles provides optimal nutrients and oxygen for testosterone synthesis.
3. Lowering Cortisol
Cortisol opposes testosterone production. Garlic has adaptogenic properties that lower stress and cortisol. This removes cortisol’s inhibitory effects on testosterone.
4. Reducing Toxic Metal Accumulation
Toxic metals like cadmium and lead interfere with testosterone activity. Garlic can chelate these metals and support normal hormone function.
So in theory, garlic has several mechanisms to potentially increase testosterone. But larger human studies are needed to validate these effects.
What is the Optimal Garlic Dosage to Boost Testosterone?
Based on the current research, the ideal garlic dosage for testosterone is unknown. However, the dosages used in the following studies may provide some insight:
– The mouse study that increased testosterone used a diet containing 2% garlic powder. For a 150 pound (70 kg) person, this equals about 10 grams of garlic powder per day.
– The aged garlic extract used in rat and human studies provided an equivalent of 2 to 5 grams of raw garlic per day.
– Standard doses of garlic supplements range from 600 mg to 1,200 mg of aged garlic extract. This equals about 2 to 5 grams of raw garlic.
– Most garlic supplements provide 4,000 mg to 10,000 mg of raw garlic per daily serving.
So, a reasonable garlic dosage for men aiming to increase testosterone seems to be around 4,000 to 5,000 mg, or 4 to 5 grams of raw garlic. This is equal to about 2 medium cloves of garlic.
Of course, the optimal amount can vary between individuals. Start with smaller doses and gradually increase over a few weeks to assess your tolerance.
Maximizing the Testosterone Benefits of Garlic
Follow these tips to get the most out of garlic for testosterone:
Consume Raw Garlic
Raw garlic contains the highest amounts of active compounds. Lightly crush fresh cloves and let them sit for 10 minutes before consuming to activate the beneficial enzymes.
Cook Garlic Minimally
Cooking reduces garlic’s potency. Add raw minced garlic at the end of cooking or use briefly sautéed garlic in recipes.
Supplement with Aged Garlic
Aged garlic extract provides concentrated and odorless garlic benefits. Look for supplements containing 1,200 mg to 1,500 mg aged garlic extract daily.
Pair Garlic with Vitamin C
Vitamin C boosts the absorption and bioavailability of garlic. Add garlic to tomato-based recipes or squeeze lemon over garlic cloves.
Avoid Garlic Breath
Garlic breath and body odor are common side effects. Use mint, green tea, lemon water, parsley, or apple cider vinegar as natural breath fresheners.
Start Slowly and Work Up
Excessive garlic intake can cause gut issues. Start with small doses like 1 garlic clove daily and gradually increase over 4 to 6 weeks.
Be patient as it may take at least 4 to 6 weeks of regular garlic consumption to notice any testosterone boosting benefits.
Potential Side Effects of Garlic
Garlic is considered safe for most people when used in normal food amounts. But higher doses may cause:
- Bad breath and body odor
- Heartburn, gas, nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea or irritable bowel
- Allergic reactions
- Bleeding problems
Avoid taking garlic supplements for more than a few months without medical supervision. Check with your doctor before taking it if you have any medical conditions or take medications, as garlic can interact with certain drugs.
Tell your doctor if you experience persistent digestive upset or bleeding after starting garlic supplements. Discontinue use if you develop any irritation or rash.
Some animal studies show promising results of garlic increasing testosterone levels and improving reproductive health. However, current human data is limited and inconclusive. A dosage of around 4,000 to 5,000 mg of raw garlic or 1,200 to 1,500 mg of aged garlic extract seems reasonable, but optimal amounts are unknown.
While garlic may potentially boost testosterone, it’s effects are likely to be modest. Don’t rely on garlic alone to correct clinically low testosterone. Instead, use garlic as a complementary natural treatment along with other lifestyle measures like strength training, proper sleep, and stress management.
Focus on developing healthy nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle habits long-term. Get your testosterone levels tested if you’re experiencing bothersome symptoms of low T. Your doctor can advise if you need medical treatment such as testosterone therapy. With a comprehensive approach, you can support healthy testosterone levels well into your older age.