Ask The Trainer #148 – Gluten and Testosterone

Ask The Trainer #148 - Gluten and Testosterone

QUESTION:

I have somewhat of a strange question. I’m not allergic to gluten or anything, but I’ve read that it might be advantageous in raising testosterone levels to exclude gluten from the diet. When you look at gluten-free foods at the grocery store, they are like triple the cost of the gluten-containing versions of whatever that food is. I was wondering if the benefits of a gluten-free diet would even be worth it?

Rick


ANSWER:

Hi Rick. Not a strange question at all. It’s actually a very good question considering the fact the popularity of gluten-free diets has been sky-rocketing. Even the tiny supermarket in the small town I live in now has an entire aisle reserved for gluten-free food products.

You probably understand that gluten is a protein found in wheat and other types of grains. It is the protein that’s responsible for giving bread it’s chewy texture. Gluten is composed of two proteins, which are known as gliadin and glutenin. Often times you’ll see gluten added to processed foods like cereals and energy bars to boost the protein content of that food.

Hidden Gluten

Aside from bread, crackers, cakes, cookies, pastries, pasta, and cereals, many food manufacturers will sneak gluten into inconspicuous food substances like dressings, marinades, sauces, and condiments. This is why it’s critical for gluten sensitive people to carefully read food labels of all foods products that they’re considering buying. Since everyone’s body chemistry is different and will possess varying degrees of gluten sensitivity,  it is tricky to know just how much of an effect excluding gluten from your diet would have on your testosterone levels.

Gluten and Hormones

However, the evidence demonstrating the hormone-disrupting properties of gluten can’t be ignored. For example, there are numerous studies that show gluten does increase prolactin levels in the body. People who are privy to endocrinology understand that prolactin is a man’s worst enemy when it comes to testosterone. Study after study shows that as prolactin levels go up, testosterone levels will simultaneously go down.

Moreover, gluten is notorious for disrupting pathways leading to hormone production in the body. It does this by blocking the assimilation of many key nutrients our bodies require for proper hormone synthesis. For example, vitamin C, vitamin D, folate, and zinc, just to name a few.


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Cytokines

Research shows adopting a gluten-free lifestyle positively impacts testosterone levels in many cases. Researchers believe this benefit is the result of reduced inflammatory cytokines. This occurs after an individual eliminates gluten from their diet for a certain time period.

That said, the best way to determine how much a gluten-free diet would benefit you personally would be to simply eliminate gluten from your diet for a few weeks and see how you feel. I personally have excluded gluten from my diet for various reasons. It is a bit of an adjustment in the beginning. But, just like anything else you do consistently, the longer you stick to it, the easier it is to follow. Especially if what you’re doing makes you feel better!

Avoiding Gluten

The best way to circumvent the high costs of gluten-free processed foods is to simply avoid processed foods altogether. Instead, focus on consuming primarily fresh meats, eggs, fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, potatoes, squash, and yams.

Also, be selective if you purchase supplements. Because I happen to be a perpetual consumer of supplements, I’m thrilled that EFX Sports offers a number of premium quality supplements that are 100% gluten-free! This takes the guesswork out of spending countless hours researching a million different brands, trying to determine which products are free of gluten and which ones are not.

I wish you all the best of success with your future health and fitness goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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