While it’s a general consensus that a diet rich in high-quality meat is better for your testosterone levels than a strict vegetarian regimen, the importance of eating your greens tends to escape a lot of people.
Eating a steak a day isn’t going to turn you into Ron Swanson, despite what you may think.
Honestly, ensuring that you’re eating enough dark green leafy vegetables and whole unprocessed starches is pretty important too when it comes to boosting your testosterone.
Eating a protein-rich salad isn’t going to turn you into a rabbit.
On the contrary, a meal like that can make you feel harderbetterfasterstronger by helping out your testosterone production in the long term, thanks to certain key compounds known as the vitamin B complex.
When you think of vitamin B and testosterone, you’re probably thinking of a B12 shot or supplement that amps you up without jitters.
The truth is, there are eight B vitamins in total, and they all serve similar functions of releasing energy from foods into our body. B vitamins are water soluble, meaning they can be excreted through your urinary system quite easily, so there’s no real concern of overdose.
These essential vitamins provide all-around maintenance for your body, including your mental health.
B vitamins aren’t produced in your body, so you must ingest them through diet or supplementation. Leafy greens and whole, unprocessed foods are usually great sources for a range of B-complex vitamins, which is why they’re usually stressed when it comes to healthy eating.
The eight B vitamins are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, biotin (B7), vitamin B12, and folic acid.
Low levels of any of these vitamins can lead to anemia-like symptoms and general malnutrition.
What Does The Vitamin B-Complex Have To Do With Your T Levels?
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine:
Thiamine, like all B vitamins, is required daily in a steady dose by the human body to carry out proper function without sacrificing nutrition.
Thiamine serves especially important purposes in the neurological system.
The lack of thiamine can cause permanent cognitive damage in the long term, and affect focus, mental capacity, and neural health in the short term.
Testosterone, a steroid hormone, must bind to androgen receptors through the endocrine and adrenal systems, which are very closely linked to the neurological systems in the body. If neural function is impaired, the production and uptake of testosterone can be severely limited.
In addition to regulation neuron pathways, thiamine is necessary for the indirect upkeep of muscle mass. Thiamine deficiency can lead to a number of issues with muscular atrophy, which can also be attributed to low testosterone levels .
Low thiamine levels can also contribute to feelings of muscle fatigue and lack of motivation and focus.
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin:
Riboflavin presents itself in foods also containing other testosterone-boosting factors like bromelain . Riboflavin is one of the essential nutrients needed in testosterone production but also serves an interesting purpose in the inhibition of testosterone 5 alpha-reductase .
This enzyme converts testosterone into a more potent form of the androgen, known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). While this hormone is necessary for proper development and function in the male body, it can also lead to male pattern baldness and other unsavory issues down the road.
5 alpha-reductase inhibitors like riboflavin can be taken to prevent these issues . Riboflavin deficiency can lead to lethargy and fatigue as well, decreasing sex drive and general health.
Bananas are a great source of libido-boosting vitamin B2. This is easy to remember thanks to phallic symbolism.
Vitamin B3 – Niacin:
Niacin is a known booster of human growth hormone. It also produces the right kind of cholesterol that our body needs (high-density lipid or HDL).
Testosterone is actually formed from cholesterol, so it’s pretty straightforward to assume that niacin can definitely affect T production. Alongside increased testosterone levels, growth hormone production which is “turbocharged” by niacin, can lead to plenty anabolic muscle growth and a huge increase in muscle mass .
Niacin also acts as an antioxidant by binding free radicals and slowing aging processes.
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid:
Pantothenic acid is well known as a cure for acne.
This is due to its role as a fat metabolizer when bound to a sulfur-based molecule to create coenzyme A. Interestingly enough, B5 also serves as a cholesterol producer, which as mentioned above, is a necessary component of building testosterone.
Pantothenic acid plays a vital role in the adrenal system by helping the basis of sex- and stress-hormone production. It is also a key factor in the manufacture of red blood cells, which are the sites of oxygen uptake in our body .
Increased oxygen uptake contributes to better performance in training, which also spikes testosterone levels.
B6 is one of the B vitamins that play a more direct role when it comes to testosterone production. Vitamin B6 works to suppress the synthesis of estrogen in the body, which helps testosterone levels rise.
Vitamin B6 also works directly with the regulation of androgen production, which leads to increased T levels as well. B6 is also important for the production and transport of red blood cells.
A deficiency in vitamin B6 can lead to fatigue, loss of appetite, and decreased immunity .
Vitamin B7 – Biotin:
Studies have shown that biotin deficiency can lead to reduced testicular function in rats and that administered biotin treatments can reverse the issues that arise from low testosterone levels .
Biotin also improves the utilization of glucose in the body, which can reduce risks for obesity, a big detractor from high testosterone levels.
Also known as cobalamin, B12 is the ‘energy vitamin’ which is also known to raise testosterone levels dramatically as well as produce a spike in energy levels when injected. For this reason, it is a great nootropic and can be used for pre-workout benefits as well.
This vitamin derives energy in the body through the breakdown of dietary fats, so during a bulking period, it can lead to increased muscle anabolism and less fat production. A study has indicated that B12 can also have a positive effect on sperm motility and concentration, which is tied to testicular testosterone levels .
While generally regarded as a prenatal supplement, folic acid, or folate, can have a lot of beneficial effects for anabolic muscle processes.
Folic acid is essential for the synthesis and upkeep of new cells in the human body. It also acts to repair damaged musculature and promotes DNA and RNA synthesis. Folate is known to produce nitric oxide in the body, which a key physiological component in bulk training that helps increase muscle mass .
Increased muscle mass causes increased testosterone levels, so it’s not a big surprise that folic acid can really help to raise your testosterone, like the other B-complex vitamins.
How To Get Higher Levels of Vitamin B
Vitamins in the B-complex can work both individually and synergistically in order to maintain basic bodily function. As mentioned before, these vitamins must be taken dietarily, as they are not naturally produced by the human body.
If your diet leaves something to be desired in terms of B-complex content, a B-complex multivitamin, or specified B vitamin supplements can help.
Good food sources of thiamin include pork, lentils and nuts. Riboflavin can be found in dairy products and lean meats. Niacin-rich foods include pasta and legumes. Folic acid (as well as thiamin, vitamin B6, and riboflavin) is known for its presence in dark green leafy veggies like spinach, chard, and kale, as well as fortified grains and cereals.
Vitamin B6 can be found in poultry, seafood, and root vegetables. B12 is naturally found in shellfish but is also used to fortify grain and soy products. Biotin and pantothenic acid can be found in liver, egg yolk, salmon, and dairy, as well as some legumes and mushrooms .
Share your thoughts on B-vitamins and testosterone below.
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- Nordqvist C (2012-02-23). “What Is DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)? What Is DHT’s Role In Baldness?”. Medical News Today.
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- Moore, J. (2014, December 8). The Role of Vitamin B6 and B12 in Boosting Testosterone Levels. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://www.testosteroneboostersreview.com/research/vitamin-b6-b12/
- Paulose, C., Thliveris, J., Viswanathan, M., & Dakshinamurti, K. (1989). Testicular Function in Biotin-Deficient Adult Rats. Hormone and Metabolic Research Horm Metab Res, 21(12), 661-665.
- Jackson, D., & Stoppani, J. (n.d.). 10 Supps You Never Thought of. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://www.muscleandfitness.com/supplements/build-muscle/10-supps-you-never-thought/slide/3
- McAdams, M. (2015, January 27). Foods That Are High in B Vitamins. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/22253-foods-high-b-vitamins/
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