Testosterone is the main androgen or sex hormone found in men and an incredibly active hormone found in women. Testosterone affects everything from exercise recovery time, body composition, mood, as well as cognitive function and processing. Testosterone levels naturally decline as we age, especially after age 30. Fortunately, there are many ways to naturally increase testosterone levels, through exercise, changes in dietary habits, and as well as making health lifestyle changes. Believe it or not, studies suggest that a correlation exists between testosterone levels and onions. Yes, onions. We’re going to talk more about what the research says, about how onions can naturally boost testosterone levels.
What Is Testosterone
Testosterone is an androgenic steroid hormone, that is responsible for libido, potency, and energy levels. It also plays important roles in mood, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and the production of red blood cells and sperm.
Does Onion Boost Testosterone
Several studies have shown that onions, can in fact, boost testosterone levels. This is achieved though several possible mechanisms, from the nutritional content and bioactive compounds.
The first is due to the presence of cysteine sulfoxides.
Cysteine sulfoxides are odorless, non-protein sulfur amino acids typically found in members of the family Alliaceae. The Allium family contains more than just onions. The Allium family includes garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, and chives. This family is high in sulfuric compounds, which give them their distinct pungency. Other findings suggest that onion extract containing concentrated cysteine sulfoxides alleviates stress, improves the quality of sleep and promotes smooth transition into sleep [R].
Poor quality sleep and stress are two major factors, that can negatively impact testosterone levels.
These mechanistic aspects of cysteine sulfoxides could explain, in part, how onions can increase or have an effect on testosterone levels.
Onions exhibit a positive effect on luteinizing hormone and Leydig cells. In men, testosterone is mainly synthesized in Leydig cells [R]. The function and the number of Leydig cells in the testes is regulated primarily by luteinizing hormone and secondarily by follicle-stimulating hormone.
Accumulation of reactive oxygen species, otherwise known as free radicals, and the formation of oxidative stress has been found to significantly reduce the function of cells. Increased free radicals, may increase oxidative stress and damage, in testicular Leydig cells may reduce the synthesis of testosterone. Onions contain several potent antioxidant molecules such as quercetin and quercetin glucosides, thiosulfinates, and anthocyanins [R].
Animal studies have shown that antioxidants found in onions, specifically quercetin, significantly increased levels of testosterone in oxidative damaged cells.
Onions also exhibit hypoglycemic effects, with also have a positive effect on testosterone production, particularly in diabetic conditions [R].
Should You Eat Raw Onion To Increase Testosterone Levels
While there is some evidence that onion juice, and it’s bioactive compounds may elicit changes in testosterone levels, there is no strong evidence that consuming onions in large amounts, will increase testosterone.
To induce substantial positive changes on testosterone, healthy lifestyle factors, such as exercising, improving sleep, healthy nutrition, stress management, and supplementation should be considered first.
Do Onions Boost Testosterone: Takeaway
While there is some evidence that shows onions can boost testosterone levels, further research is needed to verify results in human clinical trials.
Onions can enhance testosterone production through several different mechanisms and etiologies, mainly by enhancing the production of luteinizing hormone, neutralizing the damaging effects of the free radicals, ameliorating insulin resistance, promoting nitric oxide production in Leydig cells, and altering the activity of 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase.
Although eating onions at the concentration needed to exhibit a change in testosterone, is vast, adding more onions to your diet, can add a great deal of health benefits, supporting heart health, improving digestion, reducing inflammation, and boosting immune function.
So, the next time you’re getting prepped for dinner, add a few slices of onion to your salad, or burger. Purple, golden, whatever type your heart desires. Eating a healthy diet with essential nutrients, and healthy fats is crucial in reducing stress, and obtaining quality sleep to further support healthy testosterone levels.