Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) has some incredible testosterone boosting properties and is one of the foods I add to my daily smoothie.
It’s also been credited with reducing LDL (bad cholesterol), raising HDL (good cholesterol), reducing DNA damage and increasing heart health, among many other things.
In this article, we will discuss exactly how EVOO interacts with your body to promote increased testosterone production.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Animal Studies
If you have read any of our other posts you know we are BIG on human case studies and for the most part, take case studies on animals with a grain of salt. This is because what works on animals, more often than not, does not translate to human biology.
That said, more specific tests can be done on rats and primates giving us a better understanding of what exactly may be going on in our bodies when we see the same intended benefit.
EVOO has been proven in human studies to increase testosterone so we will talk about that next but I feel it’s important to highlight some of the animal case studies as we can talk very specifically about how it seems to work.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Leydig Cells and Testosterone
40 Wistar rats were broken up into 4 groups, each receiving the same diet for 60 days, except for their fats, which came from a different commercial oil; grapeseed, soybean, olive and coconut oil.
Researchers discovered a correlation between the type of oil consumed and free radicals produced causing oxidative stress in the testicles, which is where, in a man, testosterone is made.
The rats which consumed grapeseed oil had the most oxidative stress. Grapeseed oil is also on our do not take list in large part because of its extremely high PUFA content.
However, the rats which consumed olive and coconut oil had the highest levels of testicular antioxidants. This resulted in less inflammation in the Leydig cells and not surprisingly, significantly higher testosterone levels! (1)
The researchers noted that olive oil and coconut oil also increase the activity of 2 crucial enzymes in the manufacturing of testosterone; 3-beta-HSD and 17-beta-HSD.
Coconut and olive oil help the Leydig cells absorb more cholesterol which is converted via the Leydig cells in the testicles, into testosterone.
The Leydig cells can also extract the cholesterol from its ester more easily, thus freeing it up. The more free cholesterol available to the cells, the more testosterone which can be produced.
Oleuropein Increases Testosterone
Rats were fed “oleuropein” which is a phenolic compound in extra virgin olive oil, for 28 days, after which testosterone, nitrogen and luteinizing hormone (LH) were measured.
Luteinizing hormone regulates testosterone production and the researchers found that both LH and testosterone were significantly increased in the rats fed oleuropein vs the control group. (2)
Oleuropein is only found in olives and olive oil and this study suggests a direct correlation between oleuropein and increased T production.
Olive Oil Increases Testosterone In Human Case Study
In a recent case study, extra virgin olive oil was given to males between the ages of 23 – 40 to test hormone profile changes. Testosterone levels increased by 17.4% and luteinizing hormone a whopping 42.6%!
What’s really interesting to me is how little they actually needed to consume to get the T increasing benefit. The men were only given 25 ml a day or about 1.6 tablespoons for 3 weeks. (3)
While no human male, is going to volunteer one of his testicle’s for dissection after a few weeks of supplementing with extra virgin olive oil, as was done on the rats; it’s clear between seeing exactly how EVOO effects leydig cells and LH production in rats, along with the solid backing of a human case study that olive oil raises testosterone.
Supplementing With Extra Virgin Olive Oil
You would think this is pretty straight forward. Put a bit of extra EVOO on your food, take a tablespoon or 2 with your smoothie, etc. etc…
Well it is… and it isn’t.
True unfiltered extra virgin olive oil is actually hard to find and just because the label says it is, may not mean a whole lot.
Between 2008 – 20010 studies at the University of California Davis raised concerns about the purity and adulteration in several commercial brands of EVOO.
“our findings indicate that the quality level of the largest imported brand names is inconsistent at best, and that most of the top-selling olive oil brands we examined regularly failed to meet international standards for extra virgin olive oil.” (4)
It seems as though “cutting” EVOO with cheaper vegetable oils has caught on in the 700 million dollar a year industry. In fact, some of the biggest most trusted names were found to be doing this. (5)
In addition to this, there are concerns over chemicals in plastic bottles such as BPA which is a testosterone killer.
If you do not know the manufacturer of your extra virgin olive oil (dedicated local olive oil shops are sprouting up all around the country) I recommend you only buy EVOO with the COOC seal which you can read more about here: https://www.cooc.com/about-the-seal/
Also ensure you are getting your EVOO in a dark glass container to avoid plastic chemicals leaching in as well as sunlight exposure which will shorten your oil’s shelf life.
Unprocessed, unfiltered, cold-pressed is also best.
Supplementing with Oleuropein
I recommend you stick with olive oil rather than taking an oleuropein or olive leaf extract supplement. It’s pretty easy to find ways to get 1 – 2 tablespoons down each day and EVOO comes with a tremendous amount of benefits outside of just the compound oleuropein.
We also do not know for sure if supplementing with oleuropein alone will raise testosterone in a human, as the only study done so far was with rats.
- Dietary lipids modify redox homeostasis and steroidogenic status in rat testis. Graciela E. Hurtado de Catalfo, María J. T. de Alaniz, Carlos Alberto Marra – Link
- Oleuropein supplementation increases urinary noradrenaline and testicular testosterone levels and decreases plasma corticosterone level in rats fed high-protein diet. Oi-Kano Y, Kawada T, Watanabe T, Koyama F, Watanabe K, Senbongi R, Iwai K. – Link
- Effect of argan and olive oil consumption on the hormonal profile of androgens among healthy adult Moroccan men. Derouiche A, Jafri A, Driouch I, El Khasmi M, Adlouni A, Benajiba N, Bamou Y, Saile R, Benouhoud M. – Link
- Evaluation of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Sold in California April 2011 olivecenter.ucdavis.edu: Frankel, E. N.; Mailer, R. J.; Wang, S. C.; Shoemaker, C. F.; Guinard, J.-X.; Flynn, J. D.; Sturzenberger, N. D. – Link
- Which Olive Oil to Buy. The Olive Oil Fraud. – Link