Turmeric, and it’s most popular polyphenol “curcumin” is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
It has been credited with increasing testosterone, fighting cancer, lowering inflammation, breaking down LDL (bad cholesterol), improving joint function and even slowing down the aging process.
It’s one of the featured ingredients in our Testosterone Boosting Smoothie Recipe, and personally I cook with it a few times a week as I absolutely love Indian food.
While discussing all of the incredible health benefits of turmeric is out of the scope of this article, I will discuss the different mechanisms by which it will help boost your T.
Before we get started it is important to point out that Turmeric has a lot of great health properties to it outside of curcumin. However, curcumin appears to be the major driver and primary driver behind all of the benefits seen to date.
Curcumin is also what gives turmeric its vibrant yellow color and if you buy powered, instead of fresh, the more vibrant the color the more curcumin is within.
6 Ways Turmeric Increases Testosterone
- Blocks estrogen on a cellular level
- Increases the processing of cholesterol in the liver
- Activates vitamin D receptors
- Accelerates fat loss
- Promotes healthy testicular leydig cell functionality
- Improves insulin sensitivity
Turmeric Blocks Estrogen
A recent in vitro study showed that curcumin suppresses the proliferation of endometrial cells by reducing estradiol production. In plain english, curcumin can directly block estrogen. (1)
It also helps improve liver function and your liver produces bile which is responsible for ridding the body of toxic and excess estrogen via a process called conjugation. (2)
While a man’s body needs a certain amount of estrogen, typically speaking you want to keep it as low as possible within a healthy range as estrogen can take up your testosterone receptors.
Curcumin will help keep your estrogen on the lower end of the healthy spectrum thus increasing your testosterone.
Turmeric Increases Cholesterol Processing
Human case studies prove supplementing with Turmeric can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and total serum cholesterol, while increasing HDL (good cholesterol). (3)
In one case study involving 75 patients, curcumin supplementation of just 45 mg per day was actually shown to have the greatest impact in the cholesterol profile. However, triglyceride (a type of fat in your blood) content was improved the most with a more moderate dose of 90 mg per day. (4)
Another study involving 10 healthy human volunteers which were given 500 mg of curcumin for 7 days showed a 33% reduction in serum lipid peroxides and an 11.63% decrease in total serum cholesterol levels. At the same time HDL cholesterol positively increased by 29%! (5)
Testosterone is a 19-carbon steroid hormone made from cholesterol so having a great cholesterol profile is crucial to maximizing your T levels.
Turmeric Activates Vitamin D Receptors
Keeping your Vitamin D levels high is crucial to healthy Testosterone levels as numerous studies have shown a direct correlation to Vitamin D supplementation and increased T.
However, it’s not just about how much Vitamin D you take but how much is actually absorbed. Studies have shown curcumin can actually activate the Vitamin D Receptor (VDR) and positively activate genes such as CYP3A4 which can directly impact your testosterone. (6)
Turmeric Accelerates Fat Loss
A recent study on mice showed that curcumin turmeric prevents fat cell differentiation (adipogenesis), a process which allows fat to be stored and even killed fat cells (apoptosis).
It also reduced the formation of fat cells by preventing angiogenesis, a process which entails the formation of new blood vessels from preexisting vessels and is required to support new fat tissues. (7)
Of course studies on rodents do not always correlate to the same outcomes in humans and that is why we focus so much on human case studies.
A recent human study involving 44 people showed increased fat loss, increased waist line reduction and enhanced reduction of Body Mass Index (BMI). (8)
Body fat actually locks up your testosterone so by lowering your BMI you can free your T to do what it’s meant to do.
Turmeric Promotes Healthy Testicular Leydig Cell Functionality
Chronic inflammation can have a devastating effect on your T. Testosterone is produced in the Leydig Cells in your testicles and inflammation causes a suppression of Leydig cell steroidogenesis. (9)
Steroidogenesis, is the processes by which cholesterol is converted to biologically active steroid hormones aka testosterone.
In a human case study involving 367 people, turmeric was shown to be as powerful as ibuprofen in fighting inflammation but without the negative side effects. (10)
Turmeric Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin resistance decreases Leydig Cell testosterone production (11), which is why diabetics and people who struggle with hypoglycemia, often struggle with healthy T levels.
Curcumin can reduce your blood glucose level by reducing hepatic glucose production. (12)
By improving your insulin sensitivity, you improve your insulin resistance and therefore can increase your testosterone.
Curcumin Absorption Increased with Black Pepper
It is important to note that curcumin is not naturally absorb well by your body. However, a recent study showed black pepper can increase curcumin (turmeric) absorption by upwards of 2,000%. (13)
How Much Turmeric Should You Take?
If you are taking a curcumin supplement, the recommended dose is usually around 500 – 1,000 mg per day.
If you are ingesting turmeric powder (see my Testosterone Boosting Smoothie recipe) there is roughly 200 mg of curcumin in 1 teaspoon of powder. So you would want to take about 3 teaspoons a day on average.
- Curcumin inhibits endometriosis endometrial cells by reducing estradiol production Ying Zhang, M.D., Hong Cao, M.D., Zheng Yu, M.D., Hai-Ying Peng, M.D., and Chang-jun Zhang, M.D. – Link
- Estrogen Metabolism by Conjugation. Rebecca Raftogianis, Cyrus Creveling, Richard Weinshilboum, Judith Weisz – Link
- Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials Subash C. Gupta, Sridevi Patchva, and Bharat B. Aggarwal – Link
- The effect of curcumin on lipid level in patients with acute coronary syndrome. Alwi I, Santoso T, Suyono S, Sutrisna B, Suyatna FD, Kresno SB, Ernie S. – Link
- Effect of oral curcumin administration on serum peroxides and cholesterol levels in human volunteers. Soni KB, Kuttan R. – Link
- Curcumin: A Novel Nutritionally-Derived Ligand of the Vitamin D Receptor with Implications for Colon Cancer Chemoprevention Leonid Bartik, G. Kerr Whitfield, Magdalena Kaczmarska, Christine L. Lowmiller, Eric W. Moffet, Julie K. Furmick, Zachary Hernandez, Carol A. Haussler, Mark R. Haussler and Peter W. Jurutka – Link
- Curcumin inhibits adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and angiogenesis and obesity in C57/BL mice. Ejaz A, Wu D, Kwan P, Meydani M. – Link
- Potential role of bioavailable curcumin in weight loss and omental adipose tissue decrease: preliminary data of a randomized, controlled trial in overweight people with metabolic syndrome. Preliminary study. Di Pierro F, Bressan A, Ranaldi D, Rapacioli G, Giacomelli L, Bertuccioli A. – Link
- Dose-dependent effects of recombinant human interleukin-6 on the pituitary-testicular axis. Tsigos C, Papanicolaou DA, Kyrou I, Raptis SA, Chrousos GP. – Link
- Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study. Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P, Taechaarpornkul W, Buntragulpoontawee M, Lukkanapichonchut P, Chootip C, Saengsuwan J, Tantayakom K, Laongpech S. – Link
- Increasing Insulin Resistance Is Associated with a Decrease in Leydig Cell Testosterone Secretion in Men. Nelly Pitteloud, Megan Hardin, Andrew A. Dwyer, Elena Valassi, Maria Yialamas, Dariush Elahi, Frances J. Hayes – Link
- Anti-Hyperglycemic and Insulin Sensitizer Effects of Turmeric and Its Principle Constituent Curcumin. Zeinab Ghorbani, Azita Hekmatdoost and Parvin Mirmiran – Link
- Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. – Link