Cholesterol has garnered an unfortunate reputation over the last couple of decades; one that’s built on misunderstandings, misinformation, and little to no scientific evidence. It’s been demonized as the cause of blocked arteries everywhere and as a result, doctors have been telling men that if we want to be at our healthiest, we need to cut the cholesterol out of our diets ASAP.
But there’s been an interesting trend in manliness since cholesterol received a scarlet letter. With the decline of dietary cholesterol in the diets of men all over the world, a slippery slide in testosterone levels has followed. Men are lower in our male sex hormone than we have been at any other point in human history. So is there a connection between cholesterol and testosterone that needs to be brought to the surface? Will eating more cholesterol bring back the testosterone levels that men so desperately need in order to live our most fulfilled lives?
Let’s take a look.
Cholesterol And Testosterone
First off, cholesterol is a lipid molecule that’s found in many places within your body, and it’s essential for life. IN fact, cholesterol is so important that if you aren’t getting enough cholesterol from your diet, your liver will begin to synthesize it on its own in order to keep you alive.
Cholesterol is active in all of your cells and is especially dense in the membrane where it gives your cells the ability to send messages between each other so that your body can properly function. Cholesterol is also found in high amounts in your brain and is essential for all of the complex processes that take place up there.
And on top of all that, cholesterol is a precursor for all of your sex hormones, including the very hormone that makes you a man, biologically – testosterone. The cholesterol and testosterone connection takes place in the final phase of testosterone synthesis when luteinizing hormone (LH) triggers testicular Leydig cells to convert cholesterol into testosterone inside of your ball sack.
Cholesterol is essentially an infant form of testosterone. And may studies have drawn a direct correlation between cholesterol and testosterone.
- One year-long study involving over 4,000 men, studied the correlation between HDL cholesterol and testosterone levels simply by measuring the two (HDL cholesterol, testosterone) within this large sample size. The research confirmed that men who had higher levels of HDL cholesterol also had higher levels of testosterone.
- Another study recorded in Endocrine Abstracts sampled 293 men with Type II Diabetes also drew a direct link between HDL cholesterol and testosterone levels, indicating that the lower HDL was, the lower testosterone was, while the inverse was true as well.
- Showing the adverse effects of a diet low in cholesterol and testosterone levels, this study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, tested the effects of low-fat diets on testosterone levels in men. They discovered that after 8 weeks of a low fat diet, subjects saw a reduction in testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (the most potent form of T).
So the evidence is in. There is a direct connection between cholesterol and testosterone.
The more HDL cholesterol you consume, the higher your testosterone levels will be. The less HDL cholesterol you consume, the lower your testosterone levels will be.
But what about LDL cholesterol?
Is LDL cholesterol bad for your testosterone while HDL cholesterol is good for it?
LDL Cholesterol vs. HDL Cholesterol
LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) and HDL cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) have been pinned against each other like two boxers standing at the opposite end of the ring from one another. But is their relationship really at odds?
Here’s the deal, the “cholesterol” part of HDL and LDL isn’t the dangerous part of the conversation, here. Lipoprotein is.
There are two types of lipoprotein: large and small density. The larger LDL particles are now thought to have little or no significant role in heart disease like the Honey Nut Cherrios Bee tried to convince us all long ago. On the other hand, the smaller, dense LDL particles are the ones believed to be most involved in the process of inflammation that begins the cascade of heart issues. But it’s not a diet high in fat and cholesterol that causes this to happen. It’s actually a diet high in simple carbs that most readily promotes the formation of these small LDL particles. Unfortunately, this important distinction is something that most doctors miss. From this we can gather that the number of small particle LDL might be the most important reading in any cholesterol test. Because of this, a total cholesterol of, say, 230 or even 250 might not be dangerous at all if your HDL is high and your small particle LDL is low.
So in the end, cholesterol is cholesterol, however, HDL cholesterol doesn’t run the risk of containing small, dense LDL particles that can cause heart issues.
So what should you do to be on the safe side?
Eat plenty of foods with HDL cholesterol.
Eggs, Cholesterol And Testosterone
If you’re looking to increase your testosterone levels on a daily basis, look no further than the classic whole egg.
Eggs are one of the most diverse foods that you can eat to improve your testosterone levels, simply because they’re easy to make, you can add them to just about any meal (on their own, with steak, hard-boiled in a salad, etc.) and they’re delicious no matter what other foods you combine them with.
And of course, they have plenty of HDL cholesterol that will boost your testosterone levels overnight (literally).
In a great post by Brett from of the Art of Manliness site, he conducted a personal 90-day case study in which he ate a few whole eggs every single day to increase his cholesterol levels. He had his testosterone levels measured before and after the 90-days to see if there truly was a correlation between cholesterol and testosterone.
His testosterone levels improved greatly, and his cholesterol levels stayed within a healthy range. The increase in HDL cholesterol in eggs only benefited his testosterone levels, and didn’t harm his cholesterol levels on bit.
Eggs are also loaded with saturated fat, which is the most important fat for increasing testosterone levels.
Cholesterol may have a bad reputation, but you can’t believe everything you hear. The science is clear that cholesterol is essential for men to achieve optimal hormonal balance.
In other words, you need to eat more cholesterol if you’re going to thrive as a man.
Don’t miss out on the cholesterol and testosterone connection.
For more foods and simple lifestyle changes that’ll increase your testosterone levels and enhance your life, check out my free book, The Man Diet.