Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone: Does IF Increase Test Levels Naturally?

I often get asked what was the big thing that boosted my testosterone levels the most during this 4-5 year journey of natural hormone optimization.

And even though there has been a lot of factors in play, I still believe that the biggest increase was due to the fact that I started following a pattern of intermittent fasting. I think it was at the beginning of 2013 when I was in army that I found out about IF. I briefly remember that I was laying in my bunk watching videos on Youtube

Somehow I stumbled upon this video made by these guys, the Hodge twins:

So I watched the video and I was intrigued by the fact that those guys fasted for 16-20 hours daily, and still packed on muscle mass…

But then the inner skeptic in me woke up, and I started thinking about things like: “Hey wait a minute! I will go into starvation mode and lose all my muscle, this can’t work, this is just some bullshit!”

But luckily I didn’t forget the idea. Instead I Googled some terms like “intermittent fasting and starvation mode”, “intermittent fasting and muscle loss”, “studies about intermittent fasting” etc…

It didn’t take long until I found two of the best resources online about intermittent fasting:

1. Martin Berkhan’s

2. Brad Pilon’s

I first started reading all the information I could process from the website, and boy was it fascinating, as Martin Berkhan clearly stated all the studies about how fasting didn’t trigger any mythical “starvation mode” and how there really was no correlation with short term fasting and muscle loss (here’s more about that).

After I was done with Lean Gains, I got Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat e-book. From there I found a study which showed that a short term fasts of 24 hours induced growth hormone levels by a staggering 2000% in humans.

I was sold. Those two guys literally changed my life, because without intermittent fasting, I honestly believe that I would still be eating those lousy six small meals a day, being neurotic about how my muscles would otherwise melt away.

What is Intermittent Fasting

what is intermittent fastingIn short, intermittent fasting means that you’re abstaining from calories for a brief amount of time.

During this time of calorific abstinence you can drink water and basically everything with no calories in it.

The Lean Gains pattern designed by Martin Berkhan, uses a fasting window of 16 hours, after that comes the eating window where you consume all your daily calories in the time span of 8 hours. This process is repeated daily.

The Eat Stop Eat pattern by Brad Pilon, uses a bit different approach. You fast for a full 24 hours 1 or 2 times a week.

Then there’s also the lazy man’s method, where you just skip breakfast and start eating around at lunch.

Basically you’re just simulating the eating patterns of a primal human. Eating patterns of which truly suit the human body.

Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone

intermittent fasting testosteroneNow that you have a clue what I’m talking about when I say intermittent fasting, let’s see the real reason why I follow it.

The reason is of course the big T.

You see intermittent fasting is really a great”trick” to increase testosterone levels.

Don’t believe me?

Then check out these facts:

1. It’s a well researched fact that every time you eat something, your testosterone levels will acutely plummet (it doesn’t matter if it’s only fat, only carbs, or only protein). Thus eating breakfast and multiple small meals throughout the day would only plummet your testosterone levels with every meal. When doing IF you’ll consume your calories in a shorter window, which means that you’re not negatively altering your hormones throughout the whole day.

2. In this study the researchers noted that in non-obese healthy single men, short ramadan fast was enough to increase serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels by a staggering 67% (LH is the direct precursor hormone of testosterone).

3. In the same study those healthy non-obese single guys noted an amazing 180% increase in testosterone utilization, just from short period of fasting. Meaning that intermittent fasting will have instant effect on your testosterone levels.

4. In this human study, the researchers saw that after 24 hours of consuming no calories, growth hormone levels were elevated 2000% from the baseline. Growth hormone rises in correlation with testosterone and is highly anabolic. Meaning that the result of this study is nothing short of amazing.

5. Intermittent fasting is by far the wasiest way to burn body fat (12 hours in fasted state and your enzymes will shift to burning body fat as fuel). The lower your body fat, the higher your testosterone. (providing that you’re a man of course).

6. Fasting induces autophagy, which is the process where your cells remove toxins and estrogenic chemicals from them. Obviously getting rid of xeno-estrogenic toxins is pro-testosterone.

7. Fasting down regulates leptin, and decreased leptin will stimulate testosterone secretion.

Basically what we can draw from those studies is the fact that intermittent fasting increases testosterone and it stimulates all the right hormones that support healthy testosterone production, while suppressing the hormones that interfere with testosterone production.

In other words, if you’re a man, intermittent fasting just may be the best kind of way to eat for hormonal health. My personal experiences with fasting and what it has done to my T levels, have made me a lifelong participant in the habit.


This post is too short for you to fully understand the core of intermittent fasting. That’s why I recommend that you get yourself a copy of Eat Stop Eat or read Martin Berkhan’s website from top to bottom for full understanding of the subject.

But at least now you know that intermittent fasting is one of the best tools you could use to increase your natural testosterone production.

If you are looking for a natural supplement to boost your testosterone, I would recommend TESTRO-X. 

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Intermittent Fasting and Testosterone: Does IF Increase Test Levels Naturally? was last modified: July 13th, 2017 by Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men, and an Independent Researcher that has been credited with organizing the findings that have helped thousands of men reach hormonal balance.
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  1. Fonzie on 22/06/2014 at 19:10

    Great article, starting IF tomorrow, btw, I’ll probably get my shipment of MSM and Zeolite tomorrow, does taking them in the morning disrupt the fasted state? Thanks

    • Ali Kuoppala on 02/07/2014 at 23:12

      Anything that’s below 20-30 kcals won’t break the fast. I’m not sure how much calories there’s in zeolite and MSM but I think it won’t go over 20-30 if you stick with moderately normal amounts of the stuff 😀

  2. joshua gorski on 23/06/2014 at 05:45

    Hey Ali, have you done any research on the effects of intermittent fasting on individuals with adrenal fatigue? After reading the post on adrenal fatigue I realized how much that sounded like me, and went to the doctor only to be diagnosed with it, and now I have actually read that you want to eat a large protein rich breakfast, but I also want all the benefits fasting provides. I’m stuck here man

    • Ali Kuoppala on 02/07/2014 at 23:11

      IF helps with fasting, read my article on adrenal fatigue to learn more, there’s a quote about IF and adrenal fatigue by one of the leading doctors who studies adrenal glands.

  3. Tim on 23/06/2014 at 09:41

    What if I don’t want to burn fat since I’m so skinny already?

    • Ali Kuoppala on 02/07/2014 at 23:10

      You can just eat more calories in your eating window. IF is not a diet. I’m actually cutting and bulking both with IF, just eat more or less in the eating window.

  4. AK on 25/06/2014 at 13:34

    I like to lift weights at 4AM. Should I only eat a huge breakfast shortly after workout at 5:30AM and dinner at 7pm? I wanna slow my metabolism and increase testosterone

    • Ali Kuoppala on 02/07/2014 at 23:09

      Try checking for routines, Berkhan has quite a list of them for various workout times.

  5. ilias on 27/06/2014 at 17:37

    when you say testosterone rises by 180% do you mean test increases by a factor of 1.8 or by a factor of 2.8 please answer and thanks for all the info that you give us

  6. ilias on 27/06/2014 at 17:53

    the study about fasting does not say anything about 180% increase in test or 67% increase in LH

  7. Markus on 29/07/2014 at 07:39

    The man diet tells to eat couple of eggs and handfull of almonds at morning and evening. Aint it true that it cuts the fasting?? What are your thoughts Ali?

    • Ali Kuoppala on 01/08/2014 at 21:21

      Yes if you’re doing IF you have to tweak the man diet a bit as it’s not fasting oriented. Both will work, just stick to either one or combine them.

      • Larry Bernard on 27/10/2014 at 21:49

        Just hearing more of this and it makes sense. However, I’m wondering if it’s right for me… Being that I can pack on the pounds rather quickly. I’m walking at 215lbs now and my goals are first always to keep up the T but to keep my body fat down while adding quality muscle. The only thing I would worry about there would be slowing my metabolism down and gaining body fat in the process. I know how to burn them but it’s still a concern. Is IF more for the hard gainer or guys with higher metabolisms or can it be for everyone like myself? Thanks for any insight.

  8. Tucker Matthew Rain on 31/12/2014 at 02:50

    I started Intermittent Fasting one month ago. I’ve lost a total of 23 pounds of fat. My sugar addiction is gone.

  9. davidrn on 05/01/2015 at 10:25

    I’m an older guy, but do lift and try and do a little HIIT weekly. However, my T level was very low related to Rheumatoid Arthritis (direct correlation to disease) so, I take T Cyp and my TT now, is around 700, but of course, my LH is zero. Would IF still benefit me? since I don’t require LH to increase TT? Top non-T benefits related to IF, that I would want?

    • Chris @ 19th Century Alpha on 09/09/2015 at 20:24

      David have you ever looked in to some deep systemic cleansing to get rid of your arthritis? It would be a real game changer for you!

      • davidrn on 09/09/2015 at 23:17

        I have had a NutraEval test done, found I am clean, don’t have any heavy metals, or other agents that can interfere with metabolic process. If you have a study or greater info on a product that actually works, I would be interested. Unfortunately “systemic cleansing” or” Detoxing” tend to be another phrase for snake oil.

        • Chris @ 19th Century Alpha on 10/09/2015 at 03:03

          If you are referring to the Genova diagnostics NutrEval test, then I wouldn’t take those results as complete personally. That sounds like a rather clinical test. Systemic cleansing is far from snake oil. When done completely and correctly they are complete blue print resets. A term that a good friend of mine uses is “they reset all the factory defaults”. They are outside the mainstream box for sure, but what in this life that’s worth much isn’t?!

  10. Arman Irani on 07/01/2015 at 09:29

    Ali your awesome thanks for all the posts and info. I have a question, I’m trying to lower my body fat% to 7~12%. I’m doing IF and also lifting heavy 3~5 rep range.. And I’ll be throwing in some hiit training possibly.. anything else? Trying to get rid of estrogen as well 🙂 just started today

    • Parikshit Jaiswal on 17/02/2015 at 14:09

      Mr Armani your program looks good.I dont think you have to do anything else

  11. Man of the Morning Star on 19/02/2015 at 20:42

    Kind of unsure if my intermittent fasting is right. I wake up at 7:30-8:00 (mostly 7:40 to be more accurate) around there and don’t do anything except sometimes drink good ol’ cold water. Then, when it’s 15:00, I start to eat. When it’s 23:00-22:00 (mostly got at 22:30 but I try my best to go at 22:00), I go to sleep. I stop eating at 20:00-21:00 (try my best to make it at 20:00) around there until 15:00. You think this intermittent fasting is right?

  12. Ramitran on 12/06/2015 at 18:47

    Does fasting really increase testosterone? I mean the test was just short overnight fast of 8 hours which EVERYONE goes through when they sleep. And testosterone will peak in the morning hours regardless?

  13. Andres on 22/06/2015 at 03:58

    Help! I usually do weight training and then 30 minutes of cardio at my target zone to burn fat on my last 2 hours of my fast. Im in the risk of “burning” muscle because of that?

  14. ActiveStressTest on 25/06/2015 at 17:55

    I want to know if water fasting in conjunction with fasting increase greater fat loss.Do you recommend water fasting while in fasted state?

  15. j parks on 15/08/2015 at 18:15

    I gave IF a try (the Renegade diet) for 5 months. I gained belly fat and love handles which I never had before. That is all the proof I need that it doesn’t work.

    • João Júnior on 21/04/2017 at 06:22

      Too bad for you. It only means you have a BIGGER health problem

      • CrystalClearTruth on 21/04/2017 at 10:47

        nope. very healthy. it IF diet is not healthy. big difference.

    • Mark Aguilera on 24/05/2017 at 09:10

      How many calories were you eating? Sumos do intermittent fasting and train 5 hours a day but eat well over 10000 calories a day. No amount of fasting or exercise will outdo a poor diet.

  16. AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat? on 03/09/2015 at 22:57

    I was on the 16/8 as a lifestyle for over 10 years. Also, occasional 40 / 64 / and once a 86 hour fast.
    Past two years I have changed back to 2 meals a day. Put on weight. Gained a lot of instantaneous power for cycling by normal diet. Super long endurance rides maybe no change. I have no idea what my testosterone levels are / were.
    No problem with quality of life under 16/8 – it felt good – maybe a little crazy. Might do it again someday.

    • Chris @ 19th Century Alpha on 09/09/2015 at 20:21

      What kind of weight did you put on with your two meals a day change? Fat or muscle? When do you eat your meals?

  17. Chris @ 19th Century Alpha on 09/09/2015 at 20:31

    I too am a big fan of IF Ali. In your article today, 9-9-15, you mentioned your first meal was at 7 pm. Are you currently following more along the lines of Pilon’s ideas? If so, I am curious how you get enough calories per day.

  18. AJ99 on 30/09/2015 at 09:40

    hey ali, been following ur blog for sometime now. have to say it is one of the best out there. congrats, great job done! wanted ur opinion on a quick thing. am in the process of a body recomp, trying to cut fat & put on muscle at the same time. doing IF on 3 cutting days, eating below maintenance calories, adding a quick HIIT sprint routine. on 3 bulking days – doing a 14 hour IF instead of 16 hrs, no cardio, strength training, + eating above maintenance calories and proteins. focusing on compound movements in the strength training (low reps high weight). how does this look to you? the progress is painfully slow. extremely slow results. but 2 months into it now & can see fat getting cut and muscle getting added. what would u change in this?

  19. dyhidrotestosterone fan on 06/12/2015 at 18:30

    intermitent fasting is the best!

  20. Sean Hourigan on 06/02/2016 at 17:07

    How do you consume enough calories in such a short period of time? I have entered my height, weight, sex, and age in to multiple calorie counter things and it seems I should be eating around 2,000 calories a day. Ever since I started counting them I actually have kind of a hard time reaching that goal. I’m not sure how I ever even ate enough to even have gained some excess weight in the first place. Especially eating enough good carbs like potatoes to equal the 30-40% mark of my 2,000 total. Any advice?

  21. Jason T on 25/02/2016 at 17:39

    How long does the testosterone increase persist from a 36hr fast? Are there any studies on this? Does it revert after you eat? I.e. how often should I be doing it? I still feel pretty good 4 days later. Much better than I have in a while. Don’t even need DHEA anymore.

  22. Artur Santos on 28/02/2016 at 13:02

    “3. In the same study those healthy non-obese single guys noted an amazing 180% increase in serum testosterone levels, just from short period of fasting. Meaning that intermittent fasting will have instant effect on your testosterone levels.”
    Sorry, but it’s not true. This was due a GnRH injection. And complete 24h fasting

    “In this human study, the researchers saw that after 24 hours of consuming no calories, growth hormone levels were elevated 2000% from the baseline. Growth hormone rises in correlation with testosterone and is highly anabolic. Meaning that the result of this study is nothing short of amazing.”
    Where is this 2000% information?

    I believe IF helps a lot to balance hormones, but… a lot of misinformation.

    • Ruënn on 20/02/2017 at 11:58

      Two different studies. From the link in paragraph 3:

      “Short-term fasting increased the GnRH-elicited LH response by 67% in the non-obese
      group (LH incremental areas 2147 +/- 304 vs 3581 +/- 256, p less than
      0.01), and the corresponding testosterone response by 180% (testosterone
      incremental areas 111 +/- 61 vs 311 +/- 49 micrograms.l-1.min-1, p less
      than 0.01). These results imply that food deprivation affects the pituitary-testicular axis differently in obese and non-obese men.”

      • Ben on 25/09/2017 at 13:33

        Artur is correct. The term “GnRH-elicited response” means that they injected the subjects with GnRH and measured how much testosterone the body produced as a response to the injection. Intermittent fasting caused 180% more testosterone to be produced for a given amount of GnRH injected, but it did NOT cause a 180% increase in serum testosterone levels. There’s a giant difference between those two statements! This article is spreading misinformation as far as this particular point is concerned.

  23. […] impact your muscle building potential. If you want to take it to the next level, look into intermittent fasting, the Holy Grail of natural testosterone […]

  24. […] few people recommended intermittent-fasting (IF), e.g. pack all eating into a fixed time window each day (like 8 hours). I did not have a […]

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