Broccoli, the notorious green veggie that has been the bane of children's dinner plates for a long time. While some swear by its nutritional benefits, others cringe at the mere sight of its florets. However, in the last decade, I’ve seen an unexpected connection emerge and become popular — that broccoli may actually increase testosterone levels in men.
Is this a complete myth or is there some truth behind this statement? Let’s take a closer look at the science of broccoli to find out.
Some of the most pivotal research on the effects of broccoli on testicular function was published in a recent 2021 study. It tested the interactions between broccoli extract — with all of its compounds and nutrients — and male mice. This test lasted 42 days and then the blood samples of all the subjects were collected for further analysis.
According to the results, regular broccoli supplement can provide the following benefits:
Of course, these results were obtained with animal subjects and humans. But, upon closer inspection, I found three key components of broccoli that have direct science-backed benefits for humans. Let's see what they offer.
To understand how Indole-3-carbinol increases testosterone levels, you have to first learn about estrogen.
To summarize, estrogen is also a sex hormone similar to testosterone. It is created by an enzyme called Aromatase which converts testosterone into estrogen. While this is a perfectly normal process, it can speed up with age and lead to higher estrogen levels and low testosterone.
This is because Magnesium can increase testosterone levels in both active and sedentary men after just 4 weeks of supplementation. You’ll also see a more significant boost if you work out on a regular basis.
A 2011 large-scale study with 399 subjects over the age of 65 also demonstrated a direct correlation between Magnesium and testosterone. In general, higher Magnesium levels equal higher testosterone levels.
This makes broccoli an excellent choice for maintaining high Magnesium levels since every 100 grams of broccoli contains 21 mg of Magnesium on average.
That said, the research that caught my attention most is a 2013 study on the effects of broccoli on luteinizing hormones (LH) and testosterone levels. After the 28-day test period, the majority of subjects that were consuming broccoli extract displayed significantly higher testosterone levels. Though, it had no impact on the concentration of luteinizing hormones.
Most importantly, the researchers behind this study concluded that this increase in T levels was caused by the flavonoids found in broccoli.
Given the evidence, it's fairly clear that broccoli does have a positive effect on men’s testosterone levels. The Indole-3-carbinol, Magnesium, and Flavonoids in broccoli leave no doubt about its effectiveness.
Even then, I would still like to see more human-focused trials of broccoli extract to further legitimize its benefits.
With that said, if you're looking to incorporate more broccoli into your diet after reading this conclusion, consider steaming or roasting it. Broccoli works great as a side dish or as an addition to soups and salads.