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Does Coconut Oil Increase Testosterone? (4 Things to Know)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

People who sign on with me for fitness training are enthusiastic about bettering their health and have many questions about how to do so naturally.

Will coconut oil increase testosterone? It is a trending question, and I think one that is important to answer.

To equip my clients with reliable information, I consulted our nutritionist after spending several hours online reading medical literature and taking notes.

I’ve gathered everything in this article, so let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • The effects of coconut oil on humans remain largely unknown; research continues and shows promise that it may boost testosterone production and improve sexual function.
  • Coconut oil or coconut butter has high saturated (MCT) fat content, which has historically been called bad fat, but the scientific community is slowly realizing that the matter is much more nuanced than previously thought.
  • Testosterone levels peak around 20 years of age, and coconut oil might be able to slow down the natural decline with age that leads to conditions like loss of muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, and unsatisfactory sex life.

Is It True That Coconut Oil Increases Testosterone Levels?

Coconut oil in a jar, a man holding dumbbells for workout

It might be true that coconut oil increases testosterone levels, primarily because some evidence is emerging that saturated fatty acids, particularly the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut butter, promote testosterone production.

First, let’s take a closer look at coconut oil and testosterone individually.

Coconut Oil

This oil is extracted from the meat or copra of coconuts and contains a high percentage of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).

Even though coconut butter is mainly saturated fats, the high amounts of MCTs are absorbed more quickly than long-chain fatty acids so that the body can use them soon for energy [1].

There are two types of coconut oil, both of which come from the copra: 

  • Unrefined: The least processed, also known as virgin coconut oil
  • Refined: Additionally processed after extraction, like bleaching or deodorizing to make it more neutral and suitable for cooking.

There is emerging evidence that coconut oil, though a saturated fat, can offer some health benefits because of the MCTs.

Testosterone

A hairy man holding his private part

Everyone produces testosterone hormone, but it is, however, the predominant male hormone. Women make it, but on a much smaller scale.

Both men and women can experience adverse effects by decreasing testosterone levels.

In men, the testosterone hormone is vital to bone health, muscle mass, sexual function, and body hair growth, to name a few.

Approximately half of the testosterone in your blood binds strongly to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), making the hormone unavailable for your body to use [2].

Most of the other half of testosterone binds to albumin, but more weakly than to SHBG, making it available for the body to use.

The remaining testosterone, about 1-2%, is free, meaning it is not bound to anything and moves around the body. 

Albumin-bound testosterone and free testosterone count as your bioavailable or usable testosterone. Add your SHBG-bound testosterone to that number, and you have your total testosterone level [3].

Let’s look at the link between coconut oil and testosterone levels.

How Does It Raise Testosterone Levels in Your Body?

Two kinds of coconut oil that increase testosterone

Coconut oil may be one of the foods that raise testosterone levels in your body by stimulating thyroid function, inhibiting testosterone conversion to dihydrotestosterone, and preventing oxidative stress.

Here is a more in-depth look at each process.

Stimulates Thyroid Function

The thyroid gland produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

These hormones ensure your body functions well, especially metabolism, weight, and mood. Thyroid problems can directly impact testosterone levels [4].

For instance, hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough T3 and T4, which can lead to erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, muscle weakness, and hair loss [5].

Hypothyroidism can lower the levels of SHBG, a protein that carries testosterone throughout the body. This condition can also decrease levels of free testosterone [6].

Improving thyroid function by consuming coconut oil or other healthy fat sources may ultimately help restore healthy testosterone levels and improve sexual function.

Inhibits T Conversion to DHT

Approximately 54% of the fat in coconut butter is from MCTs:

  • Lauric acid: 42%
  • Caprylic acid: 7%
  • Capric acid: 5%

Researchers believe these MCTs affect a hormone similar to testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

An enzyme in the body called 5-alpha reductase converts free testosterone into DHT, which has many of the same functions as testosterone but also contributes to male pattern baldness [7].

Studies show that MCTs can inhibit the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, which may increase total testosterone levels and help prevent male pattern hair loss [8].

“Animal and test-tube studies have demonstrated that MCTs inhibit the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, a hormone linked to male pattern hair loss.”

- Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Prevents Oxidative Stress

A stressed man wearing glass

Oxidative stress occurs when the antioxidant levels in the body are low.

Antioxidants are essential in the body and protect it from free radicals, which are unstable atoms that cause illness, cell damage, and aging [9].

Additionally, oxidative stress can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Testosterone problems and erectile dysfunction are common in individuals with conditions that affect the blood vessels, like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes [10].

Lowering oxidative stress will likely promote testosterone production and improve sexual function [11].

One rodent study shows that virgin coconut oil may have antioxidant properties, helping counteract oxidative stress and supporting the theory that it increases testosterone naturally [12].

What Are Other Benefits of Coconut Oil?

Though many studies occur on animals or in lab-based settings, there is also promising evidence for humans that there are many health benefits beyond hormone production [13].

It may:

  • Help the body fight viruses (anti-viral)
  • Protect from harmful bacteria
  • Have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Help prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms (anti-microbial)
  • Prevent liver damage
  • Prevent ulcers
  • Help block pain
  • Promote healthy cholesterol levels
  • Have antioxidant properties

FAQs

Does Saturated Fat Affect Male Hormone Levels?

Saturated fat can affect male hormone levels negatively by as much as 30% immediately following a meal high in this type of fat and will return to baseline in four to six hours [14]. The same study suggests chronic fat intake decreases testosterone levels overall.

Can Coconut Oil Improve Athletic Performance?

Coconut oil can improve athletic performance because it contains MCTs, which the body can use to prevent lactate buildup during exercise, and it can also help the body use fat for energy.

Is Coconut Oil Effective for Testosterone Boosting?

Researchers don’t fully understand coconut oil’s impact on increasing testosterone; however, it is showing promise.

However, in my professional practice, a proven formula for enhancing T hormone levels is eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and adding the best all-natural testosterone booster for men into the mix.

Countless T boosters clutter supplement websites, so finding one that is safe and effective can be daunting, which is why we test and review a lot of them to create a list of the best.

If you need to increase testosterone levels, click the link to find the product that works best for you.


References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/health/body/what-is-mct-oil/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8964574/ 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6531235/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15142373/ 
  5. https://www.goodrx.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/hypothyroidism-in-men-symptoms-causes-treatments
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3403362/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6459338/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12477490/
  9. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-oxidative-stress
  10. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.223545#:
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231719310754#
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4247320/
  13. https://www.rjpbcs.com/pdf/2019_10(2)/%5b220%5d.pdf
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6950136/
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