Can the Ketogenic Diet Boost Testosterone & Improve Metabolic Health in Men?


Well-known member
May 24, 2021
Effects of a very low-calorie ketogenic diet on androgen levels in overweight/obese men: a single-arm uncontrolled study

The weight loss benefits of the Ketogenic Diet (KD) are well known, but the hormonal effects of the KD and its subsequent effects on metabolic health are continuing to be uncovered. This recent Italian study presented at the 23rd European Congress of Endocrinology was a small single-arm uncontrolled study, but interesting. They looked at what potential effects a four week Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet has on:
  • Body Weight
  • Fat Mass
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Total Testosterone
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG)
They observed a significant decrease in body weight, fat mass and BMI with a significant concurrent increase in total testosterone and SHBG. This research supports similar previous research (see below) using a VLCKD and the observation of improved corresponding correlations of testosterone levels and metabolic function. The full paper doesn’t appear to be available yet, but hopefully it will be soon.

“We aimed to evaluate the response of total testosterone and sex hormone levels to a very low-calorie ketogenic diet in a cohort of overweight or obese non-diabetic male subjects and what we found was that there is a noticeable relation between a specific, controlled diet and insulin action, energy balance, and testicular function,” says Dr. Cignarelli.

The ketogenic diet corrects metabolic hypogonadism and preserves pancreatic ß-cell function in overweight/obese men: a single-arm uncontrolled study

Another related Italian study showed similar results from a twelve week Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet with overweight or obese non-diabetic males with hypogonadism. A significant decrease in body weight and BMI and increase in Total Testosterone were observed here as well. The researchers also examined the effect of the VLCKD on indices of ß-cell function and found improved function too.

“This was the first study to report the normalization of proinsulin and TT levels after 12 weeks of VLCKD-induced ketosis. This suggests the safety of ketonemia for β-cells and the effectiveness of VLCKD in restoring β-cell dysfunction and the gonadal function. Thus, VLCKD could be used to improve β-cell secretory function and insulin-sensitivity, and to rescue β-cells from exhaustion and metabolic hypogonadism.”