How Spicy Food Affects Testosterone in Men

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is produced in abundance in men, and is responsible for the muscle mass, strength, bone density, the maturation of sex organs, deepening of the voice, and basically everything that men go through during puberty.

Testosterone is the hormone often associated with risk-taking behavior and heightened sex drive in men, and men with higher levels it tends to love spicy food. 

Food is meant to be enjoyed, and the flavors, savored on our tongues, but spicy food appears to do the opposite of harming the inside of our mouth. However, there is something appealing in spicy foods for men.

If you are a guy and your answer is yes to the consumption of spicy foods, then there is a good chance you will have higher levels of testosterone, a new French study finds.

According to the French study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, and conducted by researchers from the University of Grenoble-Alpes in France, 114 men aged from 18 to 44 were treated to a meal of mashed potatoes with spicy pepper sauce and salt.

The result was that the researchers saw a clear correlation between higher hot sauce usage and higher levels of testosterone levels, as found in the saliva of the men.

In other words, men with greater testosterone levels tended to douse their food with more hot sauce, or rather, more spice in your food increases your testosterone level.

Though the correlation was clear, the mechanism behind it is still unknown, since a wide range of factors, including genetic, physiological, psychological and social forces, can influence the liking and consumption of capsaicin-containing foods.

The research group also guessed that spicy food could have a reinforcing effect, in which they boost testosterone, meaning that more testosterone increases a person’s liking of spicy food.

This kind of effect, however, had only been seen so far in rats, and it is likely that this is not the case.

The researchers also took note of two other reasons that could have led to the findings.

The men with higher testosterone levels could have been attracted to the hot sauce, and its aggressive red color, as studies have found links between testosterone and aggressiveness or maybe they just grew up consuming spicy food. 

The Capsaicin Factor

Have you ever wondered what gives the burning sensation to spicy food?  Found in peppers, curry, hot sauces and much more, is capsaicin, the molecule that puts hot in peppers. Due to its strong burning effects, capsaicin can irritate mammals, on any of their body parts.

Previous research has proved that it was not spicy food that increased testosterone levels, but the capsaicin that each one of them contains.

In fact, this led to experts concluding that capsaicin is powerful enough to boost testosterone levels in adult and pubertal mice alike.

Also, capsaicin has long been associated with factors related to testosterone such as aggression, the need for dominance and daring behavior. Unfortunately, since this experimental study was never executed on human beings, its results are a bit uncertain.

Ways in Which Spicy Food and Testosterone May Work

  1. Boosting Your Metabolism and Losing Weight: there is an existing hypothesis, as mentioned earlier, according to which spicy food affects your metabolism and can affect your testosterone levels, because, from the moment capsaicin-containing foods enter the body, certain functions are set in motion. 

From increasing the fat-burning effect of thermogenesis to enhancing the rate at which you burn calories in the body, research found that capsaicin-rich foods (spicy food), can contribute to boosting your metabolism and helping you lose weight.

Slow metabolism and excessive weight don’t co-exist with high testosterone levels, and it becomes evident how spicy food may contribute to the increase in testosterone levels in men.

  1. Elimination of Free Radicals: Capsaicin comes with potent antioxidant properties, and that has a lot of impact on your testosterone level. A study suggested that the antioxidant nature of this molecule can protect lipids and lipid-based compounds such as the testosterone against peroxidation by free radicals. Thus, capsaicin prevents your testosterone from being broken down or oxidized.
  2. Inhibiting Your Appetite: The healthier your weight is, the higher your testosterone level, and according to research, spicy foods such as the red pepper can also cut back your craving and help you maintain a healthy weight, resulting in balanced weight, which promotes balanced testosterone production.


At the end of the day, it seems that supplements, pills, and testosterone boosters are not the only answer to men who want to boost the hormone levels in their bodies. 

Diets can boost your testosterone levels too, and Spicy food can also do the trick. So, you can stock up your fridge with those spicy food materials, and just enjoy them. Just find a way to!

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