Does raw onion increase testosterone? Uncovering the truth from this latest health fad.

Fact Checked By Dr B Lee

As men age, the gradual decline in testosterone levels becomes a health concern. Many individuals turn to diet and exercise to safely and effectively regulate and boost their hormone levels. Recently, there has been a growing interest in the potential link between onions and testosterone. In this article, we will explore the scientific evidence surrounding the impact of raw onions on testosterone production and overall health.

The Science Behind Onion Consumption and Testosterone

Onions are known for their ability to enhance the flavor of meals, but can they also elevate testosterone levels? Let's delve into the scientific research to find out.

The Role of Onions in Testosterone Production

Ok, so there’s actually something to the whole raw onions raise testosterone thing. Although, we should specify, there isn’t a lot of evidence, and there are other testosterone boosting plants that have a lot more backing. But, there is still something here.

A couple of scientific studies have shown that onion consumption can improve overall testosterone levels.

Onions possess properties that positively influence the production of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Leydig Cells [1], while also protecting the body from oxidative stress. In theory these factors contribute to an increase in testosterone levels.

What Are The Active Compounds That Produce The Health Benefits of Onions?

Onions are rich in quercetin, kaempferol, tannins and organosulfur compounds like allyl propyl disulfide and diallyl disulfide, these are the flavinols and sufates that are responsible for any activity from onions. [2]

Evidence from Clinical Studies On Onions

One particular study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) was particularly interesting [3]. Male volunteers who consistently consumed fresh onion juice experienced an increase in free testosterone levels compared to those who did not consume the juice.

These particular researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of onions have a protective effect on the testes, which are responsible for testosterone production. By reducing oxidative stress, onions promote testosterone production through various mechanisms, including improving insulin resistance and increasing the production of luteinizing hormone, nitric oxide, and Leydig cells.

The Animal Studies

Beyond that, there’s been a few studies on rats and mice that have shown that onions do have the same effect in animals, but generally speaking animal trials are rarely replicable in humans.

For example, there are numerous rat studies which test the effectiveness of Quercetin found in onions which is  in aiding testosterone production and protecting the testes from damage. [4]

Typically in this case it’s dosed at 20mg/kg of body weight for the protective effects and 4g/kg showed raised testosterone levels after 20 days. [5]

These studies are where the researchers got the belief that an anti oxidant effect in the testes has been caused by onions, as this was the mechanism for raising testosterone in the rats.

There's also similar studies on kaempferol [6] and tannins. [7]

Although considering the successful human trials this can be considered as supporting evidence.

A Comprehensive Approach to Testosterone Boosting

While raw onion consumption could theoretically support healthy testosterone production, it is important to note that it is not an independent solution. Testosterone production is a complex process regulated by multiple factors. Therefore, a comprehensive approach that combines onion consumption with regular exercise, a healthy diet, stress management, sleep and some herbal testosterone supplements can help.

Other Health Benefits of Raw Onions

Apart from its potential impact on testosterone levels, raw onions offer a range of additional health benefits. Let's explore some of these benefits:

1. Packed with Nutrients

Onions are nutrient-dense, providing essential vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. A medium-sized onion contains a considerable dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is particularly rich in vitamin C, which supports immune health, collagen production, tissue repair, and iron absorption. Additionally, onions are a good source of B vitamins, including folate (B9) and vitamin B6, which play crucial roles in metabolism, red blood cell production, and nerve function. Onions also provide potassium, a mineral necessary for normal cellular function, fluid balance, nerve transmission, kidney function, and muscle contraction. [8]

2. Antioxidant Powerhouse

Onions are an excellent source of antioxidants, which play a vital role in protecting cells against damage caused by free radicals. They contain various types of flavonoid antioxidants, including anthocyanins found in red onions. These antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and diabetes. [9]

3. Heart Health Benefits

Onions contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides, and reduce cholesterol levels. These properties may lower the risk of heart disease. The flavonoid antioxidant quercetin, found abundantly in onions, has been shown to decrease heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. Studies have also demonstrated that onion consumption can lower cholesterol levels. [10]

4. Onions and Blood Sugar Control

Onion consumption may help control blood sugar levels, making it particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or prediabetes. Studies have shown that onions can reduce fasting blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar control in both humans and animals. Compounds such as quercetin and sulfur compounds found in onions possess antidiabetic effects. [11]

The Less Well Backed Uses Of Onions 

Onions and Cancer Prevention

Eating onions, along with other Allium vegetables like garlic, has been associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including stomach and colorectal cancer. The sulfur compounds and flavonoid antioxidants found in onions have been shown to inhibit tumor growth and decrease the spread of ovarian and lung cancer in test-tube studies. Although we should mention that test tube studies don't always translate, but it's interesting all the same. [12]

Can Raw Onions Raise Testosterone? Conclusion

While there is a very small amount of evidence to suggest that consuming fresh raw onions may help boost testosterone levels, it is important to approach testosterone-boosting efforts with caution.

Onion consumption could be a supportive aid when combined with a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. But, there is nowhere near enough evidence to make any clear line between onions and testosterone levels.

About Fact Checker Dr B Lee

Dr B Lee Dr Lee is a member of Center TRT's research team, he has more than 200 scientific publications, and has been a member of the global obesity center. With more than 20 years experience in health, focusing on wholistic treatment, lifestyle and dietary changes to improve health outcomes on a regional and nationwide level. 

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