No matter where you look, it seems you can find talk about the effects of consuming coffee and its principal ingredient, caffeine. One literature review declared caffeine a clear win for athletic performance. Another study shows caffeine boosts the output of elderly muscles. Yet another study confirms that caffeine improves bench press performance (but only on Mondays – I kid).
This month’s study from Nutrition Journal examined the effects of coffee consumption on sex hormones, including testosterone. The study examined 42 overweight men and women. First, all participants abstained from caffeine for two weeks. They were then broken into three groups that received either caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, or no coffee for 8 weeks. Dosage was 10 grams of instant coffee per day, taken 3 times daily. Since the researchers were testing coffee, not caffeine specifically the caffeine dosages were not explicity stated, but based on the information I calculated dosages to be about 325mg/day for the caffeinated coffee group and 18mg/day for the decaf group.
Participants received a full blood profile at the beginning of the study and then at 4 and 8 weeks. When compared to the baseline measurements after 8 weeks, researchers found absolutely nothing of significance. Levels of testosterone and other sex hormones didn’t change significantly in men or women. Yeah, that’s kind of a bummer, but evidence showing that coffee consumption doesn’t affect hormone levels is still valuable. I’ve heard anecdotal stories that coffee consumption reduces testosterone, increases body fat, and generally causes you to kick puppies. Now we know that’s probably not the full truth.
I do have some qualms with this study. First, because it used so many groups, each group was rather small. Some groups had as little as four participants. This makes me question the significance of the results. Finally, and this is really just me complaining, the data were presented in the most confusing way possible. The fact the authors weren’t even motivated enough to include a visual graph of the results leads me to question their thoroughness in general, and pisses me off specifically.
Even with those limitations, we can at least conclude that coffee consumption won’t immediately sink your testosterone.
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