Quercetin is an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables. In recent years, though, it has also become more popular as a supplement. Its main use case is for supporting longevity and overall health. However, there is some research linking quercetin to increasing testosterone levels. Today, we’ll investigate this link.
However, to cut to the chase, while there are some interesting theories of mechanisms, and a few cool studies, there isn’t convincing evidence that quercetin supplementation will boost your testosterone levels.
If you want to boost your testosterone, this article has 4 ways to boost your T naturally.
Now, let’s dive into the nuance and the science.
There are a lot of big terms for quercetin. One is “antioxidant,” another is “bioflavonoids,” and another is “phytochemical.”
These all mean different things, but essentially all refer to quercetin as a compound found in fruits and veggies. It’s especially abundant in blueberries, capers, onions, apples, and more. The amount of quercetin in these foods can vary, especially depending on whether the food is organically or conventionally grown. So chalk up one more point for your local farmer. I eat a ton of local Vermont kale, which also has a lot of quercetin. In July and August during blueberry season, I go pick my own, freeze them, and use them in smoothies year-round.
Because of this, I’ve personally opted out of a quercetin supplement.
There are a group of bad guys that enter the body called “free radicals.” These guys come about when the body undergoes “oxidative stress.” This is often totally normal, and not something to avoid. However we need substances that anti-oxidize and combat the free radicals.
Substances that do this, we call antioxidants.
T isn’t just about muscles and masculinity (although it is about both of those things). It also plays a vital role in the body, influencing bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength and size, and even red blood cell production. Contrary to popular belief, both men and women receive health benefits from optimal testosterone levels. For men, this number is just much higher.
Like nearly anything, T levels can be influenced by a variety of factors, including diet, exercise, stress, and yes, even the supplements you take.
Okay, now let’s link quercetin’s role as an antioxidant to testosterone.
More to the point, quercetin fights testicular damage.
In men, testosterone is produced in the testes, and any damage to this organ can (and likely would) negatively impact testosterone production. This 2012 study on mice in Andrologia investigated the effects of quercetin supplementation on testicular damage, and therefore, on testosterone.
They showed that quercetin helped protect the testes from oxidative damage.
The mechanistic explanation for this comes back to its antioxidant role. By reducing oxidative stress in the testes, quercetin could potentially protect this organ and ensure optimal testosterone production.
This is just one mice study. So as I said in the intro, this is not proof at all tha quercetin will increase your testosterone. But there is a similar study that dives more into the mechanism.
In researching this article, I came across a 2022 study out of Bosnia on diabetic rats. (Again, all we’re looking at here is mice data, so I want to stress that the evidence is inconclusive.)
But essentially, they found that giving rats quercetin, they reduced blood glucose levels, and alleviated oxidative stress, thereby mitigating testicular damage and promoting testosterone synthesis.
A 2009 study gave rats onion juice (a great source of quercetin) for 20 days. They found that fresh onion juice significantly affected the sperm number, percentage of viability, and motility in rats.
Interestingly, the study also found that serum total testosterone significantly increased in the test groups that received fresh onion juice. Yes, more rat studies, but this one’s pretty interesting. Should you start drinking onion juice? I’m not endorsing it.
If you’re taking it that far, a supplement might be much easier.
Based on these studies, what I’m taking away is, “okay, awesome quercetin is healthy and it’s healthy foods so I should just eat more fruits and vegetables.” As I said, I don’t take quercetin supplements.
That said, quercetin supplements may have a host of other benefits, and do have their place. I cover this in my article on the best quercetin supplements.
So, what’s the verdict on the effect of quercetin supplementation on testosterone levels? The research is still in the early stages. We don’t know. I’m sorry that’s an unsatisfying answer.
Most studies use doses of 500-1000 mg of quercetin per day, but these studies haven’t looked at testosterone levels specifically.
Quercetin might pack an even bigger punch when you pair it with other nutrients. Some research hints that taking quercetin alongside Vitamin D or grape seed extract could create a kind of synergistic effect, where each supplement boosts the benefits of the others. We investigate this more in our article on quercetin supplements.
The typical dose, both in supplements and studies, is between 500-1000mg per day. However, this hasn’t looked at testosterone. All the research on quercetin and testosterone has been done in mice.
That said, stick with whatever recommendation is on the bottle.
There’s no magic bullet to naturally increase T levels. It usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes: lift weights, sleep well, reduce stress, and get some sunlight. Those are the big boxes to check.
Some supplements can help too. Quercetin wouldn’t be on my shortlist though. I would turn to something like Tongkat Ali.