If you want to see increased muscle mass, better energy levels, more efficient weight loss and generally improved performance across the board, then you absolutely need to ensure you are eating a nutritious and balanced diet.
In other words, getting your vitamins and minerals is absolutely key to your recovery as well as your gains. You’ve probably read countless articles on how magnesium, zinc, coQ10, omega 3 fatty acid, vitamin C, calcium, nitric oxide, creatine… and the rest are great for your body. You may then have decided you needed to add about 100 pots of pills to your morning regimen.
But guess what? You can get all of those things from your diet in all the right ratios. You just need to be eating more of all that good stuff that your Mum used to make you eat before you could leave the table.
A great example of this is vitamin A – which is actually not a single compound but multiple molecules including retinal, retinol, retinoic acids, B-carotene, lutein, lycopene and more.
Lutein has recently been found to be excellent for boosting energy and drive and for increasing weight loss. But what vitamin A also does is to increase testosterone levels.
How Vitamin A and Testosterone Are Linked
Vitamin A is found in the testicular sertoli cells in retinal form and can be converted to retinoic acid (which is more biologically active) as needed. When there’s no vitamin A inside the testicles, testosterone levels drop rapidly (according to studies on rats and mice). At the same time, this increases estrogen levels.
At the same time, if you have a deficiency in vitamin A, then you won’t be able to properly utilize dietary fats. Now we’ve talked about the critical role of dietary fats in testosterone production multiple times. Just to recap though: dietary fat is critical for testosterone levels because the body uses good cholesterol (found in those fats) in order to create the steroid hormones.
This is why ‘G.O.M.A.D.’ is such a popular technique for hard gainers. This involves drinking a ‘Gallon Of Milk A Day’ and has been compared to using steroids in terms of its effectiveness! Why? Because milk contains a lot of protein (this is where both casein and whey actually come from) but also because it raises testosterone via the increase in fat (you need to be drinking whole milk).
But you can drink all the milk you like. If you aren’t getting vitamin A, then you won’t be able to absorb that fat and you won’t get the benefits. What’s more, vitamin A is used to synthesize a substance called transferrin which is used to transport the cholesterol for use.
The connection between vitamin A and testosterone is not a direct one and nor is it fully understood. However, it helps to modulate testosterone levels in a variety of different ways and multiple studies do show without a doubt that lowered vitamin A levels lead to lowered T.
So that’s just one more reason to eat a nutrient dense diet!