closeup shot of a person puffing on a cigarette surrounded with smoke

Does Nicotine Increase Testosterone? The Surprising Truth

If you're someone who smokes or vapes you might have wondered about the impact of nicotine on your testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone for aspects of your well being including sexual function, muscle growth and disease risk. What does nicotine do to your testosterone levels?. How does it affect your health and wellness? 

In this article we'll delve into the research surrounding the relationship between nicotine and testosterone levels. Additionally we'll provide you with some methods to enhance your testosterone levels without relying on nicotine or any other harmful substances.

What is nicotine and how does it affect your body?

Nicotine, a stimulant found in tobacco products, like cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff is also present in e cigarettes, nicotine patches, gums and lozenges. Nicotine impacts the system by binding to receptors that regulate bodily functions such as mood, alertness, appetite, heart rate, blood pressure.

The effects of nicotine on the body can be both positive and negative. On one hand it can enhance performance, attention span, memory retention and uplift mood. It can also provide relief from stress, anxiety and pain. On the other hand, it raises the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancer, lung damage and addiction. Additionally, it may negatively impact sleep quality and appetite regulation.

How does nicotine affect testosterone levels?

The connection between nicotine and testosterone is intricate and not fully comprehended. Different research studies have presented different findings depending on factors such as the type of nicotine product used, the dosage, duration, frequency of use and individual characteristics of the participants.

Certain studies indicate that nicotine may raise testosterone levels in men who smoke cigarettes or use chewing tobacco. For instance, a study involving over 13,000 men discovered that smokers had 15% higher total testosterone levels, and 13% higher free testosterone levels compared to non-smokers. Similarly, another study with more than 600 men observed that individuals who chewed tobacco had about 14% higher testosterone levels than those who did not.

However, other studies suggest that nicotine can lower testosterone levels in men using nicotine gum or e cigarettes. For example, a study involving 11 baseball players revealed that chewing nicotine gum for half an hour led to a decrease of 10% in their testosterone levels. Additionally, another study with over 100 participants found that e cigarette users had total sperm counts and reduced total testosterone levels compared to non smokers.

Regarding women's testosterone levels and smoking habits the effects of nicotine are less clear. Some studies have shown no correlation between smoking and testosterone levels, in women.

Some research has shown that smoking can have an impact on women's testosterone levels with the effects depending on factors, like age, phase of the cycle, body mass index (BMI) and other individual considerations.

Why does nicotine affect testosterone levels?

flat lay of bad habit cigarette arrangement

The exact mechanisms by which nicotine affects testosterone levels are not fully known. However, some possible explanations include:

  • Nicotine has the potential to increase the production of luteinizing hormone (LH). Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones play a role in regulating testosterone synthesis in both the testicles and ovaries.
  • Nicotine has been found to hinder the function of aromatase, an enzyme, for converting testosterone into estrogen, the primary hormone, in females.
  • Nicotine has the potential to modify the way genes involved in the metabolism and signaling of steroid hormones are expressed.
  • Nicotine can potentially impact the transportation of testosterone in the bloodstream by binding to proteins, like albumin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). These proteins play a role in carrying hormones throughout the body.
  • Nicotine has the potential to influence the communication loop linking the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and gonads. These organs play a role in regulating hormone production and release.

What are the benefits and risks of having high or low testosterone levels?

Testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women. Having optimal levels of testosterone can have various benefits for your health and well-being. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased muscle mass and strength
  • Improved bone density and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Enhanced sexual function and libido
  • Improved mood and cognitive function
  • Reduced body fat and improved metabolic health
  • Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes

However, having too high or too low testosterone levels can also have negative consequences for your health and well-being. Some of these consequences include:

  • Increased risk of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in men
  • Increased risk of breast cancer and endometrial cancer in women
  • Increased aggression and irritability
  • Reduced fertility and sperm quality
  • Altered menstrual cycle and menopause symptoms in women
  • Increased acne and hair loss
  • Reduced immune function and increased inflammation

Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy balance of testosterone levels and avoid extremes that could harm your health and well-being.

How can you naturally boost your testosterone levels without nicotine?

If you want to increase your testosterone levels naturally, without relying on nicotine or other harmful substances, there are some lifestyle changes that you can make. Some of these changes include:

  • Exercise regularly, especially resistance training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which can stimulate testosterone production and release.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes enough protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, which can support hormone synthesis and balance.
  • Minimize stress and practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises, which can reduce cortisol levels and improve testosterone levels.
  • Get enough sleep and follow a regular sleep schedule, which can optimize your circadian rhythm and hormone secretion.
  • Get enough vitamin D, either from sunlight exposure or supplementation, which can enhance testosterone levels and bone health.
  • Consider taking natural supplements that may boost testosterone levels, such as ashwagandha, fenugreek, D-aspartic acid, zinc, magnesium, ginger, or natural testosterone booster. However, consult your doctor before taking any supplements, as they may have side effects or interactions with other medications.
  • Avoid exposure to estrogen-like chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, parabens, or pesticides, which can disrupt your hormone balance and lower your testosterone levels.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking can impair your liver function and increase estrogen levels, which can lower your testosterone levels.


closeup of hand holding cigarr

Nicotine, a substance known for its stimulating effects can have both negative impacts on the body. Its effects on testosterone levels vary depending on factors such as the form of nicotine used, dosage, duration of use, frequency and individual characteristics.

Certain studies suggest that smoking cigarettes or using chewing tobacco may increase testosterone levels in men. However, other studies indicate that nicotine gum or e cigarettes could potentially lower testosterone levels in users. The impact of nicotine on women's testosterone levels remains less understood.

Maintaining optimal testosterone levels is crucial for health and well being. Imbalances—whether too low—can have adverse effects on health. Striving for a balance is essential to safeguard one's well being.

If you're seeking ways to enhance testosterone levels without resorting to nicotine or harmful substances, lifestyle adjustments can be beneficial. These include exercise, a balanced diet, stress reduction techniques, sleep adequate vitamin D intake, exploring natural supplements options if appropriate for you personally avoiding exposure, to estrogen like chemicals and moderating alcohol consumption.

By incorporating these strategies you can naturally enhance your testosterone levels. Enhance your health and well being.

James Freeman


Meet James Freeman, a California native whose passion for fitness emerged during challenging times, reshaping his life. With over two decades of coaching experience, he's not just a coach; he's a real-life example, shedding over 100 pounds in a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond his coaching career, James is passionate about inspiring at-risk youth and promoting wellness in schools. In his downtime, he enjoys swimming and cycling, connecting with nature. Join him on his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles for insights into his empowering fitness journey.