I’ve been researching health supplements for years now, and I don’t come across very much I haven’t seen before. But every once in a while, I see something strange. Case in point, I was recently asked if Oat Straw could really boost someone’s testosterone. Known in some circles by its scientific name, Avena sativa, I have known people to use Oats for a variety of purposes–but not for boosting testosterone.
To answer the question of whether it works, I had to come through literally dozens of studies, looking for any shred of evidence that Oat Straw can boost testosterone. I even looked at popular supplement websites to see what they were trotting out as “evidence.” I’ll detail my findings below.
✲ There seems to be an internet “feedback” loop, whereby enough articles have been written promoting Oat Straw that no one has checked their work.
✲ No evidence to date shows any kind of link between Oat Straw and testosterone.
✲ What “evidence” there is comes from a very weak correlation between a small compound called “tocotrienols” and osteoporosis.
✲ Misconceptions and misinformation seem to abound on this issue; refuting it is important to keep misinformation from spreading.
What I Didn’t Find
I absolutely scoured the existing literature on the benefits of Oats–from the straw to the bran husk, from oatmeal to tinctures. There is absolutely no evidence that I could uncover pointing to a testosterone boost.
One website claiming there was a benefit pointed to something called 'avenacosides' (which they misspelled), saying these were the “main” testosterone boosting agent. I found no evidence supporting their claims.
What I Did Find
Some of my readers may be old enough to remember the parlor game of telephone–where the first person whispers a phrase into the next person’s ear, and then they whisper it to the next person, until the last person to have it whispered to them says it out loud–and everyone laughs at how garbled the message got.
In supplement literature there’s a similar effect. Unfortunately, people are making their health decisions based on these garbled messages. With Oat Straw, I found two studies that have absolutely nothing to do with testosterone that may have caused people their misunderstandings.
The first game of telephone goes like this: several studies have linked a compound called tocotrienols to therapeutic benefits, among them, bone mass retention in low-testosterone-induced rats with osteoporosis. Those studies, and others like it, don’t show any change in testosterone, though they do help with bone loss. Then, someone made the connection that Oat plants and their derivatives are high in tocotrienols.
Despite no link being established between higher testosterone and Oat Straw, people have seen the words “oat straw,” “tocotrienols,” “low-testosterone,” and “benefit,” and made a connection that simply isn’t there.
Glutathione Hormone (GSH)
Here we have the trigger word “hormone,” and later we’ll see another trigger, “erectile dysfunction.” A comprehensive review of the benefits of Avena sativa found that it may help with GSH levels. Another, unrelated study, found that men with erectile dysfunction also had low levels of GSH.
Neither study said anything about testosterone. But some people have connected these unrelated dots and concluded that if something helps with erectile dysfunction, it obviously helps with testosterone… right? Wrong.
ED can be caused by, among many things, obesity, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Multiple sclerosis, or heart disease. Even if Oat Straw could be proven to help with ED–which it hasn’t been, only these very passing correlations have been made–but even then, you could as easily conclude that Oats can prevent Parkinson’s as you could say they boost testosterone–the absolute least likely cause of ED.
Turns out cable news was right. Well, sort of. Some, and I mean very little, data shows that there may be a correlation between fluoride and low testosterone. To test these data, scientists have done something they tend to do–inject obscene amounts of fluoride into lab rats to see what will happen. In one study where they did that, it seemed that Avena sativa could decrease the damage done to the sex organs of the rats. But they did not report any actual increases in testosterone.
So, if you feel you are being injected with near-lethal levels of fluoride, there is some limited evidence that Oats may help.
In short, there is absolutely no direct, or even adjacent, evidence that Oats can increase testosterone. I have spent the majority of this article hopefully arming my readers against claims from other websites, and showing how a little misinformation can go a long way.