Can I Drink Coffee Before Testosterone Blood Test?
Many different blood tests require fasting before the test to ensure that the components of the food or drink don’t negatively impact the test results and show false negatives or false positives. Coffee drinkers will know well the effects of the drink on our system, with caffeine elevating our blood pressure, making us feel energetic and at times anxious, but how does caffeine interact with our hormones? Can a cup of coffee produce incorrect results in a testosterone blood test?
The truth is that there’s little scientific data to support fasting before a testosterone test, but some doctors still advise not consuming any food or drink for at least 8 hours before taking the test. Here’s why.
What to Avoid Before a Testosterone Blood Test
If you’re having a testosterone blood test at your doctor’s practice, you should follow their advice before having your blood sample taken. Some doctors advise fasting beforehand, although many don’t. In some cases where your doctor is trying to establish the route of a problem or rule out various conditions, they’ll take multiple blood samples to conduct many different blood tests - some of which will require fasting - so you should avoid eating or drinking anything except clear water before these blood tests.
However, if you’re taking an at-home testosterone test in isolation, it’s not completely clear whether you should fast in advance or not. The best advice is to avoid eating or drinking anything except clear water before you take your testosterone test to prevent impacting your results. Clear water means bottled or tap water with no additional elements, so don’t put a slice of lemon or a drop of squash in your water, even if it’s what you normally do.
If your doctor advises you to fast before your testosterone test, or you’re taking a home testosterone test, then you should stick to the following best practices:
- Do not chew gum as it can adversely affect your blood test results
- Stop smoking and consuming any tobacco products up to 5 days in advance as nicotine can affect your blood’s lipoprotein levels
- Refrain from overexertion and strenuous physical activity for 24 hours before you take your blood test as it may affect hormone levels
- Do not take any medication that needs to be taken with food
- Do not consume alcohol within 8 hours before your blood test
- Do not consume caffeine within 8 hours before your blood test
These aren’t steadfast rules so much as precautions to be aware of before your testosterone test, so if you take a testosterone blood test and have abnormal results, consider if any of the above factors have played a role in your test results before taking another or making an appointment with your doctor. It should also be noted, that people with diet-controlled diabetes, pregnant women or people who need to control their blood glucose levels, should consult a medical practitioner before adhering to any fasting advice to avoid any complications or health concerns.
What’s more, if you frequently consume large quantities of alcohol or regularly smoke cigarettes, these factors may be the cause of your testosterone deficiency, so avoiding them before a test may actually negatively impact the results of the testosterone test. Your doctor may advise you to continue as you normally do to get the most accurate results, before advising on cutting down on alcohol or tobacco to raise your testosterone levels back to normal.
Can You Drink Coffee Before a Testosterone Blood Test?
Much more research is needed before any concrete advice can be given, however, when there’s the possibility of adversely affecting your test results, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid certain products regardless.
Coffee has a high caffeine content which may affect blood test results, but it’s also a diuretic so will have a dehydrating effect on your body and potentially make it harder to draw blood in your blood test, although this is usually only for blood tests done at the doctor’s surgery with a needle. Home blood tests extract a small sample using a lancet that pricks the tip of your finger and usually draws blood very easily.
Some sports scientists suggest that exercise followed by high caffeine intake can boost testosterone levels, so you should avoid this combination before taking a testosterone test, although, as mentioned before, this is practical advice that needs more scientific studies to provide sufficient evidence in support of this claim.
When to Take a Testosterone Blood Test
Fasting is not the most pleasant experience, especially if you have a daily routine or strict diet. However, testosterone is at its highest level in the blood between 6 am and 10 am, so this is the optimum time to take your testosterone blood test. Since you should take your test early in the morning, this makes fasting a lot easier as you won’t be consuming anything while you sleep, and you can take your testosterone test first thing in the morning.
This gives home testosterone tests another advantage, as it’s much easier to roll out of bed and take your test before having breakfast or a cup of coffee than rushing to your doctor’s office on an empty stomach.
You should also only take a testosterone test if there is a medical necessity i.e. you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone. Testosterone deficiency can affect both men and women, although it’s often overlooked in women as the symptoms are similar to that of depression. So if your doctor is pushing for mental health treatments when you believe the cause is a hormonal imbalance, you can greatly benefit from taking an at-home testosterone test.
Normal Testosterone Levels for Men
Testosterone levels in men and women peak at around 18 years of age and steadily decline as we age, although men see around a 1% drop in their testosterone levels from the age of 30 - 40. Normal levels of testosterone in adult men are considered to be between 300 and 1200 ng/dL, sometimes shown as 3 - 12 ng/ml. Although some food and drink and exercise may affect testosterone levels, if your levels are ever below 300 ng/dL or above 1200 ng/dL, you should visit your doctor to try to establish the cause of your testosterone deficiency or surplus.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men
You should take a testosterone blood test if you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, as testosterone deficiency can be a result of some serious health conditions, and cause unpleasant symptoms.
Men with low testosterone may experience:
- Low sex drive
- Reduced muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
Can Low Testosterone Cause Male Infertility?
Testosterone is produced in men’s testicles and is integral to the physical development of boys, causing hair growth, lowering of the voice and muscle growth in boys going through puberty. But even as adults, testosterone is important for maintaining sexual desire (libido), producing sperm and maintaining muscle mass.
Counterintuitively, then, having low testosterone doesn’t necessarily cause male infertility; having low testosterone can cause the testes to produce less sperm than normal, however, the function of the sperm is not affected. Moreover, if test results show a man has testosterone deficiency, there are a number of lifestyle changes that can be made as well as hormone replacement treatments that can be administered by doctors to assist in conception.
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