Before delving into the claims surrounding oat straw and testosterone, it's crucial to define what oat straw is and how it differs from other oat products. Oat straw refers to the green, unripe part of the oat plant, while oats themselves are the mature grains commonly consumed as a heart-healthy, high-fiber food.
The Short Answer: There is no evidence that Oat Straw effects testosterone, although some that it may have other effects on male health, which is likely where these claims stem from. Although even these claims around oat straw and blood flow to the nether regions have only been shown in animal studies.
The reference articles present conflicting views on the effects of oat straw on testosterone levels. Some suggest that oat straw, particularly when combined with saw palmetto, can enhance male sexual function and alleviate symptoms of sexual dysfunction in women. However, these claims are primarily based on unpublished studies conducted by the manufacturers of oat straw products, making it challenging to assess their validity.
One reference article from NYU highlights a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 75 men and women. According to reports, the use of an oat straw product enhanced the sexual experience for men but not for women. However, the statistical significance of these results and the methodology used remain unclear. Another study mentioned in the same article suggests that oat straw combined with saw palmetto may have similar benefits for women, but the study's design, particularly whether it was double-blind, is uncertain.
One of the primary compounds found in oat straw is β-glucan, a polysaccharide that has been shown to suppress cholesterol production. However, it's important to note that reducing cholesterol levels can have unintended consequences for hormone production. Since cholesterol serves as the raw material for hormone synthesis, decreased cholesterol levels can lead to reduced production of all steroid hormones, including testosterone.
A study mentioned in one of the reference articles examined the effects of a patented β-glucan supplement called Antrodan® on rodents. The results indicated that β-glucan significantly suppressed testicular size, reduced testosterone levels, and inhibited the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) production. These findings suggest that β-glucan may have antiandrogenic effects, contradicting the claims of oat straw's testosterone-boosting properties.
Apart from the potential antiandrogenic effects of oat straw, there are other reasons why oats and oat straw supplements may not be the best choice for testosterone optimization. Oat straw contains phytic acid, which can block the absorption of several essential micronutrients. Additionally, the fatty-acid content of oats is high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which have been associated with decreased testosterone levels.
One of the most intriguing claims surrounding oat straw is its potential to enhance sexual function. It has been widely marketed for this purpose, with specific formulations targeted at both men and women. However, the evidence supporting these claims is limited, and the studies conducted so far have not been published in full, making it challenging to evaluate their validity. There has been an animal study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research investigated the effects of oat straw extract on male rats with erectile dysfunction. The researchers found that the extract improved erectile function and increased the release of nitric oxide, a compound that plays a crucial role in penile blood flow and erection. But, this is of course an animal study and thus doesn't necessarily apply to humans.
In conclusion, while oats and oat straw have long been associated with various health benefits, the claims of oat straw as a testosterone booster remain largely unsupported by scientific evidence. The potential antiandrogenic effects of oat straw's key compound, β-glucan, along with other factors such as phytic acid and testosterone-suppressing fatty-acids, suggest that oat straw may not be the best choice for optimizing testosterone levels.