Is oatmeal good for muscle growth?

oatmeal muscle

Oatmeal is good food for muscle growth for several different reasons. Compounds found in oatmeal called saponins can increase free testosterone, which can help to stimulate more muscle growth. The primary testosterone-boosting saponins are called avenocosides. Oats also contain numerous different nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and, as mentioned above, steroidal saponins such as avenocosides.

What are oats?

The oat grain is one of the most popular grains in the world. In addition to its popularity, the oat grain is one of the most nutritious grains. Many nutrients are found in oats, including protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The oat plant is also called Avena Sativa. It is a type of cereal grain or seed. Oats are available in various forms, depending on their processing. Below is a list of the different kinds of oats available.

  • Oat Groats
  • Oat bran
  • Steel-Cut or Irish
  • Scottish Oats
  • Rolled or Old-Fashioned
  • Quick or Instant

History of oatmeal

The history of oatmeal is an interesting one. Historically, oatmeal has been around for thousands of years but was viewed as a weed by ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians. It was not until the Romans brought the oat plant (Avena Sativa) to the UK did it really take off as a harvestable group for human consumption. The Romans mostly looked at oats as food for barbarians or livestock. However, this plant thrived in the UK climate, especially Scotland, where the plant became somewhat of a national food, a staple in the diet of many scots.

The majority of oats harvested and produced today go to livestock feed. Estimates are that roughly 95 percent of all oat production goes to animals, which leaves 5 percent that people consume. The majority of oats for human consumption are in the form of oatmeal. In North America, the most popular forms of oatmeal are instant oatmeal and old-fashioned or rolled oatmeal.

Is oatmeal good for muscle growth?

Oatmeal is a staple food of athletes and bodybuilders trying to add muscle and fuel intense workouts. Most of us already know that this hearty breakfast cereal is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and provides plenty of fuel for our day or workouts. Most people do not know that it is good for muscle growth and can help with free testosterone levels.

Since most people already know the nutritional benefits, we will look closer at the little-known benefits, such as increasing free testosterone and increasing nitric oxide. Before talking about oats and testosterone, we need to understand what free testosterone is and how it can help muscle building

What is free testosterone?

The term “free testosterone” refers to the testosterone present in the blood that is bioavailable. Because it is unattached to protein, it is called ‘free.’ Most testosterone is attached to one of two proteins: albumin or sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). 

When proteins bind testosterone, it becomes unavailable to perform functions and cannot bind to the androgen receptor on cells. Critical areas of the body that have a high prevalence of androgen receptors are the reproductive system, the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the immune system, and the musculoskeletal system. These body systems need free testosterone to bind to the androgen receptor and activate it.

In the case of the musculoskeletal system, if we do not have enough unbound-free testosterone, it could hinder muscle building.

can oatmeal increase free testosterone?

Oats contain numerous steroidal saponins, and these steroidal saponins can decrease the binding of testosterone and thus increase the amount of free testosterone. The main saponin with proven efficacy is avenocosides.[1] The evidence supporting this is limited at best and there needs to be more studies done to determine if indeed the saponins in oats can increase free testosterone. For the time being it looks promising and interesting, but more information is needed to be certain that there is a real benefit.

Increased blood flow and nitric oxide

Another way oatmeal can possibly increase muscle growth is by increasing nitric oxide production. As we know, nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels, leading to increased blood flow, improved blood pressure, and greater muscular pumps in the gym while working out. If you want more details about what nitric oxide is and how it works, check out our nitric oxide article.[2] The studies and data surrounding the possible nitric oxide boosting ability are limited and questionable, so take this benefit with a grain of salt.

The conclusion is oatmeal good for muscle growth?

It is easy to say that oatmeal is good for muscle growth in the sense that it won’t slow your progress or hinder muscle building if added to your diet. However, it is not some miracle food that will make you gain massive muscle. It would help if you thought of it as a staple food that should be part of a healthy balanced muscle-building diet. It provides many complex carbohydrates that can fuel your workouts and muscle building. Also, the carbohydrates get released slowly, leading to a low glycemic index score, which is beneficial.

So don’t go buying massive amounts of this hot cereal and expecting it to do something noticeable to your body. Also, do not expect to eat large quantities of it and see or feel a real difference in your testosterone levels. It shows some promise as a test booster or supporting agent, but the research is still limited and questionable at best. 

If you like eating it, go ahead and eat it or eat more of it. It certainly won’t hurt your muscular gains, but again do not expect it to help them to any noticeable extent.


The information presented in this article is not intended to be taken as medical or health advice. for health and medical advice you should always consult your doctor.