8 Foods that Lower Testosterone Levels in Men
Does food affect the level of testosterone in a human body? Multiple studies have given a positive conclusion. To make things clearer & easy to understand, we’ve created a list of 8 foods that lower testosterone in men.
But first, what is testosterone?
Testosterone is an important male hormone. It’s also available in females but in lower quantity. This hormone has a vital role to play in the overall health of humans. Testosterone alone functions for the maintenance of bone mass, improving libido, generating new blood cells, and boosting strength.
These hormone levels associate with several health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart problems. Many factors help maintain testosterone levels, which include a healthy diet as the primary parameter.
Below is the complete list of 8 foods to avoid, and maintain better testosterone levels:
1. Soy And Soy-Based Products
Phytoestrogens are present in soy foods, including edamame, tofu, and soy protein isolates. Estrogen has a similar look physically as these compounds have, and the count of estrogen levels go high when consuming soy. However, there are no studies that clearly prove the relation between soy consumption and lower testosterone levels.
The symptoms of high estrogen are due to the soy that might affect the body without changing the hormone levels. So a precise study on the effects of soy and soy-based products consumption may soon show that association with changes in testosterone levels.
Mint containing menthol is the significant reason for lower testosterone levels, as studies show. The research proves that levels of testosterone reduce in female rats with PCOS when spearmint containing the oil is given.
While there were basic studies that prove mint lowers levels with PCOS in women, high-quality evidence may soon induct a strong indication.
3. Vegetable Oil
Many of the common vegetable oils, including canola, soybean, corn, and cottonseed oil, contain polyunsaturate fatty acids (PUFA). These fatty acids are usually classified as a good source of dietary fat, but they may also decrease testosterone levels, as several studies have suggested.
Refined vegetable cooking oils can be a severe threat to testosterone. The levels of the hormone can go low as they contain fewer micro-nutrients and sulfates.
The total fat intake, including saturated fatty-acids and monounsaturated fatty-acids boosts testosterone levels. However, PUFAs can also be another reason for testosterone reduction. Most vegetables have omega-6 fatty-acids that are not recommended.
The calculation for overall health stands to be a perfect ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty-acids, respectively. But, it is 16 times more than an average American consumes omega-6 fatty-acids than omega-3s. Thus a 1:16 ratio keeps oxidative stress on the go and decreases the hormone production.
So high saturated fatty-acids and monounsaturated fatty-acids are great preferences over high-PUFA vegetable oils. The non-high-PUFA vegetable oils include palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil. Also, butter serves as a substitute to maintain testosterone.
One study in 69 men shows that frequently consuming polyunsaturated fats associate with significantly lower testosterone levels. Another study in 12 men showcases the effects of diet on levels after exercise and reports that polyunsaturated fat intake links to lower levels of testosterone.
However, recent research is limited, and most studies are observational with small sample size. More high-quality studies are needed to examine the effects of vegetable oils on testosterone levels in the general population.
Hence, making it one of the main foods that lower testosterone levels.
4. Licorice Root
Licorice root is an ingredient commonly used to sweeten candies and beverages. This is one of the factors that reduce testosterone during menstrual cycles in women.
Studies on animals also have an impact on lowering levels as licorice supplementation is given.
It’s also a popular natural remedy in holistic medicine and often used to treat everything from chronic pain to persistent coughing.
In recent years, several studies have found that licorice may also influence hormone levels, potentially leading to a decline in T over time.
In one study, 25 men consumed 7 grams of licorice root daily, which caused a 26% drop in levels after just one week. Another small study showed that licorice might reduce testosterone levels in women as well, reporting that 3.5 grams of licorice daily decreased testosterone levels by 32% after just one menstrual cycle.
Keep in mind that this applies to licorice root rather than licorice candy, which often doesn’t contain any licorice root.
Flaxseed comes with heart-healthy fats, fiber, and various essential vitamins and minerals. Besides, some research shows that it may cause a decrease in these hormone levels. This decrease is because flaxseed is high in lignans, which are plant compounds that bind to testosterone and force it to leave the body.
What’s more, flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may be cause a decrease in testosterone as well. In one small study in 25 men with prostate cancer, supplementing with flaxseed and decreasing overall fat intake reveals reduction of testosterone levels significantly.
Similarly, a case study reported daily flaxseed supplements to lower levels in a 31-year-old woman with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition characterized by increased male hormones in women. However, more large-scale studies can evaluate the effects of flaxseed on testosterone levels further.
6. Processed Foods
Besides often being high in sodium, calories, and added sugar, processed foods like convenience meals, frozen foods, and pre-packaged snacks are also a common source of trans fats. Trans fats — an unhealthy type of fat — have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and inflammation.
Plus, some studies have found that regularly consuming trans fats from sources like processed foods could decrease levels. For example, one study in 209 men showed that those who consumed the highest amounts of trans fats had 15% lower levels of T than those with the most moderate intake.
Additionally, they also had a 37% lower sperm count and a decrease in testicular volume, which may be linked to reduced testicular function. Animal studies have also found that a high intake of trans fats could lower testosterone levels and even impair reproductive performance.
Nuts are a great source of many vital nutrients, including fiber, heart-healthy fats, and minerals like folic acid, selenium, and magnesium. Additionally, some studies suggest that certain types of nuts may decrease testosterone levels.
One small study in 31 women with polycystic ovary syndrome showed that walnuts and almonds increased levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) by 12.5% and 16%, respectively. SHBG is a type of protein that binds to testosterone, which can lead to a decrease in the levels in your body.
Nuts are also generally high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which associate with decrease in hormone levels according to some studies. Despite these findings, more research is needed to determine how certain types of nuts may impact these hormone levels.
Alcohol consumption can be a severe factor to lower testosterone levels, especially in males. Few beliefs that a small amount of alcohol increases testosterone levels in men are not real. But continuous drinking of alcohol causes a decrease in testosterone.
Keeping in mind the health benefits that link with the maintenance of testosterone levels, doctors always suggest ignoring drinking. Studies also prove that excessive alcohol intake results in decreasing testosterone levels.
A study in 19 healthy adult men showed that consuming 30–40 grams of alcohol per day, which equates to about 2–3 standard drinks, decreased testosterone levels in men by 6.8% over three weeks. Another research states that limited alcohol intoxication leads to increased testosterone in women but decreased levels in men.
Other Factors that lead to low testosterone
There are other factors that may reduce testosterone levels that include:
- a sedentary lifestyle
- chronic drugs
How To Boost Testosterone Naturally?
There may also be some ways to increase testosterone naturally, including:
- maintaining a balanced diet
- avoiding obesity
- having sound sleep daily
- doing regular exercise
Now that you know about the prominent foods that lower testosterone, the next logical step should be stopping using them. All the foods mentioned in this list are a part of everyday life for a majority of people. Plus, they provide good nutrition. Hence, completely cutting them down is not feasible. The best thing we can do is limit their intake.
November 5, 2019 Sam Bell