What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

Your hormones are constantly in balance, whether you are man or woman.

What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

Ideally, we want our hormones to have a good balance between estrogen and testosterone to help maintain our mood and bodily functions. 

The idea of hormones having a large effect on men can often be brushed under the carpet.

Just like women, if a man’s hormones are out of whack they can be depressed, angry, and it can affect their biology in varying ways.

You may have suffered some similar symptoms and talked to your doctor, they may have suggested you have low testosterone.

If you do have low testosterone then there is no need to fear, not only is this totally able to be recovered, but importantly, it doesn’t really mean you’re less male than anyone else.

Everyone has a spectrum of hormones, our goal is to keep them in balance and not dip into their extremities.

One way to help keep our hormones balanced, or simply something worth noting if you have been identified as having lower testosterone, is what food can affect our testosterone and bring it down.

In this article we have tried to cover some commonly eaten foods which we believe can affect your testosterone in a negative way.

Moderation is key here, these foods can still be eaten but if you are eating a lot you may want to tweak your diet accordingly.

Let’s explore the world of hormones and testosterone together! 

Soy

What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

The relationship between soy and testosterone is commonly discussed in gym forums and among vegetarians and vegans everywhere.

Soy definitely affects testosterone but often in ways that many don’t realize. Eating soy is not inherently bad but should be treated with moderation as should all foods.

Soy is a protein that comes from the soybean, the soybean can be processed to create soy protein, soy milk and other soy products. Soy products are perhaps most often eaten by vegetarians and vegans. 

Those who seek meat alternative products such as Quorn and other meat alternative proteins will find that most metal alternatives are often soy based.

Although there are even alternatives to soy protein now such as pea protein and others which help mimic meat.

Soy is really high in isoflavones which change into phytoestrogen in the body. Phytoestrogen is essentially plant estrogen, when introduced into our bodies they can act similarly to estrogen. 

Cases differ, occasionally phytoestrogen actually suppresses estrogen in the male body, increasing testosterone, yet in other circumstances phytoestrogen can actually increase estrogen and reduce testosterone.

Other research also suggests that phytoestrogen can affect and disrupt your androgen receptors.

Your androgen receptors are required in order to produce testosterone and estrogen so disruption of their communication can be negative or testosterone production.

Soy’s true operation in hormone production is highly debated, some find that it seriously affects testosterone production, another point is polyunsaturated fats in soy which reduce testosterone production, but many also suggest that soy could potentially reduce estrogen too.

Yet, there are many health benefits of eating soy products which are good for the body in moderation.

Soy could potentially reduce chances of breast cancer in both genders, could prevent kidney disease, and reduce chances of diabetes greatly.

What is clear with soy and many of the other products on this list, is that they can affect the operation of hormones in the body, but we should still remain skeptical about saying anything is a testosterone killer.

If you believe you may suffer from hormone imbalances, consider how much soy is in your diet and if it exceeds moderation, tone it back.

Flaxseed

What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

Flaxseeds, a bit like soy, received a label of superfood from many foodies and health influencers, and they totally still are.

Flaxseeds are super high in Omega-3 which is so good for your body, yet flaxseeds can also affect testosterone production.

Flaxseed has a clear effect on testosterone but is still a healthy food worth consuming.

Flaxseeds are pretty high in something called lignan. Lignan can affect your androgen receptors, which are pivotal in hormone regulation.

Essentially, lignans may reduce the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone which can affect how high your testosterone is.

Scientific studies found that consuming flaxseed over a 14-month period led to a 65% decrease in the levels of testosterone freely available to the body.

Again, a lot of these results should be prefaced with the concept of moderation. The subject of said test was consuming 30g per day which is a large amount every day for most normal people.

Flaxseeds have many health benefits, so we shouldn’t stop eating them outright.

If you have lots of flaxseed in your diet, and you worry about its effect on your hormones, reduce your intake a little but there’s no reason to stop consuming it fully, it may only affect your hormones when consumed regularly and at high doses.

Alcohol

What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

Obviously, the book on alcohol, moderation, and the benefits of not drinking heavily has been written.

Yet, tests have found that alcohol, among other things, can seriously affect testosterone production levels.

On the one hand, alcohol will damage your Leydig cells, located in the testes, whose purpose is to produce testosterone.

On the other, alcohol demands the presence of a coenzyme in order to metabolize it. While this coenzyme is metabolizing alcohol its role in producing testosterone is absent.

Moreover, alcohol can increase a stress hormone called cortisol, which can in turn decrease the production of testosterone.

The endorphins that alcohol releases in your body which makes you feel relaxed and happy can actually affect testosterone production as well.

It should already be clear that drinking alcohol in excess can be very dangerous to your body, yet alcohol in some form of moderation can actually be somewhat healthy.

If you do struggle with low testosterone levels and you drink excessively, this could be considered as a contributor to your lack of testosterone.

Trans Fats

What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

Like alcohol, trans fats are widely recognized to be a rather unhealthy food that we should avoid consuming whenever we can, although it may be harder than we realize.

Trans fats are essentially the worst type of fat you can consume. They remain pretty high in processed products, and are commonly used for their long shelf life.

The main reason that trans fat is bad, although among many, is that trans fats will lower the good cholesterol in your body, the one you actually want, while increasing the bad cholesterol in your body.

In general the intake of trans fats is associated with low level testosterone production among many other health dangers.

Research suggests this is most dangerous when trans fats are consumed through processed foods.

In summary, consuming high levels of processed foods such as processed meat, cakes, potato chips, cookies, can all contain trans fats which will decrease your testosterone in the long run.

If you feel you have low testosterone levels then reducing the amount of processed foods you eat can largely help with your sexual health and hormone balance.

Licorice Root

What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

Licorice is a bit of an anomaly on this list, while it does reduce testosterone, it is only worth thinking about if you consume a large amount of licorice, which may be true for you. 

Licorice has a rather direct effect on testosterone as proven by scientific testing, but licorice root is not always present in what you expect it to be.

For example, actual licorice sweets do not always have actual licorice root in them, although some will.

Licorice root has been shown to decrease testosterone in men after eating 7 grams daily leading to a drop of over 20% after only one week.

Moreover, it has been shown that it can also reduce testosterone in women after consuming only 3.5g a day their testosterone levels dropped by 30%.

Licorice root is not a common product, or at least is not consumed heavily or consistently in most situations, but is worth being aware of as a testosterone killer.

Licorice root is actually present in a good amount of drugs, sweets, candies, pastries, and beverages. 

Just keep an eye on your consumption, if you suffer from low testosterone you may find your favorite root beer you drink every day is high in licorice root – again, moderation is the key concept here.

Mint

What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

Another specific product, like licorice, which has been shown to reduce testosterone is the herb Mint.

In the past mint has been used as a natural medicine to treat androgyny and hirsutism as it can reduce testosterone levels. 

More modern studies affirm the effects of mint on hormones. In all types of mint, that means peppermint, spearmint, any sort of mint variety, can have an effect on hormone levels.

Yet, most of the test are based on women or in animal testing, and while the evidence is clear testing hasn’t backed it up in males but there’s no reason to assume it wouldn’t.

One study with women found that over 30 days of drinking peppermint tea, a significant drop in their testosterone levels were recorded.

A similar dip was present when rats drank peppermint tea, their testosterone levels reduced significantly after consumption.

It seems clear that mint can affect testosterone, and raises some troublesome issues as consuming mint is pretty common and easy, you do it twice a day already when you brush your teeth.

Yet, some human trials and tests should be undertaken in order to really see the effects of hormones.

Vegetable Oil

What Foods Can Affect Testosterone?

Vegetable oil is another product which people may consume a lot of, without realizing how strongly it can affect your testosterone levels just as processed foods would.

What many don’t realize is that most common vegetable based oils such as soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, can all be really high in polyunsaturated fats which can affect your hormones detrimentally, just as processed foods would.

Research remains fairly limited on vegetable oils as the culprit for this reduction in testosterone, but the high levels of polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oil suggests that consumption of vegetable oil can affect hormones the same way processed food might.

More research should be undertaken around vegetable oils as many people may be consuming high amounts of vegetable oils without really considering it. 

If you struggle with testosterone levels, a diet that is high in both vegetable oils and processed foods, as well as anything else on the list, could, in aggregation, have a very detrimental effect on your health generally as well as your hormonal balances.

Final Word

Yes, it remains true that all the foods listed will have some sort of effect on your hormonal balance. Does this mean you should stop consuming the things listed? 

There’s no need to outright ban everything on the list from your diet, of course the dangers of alcohol and trans fats are clear, but others such as flax seed and mint may have more facets to consider.

Only cut these products out of your diet where totally necessary, and we mean when you are consuming them in excess.

Eating a takeaway every day will lead to a damned testosterone production, in the same way that excess alcohol consumption could likely lead to the same detriment. 

The key concept here is moderation, of course flax seeds are super healthy and great to eat, but if you are having lots of them all the time then you may want to consider their effect on your hormones.

This is perhaps most clear with soy and soy products.

The benefit you may get from eating meat can be really good for your health and being healthy is perhaps better than abstaining from soy all together simply for testosterone production.

But eating only soy products could potentially be as dangerous for your health as eating meat.

What is made clear by these ingredients and their effects on hormones is that moderation is the key to good hormonal balance but also a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Jamie Platt