8 Surprising Foods That Could Lower Testosterone

8 Surprising Foods That Could Lower Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone that is essential for male growth and reproductive health. Although testosterone is found in both men and women, males have much greater quantities. Some of the main roles of testosterone are:

  • Development of male sexual organs and characteristics during puberty 
  • Regulation of sex drive 
  • Production of sperm
  • Growth of body hair
  • Increase in muscle size and strength
  • Distribution of body fat
  • Production of red blood cells
  • Bone maturation during adolescence

Men’s optimal health and overall well-being depend on maintaining adequate testosterone levels. However, some lifestyle variables, particularly nutrition, might have a detrimental influence on testosterone production. 

Consuming meals containing substances that affect the hormonal system may lower testosterone levels in the body.

Foods That Could Cause Low Testosterone

Here are some foods that might cause lower testosterone levels:

Soy Products

Soy Products

Soy includes isoflavones, which function as phytoestrogens in the body. Phytoestrogens are plant-based chemicals that can mimic the effects of oestrogen in humans. 

Consuming soy products causes an increase in oestrogen levels in males. Studies have found that increased oestrogen from soy phytoestrogens can restrict testosterone synthesis and reduce testosterone levels.

Some of the major soy products that have been found to reduce testosterone are:

Soy milk

Drinking soy milk introduces isoflavones into the body which bind to estrogen receptors. This leads to an increase in estrogen and lowered testosterone over time. One study found that consuming soy milk for one month decreased testosterone levels in men.


Tofu is made of condensed soy milk curds. Eating tofu regularly can significantly increase estrogen levels. In one study, men who ate half a serving of tofu daily experienced decreased testosterone levels. The isoflavones from tofu reduce testosterone production and release


Edamame are immature soybeans often steamed or cooked. They contain substantial levels of isoflavones, which act as antiandrogens in males. Regular eating of edamame can inhibit testosterone production and lower testosterone levels.

Limiting soy products such as soy milk, tofu, and edamame will help you maintain healthy testosterone levels.

Dairy Products

Dairy Products

Milk and dairy products include oestrogens, which can reduce testosterone levels. Oestrogens are naturally found in cow’s milk and help calves grow and thrive. 

When individuals ingest milk and dairy products, oestrogens can disturb natural hormone levels. Studies have shown that males who consume milk on a daily basis have lower testosterone levels. One research tracked male athletes and discovered that those who consumed the most milk had 13% less circulating testosterone than those who consumed less. 

The estrogens in dairy are significant since insufficient testosterone can lead to lower muscle growth, low energy levels, weight gain, and erectile problems in males. Cheese and yogurt contain oestrogens and can have a similar effect on hormones as milk. One study discovered that consuming 60 grams of cheese per day was connected with lower testosterone levels.

To avoid the estrogenic effects of dairy, restrict or eliminate milk, cheese, and yoghurt. If removing dairy altogether feels too restricting, switching to organic grass-fed dairy may give a less strong supply of oestrogens. However, eliminating dairy from one’s diet can assist preserve normal hormone activity and boost testosterone levels.



Flaxseeds contain a lot of lignans, which are phytoestrogens that mimic the actions of oestrogen in the body. Lignans can bind to testosterone, reducing its circulating levels. 

According to studies, eating flaxseeds for a few weeks can lower total and free testosterone levels. One study discovered that eating 30 grams of flaxseed meal each day for four weeks reduced testosterone levels by 15% in healthy young males.

Flaxseed oil may not have the same impact since the oil extraction procedure eliminates the majority of the lignans. However, flaxseed powder, which contains entire seeds, is a considerable source of lignans.

The upshot is that whole flaxseeds and flaxseed powder appear to lower testosterone levels due to their lignan content. If you’re seeking to maintain healthy testosterone levels, you might want to avoid meals high in flaxseed.



Mint includes antioxidants, which may interfere with testosterone synthesis. The primary chemicals in mint that can alter testosterone are rosmarinic acid and menthol. 

Rosmarinic acid is a polyphenolic antioxidant present in several mints, including peppermint and spearmint. According to studies, rosmarinic acid can block 5-alpha reductase, a testosterone-producing enzyme. It may also inhibit luteinizing hormone, which tells the testes to produce testosterone.

Menthol, a common mint flavoring, can also lower testosterone. In animal research, menthol reduced testosterone by blocking the leydig cells in the testes that make testosterone. 

Peppermint and spearmint, two menthol-rich mint plants, have been proven to reduce testosterone levels in rats over a four-week period.

Although the evidence is limited, several studies indicate that mint’s antioxidant and aromatherapy benefits may interfere with normal testosterone levels. Mint use may be harmless on occasion, but regular, excessive amounts may lower testosterone levels over time. Those with low testosterone levels may wish to reduce their mint consumption until additional information is available.


Alcohol can have a major effect on testosterone levels in males. Chronic and excessive alcohol consumption is known to reduce testosterone production. This is because alcohol may harm the liver, which is responsible for breaking down hormones such as testosterone. 

Most men’s testosterone levels are unlikely to be significantly affected by moderate alcohol use (1-2 beers per day). However, consuming more than two drinks per day, sometimes known as binge drinking, can have a detrimental impact on testosterone over time. 

Excessive alcohol consumption increases oestrogen levels and decreases testosterone production. It also causes testicular tissue damage and reduces testosterone release. Over time, excessive drinking causes chronically low testosterone levels.

Men who wish to boost their testosterone levels should limit their alcohol use to no more than two drinks per day, with at least two alcohol-free days per week. Binge drinking and being inebriated should be avoided as much as possible. Getting alcohol addiction under control will most likely assist restore normal testosterone function.

Trans Fats  

Trans Fats

Trans fatty acids, or trans fats as they are often called, have been linked to increased inflammation and reduced testosterone levels in males. Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been processed and hydrogenated, changing their chemical structure and rendering them detrimental to human health.

Several studies have found that consuming more trans fats reduces testosterone levels. A 6-year research of over 1400 males discovered that every 2% increase in trans fat calories in the diet led to a drop in testosterone levels. Researchers believe this impact is caused by trans fats, which increase systemic inflammation and alter cell membrane function. 

The main dietary sources of trans fats that men should avoid to support healthy testosterone levels include:

Fast food and fried foods

Things like french fries, chicken nuggets, and pies often contain hydrogenated vegetable oils with trans fats.

Packaged baked goods

Pre-made cookies, cakes, muffins, and crackers can have trans fats. Always check ingredient labels.

Microwave popcorn

The oil used for bagged popcorn is extremely high in trans fats. Opt for freshly popped corn kernels instead.

Frozen pizza

The crust is likely made with hydrogenated oils containing trans fats.

Coffee creamer

Powdered and liquid non-dairy creamers tend to be high in trans fats.


Traditional stick margarines have trans fats from hydrogenated oils.

The idea is to eat as few processed and fried meals as possible. Choosing unprocessed, minimally processed meals more regularly can help you avoid trans fats and maintain healthy testosterone levels.



Consuming large quantities of added sugars has been linked to reduce testosterone levels in males. Added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and glucose are frequently found in processed meals and sweetened beverages. 

When we ingest considerable amounts of added sugar, our blood sugar levels might jump dramatically. This causes the release of insulin, which lowers blood sugar. However, chronically elevated insulin levels may limit testosterone synthesis over time.

Some foods and drinks high in added sugars that men may want to limit for testosterone include:

  • Sodas and sweetened drinks
  • Candy and chocolate 
  • Baked goods like cakes, cookies, and doughnuts
  • Sweetened breakfast cereals
  • Packaged snack foods 
  • Sugary coffee drinks
  • Ice cream and milkshakes
  • Jams, jellies, honey, and syrups

Aim to reduce your intake of added sugars. Concentrate on consuming carbs from entire foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes. Getting enough fibre can also assist to control blood sugar rises.

Licorice Root

Licorice root includes a chemical called glycyrrhizic acid, which can reduce testosterone levels in males. Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, which regulates testosterone synthesis and metabolism. Consuming licorice root extracts or glycyrrhizic acid directly has been proven in studies to diminish circulating testosterone levels in males.

The most frequent sources of licorice root include licorice sweets, teas, and licorice root extract supplements. Consuming licorice candy or tea a few times per week is unlikely to have a substantial effect on testosterone levels. 

However, drinking licorice root tea on a daily basis or taking licorice root supplements may cause men to experience low testosterone symptoms such as exhaustion, reduced libido, and erectile dysfunction. Men with low testosterone or infertility should avoid licorice sweets on a regular basis.


Various foods have been shown to reduce testosterone levels in the body. These include tofu and soy protein, dairy products such as milk and cheese, flaxseeds, mint, alcohol, trans fats from processed meals, added sugars, and licorice root. 

To maintain healthy testosterone levels, avoid or restrict the following items in your diet. Consume adequate healthy fats from foods such as avocados, almonds, olive oil, and fatty seafood. 

Perform frequent strength training and high-intensity exercise. Get enough rest and regulate your stress levels. Some supplements, including as zinc, vitamin D, and DHEA, may assist sustain testosterone when used in moderation. Natural testosterone levels may be enhanced with the correct lifestyle and food.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on How Can Low Testosterone Cause Tiredness?

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.


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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being