Low testosterone levels can lead to a decrease in muscle mass and physical strength, increase abdominal fat, and even raise the risk of certain diseases. If your testosterone is low, then it also increases the risk of injury, raises your chances of heart disease, and more.
We often don’t realize common things in our daily lives that affect how much testosterone can circulate through our bodies. There are several common foods that lower testosterone. Recognizing these foods and eliminating them from your diet can go a long way in helping to maintain a healthy level of testosterone hormones in your blood circulatory system. Let’s take a closer look at some of the foods that are causing hormonal disruptions in your body.
What Is Testosterone and Why Is It Important?
We should first consider what testosterone is and take a closer look at the role it plays in your body. Testosterone is a hormone – often called a sex hormone. In men, it’s the main sex hormone in the body. The hormone is also present in a woman’s body but at much smaller concentrations compared to men.
In men, testosterone plays a role in the development of both the testes and the penis. During puberty, testosterone levels start to increase, which causes a boy’s voice to deepen, and results in the growth of pubic and facial hair.
Testosterone is also important for bone mass, muscle mass, and the production of sperm. The hormone affects mood, and red cell production, and is involved in the distribution and storage of fat in your body.
When you have low levels of testosterone, then you may notice several symptoms. You may notice that your sex drive declines, and you have less energy than usual. Low testosterone can also cause weight gain and make you feel depressed. It is not uncommon to feel moody and find that your self-esteem has taken a hit when your testosterone levels are running low. Apart from these, body hair may start to fade, and your bones become more likely to develop fractures.
Foods That Can Lower Your Testosterone Levels
Now that you know why testosterone is important for your health, we want to take a closer look at a few foods that lower testosterone. These foods are commonly included in modern diets, and you may not realize that you are hurting your testosterone levels through your diet. We’ll consider seven of the most common foods that men turn to that can be damaging to the production of testosterone.
One of the biggest culprits that we have to discuss is alcohol. While technically not a food, it’s still something that can wreak havoc on your hormonal balance. Every year, about three million deaths can be linked to alcohol usage, which calculates to roughly 5.3% of all the deaths that are recorded worldwide.
When it comes to looking at alcohol and testosterone, we need to consider the way the hormone is made in your body. There are multiple glands that have the ability to make this hormone. It all starts in the hypothalamus gland, which releases GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone), triggering the release of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) from the anterior pituitary gland. Finally, the LH and FSH hormones then stimulate the synthesis of testosterone in the testes.
When you drink alcohol excessively, then it can cause a hindrance to the functions of these glands that are involved in testosterone synthesis. This can reduce how much testosterone your testes synthesize and release into your blood circulatory system.
A surprising one is mint – and here, we need to mention the fact that testosterone is important for both men and women. According to current research, mint seems to have a negative impact on testosterone levels in women. There are also some animal studies that have confirmed this. Yet, there are no high-quality studies that show whether this effect happens in men as well.
In one study, researchers tested the impact of spearmint tea on a group of women. There were 42 women who participated in the study and it was done over a period of 30 days. By the end of the study period, there was a statistically significant reduction in the testosterone levels of the women who consumed spearmint tea.
3. Dairy Products
Dairy products are actually used by many people, and you may not know that these foods can actually be harmful to your testosterone levels too. The main thing here is the fact that dairy products often contain dietary estrogen. While testosterone is the main sex hormone, in females, it is estrogen. Men do have some estrogen, but when you consume too much dietary estrogen, it can cause problems.
Thus, if you are consuming a lot of dairy products, consider cutting back. These foods that lower testosterone do not only include milk but also other dairy products like cheeses. This can help to limit your intake of dietary estrogen, reduce levels of oestradiol in your body, and ensure you do not tamper with your body’s ability to make enough testosterone.
4. Processed Foods
Processed foods are incredibly convenient, as they require minimal cooking or can sometimes be eaten directly from the package. There is a major problem, however. Processed foods are often high in sodium, trans fats, saturated fats, and other harmful ingredients.
Eating too much-processed foods has been linked to health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, processed foods also cause inflammation in your body to increase. The effects of the compounds found in processed foods can also cause problems with your body’s ability to produce testosterone. This is not only part of the foods that lower testosterone but also something that can have a significant impact on your overall health.
5. Licorice Root
Licorice root is commonly used as a flavoring agent. It is not the same as licorice candy, though. Licorice candy usually does not contain actual licorice root extract. Breath fresheners are one common food product that contains licorice root. The root of this plant contains a chemical called glycyrrhizic acid, and this particular compound may interfere with the precursor to testosterone.
Your body needs to convert a precursor into the actual testosterone hormone. If glycyrrhizic acid causes problems with this conversion process, then it can lead to a reduction in how much testosterone is available in your body. Thus, consider carefully checking the ingredient list on things like breath fresheners if you want to avoid foods that lower testosterone.
When looking at foods that lower testosterone, you may not really think about sweet things. Sugar is something that can be found in so many foods today. Perhaps you add a few spoons of sugar to your coffee and tea. Maybe you enjoy a sugary beverage or a glass of juice with dinner. While a little bit of sugar might not be harmful, if you consume a high amount of sugar throughout the day, it can cause a number of problems.
In fact, some research has shown that sugar is actually addictive. This explains those sugar cravings you get when you haven’t had your “fix” for the day yet. Apart from this, it is also important to note that sugar might also cause problems with your testosterone levels. In fact, one study actually found that consuming around 75 grams of sugar can cause your testosterone levels to drop by as much as 25%.
In this particular study, there were a total of 74 men who participated. The men were aged between 19 and 75. Samples were collected from all of the participants at various intervals – at baseline, as well as in 30-minute intervals until two hours after the consumption of the sugar.
Some evidence has also surfaced that flaxseeds could actually have a negative impact on testosterone levels. Thus, when looking at foods that lower testosterone, it’s important to consider limiting your intake of flaxseeds.
Flaxseeds are generally considered healthy, and one would not think it fits in a list of testosterone-killing foods. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, after all. Yet, some of the more recent studies have found that flaxseeds could be killing testosterone in the human body.
Can You Increase Your Testosterone Levels?
There are ways to increase your testosterone – both natural options and pharmaceutical interventions. If your testosterone levels drop to the point where it becomes a clinical concern, your doctor may recommend testosterone replacement therapy. This therapy has been used for more than seven decades already and continues to play an important role in increasing testosterone levels in men with hypogonadism.
There are more natural options that you can turn to as well. For example, if you read through a Virectin review or other supplement reviews, you may find that there are certain herbal products that help to improve the production and bioavailability of testosterone in the body.
To increase testosterone naturally, you should also consider avoiding certain foods and watching your weight. Overweight and obesity are commonly seen in men who have low testosterone levels. Make sure you eat a healthy diet and try to get enough exercise. Working out regularly can actually do wonders when it comes to increasing the amount of testosterone that is available in your body.
We considered a number of foods that can lower your testosterone in this article. There are, however, some foods that can actually help to stimulate increased production of this hormone.
While trying to avoid testosterone-killing foods, try to incorporate some of these into your diet:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Fatty fish
- White button mushrooms
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
These foods are rich in compounds like certain minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that can be beneficial when you try to increase testosterone naturally.
Apart from food, watching your weight, and working out regularly, here are a couple of extra tips that can go a long way in naturally increasing testosterone:
- Your sleep quality and duration matter. Try to ensure you sleep for at least seven hours every night. Avoid technology and lights in your bedroom to help you fall asleep faster.
- Manage your stress effectively. Chronic stress leads to consistent cortisol circulating through your body. It promotes low-grade inflammation and can also have a negative impact on your testosterone levels.
- Minimize your exposure to estrogen-like chemicals. This includes reducing the use of soda and other liquids that are packaged in plastic bottles that contain BPA.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can certain foods cause low testosterone?
Yes, there are foods, such as mint, flaxseeds, licorice root, and more that can negatively impact your testosterone levels and cause a decline in this vital hormone.
What causes low testosterone in males?
There are multiple factors that can contribute to low testosterone levels in men. Some include common testosterone-killing foods, living a sedentary lifestyle, age, being overweight or obese, and having certain chronic conditions.
Why does testosterone go low?
Age is one of the things that causes testosterone to decline gradually, which usually starts to happen once you turn 30. Sometimes, additional elements make testosterone decline at a faster rate. There are also some medical conditions that can cause problems with your testosterone.
Are low testosterone levels dangerous?
Yes, if your testosterone levels drop too much, it can become a dangerous situation. Your risk of osteoporosis increases, making your bones brittle and more prone to injury. You are also at a greater risk of heart disease when you have very low testosterone levels.
Foods that lower testosterone levels are part of the modern-day diet and you are likely consuming some of them. By reducing how much of these foods you consume, you can help to balance out testosterone levels. This can have various benefits, such as helping you maintain a healthy body weight, increasing your muscle strength, and even offering advantages for your heart health. Consider the foods we talked about in this article, then look at how you can remove them from your diet and daily life.