Some foods may lower your levels of testosterone, which may affect your muscle mass, sexual function, and overall strength. These foods include certain herbs, seeds, and beverages.
Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays a powerful role in health.
Low testosterone levels may put you at risk of developing a number of health conditions, including:
Many factors are involved in the regulation of testosterone, but a healthy diet may help you keep your levels in check.
Here are six foods that may help lower your testosterone levels.
A note on sex and gender
We use “women” and “men” in this article to reflect the terms that have been used in the cited research. That said, your gender identity may not align with how your body responds to lower levels of testosterone. A doctor can better help you understand how your specific circumstances will translate into diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment.
Research suggests that mint may cause a dip in testosterone levels.
In particular, spearmint and peppermint — two herbs that hail from the mint family of plants — have been shown to directly affect testosterone.
One 30-day study from 2010 in 42 females showed that drinking spearmint herbal tea daily caused a significant decline in testosterone levels (
What’s more, an older animal study noted that drinking peppermint tea altered hormone levels in rats, leading to a decrease in testosterone, compared with a control group (
However, most research on mint and testosterone focuses on women or animals.
High-quality human studies focusing on all sexes assigned at birth are needed to assess how mint affects testosterone levels in both males and females.
Some studies show that spearmint and peppermint may lower testosterone levels, but research has so far focused on their effects in women or animals.
Licorice root is an ingredient commonly used to sweeten candies and beverages.
It’s also a popular natural remedy in holistic medicine and used to help treat everything from common colds to chronic pain (
In recent years, several studies have found that licorice may also influence hormone levels, potentially leading to a decline in testosterone over time.
In a 2003 study, 25 men consumed 7 grams of licorice root daily, which caused a 26% drop in testosterone levels after just 1 week (
Another older study showed that licorice may 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 (
That said, a recent 2021 animal study found that licorice extract helped raise testosterone levels in mice who were injected with methotrexate, which lowered testosterone levels (
Newer research in humans is needed to further support the effects of licorice root on testosterone.
It’s also important to note that this applies to licorice root rather than licorice candy, which often doesn’t contain any licorice root.
In older studies, licorice root has been shown to decrease testosterone levels in both men and women.
Flaxseed is packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber, and various important vitamins and minerals.
In addition, some research shows that it may cause a decrease in testosterone levels in certain populations.
This is because flaxseed is high in lignans, which are plant compounds that bind to testosterone and force it to be excreted from your body (
In a 2001 study in 25 men with prostate cancer, supplementing with flaxseed and decreasing overall fat intake was shown to significantly reduce testosterone levels (
Similarly, a case study reported daily flaxseed supplements decreased testosterone levels in a 31-year-old woman with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition characterized by increased male hormones (
However, more large-scale studies are needed to further evaluate the effects of flaxseed on testosterone levels.
Flaxseed is high in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which may be associated with reduced testosterone levels.
Plus, some studies have found that regularly consuming trans fats from sources like processed foods could decrease testosterone levels.
For example, one study in 209 men showed that those who consumed the highest amounts of trans fats had 15% lower levels of testosterone than those with the lowest intake.
Trans fats, which have been banned since 2015, have been shown to decrease testosterone levels and impair reproductive performance in human and animal studies.
While enjoying the occasional glass of wine with dinner has been linked to health benefits, a small 2004 study in 19 healthy adults 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 3 weeks (
Another study in 2014 reported that alcohol consumption reduced semen and changed reproductive hormones in young Danish men (20).
However, the evidence isn’t completely clear-cut when it comes to the effects of alcohol on testosterone.
Further research is needed to understand how different doses of alcohol affect testosterone levels in the general population.
Some studies have found that alcohol consumption may decrease testosterone in men, but research has shown conflicting results.
However, some studies suggest that certain types of nuts may decrease testosterone levels.
SHBG is a type of protein that binds to testosterone, which can lead to a decrease in the levels of free testosterone in your body (25).
Despite these findings, more research is needed to determine if and how certain types of nuts may affect testosterone levels.
In the meantime, current research supports nut intake for cardiovascular health as well as endocrine health, unless you have an allergy.
One study found that walnuts and almonds increased levels of SHBG, a protein that binds to testosterone in your body. Nuts are also high in polyunsaturated fats, which may be linked to lower testosterone levels.
One older rat study from 2001 seemed to show that consuming phytoestrogens significantly decreased testosterone levels and prostate weight (
While more research is needed to confirm, the belief that soy products affect testosterone appears to have been debunked.
Animal studies have found that certain compounds in soy-based foods may decrease testosterone levels, but research is still inconclusive.
What foods decrease testosterone?
Research in both animals and humans suggests that certain foods may decrease your levels of testosterone. These include:
- trans fats
- licorice root
It’s important to note that more studies with humans are needed to better support these findings.
Do eggs lower testosterone?
One review of animal test-tube studies suggests that selenium may enhance testosterone production (
Another study found that egg white powder helped increase testosterone levels in men with obesity (
Although more research is needed, whole eggs are very nutritious foods.
What food has the highest testosterone?
Certain foods may boost your levels of testosterone more than others, including:
Modifying your diet is a great way to help maintain healthy testosterone levels.
If you’re concerned about low testosterone levels, swapping out these testosterone-lowering foods and replacing them with healthy, whole-food alternatives may help keep levels in check and enhance your overall health.
Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting plenty of sleep, and fitting exercise into your routine are some other significant steps you can take to naturally boost testosterone.