Androgens, the male sex hormones, stimulate or control the development of male characteristics in humans by binding to androgen receptors in the body. Having androgen levels within or slightly above average levels reduces the likelihood of heart attacks, obesity and high blood pressure in men. However, elevated androgen levels have also been linked to reckless and aggressive behaviour. For instance, men with elevated testosterone levels, according to a study in the April 1999 "Journal of Behavioral Medicine," were 24 per cent more likely to report being injured, 32 per cent more likely to drink excessively, 35 per cent more likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection and 151 per cent more likely to smoke.
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Things you need
- Soy products
- Low-fat, low-protein foods
- Herbs (black cohosh, chasteberry, dong quai, saw palmetto, spearmint)
Increase your intake of soy-containing foods, including tofu and soy-based protein powder. Soy has been shown to lower testosterone levels in mice, according to a study done at the University of Turku in 1998. As well, marmosets and humans have shown decreased testosterone levels when eating a soy-based diet.
Increase your intake of low-fat foods. Decrease your intake of high-fat foods. When total fat intake decreases, circulating androgen levels decrease.
Reduce meat intake. In a 1985 study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" comparing androgen levels in Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarians and omnivores, the vegetarians had substantially lower androgen levels.
Increase fibre intake. The study comparing androgen levels in Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarians and omnivores showed that, in both groups, levels of crude fibre and dietary fibre intake were inversely correlated with androgen levels.
Increase your intake of herbs that may decrease androgens. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, black cohosh may help decrease testosterone due to its anti-androgenic effects. Chasteberry and saw palmetto have anti-androgenic effects. Spearmint was shown to reduce testosterone levels in the blood, according to a study published in May 2007 in the journal "Phytotherapy Research."
Reduce excessive exercise. Androgen levels were shown to increase both in athletes and male medical students following exercise, according to a study published in March 1973 in the "British Medical Journal."
Tips and warnings
- Excessively low testosterone levels can be as dangerous as excessively high ones.
- Consult a physician before undertaking any new dietary regimen.
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- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Dietary and hormonal interrelationships among vegetarian Seventh-Day Adventists and nonvegetarian men; B.J. Howie and T.D. Shultz.; July 1985
- "Nutrition and Cancer"; Inverse association of soy product intake with serum androgen and oestrogen concentrations in Japanese men; C. Nagata, et al.; 2000