How to counteract too much testosterone?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How to counteract too much testosterone?”. We will further elaborate on the symptoms of too much testosterone levels in both males and females. 

How to counteract too much testosterone?

Testosterone is a pleiotropic hormone that plays an important role in the human body. Classically, testosterone was thought to be predominantly involved in androgenesis and physiology in boys and men. Through its conversion to estrogen, testosterone affects bone health, including bone density. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in the systemic role of testosterone in pain, well-being, and cardiovascular function in women and men alike (1).

If your blood test reports an elevated level of testosterone in your body, and you are searching for ways to counteract it, do not worry, here in this article we have prepared a long list of ways that can help you counteract too much testosterone. Try the approaches below:

  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Have green tea
  • Take herbs
  • Increase your zinc intake
  • Eat soy and soy-based products
  • Add mint to your diet
  • Try liquorice root
  • Vegetable oil can also help
  • Eat flaxseeds
  • Alcohol can also benefit
  • Add nuts to your diet

Role of testosterone in women 

Testosterone is secreted in the ovaries and adrenal glands of women. It’s one of several androgens (male sex hormones) in females that play an important role in (2):

  • Ovarian function
  • Bone health
  • Sexual behaviour
  • Healthy brain function (including mood, sex drive and cognition)

The proper balance between testosterone (along with other androgens) and estrogen is important for the ovaries to work normally. While the specifics are uncertain, it’s possible that androgens also play an important role in normal brain function (including mood, sex drive and cognitive function) (2).

Symptoms of high testosterone in women

Among women, perhaps the most common cause of a high testosterone level is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This disease is common. It affects 6% to 10% of premenopausal women. The ovaries of women with PCOS contain multiple cysts (2). In women, high total testosterone can also occur because of hyperthyroidism and pregnancy (1).

The following symptoms might indicate high testosterone levels in women. 

  • Male pattern hair growth on chin, upper lip and chest
  • Hair loss on the head
  • Mood swings
  • Acne and oily skin
  • Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
  • Changes in body weight or appearance
  • Improved muscle mass
  • Infertility
  • Mood swings

Role of testosterone in males 

Testosterone is an important sex hormone in males that serves in (1):

  • The growth of the penis and testes
  • Change of the voice during puberty
  • The occurrence of facial and pubic hair
  • Muscle size and strength
  • Bone growth and health 
  • Sex drive (libido)
  • Sperm production

Sex hormones play a crucial role in the maintenance and growth of bone in men. The most important effects of testosterone on bone are through its aromatization to estradiol, which activates bone α and β estrogen receptors, decreasing bone resorption and increasing bone mineral density. Testosterone also has beneficial effects on lean muscle mass and body fat. In addition, testosterone is also thought to play a role in modulation of both cognitive abilities and mental health (1).

Symptoms of high testosterone in men

Blood levels of testosterone vary dramatically over time and even during the course of a day. Testosterone secretion follows a circadian rhythm in young and aging men, with the highest levels generally occurring in the early morning hours (1). Men with high testosterone can experience various symptoms that include: 

  • Acne and oily skin
  • Aggressive and moody behavior
  • Sleep apnea 
  • Improved muscle mass
  • Decreased sperm count 
  • Shrunken testicles

Ways to counteract too much testosterone levels

If you have elevated testosterone, some common measures you can take to lower too much testosterone levels include: 

Balance blood sugar levels

If you work to balance your blood sugar levels by maintaining your diet and other lifestyle activities, you can improve the metabolic pattern of high insulin and insulin resistance that plays a role in increasing testosterone, inflammation and hormone imbalance. 

You may have to considerably reduce or completely eliminate processed sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet. You will rather have to focus on whole homemade foods like vegetables, low-sugar fruits, healthy protein and fats. A good and balanced diet with certain supplements like chromium, fiber and Myo-inositol is also helpful. 

Prospective studies have demonstrated that obese men on lowcalorie diets had variable increases in serum testosterone. Increases in testosterone levels seem to occur in overweight or obese men on low-fat or low-calorie diets, presumably from resulting weight loss and, thus, less aromatization of testosterone. So, it is important to have a balanced diet and normal weight to normalize hormonal levels (4).

Have green tea

Green tea helps by increasing sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which can bind up extra testosterone in the body. Green tea consists of EGCG which is a great antioxidant with anti-cancer properties (6). 

Take herbs

Herbs like white peony, liquorice, nettles, spearmint tea, reishi mushroom etc., all help to lower testosterone and are usually used to treat Polycystic ovarian syndrome and other causes of elevated testosterone. Make sure to consult your provider to discuss the particular herbs and their dosages that are accurate for your condition (6).  

Increase zinc intake

Zinc is essential for lowering testosterone, while also promoting the function of ovaries. Oysters, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, hemp seeds, chickpeas, lentils, cacao, mushrooms and avocado are all rich in zinc (6).

Eat soy or soy-based products

Regular consumption of soy products such as edamame, miso, tofu, and soy milk, may help to lower testosterone levels. Soy-based products contain phytoestrogens, that imitate the effects of estrogen in the body by modifying hormonal levels and considerably decreasing testosterone.

A study indicates a case of sudden onset of loss of libido and erectile dysfunction after the ingestion of large quantities of soy-based products in a vegan-style diet. The soy product consumption was related to decreased concentrations of free and total testosterone in blood, hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction in men (3). 

Add mint to your diet

Besides its dominant stomach-soothing properties, research has found that mint could help in lowering testosterone levels (6).

Spearmint and peppermint, in particular, have been found to directly lower testosterone.

Try liquorice root

Liquorice root is commonly used as a sweetener and as a popular natural medicine to treat many illnesses from chronic pain to persistent cough. It has also been shown to lower testosterone levels. A study showed that liquorice can reduce serum testosterone probably due to the block of 17-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and 17–20 lyase. Liquorice could be considered an adjuvant therapy of hirsutism and polycystic ovary syndrome. The most common side effect is hypokalemic hypertension, which is secondary to a block of 11-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 at the level of the kidney, leading to an enhanced mineralocorticoid effect of cortisol (5).

Vegetable oil can also help

Vegetable oils, such as canola oil, cottonseed, soybean, and corn oil are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that help to decrease testosterone levels (6).

Eat flaxseeds

Flaxseed contains healthy fats, fiber, and many other important vitamins and minerals (6).

Flaxseeds are effective in decreasing testosterone levels as they are also rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids that bind to testosterone and take it out from the body.

Alcohol can also benefit

In addition to many other health benefits, alcohol has also been associated with lowering testosterone levels, particularly in men. A study showed that the consumption of alcohol was directly related to erectile dysfunction (4).

Add nuts to your diet

Nuts are packed with powerful nutrients that include fiber, healthy fats, and minerals such as folate, selenium, and magnesium.

In addition, research has found that certain types of nuts may lower testosterone in the body that may be due to the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

However, studies show that the Mediterranean diet, based on vegetables, nuts and olive oil, was inversely related to erectile dysfunctions in men (4).

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “How to counteract too much testosterone?”. We have further elaborated on the symptoms of too much testosterone levels in both males and females. 

References 

  1. Tyagi, Vineet, et al. Revisiting the role of testosterone: Are we missing something?. Rev urol, 2017, 19, 16.
  2. Testosterone – What it does and doesn’t do. 2019. Harvard Health Publishing.
  3. Siepmann, Timo, et al. Hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction associated with soy product consumption. Nutrition, 2011, 27, 859-862.
  4. Hu, Tzu-Yu, et al. Testosterone-associated dietary pattern predicts low testosterone levels and hypogonadism. Nutrients, 2018, 10, 1786.
  5. Armanini, Decio, et al. Licorice reduces serum testosterone in healthy women. Steroids, 2004, 69, 763-766.
  6. Szczuko, Małgorzata, et al. Nutrition strategy and life style in polycystic ovary syndrome

—Narrative review. Nutrients, 2021, 13, 2452.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.