5 Foods to Lower Testosterone

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High levels of androgens or male hormones, such as testosterone, are a hallmark feature of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and part of the diagnostic criteria.

Baked salmon with a lemon slice on top
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Along with irregular menstrual periods, high levels of testosterone can cause many dermatological symptoms in women with PCOS such as acne, hair loss, excessive body hair growth, and skin boils known as hidradenitis suppurativa. 

A healthy diet and lifestyle are the primary treatment approaches for PCOS. Here are five foods to eat now to lower your testosterone naturally.


Nuts of any type are great for PCOS. Research has indicated that the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) found in nuts have been shown to improve androgens as well as insulin and cholesterol levels in women with PCOS.

In a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women with PCOS were chosen at random to receive either walnuts or almonds for six weeks. Women who ate walnuts increased their levels of sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a hormone that binds to free testosterone, and almonds decreased free androgen levels.

The researchers concluded that eating nuts positively affects androgen levels in women with PCOS.


There is some evidence regarding the effect of omega-3 intake on androgen levels in women with PCOS. In a study published in Iran Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 78 overweight women with PCOS were randomized to receive omega-3 (3grams per day) or a placebo for 8 weeks.

Testosterone concentration was significantly lower in the omega-3 group compared with placebo, after supplementation. After the trial, the percentage of regular menstruation in the omega-3 group was more than the placebo group (47.2% vs. 22.9%).

Fish, in particular, cold water fish, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Examples of these types of fish include salmon, tuna, and trout.

Government guidelines recommend eating two servings (3.5 ounces each) per week of cold water fish for adequate omega-3 intake.


Studies have shown drinking tea (hot or iced) may help improve PCOS symptoms. Spearmint tea, for example, has been shown to have anti-androgen effects in PCOS and can reduce hirsutism.

In a study published in Phytotherapy Research, women with PCOS were randomized to take spearmint tea twice a day for one month and compared with a placebo herbal tea. Free and total testosterone levels were significantly reduced over the 30 day period in the spearmint tea group. Patient's subjective assessments of their degree of hirsutism were also reduced.

Marjoram herb is reputed for its ability to restore hormonal balance and to regulate the menstrual cycle. A study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Diet investigated the effects of marjoram tea on the hormonal profile of women with PCOS.

Women who were assigned to receive marjoram tea twice a day for one month were found to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the levels of adrenal androgens compared to a placebo tea.

Red Reishi Mushrooms

Red Reishi is a Japanese mushroom believed to have many health benefits. In a research study exploring the anti-androgenic effects of 20 species of mushrooms, reishi mushrooms had the strongest action in inhibiting testosterone.

Reishi mushrooms significantly reduced levels of 5-alpha-reductase, preventing the conversion of testosterone into the more potent DHT (high levels of DHT are risk factors for dermatological conditions such as acne and baldness).


Flaxseed has been shown to reduce androgen levels in men with prostate cancer. In a case study involving a 31-year old woman with PCOS, flaxseed supplementation (30 g/day) reduced total and free testosterone. The patient also reported a decrease in hirsutism at the completion of the study period.

Further research of flaxseed supplementation on hormonal levels in women with PCOS are warranted.

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  1. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. What are the symptoms of PCOS?. Updated January 31, 2017.

  2. Garg A, Neuren E, Strunk A. Hidradenitis Suppurativa Is Associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Population-Based Analysis in the United States. J Invest Dermatol. 2018;138(6):1288-1292. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2018.01.009

  3. Kalgaonkar S, Almario RU, Gurusinghe D, et al. Differential effects of walnuts vs almonds on improving metabolic and endocrine parameters in PCOSEur J Clin Nutr. 2011;65(3):386-393. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.266

  4. Adjarzadeh A, Dehghani Firouzabadi R, Vaziri N, Daneshbodi H, Lotfi MH, Mozaffari-Khosravi H. The effect of omega-3 supplementation on androgen profile and menstrual status in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized clinical trialIran J Reprod Med. 2013 Aug;11(8):665-72.

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  7. Fujita R, Liu J, Shimizu K, Konishi F, Noda K, Kumamoto S, et al. Anti-androgenic activities of Ganoderma lucidumJ Ethnopharmacol. 2005;102(1):107–12. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.05.041

  8. Nowak DA, Snyder DC, Brown AJ, Demark-Wahnefried W. The Effect of Flaxseed Supplementation on Hormonal Levels Associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A Case StudyCurr Top Nutraceutical Res. 2007;5(4):177-181.