5 Foods to Lower Testosterone

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

High levels of androgens such as testosterone are common with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Baked salmon with a lemon slice on top
Joe Biafore / E+ / Getty Images

People who have lots of testosterone and PCOS usually have irregular periods. They may also have skin symptoms, including:

A healthy diet and lifestyle are important for treating PCOS. This article lists five foods you can eat to lower testosterone naturally.

While there isn’t a cure for PCOS, research has shown that eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and losing extra weight can improve PCOS symptoms and reduce the risk of associated health problems.

1:49

Click Play to Learn How to Lower Testosterone in Women Naturally

This video has been medically reviewed by Rochelle Collins, DO.

Nuts

Nuts are chocked with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Research shows that these fatty acids improve androgen levels. They also help with insulin and cholesterol levels in people with PCOS.

In an older 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 almonds had lower levels of free androgens.

Those who ate walnuts increased their levels of sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG is a protein that binds to free testosterone, keeping your body from using it. The researchers concluded that eating nuts positively affects androgen levels in women with PCOS.

A 2021 study confirmed that pre-menopausal women who ate tree nuts had higher levels of SHBG in their systems.

Fish

There is some evidence that omega-3 has a healthy effect on androgen levels in people with PCOS. In a study published in Iran Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 78 women with PCOS were received either omega-3 (3grams per day) or a placebo for 8 weeks. The placebo didn't contain any omega-3.

Testosterone was much lower in the omega-3 group compared with placebo. After the trial, menstrual periods were more regular in the omega-3 group than in the placebo group (47.2% vs. 22.9%).

Fish, especially cold water fish, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, and trout are all good sources of omega-3.

Government guidelines recommend eating two servings (3.5 ounces each) per week of cold water fish.

Tea

Studies have shown that tea or tea extracts may help improve PCOS symptoms. Several studies have shown that green tea extract lowered free and total testosterone levels in people with PCOS. Spearmint tea has also been shown to reduce testosterone levels in the body.

Marjoram herb is said to restore hormonal balance. It is also believed to make periods more regular. A study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Diet investigated the effects of marjoram tea on hormones in people with PCOS.

Women who drank marjoram tea twice a day for one month had better insulin sensitivity and less adrenal androgens compared to those who had tea without marjoram.

Red Reishi Mushrooms

Red reishi is a Japanese mushroom believed to have many health benefits. In a study exploring the effects of 20 species of mushrooms, reishi mushrooms limited testosterone more than other mushroom types.

Reishi mushrooms also reduced levels of 5-alpha-reductase. When levels of this enzyme are lower, the body is less able to convert testosterone into DHT. DHT is a powerful androgen. High DHT levels can raise the risk of skin conditions such as acne and baldness.

Flaxseed

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

More research would be necessary to confirm whether other people with PCOS had similar results.

Summary

Research has shown that nuts, cold water fish, red Reishi mushrooms, spearmint tea, marjoram tea, and flaxseed have a healthy effect on testosterone levels. Some people also found that their periods were more regular and they had less body hair after consuming some of these foods.

More research is needed to understand how these foods affect the symptoms of PCOS--but including them in a healthy diet may be a good way to find out if they work for you.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. What are the symptoms of PCOS?.

  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. Teede HJ, Misso ML, Costello MF, et al. Recommendations from the international evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndromeHuman Reproduction. 2018;33(9):1602-1618. doi:10.1093/humrep/dey256

  4. 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

  5. Wang Y. Tree nut consumption is associated with higher sex hormone-binding globulin levels in premenopausal US women. Nutr Res. 2021;93:61-68. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2021.07.003

  6. 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;11(8):665-72.

  7. Maleki V, Taheri E, Varshosaz P, et al. A comprehensive insight into effects of green tea extract in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic reviewReprod Biol Endocrinol. 2021;19(1):147. doi:10.1186/s12958-021-00831-z

  8. Grant P, Ramasamy S. An update on plant derived anti-androgensInt J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;10(2):497-502. doi:10.5812/ijem.3644

  9. Haj-Husein I, Tukan S, Alkazaleh F. The effect of marjoram (Origanum majorana) tea on the hormonal profile of women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomised controlled pilot study. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2016;29(1):105-111. doi:10.1111/jhn.12290

  10. Grant P, Ramasamy S. An update on plant derived anti-androgens. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;10(2):497-502. doi:10.5812/ijem.3644

  11. 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.

By Angela Grassi, MS, RDN, LDN
 Angela Grassi, MS, RDN, LDN, is the founder of the PCOS Nutrition Center.