Flaxseed is a superfood that many cultures have used for centuries because of its numerous health benefits. Although it’s loaded with nutrients, what are the effects of flaxseed on testosterone hormone levels in men and women?
In this article, we look at how flaxseed affects your hormonal balance. We’ll also explore the benefits of flaxseed and answer other questions you may have.
Key Takeaways: Flaxseed and Testosterone
Does Flaxseed Reduce Testosterone in Men and Women?
Flaxseed use may reduce the level of testosterone in men and women.
Flaxseed contains a high concentration of lignans, a plant compound that binds to your free testosterone and causes your body to excrete it. Besides that, flaxseed also has a massive amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids linked to reduced testosterone in men.
In one study, 25 men with prostate cancer used flaxseed supplements as clinical nutrition and reduced their fat intake. As a result, the participants showed a considerable reduction in testosterone levels . These effects led to a decrease in muscle mass and reduced prostate weight.
Similarly, studies conducted on women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) showed that using flax seeds significantly reduces testosterone and symptoms associated with hyperandrogenism .
Although these studies show flaxseed’s testosterone-reducing capabilities, scientists need to conduct them at larger scales to determine just how much they affect sex hormone metabolism in both males and females.
Is Flaxseed Good for Males?
Although flaxseed reduces testosterone levels in men, it still has many health benefits, including:
Reduces Blood Pressure
Nearly one in two adult Americans suffers from high blood pressure . Flaxseed consumption shows a natural ability to reduce hypertension.
A meta-analysis review across 15 studies with over 1300 participants showed that people who consume flaxseed reduced their blood pressure. Another study found that people using both blood pressure medication and flaxseed oil had an even more notable reduction in blood pressure .
Reduces Risk of Prostate and Skin Cancer
Flaxseed can help in fighting against prostate cancer. A study conducted on cancer patients prior to surgery found that flaxseed significantly reduced the production of cancerous cells . Another study on flaxseed found that its lignans could disrupt cancerous cell production, which ratifies this claim .
Flaxseed can also help prevent skin cancer in men, although more research is still underway to determine just how much flaxseed can help.
High in Omega-3 Fats
Flaxseed can be a sufficient source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially for vegetarians or people who don’t eat fish. The seeds have abundant amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based fatty acid that you get from food, as your body can’t produce it.
ALA fatty acids have many health benefits for your heart and reduce your risk of stroke.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Lignans in flaxseed bind with bile salts and leave the body through excretion. For this reason, blood cholesterol levels reduce as your liver draws cholesterol from your blood. Consuming flaxseed reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol in your body and increases good cholesterol (HDL).
Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
Several studies conducted on people with type 2 diabetes found a significant reduction of up to 20% in blood sugar levels once they used flaxseed . Flaxseed has high insoluble fiber content, which slows down sugar release into the blood.
Adding 10–20 grams of flaxseed to a patient’s diet had this positive effect, especially when used consistently for at least a month.
Can Flaxseed Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
There is no evidence to suggest that flaxseed can cause erectile dysfunction in men. Although plenty of evidence supports flaxseed’s ability to reduce testosterone levels, it is not a major contributing factor for ED in men.
Instead, flaxseed and certain foods like soy have lignans which act like weak estrogen in the male body . Excess amounts of lignan inhibit the production of testosterone, and this can lower your sex drive and lead to erectile dysfunction and sexual function issues.
What Foods Destroy Testosterone?
Plenty of foods destroy testosterone, such as:
- Soy products.
- Licorice root.
- Processed food.
- Vegetable oils.
- Dairy products.
- Baked goods.
Soy and Soy Products
Soy, soy isoflavones, and soy-based foods like soy milk, tofu, and miso can cause your natural testosterone levels to drop.
They contain high levels of phytoestrogen, which mimic the effects of estrogen in your body. In turn, they alter your hormone levels and potentially cause your body to produce less testosterone.
Excess alcohol consumption can cause testosterone levels to plummet in males. While an occasional glass of wine can have many health benefits, intoxication has the opposite effect.
Many medical studies show that frequent alcohol consumption has the counterintuitive effect of raising testosterone in women and destroying it in men .
Spearmint and peppermint, in particular, can cause your testosterone levels to drop. The menthol in mint has a direct impact in suppressing the production of testosterone in males.
Also, women suffering from PCOS benefit from using mint to reduce their testosterone levels. Mint also helps them reduce the risk for breast cancer and reduces menopausal symptoms .
Licorice root serves many purposes, including sweetening different candies and chocolate. It’s also an excellent remedy for coughs and chronic pain.
However, recent studies show that daily consumption can lead to an increase in glycyrrhizic acid intake and a massive drop in testosterone production in males . It also leads to lower testosterone levels in women during their menstrual cycles.
Processed Foods and Fast Food
Trans fats in many frozen foods, fast food, and snacks have a direct and detrimental impact on testosterone levels. Besides adding to your risk of type heart disease and diabetes, trans fats in processed foods also reduce your T levels.
Many vegetable oils, including canola, soybean, and cottonseed, have high levels of polyunsaturated fats. While these fatty acids are an essential source of dietary fats, they also lower testosterone levels in men. Some studies observe vegetable oils can reduce testicular size and function .
Many types of nuts add fiber, selenium, magnesium, and folic acid to your body, along with heart-healthy fats. Some nuts, however, can reduce your testosterone levels.
Walnuts and almonds, for example, have high levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds to testosterone, reducing testosterone levels in your body.
Cow’s milk may contain synthetic or natural hormones that reduce the production of testosterone in the human body. Some animal feed may contain soy, which, as we have seen, has high levels of phytoestrogen.
Consuming dairy with high levels of phytoestrogen can reduce testosterone production.
Baked Goods, Desserts, and Pastries
Diets high in pastries, cakes, desserts, and other baked foods can also reduce the level of total testosterone in your body. Often, adding processed foods, dairy products, soy milk, and other testosterone-killing ingredients exacerbates its reduction.
What Foods Boost Testosterone?
Just as some foods reduce total testosterone, others increase testosterone naturally, including:
- Egg yolks.
- Oysters and shellfish.
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Fortified cereal.
- Leafy greens.
- Fatty fish.
As a rich source of vitamin D, egg yolks help you boost testosterone naturally. Although they have high cholesterol levels, egg yolks have more nutrients than egg whites. Cholesterol in these egg yolks may even help boost your T levels.
As long as you have no preexisting conditions, an egg a day should be a fine addition to a healthy diet.
Oysters and Shellfish
Oysters are rich in zinc, one of many essential dietary components in puberty and keeping sex hormones balanced throughout adulthood in males.
Eating oysters and shellfish increases your zinc intake, which helps boost testosterone naturally. It also enables you to prevent hypogonadism that occurs because of a severe zinc deficiency.
Some beef cuts contain nutrients that boost your testosterone, including vitamin D in beef liver.
However, overconsumption of beef can have adverse effects on your body, including a higher risk of colon cancer . Keep your beef consumption in check, only eat lean cuts, and maintain your dietary fat restriction.
Tuna is a low-calorie, heart-healthy, and protein-rich source of vitamin D. Not only is it linked to longer life expectancy, but it also increases your testosterone level. If you’re not a fan, sardines and salmon are an excellent alternative.
Pomegranates have high levels of antioxidants that help you reduce stress and help you regulate your mood and blood pressure. Besides that, they also contain nutrients that boost testosterone naturally in both men and women.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil has plenty of uses, including reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It contains no trans fats and is rich in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants that help you reduce stress levels and regulate your blood pressure.
Besides that, olive oil can improve serum testosterone in healthy adult males and improve their reproductive health. It also has a positive impact on liver metabolism and digestive health.
Onions are a natural testosterone booster and an abundant source of other nutrients and antioxidants. They’re also healthy for your heart and can help you lose weight.
Many fortified cereal products are useful to increase testosterone naturally. They’re excellent if you’re watching out for your cholesterol levels. Fortified cereals are low-fat and have many heart-healthy nutrients, including vitamin D that’s essential for testosterone production.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Swiss chard, kale, and spinach are rich in magnesium, a nutrient that helps your body increase T levels. Also, these vegetables contain other important nutrients and antioxidants that help the body prevent osteoporosis and cancer. Furthermore, they improve enterohepatic circulation.
Fatty fish and fish oil contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that can help increase your testosterone and improve the quality of your semen. Examples of good fatty fish include herring, Atlantic mackerel, salmon, and sardines.
If adjusting your diet is difficult, you can always use a quality T booster like Testogen.
How to Treat High Testosterone in Women
There are several ways to treat high levels of testosterone in women. However, the treatment chosen will depend on the cause .
In many cases, the doctor will recommend a lifestyle change alongside medication.
- Progestin: Regulates periods and improves fertility in women.
- Eflornithine: Slows down and prevents the growth of facial hair.
- Spironolactone: Regulates water and salt levels and prevents excess hair growth in females.
- Metformin: Treats type 2 diabetes.
- Glucocorticosteroids: Reduces inflammation in the body.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy: Reduces high testosterone levels and weight gain in menopausal women.
Hair Removal Treatments
Treatments like electrolysis and laser therapy can control unwanted hair, although they’ll not resolve hyperandrogenism. In both cases, you need multiple treatments to complete unwanted hair removal. These treatments bear some level of risk, and you may need professional medical advice before proceeding.
Women who achieve a healthy body weight often reduce the symptoms of hormonal imbalances and achieve optimal health. Losing excess body weight can improve PCOS symptoms and reduce T levels in women .
You can also cut, wax, pluck, or use chemical depilatories to manage unwanted facial or body hair.
How to Decrease Testosterone Levels in Males
Fast food with high amounts of trans fats may not only reduce your testosterone levels, it may have other harmful effects. Any food with phytoestrogen or lignans which bind to testosterone will reduce T levels in your body composition.
Also, lowering your zinc and vitamin D intake will slow down your T-hormone production and decrease your testosterone levels.
Here are some answers to other questions you may have about flaxseed effects on testosterone.
Does Flaxseed Increase Testosterone Levels?
No, flaxseed does not increase testosterone levels. Instead, it reduces androgen levels in both men and women.
Flaxseed prevents testosterone from converting to the more potent dihydrotestosterone, a powerful androgen that boosts testosterone effects in both men and women . Furthermore, its lignans reduce the amount of testosterone in the bloodstream and cause it to become inactive.
Does Flaxseed Affect Male Hormones?
Yes, flaxseed affects male hormones, and to be specific, testosterone. As stated above, flaxseed lignans, an active component in the seeds, bind to testosterone and cause it to exit the body . It also lowers free testosterone levels in men by causing it to become inactive.
Does Flaxseed Increase Estrogen in Males?
No, flaxseed does not increase estrogen levels in men. While phytoestrogen present in flaxseed is the plant version of estrogen, it has a different chemical structure. Although it may mimic the effects of estrogen, it does not increase the levels of this hormone in male bodies .
However, just like normal estrogen, phytoestrogen binds to estrogen receptors in the body.
Does Flaxseed Increase Estrogen in Females?
Surprisingly, it does not.
Although phytoestrogen in flaxseeds has a similar structure and binds to similar receptors, eating more flaxseed does not increase estrogen levels in female bodies . In some cases, it even decreases it.
Once phytoestrogens bind with estrogen receptors, the hormone itself can no longer bind with these receptors. Often, this leads to a reduction in the effects of estrogen in women.
Flaxseed is a nutritious food that can improve your health, prevent cancer and diabetes risks, and help you manage your stress levels. However, if you’re looking to increase your T levels or you suffer from a testosterone deficiency, it may not be the best option for you.
To maintain reasonable T levels, keep your flaxseed consumption at a minimum.
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