Every once and awhile, we hear the question, “Does soy lower testosterone?” This question is common because a debate about the effects of soy on men has been going on for years now. Because soy is one of the most widely consumed foods in the world, for men who are concerned about their testosterone levels, they are understandably skeptical about soy. Fortunately, the short answer is that it probably doesn’t. However, it is worth it to dive into the question further to see why this rumor is so tenacious.
Why does soy get a bad rap?
The connection between soy and testosterone comes from compounds called phytoestrogens, which are similar in structure to the hormone estrogen. Adding nutrients that are like estrogen makes some people wonder about how it interacts with the other hormones in your body, including testosterone. However, there have been several studies conducted that indicate phytoestrogens do not affect your testosterone levels. Some research also shows that soy is actually a very healthy food for you, so there is no reason to avoid soy.
What stops phytoestrogens from lowering testosterone?
While there are several phytoestrogens in soy, when you ingest them, they are biologically inactive up until they reach the intestinal tract because they interact with the bacteria in your intestines. Research indicates that your intestine may inhibit your body from using many of the phytoestrogens, so when you eat soy, it isn’t equivalent to injecting estrogen into your body. Your digestive system works to mitigate the effect that phytoestrogens potentially would have on your testosterone levels. Additionally, phytoestrogens are chemically similar to estrogen, but they are not the same, so it isn’t the same as taking estrogen pills prescribed by a doctor.
Even with all of the evidence to the contrary, you still often hear anecdotes about the side effects of soy, and there are some studies that offer conflicting information that could indicate an effect. Because of this, researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the existing studies of soy, phytoestrogens, and testosterone, and found that soy had no measurable effect on the testosterone levels in the body.
Health benefits of soy
On the contrary to what you may have heard, soy is actually a healthy food that does not impact hormones in the body. While eating soy alone is not going to transform your health, it does appear to have a positive effect on your cardiovascular health. It also is a good source of such nutrients as fiber and other vitamins and minerals. When combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, soy can be beneficial to your health. While phytoestrogens probably have little to do with the healthiness of soy, it doesn’t appear to have a negative effect on the health of soy. So while soy is no superfood, there are certain benefits to eating it, and it will not affect your testosterone levels.
Concerned about your testosterone levels?
If you are concerned about your testosterone levels, it is highly unlikely that you should be worried about consuming soy. Instead, you should talk to your physician at our men’s health clinic about testosterone replacement therapy. If you have symptoms of low T, such as fatigue, decreased sex drive, loss of muscle mass, or trouble concentrating, come into Men’s Vitality Center in Glendale. We can test your testosterone levels to determine whether your symptoms are from low T, or whether it is time to consider other health issues. If it is low T, we can provide you with treatment options such as testosterone replacement therapy. Contact our men’s health clinic today!