Androgens are hormonal agents that stimulate the development of male characteristics. Women and men produce a variety androgens, which include testosterone. Testosterone is one of the most potent hormones and is synthesized by the reproductive organs and adrenal glands. Excess androgen production can have adverse affects on both genders. Females with elevated androgen levels may experience excessive hair growth, acne, increased weight gain, menstrual irregularities, polycystic ovary syndrome and sexual dysfunction. Males may experience excessive acne and body hair. The following natural therapies have been studied and have exhibited potential to lower levels of androgens.
Eat mushrooms to lower testosterone levels. Japanese experiments of 19 edible and medicinal mushrooms reported that alcohol extracts of Ganoderma lucidum inhibited the effects of testosterone. The research determined that one of the biological activities of Reishi mushroom is anti-androgenic. In vitro and in vivo experiments measured the suppression and decreased cell growth in the androgen-dependent prostates of rats. Reishi mushroom has been used for thousands of years in Asian countries for a variety of conditions and usually is well tolerated by most individuals. Occasional side effects have been reported such as dry mouth, rash and stomach upset. Tincture preparations are widely available at most health food stores.
Eat red clover. The Monash Institute of Reproduction & Development Centre for Urological Research in Australia studied the effects of red clover fed to male mice. The results of the experiments concluded that a diet including red clover reduced testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.The phytochemicals contained in red clover were anti-androgenic when compared to the control group, which showed elevated androgen levels. Red clover is a known blood thinner and may affect blood sugar levels. Individuals who are on medications for heart conditions, bleeding disorders or diabetes should avoid taking red clover. Red clover should not be taken by women of child-bearing age who are pregnant or are planning pregnancy. Healthy young males who experience chronic cystic acne may find this natural therapy useful.
Eat less fat and eat more fiber. Research conducted In Italy involving 104 women studied the effect of reducing sex hormones through a change in diet. Dietary changes incorporated lowering total fat intake, specifically saturated fatty acids, and a decreased consumption of high-glycemic index foods. Dietary fibers from cereals, legumes and vegetables were recommended, and foods containing phytoestrogens, such as tofu, soya milk, and flaxseed were increased as part of the diet. The dietary changes resulted in a decrease in testosterone and estradiol levels. Authors of the study stress that the results were only positive when all dietary recommendations had been followed and androgen reduction was not a result of a single food group. The study suggests that a diet plan that includes a number of food groups is required to reduce androgen levels in women.
- The Prostate: Anti-androgenic action by red clover-derived dietary isoflavones reduces non-malignant prostate enlargement in aromatase knockout (arko) mice
- Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention: Reducing Bioavailable Sex Hormones through a Comprehensive Change in Diet: the Diet and Androgens (DIANA) Randomized Trial