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How to lower testosterone in PCOS – Focus on these foods

I recently asked my Facebook followers what they would like more information on and one lovely lady asked about how to lower testosterone in PCOS. So, I thought that we could look at the top testosterone lowering foods for women with PCOS that we can incorporate into our PCOS diet. So, as I really want to give you the information that you need, I’m going to give you my top 5 testosterone lowering foods. So, if you want to know how to decrease testosterone level in female naturally, this is for you!

But before we get on to that, it’s important to understand a little bit more about testosterone and PCOS.

Testosterone and PCOS:

We know that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is characterized by high androgen (testosterone) levels (1). Testosterone is also responsible for a lot of our pesky and often embarrassing symptoms:

  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Hirsutism and excess hair growth
  • Irregular menstrual cycle

Another complication in the testosterone equation is that research has shown that insulin triggers testosterone to be released in women with PCOS (2). This means that if our blood sugars spike, causing a release of a lot of insulin, our testosterone levels are also going to rise, making our PCOS symptoms worse. This is another reason that a PCOS diet is crucial in managing our symptoms.

One of the benefits of following a good PCOS diet is that it is one of the natural ways to decrease testosterone in females who also have PCOS,

 

Okay, so let’s have a look at the top 5 anti androgen foods for females that you can include in your PCOS diet to lower your testosterone levels.

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Flaxseeds

Testosterone-lowering-foods-flaxseedsFlaxseeds come in two varieties: brown and golden (also known as linseed) (3). They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, manganese, Vitamin B1, amongst others. (4)

There was a recent case study done on one 31 year old woman with PCOS. She was prescribed 30g of flaxseeds per day for a period of 4 months. The study reports a 70 – 80% decrease in free and serum testosterone, as well as an improvement in hirsutism. Obviously this study should be taken with a pinch of salt: the results are based on one woman’s response to flaxseed. It may well be worth a try though.

Linseeds and ground flaxseed can be added to smoothies, gluten free muffins, sprinkled over porridge or salads.

Foods Rich In Omega 3’s

It’s well-known that Omega 3’s lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS and that is why I have always recommended supplementing with Omega 3 to help manage PCOS (5).

Foods that are rich in Omega 3 include (6):

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I would just be weary of the soybeans and tofu as soy can delay ovulation in women and if you are trying to conceive, you probably want to avoid that.

Spearmint Tea

A study was conducted in Turkey where women with PCOS were advised to drink 2 cups of spearmint tea per day for a month (7). Androgen levels were significantly lower after a month and women reported improved hirsutism but their clinical scores for hirsutism on the Ferriman Galway scale did not change.

The authors concluded that spearmint tea is effective in lowering testosterone levels but hirsutism takes at least 6-12 months to resolve so the study wasn’t long enough to see significant improvements in this symptom.

I’m often asked if peppermint tea has the same effect. I think it’s really important that you get spearmint tea as this is what the research was done on.

I have personally struggled to find spearmint tea in the supermarkets or health shops in my area and so I tend to order mine online. Here is one that you can get from Amazon

Whole unprocessed Foods with Low Glycemic Loads

how-to-lower-testosterone-in-pcos-shoppingThis comes back to what we spoke about at the beginning of the article. Any processed foods tend to have a higher glycemic index and will cause a spike in your sugars. This spike will lead to increase in insulin and therefore an increase in your testosterone.

So, make sure that you are eating foods that are unprocessed, high in fibre and low glycemic loads to help lower your testosterone levels.

Supplements

These are technically not a food but I feel like any discussion on PCOS and diet is incomplete without looking at supplements.

Inositol

I think this is one of the most important supplements for PCOS. It has been shown to lower testosterone (8) as well as improve egg quality and spontaneous ovulation in women with PCOS (9). All of the research has been done on 4g of Inositol per day, taken with 400mcg of Folic Acid per day.

Omega 3

We have spoken about foods rich in Omega 3 but you can also supplement with Omega 3. Make sure that you get 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA daily.

Vitamin D

Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D and it has an implication for insulin sensitivity and testosterone levels (10). The Vitamin D council suggests that you have at least 1000IU per day (11).

Summing it Up:

We know that diet is crucial in the management of PCOS and research has shown that dietary changes can improve all of the markers of PCOS, including testosterone levels. So, make sure that you get loads of spearmint tea, flaxseeds, Omega 3-rich foods, low GL foods (all foods that lower testosterone in females) and supplements. I have no doubt that these will go a long way in helping you to manage your PCOS.

Is there something that I have left out? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below…

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

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104 Responses

104 Responses

  1. Any reason to think microwaving the spearmint tea would weaken the effects? I’ve been making a big batch each week then reheating am/pm and am curious.

  2. I’d love to see the study cited for the importance of Omega 3’s and PCOS (5) – the link is not working. Thanks!

  3. Saw palmetto is definitely a necessary supplement. It’s just an herb and can be found non-gmo and without many additives found in most supplements. It’s very effective at lowering testosterone.

  4. Testosterone is also responsible for at least a 35% increase in the risk of miscarriage for women with PCOS. These foods, along with the amino supplement, n-actyl-cystine helps tremendously!

    1. Even worse, this week a report has been published that women with pcos have a higher risk of having children with autism- it’s thought that higher than usual testosterone levels during pregnancy cause this.

      It seems really important to keep that low!

      1. Like we need another thing to worry about, right?!?!?

        However, as an Autism researcher myself, I should note that the studies just found a correlation between PCOS and Autism, which is much different than PCOS as a causation. 🙂 The study didn’t rule out other correlations such as pesticide exposure, induced labor, preterm birth, etc. Which means that when pulling data for the study, researchers only looked at PCOS and Autism, when there might have been other reasons/causations.

        That can be encouraging, because as I said before, we have enough PCOS problems to worry about, eh? 🙂

        1. I have heard that as well. Being said, I have PCOS and a daughter with many mental and physical disabilities including autism. But I have to say she is my angel baby. Life would be incomplete without her. She was given to me for a reason, and if PCOS is the reason then it is what it is. I know I have given birth to a completely innocent soul for the rest of her life. Sometimes is people like her that bring blessings of purity that this world is lacking. I would not want her any other way.

    2. Hi my name is Kay and I never write on these boards but after reading all the posts I was compelled to share that I did find a solution to it. I suffered quietly since I was diagnosed at 18 lost a marriage over the fact I could not have kids but now I’m 31 and this issue is no longer part of my life. All thanks to two doctors in Houston who take there proffesion to the next level. They cure it because they understand it. The reason behind why we Have it can vary for all of us but regardless they fix it. It took me 10 years, a lot of tears but I found the people who had the answer to my problem and if you want there info I can send it to you privately. I’m not here to promote them I’m just here to let you know there is hope. In a nut shell ~I ended up taking 3 months of royal jelly to get rid of all the cysts. But that wasn’t it for me my own fat produced a chemical that elevated my testosterone level eliminating my period all together. I dont want to make this uber long but we all know the results of PCOS. So The docs treatment for me was spirolactone, a specific birth control, and very potent vitamin D capsuels. They told me to start loosing weight that my meds would allow me to actually see the results of my efforts. Of course I’m ommiting various details like diet and only stating the most pertinent stuff like the fact that I lost weight! Got off meds, and I am ovulating on my own now every month. And that means I can have babies!!! Inconclusion, once the cause of my pcos was pinpointed I was able to take the right steps and reverse it’s damage. I hope my brief story ignightes your determination and you don’t waste your time Like I did with stupid doctors.

  5. I suffer with an eatng disorder & do not eat any of the ‘healthy foods’ listed. Any ideas for help I’ve not long been diagnosed. Thanks

    1. First of all, it night help if find a good therapist who can help talk you through your disorder.

      Secondly, remove the idea of ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ food. Replace it with the idea of food that naturally occurs and we’ve been designed to eat because it’s existed for thousands of years. The other kind of ‘food’ isn’t food. It’s man made lab rubbish which has barely existed in the whole of human existence- our bodies haven’t learnt to adapt to it yet and this can cause a lot of problems.

      Healthy food is real food.

  6. Is inositol taken by pcos patients to conceive?
    I have completed with my family planning, but I am suffering from obesit,hair loss with bald patches and access hair on my body.please help.

    1. Not sure about convincing but I ordered Insotol as soon as I heard about it from this website. I took it once in a protein shake and a month later, BOOM my first period in 4 years. I figure my chances are higher if I’m getting periods. I’m going to start using it regularly.

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