Q. Can eating foods containing phytoestrogens lower a man’s testosterone ratio, thus leading to erection dysfunction?

A. Estrogen supplements can lower testosterone, and in fact some of the early forms of treatment for prostate cancer were estrogen therapies to lower testosterone production. However, I am unaware of any study with phytoestrogens that has been shown to affect testosterone levels.

In urology, the most famous phytoestrogen is an herb called saw palmetto. This substance has been investigated extensively, and it is commonly used for enlarged prostates. Some studies have shown that it can affect prostate growth without affecting sex drive or testosterone production.

If you are concerned about your hormone levels, you could simply ask your doctor to check blood levels of testosterone. If your hormone levels are low, you should see an endocrinologist who specializes in such problems to get it corrected.

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