Vegan Diet with Soy Lowers Testosterone and Causes Erectile Dysfunction

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This article in the journal Nutrition was pretty simple. A 19 year old male sought treatment for lack of libido and sexual dysfunction. He had voluntarily started a vegan diet previously. The study measured the effects of ceasing a vegan diet and removing soy from the diet.

Previous research has focused on the beneficial effects of soy and its active ingredients, isoflavones. For instance, soy consumption has been associated with lower cardiovascular and breast cancer risks. However, the number of reports demonstrating adverse effects of isoflavones due to their estrogen like properties has increased. We present the case of a 19-y-old type 1 diabetic but otherwise healthy man with sudden onset of loss of libido and erectile dysfunction after the ingestion of large quantities of soy-based products in a vegan-style diet. Blood levels of free and total testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were taken at the initial presentation for examination and continuously monitored up to 2 year after discontinuation of the vegan diet. Blood concentrations of free and total testosterone were initially decreased, whereas DHEA was increased. These parameters normalized within 1 year after cessation of the vegan diet. Normalization of testosterone and DHEA levels was paralleled by a constant improvement of symptoms; full sexual function was regained 1 year after cessation of the vegan diet. This case indicates that soy product consumption is related to hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a combination of decreased free testosterone and increased DHEA blood concentrations after consuming a soy-rich diet. Hence, this case emphasizes the impact of isoflavones in the regulation of sex hormones and associated physical alterations.

The negative effects of the vegan/soy diet show a measured decrease after two weeks, but continued to improve for (at least) 724 days after quitting the vegan/soy diet.


2 Comments on “Vegan Diet with Soy Lowers Testosterone and Causes Erectile Dysfunction”

  1. Russ Bastable says:

    A few random cases of vegans who can’t get their groove on does not equate to causation. I have been vegan for almost 3 years, vegetarian for 5 and half years, and have consumed more than my fair share of soy.

    I am also in my 40’s, and I have not experienced anything adverse related to sexual function. This doesn’t equate to universal experience any more than the 19yr old’s experience.

    However, the adverse of effects of meat based protiens are clear.

    I’d like to hear what makes you think that factory farming’s cruel practices and negative environmental effects, as well as the disproportionate use of resources to produce food, are “bogus”.

    This article reads like “Meat Industry Propaganda for Dummies”. Big leaps on thin research and casual dismissal of ethical and environmental concerns?

    By the way, I’ve never heard of anyone giving up a vegan diet for health reasons, and I seriously doubt that “most” is anywhere near accurate… it is a difficult change to make, and I am certain that the number one reason is difficulty of maintaining the diet. I am also certain that there is zero data to back up either of our claims.


    • mangogirl53 says:

      Actually there is an overwhelming amount of research/date on the dangers of both soy and a vegan diet. A very large part of my practice is nutrition is helping long term vegan and vegetarians heal from cancer, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, immune deficiency, diabetes and obesity. I am considered an expert on vegetarian nutrition, was a vegetarian for 17 years, a vegan for 5…and had many problems even though I was following what is/was considered a “perfect” veg diet with soy, nuts, whole grains, plenty of seaweed and organic veggies. Thank goodness I kept studying and finally got well. I am now 59 years old, my vitals are perfect, I have no more hearing loss, arthritis, systemic yeast, spastic colitis..all developed while following that perfect vegetarian diet.

      I was a vegetarian due to trying to get well, was sick from birth. I became a vegetarian due to the practices of farm raised, feed lot meat. I tell my clients who eat feed lot meat that they are FAR better off being vegetarians, even though it is not ideal, due to the toxic nature of that type of meat. I only recommend grass fed or organic meat because of the better quality of fats and far higher depth of nutrients (amino acids, CLA’s, calcium and especially Vitamins A, D and E).

      And by the way, you cannot grow vegetables with any depth of nutrients without animal husbandry. Compost requires nitrogen to break down (think animal or human feces) and soil has to be replenished with this rich hummus that comes from the high nitrogen that breaks down the organic matter. If you want to grow veggies or fruit without any animal products whatsoever you are left with chemical fertilizers as a choice.

      If you study the effect of saturated fats on the brain you will understand that humans cannot go without them for any length of time without problems.

      Here are a few articles to read;


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