Vegan Diet with Soy Lowers Testosterone and Causes Erectile DysfunctionPosted: April 9, 2012
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.