The association between plant-based content in diet and testosterone levels in US adults

World J Urol. 2021 Apr;39(4):1307-1311. doi: 10.1007/s00345-020-03276-y. Epub 2020 May 28.


Purpose: To evaluate the association between the plant-based content of diet and serum testosterone levels in men from the national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES) database.

Materials and methods: Data on demographics, diet, and testosterone levels was acquired from the NHANES database. Using the food frequency questionnaire, an overall plant-based diet index (PDI) and a healthful plant-based diet index (hPDI) was developed. A higher score on PDI and hPDI indicates higher consumption of plant foods.

Results: A total of 191 participants were included, average age was 45 (30-60) years and average total testosterone level was 546.7 ± 254.7 ng/dL. The mean PDI and hPDI were 50.4 ± 6 and 50.8 ± 7.2, respectively. On multiple linear regression analysis, BMI and age significantly contribute to testosterone levels (p < 0.05); however, neither of the diet indexes significantly predicted serum testosterone levels (PDI: p = 0.446; and hPDI: p = 0.056).

Conclusions: In a well characterized national database, the plant-based diet index is unable to predict testosterone levels. Plant-based food content in diet is not associated with serum testosterone levels.

Keywords: Diet; Index; NHANES; Plant-based diet; Testosterone; Vegan; Vegetarian.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Testosterone / blood*
  • United States


  • Testosterone