The causes of adverse changes of testosterone levels in men

Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Sep;15(5):355-362. doi: 10.1080/17446651.2020.1813020. Epub 2020 Oct 20.


Introduction: As men age, progressive testosterone deficiency syndrome becomes an increasingly common problem. However, the decreased testosterone levels are not only the result of advanced age.

Areas covered: PubMed search of published data on testosterone, nutritional deficiency, stress, sleep, and obesity. Many factors impact the male HPG axis (the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal), including body weight, calorific and nutritional value of a diet, the amount and quality of sleep, as well as the level of stress. In the case of persons of healthy weight, a below-average calorific value of a diet may decrease the levels of testosterone in men. On the other hand, the same caloric deficiency in obese persons may result in a neutral or positive impact on testosterone levels.

Expert opinion: Many factors, including external, environmental and internal factors, influence testosterone levels. Undoubtedly, nutritional deficiency, and particularly of such nutrients as zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, together with low polyphenols intake, affects the HPG axis. The levels of mental and oxidative stress can also adversely impact the axis. Hence, a diagnosis of the cause of disturbance in testosterone levels depends on many factors and requires a broad range of research, as well as a change of patients' lifestyle.

Keywords: Nutrition; endocrinology; obesity; stress; testosterone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Endocrinology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism*
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone