Peer Reviewed


Low Testosterone Linked to Inflammatory Diet

Men who consume a pro-inflammatory diet may have higher odds of testosterone deficiency, according to the results of a recent study.

The researchers utilized data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine the relationship between the Dietary Inflammatory Index and male reproductive hormones. A total of 4151 adult men aged 20 years or older who were surveyed from 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 were included in this nationally representative sample.

All participants provided a 24-hour dietary intake history and underwent serum hormone testing to analyze testosterone levels. Age, race, energy, smoking status, education level, body mass index, and time of venipuncture were also included in the analysis.

The Dietary Inflammatory Index ranged from -5.05 to 5.48, and the results indicated that a per unit increase of this index was associated with 4.0% higher odds of testosterone deficiency.

In addition, the mean ± standard deviation of total testosterone was 419.30 ± 176.27 ng/dl and was lower among men in the highest Dietary Inflammatory Index tertile (410.42 ± 171.97) compared with those in the lowest tertile group (422.71 ± 175.69). Men who were in the most pro-inflammatory tertile had 29.6% higher odds of testosterone deficiency than those in the lowest tertile.

No significant association was noted between body mass index, the relationship of the Dietary Inflammatory Index and testosterone deficiency, and all reproductive hormone parameters.

“Men adhering to a more pro-inflammatory diet appear to have a higher risk of testosterone deficiency, indicating the important role of diet in male reproductive health,” the researchers concluded.


—Leigh Precopio



Zhang C, Bian H, Chen Z, et al. The association between Dietary Inflammatory Index and Sex Hormones among men in the United States. J Urol. Published online April 21, 2021. doi: /10.1097/JU.0000000000001703