(Article medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)
Read this BEFORE you take a sip
It wasn’t until the early 2000s that green tea first became a sensation in the West.
Hailed as a Chinese health sensation, study after study seemed to prove that consuming this potent potable could do everything from reverse heart disease to supercharge your sex life.
But is there really a connection between green tea and testosterone?
Let’s find out…
The Short Answer: The Benefits Don’t Outweigh the Negatives
I’m the first to get excited whenever I hear about a new herb or nutrient-rich mushroom that seems to have serious implications for male sexual health.
From mucuna pruriens to ashwaghanda to pine pollen, I’ll stand behind any product that can demonstrate results.
However, those results have to be worth the potential risks.
Moreover, it’s important (peraps more so) to pay attention to negative results as well as the positive ones.
The Case for Green Tea
So what makes green tea different from your Earl Greys, Oolongs, and Chamomiles?
For starters, it’s derived from a different type of leaf.
In this case, it is made from Camellia sinensis plants.
It also differs in that these plants have not undergone the oxidation and withering process common in black teas.
And while there are a number of varieties out there, they are mostly the same in terms of chemical content.
What chemicals you ask?
Well, there are several types of flavonoids present.
These are phytonutrients that are sometimes shown to protect cells from oxidative damage.
In green tea’s case, you have kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin. There is also plenty of a little alkaloid you might have heard of called caffeine.
So, where did the idea that green tea is so good for you came from?
Well, if you pay attention to most of the marketing language around the product, you’ll likely note that the word “antioxidants” comes up pretty frequently.
And it’s true that green tea does have four powerful antioxidants, or “green tea catechins (GTC)” hidden in its leaves.
List of Green Tea Catechins
- epicatechin (EC)
- epigallocatechin (EGC)
- epicatechin gallate (ECG)
- epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
These antioxidants are extremely potent.
In fact, they are about twice as strong as anything found in Vitamin C.
As such, they have been linked to a number of significant health benefits.
This has caused green tea to quickly become among the most popular “health” beverages on the planet.
In fact, the market for green tea and green tea extracts has exploded in recent years, with an average growth rate of 5.15%.
Much of this is driven by medical research that appears to show just how good green tea and its nutrients are for you.
For instance, in this study, it is made clear that green tea offers some protection against degenerative diseases, including cancer.
Other studies have claimed it can protect against everything from Parkinson’s Disease to Alzheimer’s.
There are also claims of carbohydrate metabolism, diabetes treatment, and more.
These conditions represent big-time boogeymen in the world of medicine.
So you can imagine the excitement at being told you can prevent (or perhaps even cure) them with a cup of daily tea.
Then again…what about the downsides?
The Case Against Green Tea
You’ll notice that we didn’t really mention testosterone in that last section.
Well, that was on purpose.
You see, the relationship between green tea, its various nutrients, and your testosterone levels is more complex than you might think.
And while anything that can prevent oxidative damage will no doubt help protect against penile atrophy and other chronic sexual problems, your T levels may end up suffering in the process.
To put it in as simple terms as possible: we don’t know how to dose green tea in a way that confers benefits without lowering your testosterone.
In fact, no matter which studies you look at, we repeatedly see a reduction in testosterone rather than the increase logic tells us we should anticipate.
This becomes even more severe when you move away from the beverage and into the world of extracts, where you’re likely to do serious harm to non-genital body parts if you happen to abuse your dosages.
Green Tea Catechins Actually Inhibit Testosterone Production
In one study, which was performed on in-vitro rats, researchers were able to isolate the subjects’ Leydig cells.
As you might remember from other articles, these are the cells responsible for producing testosterone inside your testicles.
In this case, the researchers incubated the cells along with the catechins from an extract of green tea.
During this process, they checked for a variety of enzyme reactions while also evaluating testosterone production.
Due to the high antioxidant content, it’s likely these researchers were anticipating a positive response.
However, they actually observed an inhibitory effect on testosterone production – and a rapid one at that.
Tea Catechin Exposure Can Shrink Testicles
In one, rodents were directly injected with EGCG, one of the principal catechins in the green tea nutrient cocktail.
After just one week (or 8 days, to be more specific), researchers found that their testicle size had actually been reduced by between 10% and 20%.
But that’s not all.
The testosterone levels in the rats dropped by an average of 70%!
That’s a nuclear blast to one’s hormones by almost any measure.
Were such a drop observed in humans, there would be no escaping the health ramifications.
The More Green Tea You Drink, the Worse the Hormonal Reaction
One of the biggest studies ever conducted into green tea’s hormonal effect was done in India in 2011.
In this case, researchers divided male rats up into four groups, all of which received varying amounts of green tea extract per day.
- Group 1 received the equivalent of 5 human cups of tea per day.
- Group 2 received the equivalent of 10 human cups per day.
- Group 3 received the equivalent of 20 human cups per day.
- Group 4, the control, received no extract at all.
The study went on this way for 26 days.
At this point, the rats – presumably extremely well-caffeinated – had their blood thoroughly tested.
All of the rats receiving green tea extract saw a suppression in the function of their testicular enzymes, a reduction in testicle size, and a loss of serum testosterone.
However, that loss proved to be highly dependent on the amount of extract they received.
- Group 1 (5 human cups) saw an average loss of 25%
- Group 2 (10 human cups) saw an average loss of 60%
- Group 3 (20 human cups) saw an average loss of 78%
So, are you going to drink 20 cups of green tea per day?
However, if you opt for extracts, you could quickly start accidentally overdosing yourself into a jittery, low-t stupor.
Green Tea Blunts Androgen Receptors
A 2010 study into how EGCG from green tea interacts with androgens in the male body found a particularly interesting result.
The study was focused on androgen deprivation therapy as a treatment for advanced prostate cancer.
The study found out that EGCG interacts with the androgen receptors in a way that reduces their ability to respond to the presence of testosterone in your body.
That is, by keeping the androgen receptors “switched off,” it reduces your ability to absorb the testosterone your body is putting out.
This can lead to all manner of problems with the testes, pituitary, gland, hypothalamus, and more.
It can also result in decreased muscle mass, breast development, fatigue, depressions, and weaker erections.
In short: the worst nightmare for someone trying to optimize their T levels.
Green Tea Reduces Free Testosterone Levels in Women
Perhaps one of the most compelling examples of green tea’s ability to wreak havoc on the male body is its ability to affect the fairer sex.
If you’re new to the topic, you should be aware that both men and women have testosterone and estrogen.
In fact, it’s the see-saw-like balance between the two that gives us our male or female characteristics.
So, when that balance is thrown out of whack, problems can arise.
Speaking of which, this 2017 study uncovered something particularly interesting.
In attempting to treat women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome, green tea was found to facilitate weight loss, decrease fasting insulin, and – oh, yeah – savage their free testosterone levels.
In this case, of course, reducing active testosterone was the goal.
Still, it only serves to support our hypothesis: too much tea will body slam your testosterone.
Green Tea Extracts Could Damage Your Liver
Up until this point, all of the evidence against green tea has focused mostly on the sexual side effects.
At the same time, we’ve primarily talked about consuming the beverage. But here’s the deal, some people aren’t tea drinkers.
And since they also want all those widely-touted antioxidant benefits, the supplement industry has come up with ultra-powerful green tea extracts.
Unfortunately, abusing these extracts can have some serious consequences.
For instance, in 2018, a 50-year-old man in the UK was rushed to the hospital for an emergency liver transplant after taking green tea capsules for just a few months.
Though he survived, he still deals with the repercussions.
The reason for this otherwise healthy man’s sudden need for life-saving treatment was blamed on the extremely high level of antioxidants (particularly EGCG) contained in the extracts.
In fact, it’s possible he might have been taking up to four times the recommended amount per day – much more than could be obtained simply from drinking the tea.
Subsequent studies continue to show that too much of a good thing, like antioxidants, can quickly cause hepatoxicity – even in people who stick to the recommended dosage.
Green Tea and Testosterone Conclusion:
Here’s the deal: there are plenty of studies that show there are benefits to consuming green tea.
In fact, some even show that there may be some small benefit to your sex life from adding a spot of tea to your diet.
But if you – like me – prefer to play it safe when it comes to your testosterone levels, you need to remind yourself of the downsides we discussed.
So if you really want to have a glass here and there, don’t worry about it too much because it won’t kill you.
However, attempting to “supplement” your sex organs with a regular chugging of green tea will only have negative consequences for your testosterone levels.
And you should definitely avoid extracts.
Not only is it often difficult to pinpoint how much you’re actually getting per dose, but it’s too easy to overdo it and cause potentiall life-threatening liver problems.