Question of the Month
Insightful site! I am a 30+ female and want to know what foods (if any) in ones
diet stimulates the overproduction of testosterone. What effect does stress have
on the "situation"?
Many women ask how diet and stress might be
related to their hormonal hair and skin problems. It is common to be told that
acne is due to poor diet or that alopecia is a result of stress. The evidence
for this can be easily summed up: There is none! Studies done a long time ago
showed that eating chocolate or greasy foods do not cause acne. As to stress,
all women (and men) are under stress at one time or another but not all get
I have never seen any study suggesting that diet can increase women's
testosterone levels. Testosterone may go down with very extreme dieting --
anorexia nervosa -- but that amount of dieting can cause hair loss so is hardly
a solution as well as being harmful to health. Stress increases the activity of
the adrenal, which along with the ovary, is where testosterone is made in
women's bodies. It is conceivable that stress might cause a very brief change in
adrenal function but there is no reason to think that chronic stress will
Many women I see with alopecia or acne are told it is stress; some are told it
is diet. I do not think this is helpful. Diet as a cause of hair loss only
occurs in famine or with certain rare diseases. As to stress, being told it is
causing hair loss only makes a women feel more stressed. Stress reduction such
as meditation may be very beneficial but is unlikely to help hair.
As I emphasize elsewhere, these problems are mainly due to hormones and it is
attention to hormones which is most likely to lead to help.
Hope this is helpful.
Geoffrey Redmond, MD
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