Eli5 – Why do so many chemicals cause more estrogen to be produced in the body but almost no chemicals cause testosterone to be produced?

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Eli5 – Why do so many chemicals cause more estrogen to be produced in the body but almost no chemicals cause testosterone to be produced?

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Your question starts from somewhat of a false premise. Much of what you’ll read about foods that increase/decrease estrogen production is way overstated. The body’s endocrine system regulates hormone production, and this system is incredibly complex. It strives to achieve a balance of hormones in your body, and eating foods can only cause small influences.

Most people focused on these effects are either A) trying to achieve a certain fitness level and looking for any advantage they can get, or B) trying to solve a body-type issue, like men who have larger than normal breasts.

While dietary changes can help to some degree, there are many, many factors that affect th balance of testosterone and estrogen in the body. [This article](https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323224) has a good overview. The summary is particularly insightful:

> Estrogen is an important hormone in males, but high levels can cause certain health problems.
>
>Some foods can affect a person’s hormone levels, but there is relatively little quality research into the effects of various diets on hormone levels.
>
>If a person is concerned about age-related changes, or suspects a hormone imbalance, a doctor can test for a range of causes. Various treatments are available. A doctor can also provide personalized diet and lifestyle recommendations.

In short, if you think you have a hormone problem, see a doctor. There is little chance that “eating these 5 foods can reduce estrogen levels” is backed up by real science.

Another layperson’s perspective: If foods that allegedly raise estrogen levels were truly effective, trans women with poor access to HRT (hormone therapy) would be voluntarily eating them and seeing physical changes. People have tried it, but the understanding in the trans community is that these foods don’t actually do anything. The effects are overstated at best.

I thought that the main problem with estrogen came from estrogen like compounds released by plastics into food.