Do Chemicals Hinder Testosterone Production?
man's ability to control chemistry and biology has changed the way
that humans live today for the better, there are also numerous
negative consequences related to our many decisions. As we produce
more and more industrial chemicals, we are actually changing the
nature of the environment around us.
Problem with EDCs
these chemicals have the ability to alter and impact the function of
both human and animal endocrine systems. Scientifically, these
chemicals are known as Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals, abbreviated
EDCs. These chemicals can impact a number of different aspects of
hormone production, and some even have the capability to affect the
sex hormones, causing both males and females to demonstrate certain
aspects of the opposite sex.
Chemicals are everywhere these days. You likely have dozens of
products in your house that contain these ingredients, including
common contraceptives, cleansing agents, and even certain hygiene
products such as soaps and shampoos. Many foods contain ingredients
which have been proven to impact hormone production. If you aren't
careful, they can even contaminate your drinking water.
EDCs Lower Testosterone Levels in Men
maintaining optimal health is recognizing potential risks and
minimizing their impact as much as possible. Endocrine-Disrupting
Chemicals can have a significant impact on male health, because there
are so many that degrade the natural production and function of
Testosterone, which can hinder male health significantly over time.
of EDC Pollution on Fish
one powerful example: In Great Britain, researchers have conducted a
number of studies regarding the impact of chemical pollution on the
rivers and lakes throughout England. Many fish species are
particularly sensitive to chemical contamination. In a number of
rivers associated with high levels of pollution, the researchers
discovered that half of the male fish were actually producing eggs as
a result of EDC Contamination.
chemicals entered the waterway primarily via sewage, and were having
such a tremendous impact on the ecology of the rivers that male fish
were actually starting to transform as a result. Although half of the
male fish were producing eggs, the impact on sexual function was even
more pronounced. Over three quarters of these fish which were
impacted by these chemicals exhibited a reduced ability to reproduce.
Chemicals can have an Effect on Male Health from Birth
any outside stimulation, sexual development generally occurs during
two periods. A certain level of sexual differentiation occurs
prenatally: Primary Sex characteristics develop, and there are
arguably some differences in psychological development which take
place. The period in which boys and girls change sexually and develop
secondary sex characteristics is during puberty. Puberty usually
occurs a bit earlier in females, but normally, this change occurs
Can Induce Early Puberty
decades, however, scientists (and parents) have seen a significant
number of children enter puberty much earlier than normal. In one
study released in Pediatrics, it was discovered that boys are
entering puberty between 6 months and 2 years earlier than normal as
a result of the increased incidence of childhood obesity and the
increased exposure to chemicals which are triggering puberty.
that there are certain boys and girls that are entering puberty as
early as nine years old! Although this might not seem like a major
issue at face value, early puberty can impact both psychological and
physiological health in countless ways. Early puberty also increases
the risk of developing certain cancers associated with the endocrine
Issues Related to Early Puberty
combination of puberty and immature psychological development can
lead to a number of behavioral and emotional problems, including:
or Other Eating Disorders
possibility of Alcohol Exposure
Risk of STDs
also accidentally expose their children to Endocrine-Disrupting
Chemicals while they are in the womb. Exposure to these chemicals
during pregnancy can actually impact male physiological and
psychological development before birth. In Japan and the United
States, for example, the male birth rate has dropped consistently
over the course of the last thirty years, meaning that more fetuses
are developing into females than males.
greater the exposure to these chemicals, the more likely that the
mother will bear a male child with certain testicular issues. They
may develop testicles that are abnormally small, or the testicles may
not properly descend fully upon puberty. These issues, and others,
have a significant impact upon Testosterone production throughout the
lifespan, and it can also obstruct male fertility as well. These
chemicals can significantly depress sperm count.
to EDCs has also been linked to an increased risk of Testicular and
Prostate Cancer. Males that experience these symptoms are said to
suffer from a disorder known as Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome, which
is directly caused by endogenous and exogenous factors that severely
depress Testosterone Production.
particularly common group of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals are
Phthalates. Overexposure to these chemicals can actually inhibit
normal endocrine function in males, leading to symptoms of
feminization. These ingredients are very common in plastics, and they
actively inhibit Testosterone Production while also reducing male
exposure to high levels of Phtalates has been strongly correlated
with male birth defects, and it seems that these chemicals cause the
male genitals to develop abnormally, causing them to be more feminine
disrupt male development and sexual function in a particular way.
Studies have shown that pregnant women with DBP and DEHP, two forms
of Phthalate, are significantly more likely to birth sons that
display female characteristics.
are in a variety of products that we use every day in America,
including food packaging, plastic bags, hair sprays, perfumes,
anti-antiperspirants, shampoos, soaps, detergents, vinyl flooring,
and plastics used in the production of automobiles.
Chemicals Which Disrupt Hormone Production
(BPA) - This chemical is most commonly found in a number of
plastic commodities, such as food cans, reusable bottles, and dental
sealants. Exposure to this chemical can affect prenatal development,
as well as increase the chance for a woman to develop breast cancer.
Acid (PFOA) - This chemical agent is used in order to create
surfaces which are resistant to grease and water. There is also
strong evidence that overexposure to this chemical increases the risk
of a number of different types of cancer. There are many forms of
non-stick pan that use this chemical, and the highest levels of
exposure likely come from a very common source: the inner lining of
popcorn bags. It is suspected that popcorn bags actually contribute
to the highest levels of exposure.
(fungicide) and Methoxychlor (insecticide) - Animal studies
have shown that these two chemicals have the potential to alter the
fetal development of rats over the course of multiple generations.
Ethoxylates (NPEs) - These chemicals wreak havoc on the male
endocrine system because they have characteristics which cause them
to mimic the feminine hormone estrogen. These chemicals also have the
ability to alter genetic expression and the function of certain
glands such as the pituitary.
Growth Hormone - All animals produce their own form of Growth
Hormone, and many agricultural firms inject Bovine Growth Hormone
into cows in order to speed up the growth process and produce more
meat. Bovine Growth Hormone is also present in many forms of dairy
product. The problem is that Bovine Growth Hormone can imitate
Estrogen and Human Growth Hormone in some ways, impacting normal
hormone production and function.
Soy Products - Unfermented Soy contains chemicals known as
phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant hormones which share a lot
in common with Estrogen, and in high doses can actually function
similarly to Estrogen in the human body. In particular, infants
should not be fed foods containing soy. One study shows that a child
that consumes only soy formula consumes a level of estrogen that is
equal to 5 birth control pills. In addition to this, Unfermented Soy
also contains proteins which can affect Thyroid Function as well.
Glutamate (MSG) - Classically, MSG used to be added to many
foods at Chinese Buffets in order to add flavor and induce fullness.
What most people don't realize is that today, most Chinese
restaurants avoid adding MSG to their foods, but many American
restaurants and domestically processed foods contain MSG, because
they are not so closely scrutinized in regard to the use of MSG. The
body creates its own necessary MSG, and the introduction of outside
sources can affect natural hormone production.
addition to this, the process of creating MSG produces many
contaminants, peptide fragments and amino acids not used by the human
body which can hinder proper hormone health. In fact, MSG can alter
both male and female fertility. In males, excess MSG consumption can
drop fertility rates by as much as half. In women, MSG can alter the
menstrual cycle, making it harder to conceive.
- Certain inorganic elements and compounds have the ability to
mimic estrogen in the human body. Among these are tin, cadmium, lead,
mercury, copper, antimony, and aluminum. Although solid metal forms
of most of these Metalloestrogens are perfectly safe (except mercury,
lead, cadmium, and other specific Metalloestrogens), incidental
ingestion and inhalation of these products can lead to particular
issues, and can copy the effects of estrogen while also preventing
the proper function of Testosterone.
Minimize Exposure to Hormone Disrupting Contaminants
many ways to limit your exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting
Contaminants. Of course, it will be impossible to safeguard yourself
one hundred percent from these compounds, but by being conscientious,
you can significantly safeguard yourself and your hormones. You don't
have to walk around in a bubble, you can change your life in a
completely practical way.
Teflon for Your Health
One way to
limit exposure to these chemicals is to choose pans that do not
contain Teflon or related coatings. We recommend cooking with
cast-iron cookware. This form of cookware is affordable, and when
used and maintained properly, it is just as non-stick as Teflon. In
addition to this, there are companies that make Teflon-Alternatives
that are completely made out of green ingredients which are safe to
accidentally consume in the case that they are scraped off. Ceramic
pans are also an excellent choice.
possible, choose dried or fresh vegetables instead of canned
vegetables, because cans are often sealed using oil-based chemicals
which can impact hormone balance. These chemicals are called
Bisphenols, and these chemicals have been shown to negatively affect
fertility. Excess Bisphenol exposure directly correlates with
decreased Testosterone Production.
Healthy Cleaning Supplies
addition to this, be conscientious about the cleaning products that
you use, and always use them in a well-ventilated area, preferably
with gloves. Also, seek out green alternatives to the products you
use, which don't contain a melting pot of potentially unhealthy
chemicals. Use natural air fresheners and green or hypo-allergenic
fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Remember that most shower curtains
are made out of vinyl, and choose curtains that do not contain vinyl
compounds. There are a ton of cheap alternatives if you keep your
Organic Hygiene Products
simple soaps and shampoos which only use safe ingredients. There are
only a few bare essentials to a quality hygiene product, so there is
no reason to choose a product filled to the brim with exotic
to your eating habits, limit your intake of processed foods and go
for the real thing. In general, organic foods are superior to other
forms, but remember that even organic foods sometimes contain
ingredients that can be harmful. The best rule of thumb is to buy
foods which are as close to their natural form as possible, and
ideally, you should purchase food from trustworthy sellers, whether
this be from a local farmers' market or from a reputable company.
Control of Your Health and Your Hormones
Knowledge is the first step in safeguarding your health. By limiting
your exposure to chemicals which affect your hormone production, you
can maintain hormone balance more effectively which will sustain your
long-term health in countless ways!