Why are testosterone levels declining In men?
And what does this mean to the health of men and our overall culture?
Photo by henri meilhac on Unsplash
Testosterone levels have been dropping for at least the last three generations in the United States. This has created problems that slowly trickle down first from the individual and then into society at large. Furthermore, because hormones are so important for a myriad of reasons, culture is shifted, much as we see in this country today:
The average man is physically weaker than past generations
Rises in obesity and diabetes among other testosterone-related diseases
A general demasculinization of males
What I'm saying in a nut shell is that what we have before us is a society being filled with girly boys. "Real" men, you know, the kind that can physically fend off attackers for their significant other, or take charge of situations in times of crisis, or show more general confidence, or perform better in bed? They're evaporating and being replaced slowly but surely with latte sipping pansies that view physical fitness as some sort of bad thing (Its called fit shaming and its actually a real thing these days).
Its sort of getting ridiculous, coming from someone that has been physically fit their entire lives. There used to be a phenomenon known as "fat shaming" where people would verbally "shame" very obese people. Often times this amounted little more than hearing the inconvenient truth that it is extremely unhealthy in every way to be morbidly obese. Another factor at play was that decades ago it was very rare to even see an obese person; they were an extreme minority and society didn't know how to react.
Now, its gotten to the point where the extreme minority is very fit people and they're getting the same treatment, albeit this time the minority being harassed is not in danger of dying of a heart attack at age 40.
To put it as simply as possible we have been slowly degrading in health from almost every single perspective since 1950. One factor is declining testosterone.
Now, this is actually a more complex issue because it is not strictly cause and effect. Some could argue that because testosterone levels are lowering then that would explain the rise in overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes along with the slew of other lifestyle illness. However, it goes both ways because if you let your weight rise and your health to deteriorate by ignoring and abusing your body then that can cause testosterone levels to drop.
So what the hell is going on here? Why are testosterone levels slowly dropping generationally and why do I blame it for the most part 100% on lifestyle related factors?
Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash
There is no denying that our food and water supply has been polluted to never before seen levels. Our excessive use of plastics such as BPAs have caused what are known as phthalates to be found in higher quantities than ever before in the human environment. These micro plastics are being found in urine samples and can act as hormone disruptors. And these are only one of an entire array of molecules that can mimic estrogen in humans.
Chemicals known as brominated flame retardants or BFRs are a somewhat new addition to humanity and they are everywhere. Think about it for a second. How many things that we use daily are flame retardant? For one our electronics (to prevent electrical fires) but there are also flame retardant furnitures and bedding, and other materials. They are literally everywhere and even the NIH acknowledges that they are known hormone disruptors.
Bromine is particularly interesting because of its connection to the thyroid gland. Could this be part of the growing number of thyroid problems plaguing women in the U.S.? Bromine is also found in higher concentrations in hot tubs which are very popular. Bromine is similar in structure to iodine which is crucial for production of thyroid hormones such as T4. T4 can be converted into T3 and this is essential for entire chains of hormones affecting metabolism.
93% of humans tested have BPAs in their bodies. We may recall that BPAs have openly been seen as dangerous and are thankfully slowly being removed from the public and replaced. The reason is that they are estrogen mimickers!
This is just a small list of potential endocrine disruptors that are found quite literally everywhere in today's world. In fact I find it regrettable to say that they are unavoidable unless one is truly living off the grid.
#What does this mean to men?
First off we need to be clear here: everyone reading this article has some sort of endocrine disruptor inside them. Even if you don't use a cell phone or any flame retardants, sleep in a cot and only eat fresh fruits and vegetables, there are still disruptors in the water supply, which means they are in the water that is supplying nutrition to foods being grown as well as for livestock. They are in tap waters across the country.
Endocrine disruptors like said before cause many different problems including weight gain, fatigue and all sorts of organ problems. In fact the science is nowhere near settled because the human body and how it responds to all these chemicals is very hard to study and pinpoint.
One thing we do know is that many estrogen mimickers do exactly that: they bind to estrogen receptors in the body because they are confused with real estrogen. So men end up getting the effects of estrogen which are many times…wait for it…wait for it…female sex characteristics.
This means that men tend to have lower muscle mass and more adipose tissue than prior generations. The bones also become slightly more porous, another female trait. It also means that men take up more female characteristics. They become more emotionally like women. This is not a dig towards the female sex. Its just a fact of life. Many women get very emotional, very fast. Not all, but most.
The way its supposed to work is that women are emotionally driven while men are more logically driven. That's why men appear so "cold" and calculated at times. Its necessary for both sexes to exist in a symbiotic relationsip. If both parties in a relationship are super emotional its gong to be tough going. Its the left / right brain dichotomy that has existed for thousands of years. Women are right brained while men tend to be more left. Of course this is not permanent and anyone can learn to use their left / right brain more or less with proper conditioning. But it seems that we are seeing a reversal of roles, which brings up another point I'll gloss over quickly. What are these endocrine disruptors doing to women?
Endometriosis. Early onset puberty. Uterine fibroids. Infertility.
Do these sound familiar? I'm sure they do because all of these are on the rise nationwide. Breast cancer and miscarriages as well.
There are many theories of the causes of these issues, could hormonal imbalance partially caused by endocrine disruptors be a factor? Since these diseases are rising, not stabalizing, there must be an environmental factor to at least attempt to explain this trend.
I remember noticing in the last few years how bizarre many teen relationships look. It seemed more often than not that the girl would be taller and stronger looking than the male! The sex characteristics would be swapped. Could these endocrine disruptors be a factor? It makes sense given that if testosterone in growing males is being suppressed by one of its competitors, estrogen, then theoretically the boy would reach puberty later or in a more depressed state. All the while we know that girls are going through puberty and having periods at younger ages. This would produce exactly what I'm talking about.
#What to do about it
So we know the problem but what is there to do for these poor kids (and ourselves for that matter)?
Obviously, removing as many of these chemicals from our diets is key, but this is difficult considering that over 80,000 chemicals are in our food supply and most have never been tested for safety, which of course is the crux of this entire problem. NO TESTING! There are known endocrine disruptors but who knows what effect these other tens of thousands of chemicals are are having?
The main culprits I have found over the years are these:
Cleaning products. Replace harsh chemicals with natural alternatives, many of which can be made from home. You'll be surprised what is in things such as carpet cleaners, Lisol, and mostly bathroom cleaners.
Cosmetics. Most commercial facial and body cleaning products are full of chemicals that should not be on, in, or even near the human body. Toothpastes, soap, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, all can be replaced with natural alternatives.
Food. Same old song and dance here; stop eating processed garbage and opt for more natural foods. Replace low quality dairy and meat with alternatives, even if its just the organic version. Get a high quality water filtration system to remove endocrine disruptors from tap water, but beware, cheap filters like Brita will NOT remove most more complex chemicals.
Obviously there are a million other ways that these hormone mimickers can be ingested, but those three above are things that most people can have a high degree of control over.
There are also ways to remove built-up toxins and disruptors in the body. One way is through chelation which uses chelates that bind to many foreign intruders in the body. They can help remove plastics, free radicals and even heavy metals (which we did not discuss but are part of the problem).
Increasing antioxidant intake such as vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D3, beta carotene and others can help rid the body of toxic build up.
What will end up happening through these processes of removing endocrine distuptors and estrogen mimickers in men will result in more activity by testosterone which can help reverse this horrible trend that we see ourselves veering into.
A final takeaway would be this: men do need estrogen, but they need testosterone more. These two hormones compete for receptor activity and have totally different functions, so when one becomes excessively dominant it creates radical change physiologically in the male. There are very rarely naturally men with "too much natural testosterone" coursing through their bodies. The only time I've heard of this is when they are taking excessive steroids or testosterone therapy. Estrogen dominant men, on the other hand, are running rampant at the moment and probably have no idea that its even happening, and its not good for their health.
Let's make men great again.
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