Men produce their own hormone in their testicles – testosterone. This hormone is manufactured in a similar fashion to women’s estrogen (which is made in the ovaries). Women also make testosterone in the ovaries, but not at the high amounts that men create it. In fact, testosterone is considered the ‘male’ hormone. Men get their bulk, body hair growth, bone strength, and more ‘manly’ emotions from testosterone. Women are very sensitive to the effects of their testosterone production, even though they only create small amounts.
REDUCTION IN HORMONES
Men fall prey to the reduction of hormone levels much like women. While most people associate hormone replacement treatment with women and menopause, men often need hormonal treatment. Lowered testosterone production begins in the 30s and continues to decline throughout life. There is evidence that the reduction in testosterone is associated with an enzyme that converts the hormone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). When testosterone is reduced then men find themselves at risk for lowered bone density, enlarged prostate, and cancer. The enzyme is known as 5-alpha reductase.
Not only do men need to worry about natural reduction in testosterone as they age, chemical exposure is responsible for further reduction. Drugs used to lower cholesterol levels (statins) and active ingredients in RoundUp plant killer were found to cause problems with testosterone production.
EDCS AND MEN
Endocrine disrupting chemicals, EDCs, have caused trouble with testosterone and are everywhere men turn. The chemicals disrupts the systems of both animals and humans. These chemicals are found in products used everyday – cleaners, contraceptives, and even in food or drink.
Exposure to these chemicals are causing boys to reach puberty earlier than previously. This early puberty is detrimental to the health of boys and the men they grow into as they face a higher risk of hormonally related cancers. Emotional health is also affected by this early onset puberty, resulting in lowered self esteem in some boys, depression, possible earlier loss of virginity and multiple sexual partners, along with increased risk of STDs.
A few of the EDCs that can cause a change in men’s testosterone production, effectively giving male infants, young boys, and adult men a more feminine system:
Bisphenol-A (BPA) – Ingredient in some plastics. Water bottles, food can, dental sealants, and baby bottles. Many companies have banned BPA though it is still present in many products.
Perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA) – Potentially carcinogenic. Used in water and grease resistant food coating.
Nonylphenol ethoxlates (NPEs) – EDCs that can affect the glandular system and interfere with gene expression. Culprit in sex changes of marine animals.
There are many more EDCs, it is nearly impossible to list every chemical that is detrimental to the male system. Avoiding EDCs by eating fresh food instead of canned, not using Teflon coated cookware, and eating organic foods can help immensely in avoiding these chemicals.
COMBATTING LOWERED TESTOSTERONE LEVELS
In an effort to combat lowered testosterone, men can seek hormone replacement treatment. This can be through a prescription, use of organic dairy products to naturally raise testosterone levels, or exercise. It has also been found that intermittent fasting can help boost testosterone. This fasting works by improving the body’s expression of satiety hormones – insuling, leptin, adiponectin, and other helpful chemicals.
One of the best ways to combat lowered testerone is to lower stress. Chronic stress causes the body to produce cortisol which competes with DHEA in the body. DHEA and cortisol are made in the same areas of the body, when cortisol wins, DHEA is lessened which interferes with testosterone creation.