Dietary Pollutants May Affect Testosterone Levels

Dietary Pollutants May Affect Testosterone Levels
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Endocrine-disrupting industrial toxins in the aquatic food chain may affect genital development of boys and sexual function in men.

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A number of studies suggest that exposure to industrial pollutants may affect sexual function–for example, loss of libido, sexual dysfunction, and impotence. This may be due to effects on testosterone levels. In a study of men who ate a lot of contaminated fish, an elevation in PCB levels in the blood was associated with a lower concentration of testosterone levels.

Testosterone doesn’t just play a role in the determination of secondary sex characteristics like facial hair at puberty, but in normal sexual functioning, and in overall physical and psychological wellbeing in adult men. Abnormally low levels of testosterone can lead to decreased physical endurance and memory capacity, loss of libido, drop in sperm count, loss of bone density, obesity, and depression.

These so-called endocrine-disrupting compounds that build up in fish may be able to mimic or block hormone receptors or alter rates of synthesis or breakdown of the sex steroid hormones. In children, these pollutants may actually impair sexual development. Boys who were exposed may grow up with smaller penises–though we’re only talking about two thirds of an inch, at most. We’re not sure if the effects on penis length are due to the pro-estrogenic effects of the toxins or the anti-testosterone effects.

In fact if you expose cells from aborted fetal human penises to these kinds of dietary pollutants, gene expression related to genital development is affected even at real-life exposure levels. These toxins are found predominantly in fish, but also meat and dairy, with the lowest levels in plants.

You’ve heard of save the whales? Well, male reproductive organs may be at risk from environmental hazards.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

A number of studies suggest that exposure to industrial pollutants may affect sexual function–for example, loss of libido, sexual dysfunction, and impotence. This may be due to effects on testosterone levels. In a study of men who ate a lot of contaminated fish, an elevation in PCB levels in the blood was associated with a lower concentration of testosterone levels.

Testosterone doesn’t just play a role in the determination of secondary sex characteristics like facial hair at puberty, but in normal sexual functioning, and in overall physical and psychological wellbeing in adult men. Abnormally low levels of testosterone can lead to decreased physical endurance and memory capacity, loss of libido, drop in sperm count, loss of bone density, obesity, and depression.

These so-called endocrine-disrupting compounds that build up in fish may be able to mimic or block hormone receptors or alter rates of synthesis or breakdown of the sex steroid hormones. In children, these pollutants may actually impair sexual development. Boys who were exposed may grow up with smaller penises–though we’re only talking about two thirds of an inch, at most. We’re not sure if the effects on penis length are due to the pro-estrogenic effects of the toxins or the anti-testosterone effects.

In fact if you expose cells from aborted fetal human penises to these kinds of dietary pollutants, gene expression related to genital development is affected even at real-life exposure levels. These toxins are found predominantly in fish, but also meat and dairy, with the lowest levels in plants.

You’ve heard of save the whales? Well, male reproductive organs may be at risk from environmental hazards.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

I previously addressed how we discovered the endocrine disruptor phenomenon in Alkylphenol Endocrine Disruptors and Allergies, as well as where they’re found (Dietary Sources of Alkylphenol Endocrine Disruptors).

For more on sustaining male virility, see Male Fertility and Diet, The Role of Diet in Declining Sperm Counts, and Dairy Estrogen and Male Fertility.

I’ve talked about the role a plastics chemical may play in male sexual functioning (BPA Plastic and Male Sexual Dysfunction), but It’s not just toxins, it’s the total diet (Survival of the Firmest: Erectile Dysfunction and Death)–and not only in men (Cholesterol and Female Sexual Dysfunction).

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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