Today’s world is full of toxins that find their way into your body without you realizing it. They’re in the air you breathe, the food you eat and the water you drink.
But, are you aware of all the ways they affect your health? Lots of the things that lower testosterone are present in the products you use on a daily basis.
Some mimic female hormones like estrogen while others suppress the production of testosterone altogether. Studies show that the levels of testosterone in men today are much lower than they were in men of the same age 20 to 30 years ago.
So what lowers testosterone levels in your body? This article delves into the world of testosterone killers that you need to stay away from. Read on.
What Decreases Your Testosterone
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that regulates numerous processes in the body. Some of these include fertility, red blood cell production, sperm production, fat distribution, bone and muscle mass development.
It is produced in the Leydig cells in the testicles. When the levels of this hormone drop, you’re at risk for developing conditions like infertility or hypogonadism.
The number of men diagnosed with low testosterone is on the rise. The numbers of testosterone prescriptions have increased five times since 2012.
The pituitary gland in the brain is responsible for regulating the amounts of this hormone present in the body. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it might be time to consult your GP.
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lack of concentration when performing basic tasks
- Low sperm count
- Reduced Sex drive
- Loss of strength
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increase in body fat percentage
- Swollen breast tissue
- Loss of body hair
Your GP will then proceed to measure the levels of testosterone in your body. So what lowers your testosterone level? Here are 9 of the most common causes.
1. Things That Lower Testosterone: Bisphenol A
Bisphenol A or BPA for short is a notorious testosterone killer. This chemical is a key component in the production of polycarbonate plastic. It’s what hardens the material.
BPA is also a common compound in epoxy resins. Doesn’t sound like the kind of thing you would willingly ingest, does it? So, how on earth it would get into your body?
Well, you’ll find it in reusable plastic bottles, the lining of food cans, and in plastic food containers. Basically, anything made of hard clear plastic has BPA present.
BPA has a similar molecular structure as that of estrogen. It’s an endocrine disrupter that works by blocking the normal action of testosterone in the body.
Prolonged exposure to this substance has devastating effects on the level of the male hormone in your body. Extensive studies have been done to establish the correlation between the levels of BPA and serum concentrations of testosterone.
Summer’s right around the corner. It’s a cardinal sin to go out in the sun without applying an ample amount of sunscreen on your body.
But did you know that most lotions contain parabens? Parabens are the family of chemical compounds that include propyl-, butyl-, methyl- or heptyl.
If you look up the ingredients of your favorite personal care products, like body wash, shampoos, toothpaste and shaving gels you’ll find these culprits present. It is common knowledge that testosterone is responsible for maintaining spermatogenesis and male fertility.
Butylparaben has been linked to the production of small abnormally shaped sperm with decreased motility. This comes about due to the low levels of testosterone brought on by this chemical.
What’s more, parabens are known to mimic the hormone estrogen. This consequently lowers the levels of testosterone your body produces.
The European Union has banned the use of personal care products that contain parabens. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, hasn’t limited the use of the ingredient. Ensure that you scrutinize the ingredients in the products you use to avoid unwanted exposure to the chemical.
If your wife or girlfriend loves to have a perfume-scented home it could potentially be lowering your testosterone levels. Did you know that most air fresheners and scented candles contain phthalates? That’s the “perfume” that makes everything smell so amazing.
It’s also the same ingredient that used to make plastics more flexible. Some of the household items you need to stay away from include body spray and the majority of commercial perfumes. Scented bathroom sprays and any other aromatic personal care products should also be tossed out in the trash.
Phthalates are endocrine disrupters. They appear to cause male genital tracts to become more feminized by interfering with the enzyme required to synthesize testosterone.
4. Beer and Other Alcoholic Drinks
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but your favorite Sunday afternoon pastime could be hurting your testosterone levels. That is if your pastime involves cracking open a couple of beers to enjoy a game of football.
Beer is manufactured from hops. These contain abundant amounts of phytoestrogens. While indulging in a drink every now and then won’t do much for your testosterone levels, making it a regular part of your routine certainly will.
Large amounts of beer have negative effects on your androgen levels. Here are the specific ways that the alcohol in beer reduces testosterone levels:
First, alcohol damages the Leydig cells present in the testes. These are the cells are responsible for the synthesis and secretion of testosterone.
Second, there’s a coenzyme known as Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+). It is responsible for the synthesis of testosterone and the metabolism of alcohol.
When you consume too much alcohol the body mobilizes all the available resources to detoxify itself. Therefore most of the NAD+ has to be directed towards metabolizing the alcohol. This puts-off the synthesis of testosterone until there’s enough NAD+ available for the process.
Third, alcohol consumption stimulates the release of certain endorphins. These are popularly known as the “feel-good” hormones.
They are responsible for the pleasant and relaxed feelings that come about when you indulge in your favorite alcoholic beverage. Great as that feeling may be, they actually inhibit the synthesis of testosterone.
Finally, alcohol also increases the level of production of cortisol. This stress hormone suppresses testosterone production.
5. Low Cholesterol Diets
While foods that are low in cholesterol are great for your cardiac health, the same can’t be said for your testosterone health. You see, all steroid hormones come from the “sterol” part of cholesterol.
Your diet, therefore, needs to have the nutrients required for the body to synthesize cholesterol. If it doesn’t you’re actually starving the androgen hormones of their source. In order for testosterone to be synthesized the following conditions must hold true:
- There have to be sufficient amounts of the cholesterol substrate available in the bloodstream.
- It needs to be readily and immediately available for androgen production.
- If it is in cellular stores it needs to be de-esterified to make it available for the formation of androgens.
- Transportation of cholesterol from the cellular stores to the androgen forming mitochondria needs to happen.
- The enzymes responsible for metabolizing the cholesterol into its constituent components need to be activated.
These conditions are what ultimately lead to the formation of testosterone. For this reason, cholesterol is actually an infant form of testosterone.
So, if your diet doesn’t contain sufficient amounts of HDL cholesterol, then your testosterone levels will definitely take a hit. While LDL cholesterol equally supports testosterone synthesis, remember, it’s the “bad cholesterol”. Therefore stick to HDL if you care about your cardiac health as well.
If you enjoy consuming tofu, soy milk or even miso you should know they could be lowering your level of testosterone. These foods contain high amounts of plant-based estrogen known as phytoestrogens.
They disrupt the natural balance of hormones in your body. This leads to a reduction in the level of the testosterone you’re producing.
Consuming phytoestrogen-rich foods increase the levels of plasma isoflavone. It alters your prostate weight and reduces the plasma androgen hormonal levels.
The principal androgens in your body are testosterone and androstenedione. So, the consumption of these foods reduces the levels of these steroid hormones in the body.
Do you enjoy your night time cup of peppermint tea? Why wouldn’t you? With its stomach-soothing properties, it is undoubtedly the best thing to have after indulging in a heavy meal.
The bad news is, that cup of mint tea could be doing you more harm than good. The two herbs that stem from the mint plant family – peppermint and spearmint – actually cause a decrease in the amount of testosterone your body produces.
Triclosan is the main component of anti-bacterial products that give them their anti-bacterial properties. However, it could be fighting a lot more than those pesky germs.
It alters testicular activity which inevitably lowers your testosterone levels. This chemical is commonly found in anti-bacterial soaps and detergents, surgical cleaners and toothpaste.
The FDA has made efforts to ban the chemical from hand soaps and body wash in the US. Nonetheless, triclosan is still present in loads of other products you may not be aware of.
9. Meat and Refined Carbohydrates
If the thought of a big juicy burger with a side of French fries makes your mouth water, you might not like what comes next. All the processed carbohydrates present in that single meal could negatively impact your testosterone levels.
These testosterone killing foods trigger the pancreas to secrete insulin into the bloodstream. When insulin levels remain elevated for long periods of time, it disrupts the body’s central hormonal pathways.
This leads to testosterone suppression. If you’re more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, well these too could be contributing to your low testosterone levels.
Unless you’re eating grass-fed meat and dairy products, most meat is packed with growth hormones like estrogen. These get passed on to humans when they ingest these meats. High estrogen levels in men pose serious health risks one of which includes lowering the amount of testosterone in your body.
Treatment for Low Testosterone
Once your GP establishes that you are suffering from low testosterone level, they’ll put you on testosterone supplements. These boost the levels of the steroid hormone in your system.
The most common type is methyltestosterone which is an FDA approved prescription drug. This treatment regimen, however, isn’t suitable for older men.
You could also consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). This is used to treat the affected body functions that are brought on by having reduced hormonal levels.
So you would need to have verifiable levels of low testosterone as well as measurable negative symptoms brought on by its deficiency. The objective of TRT is to maintain above-normal testosterone levels in your body all day every day. It is administered in three principal ways:
- Through injections
- Through non-swallow tablets that are absorbed through the gums
- Through patches and skin gels for skin absorption
Some of the immediate benefits you can expect include fat reduction, increased muscle mass, improved sleep patterns, improved concentration and an increased sense of wellbeing. You’ll also notice a reduction in the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
The Bottom Line
Testosterone supports a myriad of body functions aside from sexual health. It’s therefore important to maintain healthy levels of the hormone and be aware of the symptoms brought on by low levels of the hormone.
Go through your kitchen, medicine cabinet and personal care products and get rid of the things that lower testosterone. Use this guide to help you with the identification process.
Do you need to get your testosterone levels checked? Find a treatment center near you.