Sometimes we’re too focused on finding ways to increase our testosterone levels that we tend to forget that there are little things around us that can actually lower our levels of testosterone. And many of these things are found just lying around in the house.
You may have already heard about endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These are environmental toxicants that can interfere with your hormonal balance and cause your testosterone levels to decline. Continue reading to find out which of your household items are causing your testosterone levels to drop.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
If you have reusable plastic bottles and other clear and hard plastic items in your house, and you most probably do, then you’re exposing yourself to bisphenol-A. More commonly known as BPA, this chemical is typically used in the production of epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics.
You’ll also find BPA in the lining of food cans and in polycarbonate plastics that are used as containers for storing beverages and food. Using these BPA-containing plastic containers when you heat your food can cause the chemical to leach into your food.
BPA has been found to exert adverse effects on testicular cells, not only in animal models but also in humans. Because the chemical interferes with your testicular functions, it can impair not only your testosterone production but also your sperm production.
In fact, exposure to BPA has been shown to cause a reduction in sperm count, an increase in sperm DNA damage, and poor sperm quality. Women who are exposed to BPA also tend to suffer from reduced egg viability.
Parabens are a class of chemicals that are widely used in various pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. You can also find parabens in foods and beverages like syrups, baked goods, jellies, beverages, and jams. The most commonly used forms of parabens are propylparaben, butylparaben, and methylparaben.
Parabens are considered endocrine disrupting chemicals because they act as xenoestrogens, which means that they can mimic the actions of estrogen. Although the estrogenic activities of parabens are relatively weak, the fact remains that they can negatively affect your testosterone levels.
Exposure to parabens can lead to reduced sperm production and lower testosterone levels. So, the next time you shop for sunscreen, shampoo, shaving gel, and toothpaste, make sure that you’re buying a paraben-free product.
Phthalates are another class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These chemicals are often used in the production of soft and flexible plastic. Inside your house, you’ll most likely find phthalates in your vinyl flooring, plastic pipes, blinds, and shower curtains.
Adhesives, detergents, and plastic toys may also contain phthalates. These chemicals may also be found in food packaging and wraps, as well as in various cosmetics and personal care products like shampoos, perfumes, and aftershave lotions.
When you absorb phthalates from your environment, the chemicals can travel to your testicular cells and interfere with their functions. In fact, studies have shown that phthalates can negatively affect your Leydig cells, which are the cells that are responsible for synthesizing testosterone.
Back in 2017, the FDA issued a final rule that bans the use of triclosan as an active ingredient in over-the-counter healthcare antiseptic products such as hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap. Nevertheless, you may still find triclosan in deodorants, body sprays, antibacterial dish soaps, and cosmetic products.
There’s evidence that exposure to triclosan can result in significantly reduced serum testosterone levels. The chemical may also adversely affect thyroid hormone levels and cause testicular atrophy.
Phytoestrogens, sometimes referred to as dietary estrogens, are compounds found in plants and plant-based foods which affect the body in the same way that estrogen would. Because the structure of phytoestrogens is just like that of estrogen, phytoestrogens are able to mimic the actions of estrogen.
This means that for women, especially those who are going through menopause, phytoestrogens may be beneficial. However, for men, phytoestrogens can have adverse effects on testosterone levels.
Foods that are rich in phytoestrogens include nuts and seeds like sesame seeds, flaxseeds, almonds, and walnuts. Apples, cranberries, strawberries, and pomegranates also contain phytoestrogens. Lentils, sprouts, and mung beans are also rich in phytoestrogens.
Soybeans and soy products are extremely high in phytoestrogens. If you are having problems with low testosterone symptoms, you may want to avoid soy protein powders, miso, soy sauce, soy milk, tempeh, tofu, and other soy-based foods.
Keeping Your Testosterone Levels High
One reason why endocrine-disrupting chemicals are so bad for your testosterone levels is that these chemicals cause damage to your testicular cells. Fortunately, there are certain supplements that can help protect you against such damage while increasing your testosterone levels.
Tongkat Ali, for instance, is an herb that is rich in various types of antioxidants. Research indicates that antioxidants like eurycomanone found in Tongkat Ali root extract actually have protective effects on testicular cells.
Because of this antioxidant action, Tongkat Ali is able to promote increased sperm and testosterone production. In addition, studies have also shown that due to the increased antioxidant protection, men taking Tongkat Ali supplements tend to experience improved sperm quality.
Tribulus Terrestris is another herb-based supplement that is also rich in antioxidants. The herb contains steroidal saponins which can mimic the actions of testosterone, which is why Tribulus Terrestris is considered effective in improving testosterone levels.
In addition, Tribulus Terrestris is also able to provide antioxidant protection for your testicular cells. Just like Tongkat Ali, the antioxidant action of Tribulus Terrestris also results in improved sperm production and sperm quality. Other proven health benefits of Tribulus Terrestris include reduced total cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Ashwagandha is another herb that is known to improve testosterone levels, lower cortisol levels, reduce stress, and increase energy. The wide array of health benefits of Ashwagandha are attributed to its high antioxidant content.
Aside from boosting testosterone levels and enhancing male fertility, Ashwagandha is also known to have anti-cancer properties. It can also help reduce your blood sugar levels, as well as balance your thyroid hormone levels.