Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are problematic for the proper functioning of the hormone system. These chemicals are found in commonly used products such as water bottles, plastics, cosmetics, canned food, fertilizers, toothpastes, clothes, soaps, paper, textiles, carpets, utensils, deodorants, bedding, and from other items that end up in the body. It is recognized that EDCs interfere with the synthesis and action of sex hormones such as testosterone. There is a correlation between an increase in several EDCs and declining sperm count and testosterone levels.
Be mindful of the following common toxins:
- Phthalates, used in plastics, have been found in the urine of 75 percent of Americans.33 Phthalates disrupt testosterone production by interfering with the metabolism of cholesterol in the Leydig cells of the testes. Cholesterol is required to synthesize testosterone.
- Bisphenol A (BPA) is a plasticizer found in the urine of most Americans. BPA has been shown to disrupt testosterone synthesis by blocking LH receptors on Leydig cells.
- Dioxins and PCB are EDCs that disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, which regulates steroid production, thus decreasing testosterone. Dioxins are byproducts of industrial processes such as smelting, chlorine bleaching of paper pulp, and the manufacturing of some pesticides and herbicides. Most dioxins enter the body through the food chain, especially meat and dairy products, fish, and shellfish. They accumulate in the fat tissues of humans and other animals.
- Insecticides are commonly found in the urine of men. Research has shown that certain pesticides are associated with reduced testosterone levels. A study in the International Journal of Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that pesticides and insecticides significantly decrease serum testosterone and sperm levels.
- Toxic metals are also a concern for testosterone deficiency. For example, organic mercury is a common contaminant in our environment. Sources include fossil fuel emissions, the burning of medical waste, dental amalgams, vaccines, and incandescent lights. The major form is methylmercury, which accumulates in fish and is consumed by humans. Research has demonstrated that mercury can alter the messaging system of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and affect reproductive function and circulating testosterone levels.
Avoid and Detoxify
The avoidance of endocrine disruptors is important. This can be accomplished through ingesting purified water and organic foods and using “clean” cosmetics and personal care items. Also, regular detoxification support through exercise, sauna therapy, and detoxifying nutraceuticals is recommended. Common products I use with my patients include Glutathione Plus, Liver Wellness, and Inflam Fighter.
This article was excerpted from Dr. Stengler’s book Healing The Prostate: The Best Holistic Methods To Treat The Prostate and Other Common Male-Related Conditions (Hay House, 2021).
Dr. Mark Stengler NMD, MS, is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His newsletter, Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at www.americasnaturaldoctor.com His clinic website is www.markstengler.com