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Testosterone Part I: Why Are Men Losing Testosterone?

Study after study is showing that testosterone counts in modern men are dropping and are the lowest they’ve ever been. The largest US study found that on average, the levels have been dropping by as much as 1 percent per year. Testosterone levels lower naturally with age, but this study found that a 65-year-old man in 1987 had about 17 percent more testosterone than a 65-year-old man in 2004. Younger and younger men are complaining of diminished libido, erectile problems that are normally associated with older men.

What’s going on? Why are men losing testosterone? We are told that our industrialized life is the cause, but what exactly does it mean?  

6 Causes of Low Testosterone

  1. Rising obesity is one problem: obese men tend to have lower testosterone, and men with lower testosterone tend to become obese. This happens because fat cells metabolize testosterone and convert it into estrogen. In addition, obese people have lower levels of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), which transports sex hormones like testosterone through the blood.

  2. Pollution and toxins are also blamed for diminishing testosterone. Chemicals that are commonly found in medicine and pesticides inhibit testosterone. These chemicals are seeping into our water, contributing to fertility problems in fish. The researchers also speculate that this same mechanism is occurring in humans as well.

  3. Remember soy? Every time I turn around, soy is responsible for yet another health havoc. There are several studies that suggest that soy does indeed have an estrogenic effect on the body.  This effect in turn decreases testosterone levels, mainly because of active compounds called phytoestrogens, plant-derived phytoestrogens, many of which mimic female hormones such as estrogen and estradiol. 

  4. Cooking oils are another culprit. Vegetable oils only sound good but canola, soybean, corn, and cottonseed oil, are loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids are usually classified as a healthy source of dietary fat, but they may also decrease testosterone levels, as several studies have suggested.

  5. Everyone knows processed foods are not good for us, but did you know that added sugars, convenience meals like frozen foods, and prepackaged snacks are also a common source of trans fats, which decrease testosterone levels?

  6. And of course, there’s alcohol. While enjoying the occasional glass of wine with dinner has been linked to health benefits, studies show that excessive drinking could cause testosterone levels to plummet, especially in men.

Bottom line, if you are a man and want your testosterone levels high, steer clear of the mentioned culprits. Healthy lifestyle, plenty of sleep, and rigorous workouts will help boost the levels naturally as well.

In the next sections we will go over one more culprit to low testosterone not mentioned above, and then which foods and supplements can actually help.

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