Are plastics today related to low testosterone in men? Plastics are found in almost everything we use today, from soda bottles and detergent containers, to toys and even in our cars.
While plastics are an important part of our life and make products we use in our daily life lighter and cheaper, are we fully aware of what are the potential hazards and health risks of the massive amount of plastics in our life?
We unknowingly consume and inhale particulates and fumes from plastics everyday, without knowing what the long term health effects are.
More importantly, what is the role of plastics in our sexual health issues today , such as low testosterone?
This article helps to address the issues of plastics in the function of testosterone in the male body.
What is Low Testosterone?
Testosterone is an important hormone among both males and females. While females do produce a small amount of testosterone, this is the primary sex hormone that controls many functions for males.
Testosterone is responsible for good brain functioning, physical growth and bone density on top of producing the sex hormone in men.
According to studies, certain plastics and chemicals found in healthcare products can affect the levels of testosterone in men. Low levels of it negatively impact the male species in many ways.
Low testosterone levels can disrupt sleep, cause insomnia, trigger hair loss, reduce muscle mass and decrease bone density leading to osteoporosis, and increased body fat. Above all, it reduces libido among males, responsible for sexual desire and appetites.
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Testosterone in Men at a Glance
The role of testosterone in men cannot be overlooked. It is believed to control and regulate many important functions, including sex drive, hair growth, muscle development and many other vital functions.
Testosterone levels can dip as a man ages, by as much as 1% per year. In addition, the presence of chronic diseases, use of drugs & medications and lifestyle choices also affect sex hormone levels.
A short supply of this primary male sex hormone affects a man’s intimate life. In a 2006 study on the relationship between testosterone levels and libido on aging men, 28% of respondents with symptoms of low testosterone, had experienced reduced libido.
Effects of Chemicals and Plastics on Hormone Levels
Apart from these common causes, exposure to chemicals and plastics can also interfere in the development of the hormone among males. A study conducted by the University of Michigan revealed that phthalates found in PVC plastics and a good number of personal healthcare products can cause hormone levels to drop.
The research looked at the effect of phthalate exposure on the testosterone levels in both men and women. The decline in the hormone levels was linked to higher exposure to phthalates causing reduction of testosterone by 11%-24% among women age 24 to 60 and 34% in boys from 6 to 12 years.
Phthalates are not only used in PVC resins but also found in cosmetic products such as perfume, moisturizer, hairspray and liquid soaps. They are easily released into the environment and inhaled. Another ingredient is parabens, found in healthcare products such as deodorants, hairspray, and shampoo. They are thought to interfere with the production of certain hormones including testosterone.
Limiting exposure to these chemicals is imperative to maintain normal hormone levels. The use of natural or organic products limit toxicity levels on the body preventing the abnormal decline of testosterone levels. Avoiding antiandrogenic drugs such as opioids and corticosterone also help. Moreover, getting enough sleep, staying active and eating well are part of keeping healthy testosterone levels.
All in all, it is possible to stop the unusual decline of hormone levels in men. Going green and avoiding products that emit toxic chemical compounds can prevent this from happening. Limiting exposure to these chemicals ensures that the adverse effects on hormone production and function are moderated.
Jane Sandwood is a freelance writer and editor. She has written for both digital and print across a wide variety of fields.
Her main interest is exploring how people can improve their health and well being in their everyday life.
And when she isn’t writing, Jane can often be found with her nose in a good book, at the gym or just spending quality time with her family.