Men are now in the cross-hairs of the ‘Low-T” marketing campaign which ingeniously describes their most common symptoms including fatigue and ED, and links them back to low testosterone levels. By creating the perception of a hormone deficiency, the industry can provide a solution that drives their bottom line but the patient is left with the unfortunate side effects of which they don’t have a clue. Let’s dive deeper. What’s really affecting the males today? Four important things to consider.
Cortisol kills testosterone levels. When you are constantly stressed out and sleeping poorly, your cortisol level will be elevated. Elevated cortisol levels directly correlates to lowered testosterone levels. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone which means it breaks down tissue, while testosterone is an anabolic hormone which means it builds or strengthens tissue.
Elevated cortisol levels over prolonged time can effect your body negatively in numerous ways including the break down of muscle, decreased bone density, resistance to insulin, increased abdominal fat, suppressed thyroid function, and impaired cognitive function.
In fact, cortisol contributes to metabolic syndrome which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease like heart failure and diabetes while testosterone works directly to combat and alleviate metabolic syndrome.
- Statin Medications
One of the side effects of statin medications is erectile dysufunction. (ED) Is it a coincidence that one of Pfizer’s top prescribed medications is Lipitor and one of their highest money making medications is Viagra? More importantly though is that testosterone is a cholesterol based hormone. So when you lower your cholesterol with these medications, you have less of a building block to help produce testosterone. Cholesterol has been covered in some of my previous blogs.
- Bisphenol A (BPA)
BPA is a common ingredient in many plastics, including those in water bottles and children’s toys, as well as the lining of most canned goods. It was recently discovered that even many cash register receipts contain this chemical. BPA is so pervasive it has been detected in the umbilical cord blood of 90 percent of newborn infants tested.
Studies have confirmed suspicions that BPA is affecting male fertility, primarily by reducing semen quality. One such study, which provides the first epidemiological evidence of an adverse effect on semen quality, was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility. The researchers found that higher urine levels of BPA were significantly associated with:
- Decreased sperm concentration
- Decreased total sperm count
- Decreased sperm vitality
- Decreased sperm motility
Compared with those who did not have detectable levels, the men with detectable levels of BPA had more than:
- Three times the risk of lowered sperm concentration and lower sperm vitality
- Four times the risk of lower sperm count
- Twice the risk of lower sperm motility
In women, BPA can also reduce chances of successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) by interfering with oocyte (immature egg cell) quality. Two recent studies attest to this. One found an inverse association between BPA concentration and normal fertilization, and the other found that “BPA was detected in the urine of the majority of women undergoing IVF, and was inversely associated with number of oocytes retrieved and peak estradiol levels.”
- Passive Transfer
And now, the bombshell. Men and women who are taking ANY kind of bioidentical hormone will be actively sharing it through what is known as passive transfer. This occurs with skin-to-skin contact or direct deposit of skin oils on shared surfaces. Spouses, children, and pets have the greatest risk due to regular, frequent exposure. The possibility for hormone transfer is even greater with spousal contact, especially when sweating under the covers. When snuggled up next to each other, their shared sweat through direct, skin-to-skin contact is the conduit for transferring hormones back and forth.
So let’s play this scenario out. If the male is on bioidentical testosterone, regardless of the mode of entry (skin, oral, pellet, troche, deodorant, etc.), his wife will eventually have elevated testosterone levels and can experience personality changes or other physiologic hormone dysregulation. If the woman is on progesterone or estrogen, she is now passing that over to her man resulting in an increase of female hormones for him. As well, each of them will be sharing their respective hormones with their children, pets, family members or co-workers. This now becomes a potential hormonal disaster that can only be resolved with proper testing and targeted intervention.
Dr. Rhonda Nelson
I’ve been wanting to put this blog out for a while now. I mentioned these problems at my last lecture and now it’s time for me to take on male hormones in more depth. I ran a Genova Male Hormone panel on myself concerned about testosterone and adrenal health to find everything was normal. We’ve found young men in their 20’s already having early testosterone based problems. Xenoestrogens and BPA has been talked about many times and the effects it’s having specifically on the male population. The documentary, “The Disappearing Male” is one we quote a lot when referring to the BPA problem. In one of my functional medicine webinars, Dr. Rhonda Nelson brought to my attention the passive transfer that is being missed by many. If you are interested in running a Genova Male Hormone Plus panel, contact our office. It checked DHEA, Cortisol, Testosterone, and Melatonin levels.