Why Are Men’s Testosterone Levels Plummeting? - Dr Shanna Swan

Why Are Men’s Testosterone Levels Plummeting? - Dr Shanna Swan

What’s Happening to Men’s Testosterone Levels? (00:00:00)

  • Testosterone levels in men are declining.
  • There is a lot of data showing that the use of testosterone, particularly by young men, has been increasing.
  • There are many signals suggesting that testosterone is in trouble.
  • It is difficult to say for sure whether testosterone levels are declining because young men are suffering from the effects of low testosterone or because of increases in body dysmorphia or unrealistic representations of men in media.
  • There is more verifiable data around sperm count than testosterone levels because sperm count has been under study for 65 years, while there has been very little research on testosterone.

How Important is Testosterone? (00:03:40)

  • Testosterone is critical for many aspects of male development, function, and health.
  • In the developing fetus, testosterone is responsible for the differentiation of male genitalia and other male characteristics.
  • Testosterone is also important for puberty, other markers of male development, and libido in both males and females.
  • Chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system, such as phthalates, can lower testosterone levels in both males and females.
  • Lower testosterone levels in women are associated with decreased sexual satisfaction and frequency.

Why This Negatively Affects Both Partners (00:09:45)

  • Declining testosterone levels in both men and women are contributing to a decrease in sexual desire and satisfaction, as well as a decline in fertility rates worldwide.
  • Low libido, potentially caused by reduced testosterone, is a fundamental driver of the mating crisis.
  • Impaired hormone systems, such as low testosterone, are linked to an increased risk of various medical problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and reproductive cancers.
  • Early-life exposures, particularly during pregnancy, have a significant impact on overall health and can set the stage for health outcomes throughout a person's lifespan.

Link Between Testosterone & Sperm Count (00:17:03)

  • Testosterone supplementation decreases sperm production.
  • Adequate testosterone is necessary for the maintenance of the reproductive system.
  • Interfering with testosterone levels can disrupt brain function and sperm production.
  • There might be a U-shaped curve between testosterone levels and sperm quality.
  • Too much or too little testosterone can negatively impact sperm count.

Statistics on Sperm Count Over Time (00:19:04)

  • Sperm counts are declining by about 1% per year globally.
  • The rate of decline has increased to 2% per year after 2000.
  • The decline is consistent and not stopping.
  • The decline is seen worldwide, including in Asia, Africa, and South America.
  • Denmark has a slower rate of decline, while Finland's rate is increasing.
  • Chemicals in plastics used for food packaging may be a factor in the decline of sperm counts.

The Social Impact of Lower Fertility (00:24:09)

  • Fertility rates are declining worldwide due to various factors, including chemical disruptors, lifestyle choices, and societal changes.
  • Chemical disruptors contribute to declining testosterone levels and fertility rates, but other factors such as diet, smoking, obesity, exercise, stress, and binge drinking also play a role.
  • Women's access to contraception, education, and workforce participation influence fertility rates.
  • Men's testosterone levels are affected by social factors, including the presence of fertile women and the use of hormonal birth control by women.
  • Pheromones produced by fertile women can impact men's hormones and sperm count.
  • Men's testosterone levels decrease when they are in a relationship, get married, or have children.
  • Social isolation, remote work, and increased screen time may also contribute to lower testosterone levels in men.
  • A combination of social, hormonal, psychological, physical, environmental, and lifestyle factors is affecting the hormonal balance of both men and women.

Using Chemicals to Alter Hormones (00:33:58)

  • Chemicals called phthalates are found in everyone's urine in the United States and can cause incomplete masculinization of male offspring, both in rats and humans, a condition known as phthalate syndrome.
  • Dr. Shanna Swan conducted a study that found human babies exposed to phthalates in the womb had incomplete masculinization.
  • Other chemicals, such as anti-androgens and Bisphenol A (found in plastic water bottles), can also disrupt the endocrine system, which governs various bodily functions and health.
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals can disrupt the endocrine system, affecting fertility and overall health.

How a Mother’s Food Impacts Her Baby (00:42:35)

  • Chemicals like BPA and phthalates in food packaging, skincare, and makeup can be absorbed into the body and disrupt the endocrine system.
  • Endocrine disruption can occur during fetal development and through consumption, respiration, and dermal exposure in adulthood.
  • Food, including its content and packaging, can be a significant source of exposure to harmful chemicals.
  • Organic farming may reduce exposure to some chemicals, but processing, shipping, and storage can introduce contaminants.
  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in plastics and pesticides contribute to the decline in men's testosterone levels.
  • These chemicals mimic estrogen's effects, interfering with testosterone production.
  • Low testosterone levels are linked to health problems like erectile dysfunction, low libido, and infertility in men.

Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Toxicity (00:48:28)

  • To reduce exposure to harmful chemicals that disrupt hormone levels, minimize the use of plastics in food storage and preparation.
  • Unpackaged produce and meat are generally cheaper and have less exposure to harmful chemicals compared to pre-packaged options.
  • Glass containers, such as Pyrex, and silicone products are safer alternatives to plastic containers for food storage.
  • Bisphenols, like BPA, BPF, and BPS, are harmful chemicals commonly found in plastics that can disrupt hormone levels.
  • Recycling is not an effective solution to the problem of harmful chemicals as they remain harmful even after being recycled.
  • Plastic bottles and water cooler jugs likely contain harmful chemicals.
  • Microplastics, tiny breakdown products of plastic products, are re-entering the environment and have been found in cells in the body, carrying with them the chemicals from which they were produced and other chemicals they pick up along the way.

Effectiveness of Reverse Osmosis Filters (00:57:15)

  • Brit filters do not effectively remove harmful substances from water.
  • Reverse osmosis filtration systems are effective at removing harmful substances, but the quality of the system and its components, especially plastic parts, should be considered.
  • Distillation is a good alternative to reverse osmosis filtration as it does not require filter changes or involve plastic components.
  • Aquatru and Berkey are two brands of water filters that are made of high-quality materials and effectively remove harmful substances.
  • Increasing hydration should not come at the cost of increased exposure to phthalates, microplastics, and BPA from plastic water bottles.

How Bad Chemicals Impact Behaviour (01:00:19)

  • Chemicals that affect estrogen and testosterone levels can influence brain development and behavior in children, potentially impacting language development, spatial ability, and play behavior.
  • The brain is sexually dimorphic, with structural and functional differences between male and female brains influenced by sex hormones.
  • Prenatal exposure to certain chemicals can disrupt brain masculinization, potentially affecting gender identity.
  • The uterine environment and interactions between siblings, such as exposure to opposite-sex co-twins in the womb, can influence sexual development and behavior.
  • Brain development can predict gender with high accuracy, as seen in MRI scans of 10-year-old boys and girls and in utero brain scans of fetuses.
  • Sensitive periods for gender development include the in utero period, a mini puberty shortly after birth, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

Men & Women’s Reproductive Success As They Age (01:10:35)

  • The relationship between age and reproductive success is difficult to determine due to modern factors such as choice and postponement of childbearing.
  • Women's reproductive function declines more dramatically than men's, with menopause marking a significant decrease.
  • Men's reproductive function declines gradually throughout their lives.
  • Factors such as education, career, and personal choices can impact fertility rates.
  • The use of fertility treatments may provide insights into age-related fertility decline.
  • Israel is an exception to the global decline in fertility due to its guaranteed access to artificial reproductive technology.
  • Assisted reproductive technologies have been increasing globally.

Future of Fertility in Humanity (01:13:28)

  • Fertility rates are declining due to factors such as sperm count decline and the increasing prevalence of endocrine disruptors.
  • New fertility technologies, including embryo selection and the production of eggs and sperm from stem cells, offer hope for those struggling with infertility but also raise ethical concerns.
  • The decline in fertility rates could lead to population decline within our lifetimes, with potential geopolitical consequences as groups with higher birth rates gain greater influence.
  • Men's testosterone levels are declining due to various factors, including exposure to plastics and other chemicals, leading to decreased fertility and increased health problems, particularly among lower-income individuals.
  • Reduced libido, a potential consequence of declining testosterone levels, can have significant impacts on relationships, social interactions, and overall well-being.

Where to Find Shanna (01:22:03)

  • For more information, visit Shanna Swan's website, shamaswan.com.
  • Order her book, "Countdown," from Amazon or another book dealer. Make sure to use "two words" when searching for the book, as "countdown" (one word) refers to a different book.
  • Visit the Environmental Health Sciences website to learn more about the effects of chemicals on our lives and what you can do to help turn things around.

Dr. Shanna Swan's Contact Information (01:22:03)

  • Website: shamaswan.com
  • Book: "Countdown" (two words)

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