Testosterone levels among U.S. men could have dropped to a 50-year low due, in part, to an increase in harmful chemicals in peoples’ daily lives along with poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and binge drinking.
An aging population among Americans has also contributed to the fall in testosterone levels, according to a 2020 study by the American Urological Association Virtual Experience.
Testosterone is a major male hormone that is responsible for men’s deep voices, large muscles, strong bones, male reproductive organs, sperm production and libido, and for the typical male pattern of beard growth.
Studies show that men’s testosterone levels have been declining for decades. The most prominent study from 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed a “substantial” drop in U.S. men’s testosterone levels since the 1980s, with average levels declining by about 1 percent per year.
Pollution has also contributed to this drop in male hormone. Research has shown that chemicals that are commonly found in medicine and pesticides inhibit testosterone. These chemicals are seeping into our water, contributing to fertility problems in fish.
Also playing a role are long-term shifts in how we work and live. Young men are far less likely to hold jobs in manual labor, so they don’t have to be as physically strong as previous generations.
Declining testosterone is not limited to Americans. A global decline has been witnessed, and research shows there is something much bigger at play.
The Who Report in 2019 showed that there is not one country in the world where men outlive women. The average lifespan is about five years longer for women than men in the U.S, and about seven years longer worldwide.
A change in health and wellness choices over time coupled with poor nutrition have impacted how modern men’s bodies produce testosterone, according to Naturopathic Nutritionist and Parla Expert Robert Stringer.
These lifestyle changes have caused more men to become obese, which lowers testosterone levels in the human body. A 2007 study of 1,667 men age 40 and older found that each one-point increase in BMI (body mass index) was associated with a 2 percent decrease in testosterone.
A 2017 report from JAMA showed that testosterone therapy among American men was on the rise, with prescriptions more than doubling between 2010 and 2013.
Women also have testosterone. The ovaries produce both testosterone and estrogen, releasing relatively small quantities of testosterone into the bloodstream.
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