The T Protocol is a complete review of what is known to optimise Testosterone in Men.
Originally intended as a single resource, it has grown into a series of posts on key areas that Men need to address in order to realise the natural Testosterone levels that are their birth right.
In 2016, the journal Andrology, one of the leading mainstream journals concerned with Male health, published a special issue edition. It was dedicated entirely to Endocrine Disruptors – the chemicals that act like hormones in your body, with disastrous effects.
The reasons it cited for dedicating an entire issue to this topic have far-reaching implications.
These reasons include the; ‘conflicting interests from the chemical and pharmacological industry, agriculture, governmental committees as well as NGOs and consumer organizations.’ (Rajpert-De Mayts and Carrell 2016)
This is a polite, academic way of telling you that your male health is being knowingly fucked over by ‘big industry’, ‘big pharma’ – in fact, pretty much any large organisation who are ultimately cashing in on your ill health.
This special issue edition also tried to quantify the impact of endocrine disrupters financially.
The annual burden of disease and costs of exposure to endocrine disruptors, across the European Union only, was conservatively estimated at 163 Billion Euros per year. For perspective, this is 1.28% of GDP.
Importantly, it was not just male health that was included in this cost analysis. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are implicated in everything from IQ loss and obesity, to damaging Female health. Of special note, the expert panel acknowledged the increased risk of early mortality associated with low Testosterone. This is something we have written about before and is still not talked about enough in mainstream circles. T doesn’t just make you a robust and healthy individual, but low levels of it contribute to your early demise.
The list of substances included in this analysis only included Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s) that had substantial data surrounding their use and at the highest probability of causation. This meant less than 5% of EDC’s were included. Inclusion of others would have significantly increased the estimates.
The crux of this cost analysis is simple; the economic and health rewards of reducing exposure to EDCs are huge (Trasande et al 2016).
Huge, that is, to you and I. Less rewarding for those who benefit from their use directly, and also indirectly from their effects on human health.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals are usually organic man-made compounds which interfere with the endocrine system. These disruptions can cause cancers, birth defects and hormone related issue amongst others. Up to 200 years ago, organic compounds were only produced by living organisms. The 19thcentury boom in technology, fuelled by the petrochemical industry saw synthetic organic chemicals produced in vast quantities. By the turn of the millennium, over 30,000 new organic chemicals were on the market. Humans today are exposed to thousands of organic chemicals that were not even in existence only a few generations ago. (Andersson et al 2016)
Of course, the industrial revolution has catapulted humanity into a new era of science, discovery and prosperity. But it was only when catastrophic effects on wildlife, and some human populations was noted, that research into EDC issues really started.
Literally hundreds of studies show detrimental effects of EDCs on health. Unfortunately, the regulatory bodies drag their feet in implementing anything that would result in decisive action against EDC exposure. Meanwhile, endocrine health problems like Low Testosterone, low fertility and breast and testicular cancer have more than doubled in the last few decades.
In the words of Andersson et al (2016):
“Although modern life is comfortable…we should not be content with the current incidence of endocrine-related problems. The fact that 10% of Women suffer from breast cancer and more than 20% of young Men have poor semen quality should not be considered acceptable, ‘normal’, and unavoidable.”
Let us look at a few of the main EDCs implicated in Endocrine Disruption, and singled out specifically in the Andrology journal special issue.
BPA or Bisphenol A is now a household name, and indeed it is found in a huge number of goods, from food containers and cosmetics, to sports equipment. It is a ‘promiscuous’ compound – that is it exerts multiple effects on several tissues such as the male and female reproductive tracts, the prostate, the mammary gland and the brain. It is effective at does below those of the US environmental protection agency reference dose of 50ug/kg BW/day. (Vandenberg et al 2016)
Given the weight of evidence against BPA, it is pertinent to wonder why this pernicious molecule has not just been simply banned from use.
Well, the authors suggest that the phenomenon of ‘Manufactured Doubt’ is to blame. This is a concept initially invented by representatives from the tobacco industry to generate scientific debate about issues that were relatively well settled, solely for the purpose of shaping public opinion and delaying regulatory action.
The chemical industry and trade manufacturing groups have used this tactic to keep harmful EDC’s like BPA on the market long after scientific enquiry has identified their potential to cause harm (Vandenberg et al 2016).
Furthermore, as noted above, a dire lack of regulatory action has been taken by authorities.
Another tactic that big industry deploys is regulation. Create such high regulatory burdens for scientific studies that only the companies that benefit from their outcomes, the companies big enough to fund and control them, are able to afford to run them.
Interestingly, two studies in this Andrology special issue managed to meet these stringent regulatory burdens. (Hass et al and Mandrup et al). Tellingly, no action has yet been taken by the relevant authorities.
Another compound with devastating effects on Male health, and Testosterone production in particular, is Phthalate. Even more disconcerting is the fact that Phthalate may change gene expression via epigenetic mechanisms during early life exposure. This means it can cause problems long after the exposure has been stopped (as can BPA).
These effects could even be transgenerational. Yes, you could pass on the effects of exposure to your children.
Di(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate is a colourless, viscous plasticizer used in plastics to increase their pliability. It is not permanently bound to the polymer structure, therefore it readily leaches into the environment. Something to consider when choosing your food or water container! Phthalates are also present in cosmetics, shower gels, and shampoos where they add shine and lustre to the products. They are now ubiquitousin the food chain and environment and are well documented disruptors of Male sexual development and Testosterone levels (Martinex-Arguelles and Papadopoulos 2016)
The effect of Phthalate on reducing total and free Testosterone concentrations (Thurston et al 2016) is particularly concerning, especially since environmental exposure to phthalates is close to 100%.
Another group of EDC’s highly prevalent in our environment is Pesticides.
Pesticides have also been shown to reduce Testosterone and fertility via their Endocrine Disrupter properties. They are consumed mainly through eating fruit and vegetables treated with pesticides, although they can be absorbed via the skin (Gabrielsen and Tarikut 2016).
Pesticide have been shown to act in a dose dependent manner. Individuals exposed to them, for example workers in farms and greenhouses, have significantly lower sperm counts than a normal population. High pesticide fruit and vegetable intake is also associated with low sperm counts in Men presenting to fertility clinics.
Pesticides are classified as persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs), along with other organic solvents like PCB and Dioxins. These compounds bioaccumulateup the food chain because of their long half lives. They are persistent molecules. So even when administered at very low concentrations, they are eventually found in high concentrations in the tissues, especially the body fat, of larger animals. Fish are major sources of them in the food chain. It isn’t just humans who are vulnerable to their effects. The disappearance of birds of prey and many other bird species from farmland in the UK during the 1970’s was famously found to be due to the use of the pesticide DDT.
The available evidence is quite clear. Male health and Testosterone production are severely impacted by Endocrine Disrupters. Because of the difficulty, the cost and the ethical concerns in meeting research standards to ‘prove’ this beyond doubt in Human populations, proper action is still lacking (Bliatka et al 2017).
Think about who benefits from the cost implications highlighted earlier and it is simple to see why no proper action has been taken with EDCs.
Firstly, ‘Big Industry’ benefits from making and selling these compounds in vast amounts.
The fact that this helps to make you dumb, fat and sick is not a problem for Big Industry. In fact, it is welcome. Because the Big Pharma companies can heroically step in and produce ever more expensive drugs to keep you alive, but of course chronically sick, for as long as possible. You become the perfect consumer!
All of the billions of Euro’s (or dollars, or pounds etc) of costs highlighted above are problematic only for YOU. Because what do governments do when health care costs keep going up? They tax YOU more to pay for it, or your insurance company put their premium up so YOU pay more.
If the notion of corporations manipulating governments and policy makers to optimise profit seems too outlandish, consider this. The biggest 147 transnational companies in the world control over 40% of the wealth in the entire system. They each own so much of each other, that they function effectively as a single super entity (Vitali et al 2011). This gives them control disproportionate compared to even their own huge wealth, enhancing the potential for these core transnational corporations to influence the market, and public policy in particular (Compston 2013).
Big Industry make the chemicals that are used in manufacturing, that spray the food produced by Big Agriculture, that make you sick, that means you need drugs from Big Pharma.
These are not separate groups of corporations, as Vitali et al clearly demonstrate. Big Industry, Big Agriculture, whatever - they are really one monstrous global system that carefully plot the course of humanity. The Deep State.
The first step in starting to extricate yourself from being a complicit pawn in this system is knowledge.
The next is reclaiming your health, and if you are already fighting fit, staying that way.
It is impossible, unless you plan to move to one of the last few wildernesses we have on earth, to be able to avoid ECD’s totally. But you can mitigate your exposure to them and also prime yourself to be able to deal with them more effectively.
Exercise, a clear feeding-fasting cycle, dietary fibre and phytochemicals all increase the excretion of EDC’s from the body and also mitigate the harmful effects of EDCs at the cellular level (Lee 2018).
Your own fat stores are a long term source of EDCs, because this is where several EDCs accumulate in your body. (Martina 2012). As body fat is metabolised, a mixture of EDCs are released back into your system. This is a double-edged sword, as many EDCs are by their nature obesogenic (Lee 2018). They induce fat storage, because that is the safest place for your body to put them.
One study investigating how lifestyle behaviours are associated with EDCs shows people who adopt ‘simple’ lifestyles – in this case a community of Old Order Mennonites in the US – had significantly lower levels of BPA and Phthalates in their urine samples (Martina 2012)
The key areas identified by researchers were 1. eating homegrown produce (no pesticides), 2. no cosmetics and limited use of personal care products, 3. minimal car transportation.
In an attempt to construct some actionable advice, the following will reduce your ECD exposure without resorting to moving to a log cabin in Alaska.
· Where possible, eat organic fruit and veg and, either way, wash it thoroughly before eating
· Or grow your own (without pesticides)
· Consider the source of your meat. Organic and pastured is always best, as animals exposed to ECD’s will accumulate them in their own body fat.
· Avoid fish high in the food chain (tuna, swordfish etc)
· Avoid all plastics where practicably possible and never heat your food in plastic containers
· Avoid tinned food, many tins still contain dangerous levels of BPA.
· Cook on ceramic rather than non-stick pans (the non-stick perfluorinated coating leaches ECD’s into your food)
· Choose your cosmetics wisely and minimally. Most fragranced cosmetic contain phthalates.
· Filter your drinking water! (it is contaminated with a mixture of ECDs)
· Abandon liquid antimicrobial soaps (most contain high levels of ECDs)
· Avoid sunscreen use (most contain high levels of ECDs)
· Bin your old flame retardant mattress or sofa (they likely contain ECDs)
Add to this the practice of intermittent fasting, regular exercise, staying lean and turning over your fat stores regularly, and a paleo type diet and you have the most up to date action plan to combat ECD exposure.
The authorities may be sat on their hands whilst ECDs continue to ruin health AND the environment worldwide. Greater forces are at work to keep exploiting the ill health they have generated. But you can take these simple steps to protect yourself, and your loved ones, from the effects of ECDs.
Lastly, this was written with Male Health in mind. ECDs are clearly one of the several reasons that virility and Testosterone levels are plummeting. But, and this is a very serious but, the time when these chemicals are most dangerous is in utero, to the developing foetus, and the young infant.
Now that you possess this information, please, pass it on to others. Not just other Men, but especially expectant or new mothers. The dangers that ECDs present to her child are very, very real.
Annexe - Pesticide content of foods http://www.pan-uk.org/our-food/)
Andersson A M et al (2016) Endocrine disrupters: we need research, biomonitoring and action, Andrology, 4, 556-560
Bliatka D et al (2017) Effect of endocrine disruptors on male reproduction in humans: why the evidence is still lacking? Andrology, 5, 404-407
Compston HW (2013) The network of global corporate control: implications for public policy. Business and Politics, 15(3), 357-379
Gabrielsen JS and Tarikut C (2016) Chronic exposures and Male fertility: the impacts of environment, diet, and drug use on spermatogenesis, Andrology, 4; 648-661
Hass U et al (2016) Low-dose effect of developmental bisphenol A exposure on sperm count and behaviour in rats, Andrology, 4, 594-607
Kim SA et a; (2018) Evolutionary adapted hormesis-inducing stressors can be a practical solution to mitigate harmful effects of chronic exposure to low dose chemical mixtures, Environmental Pollution, 233, 725-734
Lee DH (2018) Evidence of Possible Harm of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Humans: Ongoing Debates and Key Issues, Endocrinol Metab, 33; 44-52
Martina CA et al (2012) Lifestyle behaviours associated with exposures to endocrine disruptors, Neurotoxicology, 33(6): 1427-1433
Martinez-Arguelles DB and Papadopoulos V (2016) Prenatal phthalate exposure: epigenetic changes leading to lifelong impact on steroid formation, Andrology, 4; 573-584
Rajert-De Meyts E and Carrell DT (2016) Special issue on endocrine disruption and reproductive health, Andrology, 4; 555
Thurston SW et al (2016) Phthalate exposure and semen quality in fertile US men, Andrology, 4; 632-638
Trasande L et al (2016) Burden of disease and costs of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in the European Union: an updated analysis, Andrology, 4; 565-572
Vandenberg LN and Prins GS (2017) Clarity in the face of confusion: new studies tip the scales on bisphenol A (BPA), Andrology, 4, 561-564
Vitali S et a (2011) The Network of Global Corporate Control, PLoS one, October, 6,10:e25995