Hidden Causes of Low Testosterone That Could Change Your Life
How to regain hormonal balance and optimize cognitive function.
Posted Nov 27, 2020
You don’t have to look far to find a new testosterone clinic, or T clinic, popping up. While many of these jump right into replacement therapy, they often don't uncover why testosterone is low, a growing problem, surprisingly, amongst younger people.
Low T, as it’s often referred to, is a crucial hormonal concern for both reproductive health and longevity. We now know testosterone is responsible for bone density and muscle strength as well as cognition and brain health—not just sex drive. In a study of over 1400 people, an alarming 1 in 4 men over 30 had deficient T levels with a projected 38% increase in the population by 2025.
So where is this coming from and can we stop or reverse it? It appears multifactorial, arising from a few different causes that are in our control. Let's examine hidden causes:
- Key nutrient deficiencies
- Mold and environmental toxins
- Chronic stress
- Ibuprofen use
Eighty to 90% of soil is depleted of nutrients compared to decades ago and 95% of our food nutrients come from the soil. This is due to poorly-maintained land and over-farming including the rampant use of pesticides. This likely has resulted in both chronic inflammation and low hormone production.
Key nutrients we need for proper metabolism and testosterone formation include vitamins A, D, and zinc, which happen to be some of the highest nutrient deficiencies nationwide. Proper supplementation with these nutrients and consuming organic, non-GMO produce may help restore health and hormone production.
Along with the lack of necessary nutrients, molds have been recognized as serious endocrine/hormone disruptors. Certain molds that grow in water-damaged buildings, furniture, and upholstery, especially in humid climates, have been shown to have estrogen-like properties which may throw off hormone levels and lower testosterone.
Be sure to check your home, car, and office for mold as a proactive measure given how many people are affected by mold exposure. This may save you and your loved ones from not only potential hormone imbalance but additional health issues people experience from toxic mold.
Stress is another very overlooked cause of hormone deficiency. Stress produces cortisol, a hormone that competes with the production of testosterone and sex hormones. Living in a fast-paced, high expectation society keeps cortisol levels high and therefore impairs testosterone production.
Adaptogens like Ashwagandha have been gaining tremendous popularity lately based on their ability to help break down excess cortisol, increasing testosterone as a result. Taking testosterone, especially under the age of 45, will not only lead to dependence but lower fertility and potentially weaken the immune system.
Ibuprofen and similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are yet another cause of disrupted hormone production. Recently this has been shown to affect men's testosterone production within the reproductive organs. Those with chronic pain or inflammation who routinely take these may wish to consider proven alternative therapies including biofeedback.
In a society where there’s a pill for every ill, analyzing not only what we are putting in ourselves but what changes we can make to our lifestyle may help avoid future hormonal and cognitive issues. The World Health Organization recognizes that lifestyle is one of the top risk factors for chronic diseases. Next time you or someone you know may wish to seek out a T clinic, perhaps this information may prove useful beforehand.
As a result of low T, cognition has been known to become impaired as well. The brain needs testosterone to function properly. Particularly, studies show that diminished visual-spatial processing, memory, attention, and executive function are linked to lower testosterone levels. Clinical trials are currently ongoing using hormone replacement as a potential treatment of cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer's. By eliminating toxins and stress, and supporting the body with key nutrients, one can improve not only their T levels but their overall quality of life as well.