Of the many hormones that exist in our physiological system, few are as contentious and have such profound impacts as our sex hormones.
The male sex hormone is testosterone and the female sex hormone is estrogen.
When it comes to the male hormone testosterone, it is quite important to have levels in check as a man.
That’s because, after all, that’s what makes a man a man.
Testosterone has often gotten a bad rap in society as being a driving force behind male aggression.
That’s because dominant, confidant and boldly proactive men are often deemed to have a surplus of the hormone coursing through their veins.
The thing is, testosterone does quite the opposite. Testosterone has a mood-stabilizing effect that actually produces a state of calm and composure.
The tendency to act out aggressively by some men does not have testosterone as its proponent. Very often, aggressive tendencies are triggered by instability in testosterone levels or production, usually as the result of cortisol interference (stress hormone) or some other form of testosterone suppression such as what men on heavy cycles of anabolic steroids experience after completing a cycle.
The dreaded “roid rage” is actually a symptom of inadequate testosterone rather than its abundance.
Aside from stabilizing the state of mind, test also has many profound health benefits.
It limits the accumulation of body fat, helps strengthen the bones and connective tissue and also improves reproductive health amongst other things.
On a developmental level, testosterone is responsible for masculinization, the development of masculine secondary sexual characteristics such as a deeper voice and facial hair.
Without this, males wouldn’t be able to signal viability as a mating option to females.
This may sound like some Discovery Channel level reduction of human social interaction, but it really is these natural factors that govern all life as we know it.
Testosterone is manufactured in the male testes and from there, pumped into the bloodstream where it then binds to various androgen receptors.
These receptor sites communicate to your cells to perform one of the many testosterone-driven events necessary for healthy male life functions.
The problem is, year on year, the ability to naturally produce testosterone seems to be declining across global populations.
This decline in testosterone levels is a troubling phenomenon and one which science has yet to pinpoint the root of.
In this article, we’re going to break down a few potential risk factors you should aim to avoid in order to optimize your testosterone levels as a healthy male.
The use of plastics has been an ever-increasing debate in recent times. The pollution problem plastic brings, especially single-use food containers, wrappings and disposable utensils such as straws and cutlery has been a focus for social and environmental activism at a heightened level.
But there is yet another good reason to purge plastic. That reason is declining testosterone.
That’s because most plastics used in food packaging and containment have in them a chemical called BPA. short for bisphenol-A.
BPA seeps into food when it is in contact with it during storage. Having some plastic-based chemical leaking into your food already sounds pretty bad, but BPA is especially nasty because it blocks male testosterone.
It does this because chemically, BPA is similar to estrogen, the female sex hormone. Estrogen is an antagonist of testosterone, meaning it blocks it from working.
Avoid using plastic to prepare, store or serve your food as much as possible and look out for containers labeled “BPA Free”.
Exercise and vigorous physical activity are known as stimulants of testosterone production.
The metabolic and physical stress your body undergoes when being pushed to its physical limits activates a spike in testosterone production, and over time, overall production rises to match physical demands for strength, size, and recovery.
Exercise also lowers your body fat levels, and lowe body fat contributes to more testosterone.
Needless to say, not working out can have the opposite effect. And because today we live more sedentary lives, it kind of makes sense that this is one of the potential reasons testosterone levels are dropping.
Continuing with our modern sedentary living we have a lack of sunlight exposure.
Why does this play into a decline in serum testosterone?
That’s because sunlight activates the production of vitamin D.
When solar radiation hits the skin, it triggers a chemical reaction that produces vitamin D.
Vitamin D is essential in the production of male testosterone.
It’s fair to note that vitamin D is also one of the most deficient nutrients in the modern diet, so along with not getting enough sunlight, modern males seem to not be getting enough of it on their plates too.
Besides estrogen, cortisol, the stress hormone is another antagonist of testosterone.
When under chronic stress, the body suppresses many normal functions including testosterone production.
Having high levels of chronic stress can also be solved with physical activity and a good diet, rich in nutrients such as previously mentioned vitamin D as well as other essentials. This brings the whole thing back full circle.
Stress can also be relieved by simply doing less stressful things, like taking a break from work once in a while, therapy, meditation or just doing something fun.
Well there you have it. 4 things to avoid if you want to keep your testosterone levels ticking.
Just remember, if you suspect low testosterone or any suppression, consult a medical professional for proper analysis and guidance before making any drastic lifestyle changes.