Various chemicals all around you can disrupt your endocrine health and compromise your hormonal functions. Since male fertility is heavily influenced by your hormones, any imbalance or disruption in your hormonal functions can negatively affect your sperm production and jeopardize your fertility.
What’s even more problematic is that these endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in everyday products such as water bottles, plastics, and even in canned food. Knowing which chemicals can adversely affect your reproductive health can help you identify which products you should stay away from in order to safeguard your fertility.
Phthalates refer to a group of substances that are added to plastics and vinyl products in order to make them soft, pliant, transparent, and flexible. You’ll find phthalates in your vinyl flooring and wood covering, in toys, in plastic products like shower curtains, and in hundreds of other products found in your home.
Phthalates are also added to cosmetic and personal care products like your aftershave lotion, soap, and shampoo. You’ll also find these chemicals in detergents, food packaging, as well as in lubricating oils. What’s even worse, you can also find phthalates in the food you eat.
When foods that are high in fat like cheese or meat are packaged using plastic food packaging, chances are the phthalates found in the packaging have already leached into your food.
One of the adverse effects of phthalates is that they interfere with the cholesterol in your Leydig cells. Cholesterol is supposed to be transported to the mitochondria in your Leydig cells because it’s required for testosterone production. However, phthalates interfere with this process, causing a decrease in your testosterone synthesis.
Studies have also shown that phthalates can cause your sperm count and concentration to decrease. You may also have high percentages of sperm with abnormal heads as a result of your exposure to phthalates.
Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical that’s used to make plastics into products that are lightweight, hard, and clear. You’ll find BPA in water bottles, reusable cups, and plastic food and drink packaging. You may also find BPA in canned foods since metal food containers are often lined with BPA-containing sealants.
The problem with BPA is that it competes with estrogens in your testes thereby interfering with your testicular steroidogenic functions. In addition, BPA also interferes with the receptors for luteinizing hormone in your Leydig cells.
This causes your testicular production to drop since your Leydig cells only start producing testosterone when they get stimulated by luteinizing hormone. In short, BPA can prevent you from producing testosterone.
BPA can also adversely affect your sperm quality by increasing the reactive oxygen species levels in your testicular cells. When there’s an increase in reactive oxygen species in your testicles, it can lead to oxidative stress which can cause DNA and morphological damage to your sperm. In addition, BPA can induce testicular cell death.
Dioxins are highly toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust. PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls are some of the most common examples of dioxins. The commercial production of PCBs has been banned in the United States due to the harmful effects of the chemicals.
Despite the ban, PCBs continue to pollute the environment. That’s because dioxins take several years before they are degraded. Moreover, other types of dioxins like polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) are still present in the environment as a result of incineration and metal smelting.
Studies have shown that men who were exposed to dioxins showed low sperm motility and high percentages of morphologically abnormal sperm. In addition, PCBs have been shown to cause a reduction in sperm count.
Protecting Your Sperm Health
Since you can’t completely avoid getting exposed to endocrine disrupting compounds, you can try to combat the deleterious effects of these compounds on your fertility. For instance, you can increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods to protect your sperm from oxidative stress.
You can also take supplements which are formulated with natural ingredients that promote sperm production, increase your sperm count, and improve your sperm motility and morphology.
Natural male sex enhancement supplements contain antioxidant-rich herbs like maca, tongkat ali, and Tribulus terrestris. These antioxidants help protect your body from various diseases and provide added protection to your sperm and testicular cells. In fact, Tribulus terrestris, tongkat ali, and maca are all scientifically proven to help improve sperm quality. Moreover, it is an effective supplement for enhancing erectile function and sexual stamina.