Dietary Pollutants May Affect Testosterone Levels

A number of studies suggests that exposure to industrial pollutants may affect sexual function, for example loss of libido, sexual dysfunction and impotence. This may be due to effects on testosterone levels. In a study of men who ate a lot of contaminated fish, an elevation in PCB levels in the blood was associated with a lower concentration of testosterone levels. These pollutants are found predominantly in fish, but also meat and dairy. The lowest levels are found in plants.

Testosterone doesnít just play a role in the determination of secondary sex characteristics, like facial hair, at puberty. It also regulates normal sexual functioning and the overall physical and psychological wellbeing of adult men. Abnormally low levels of testosterone can lead to decreased physical endurance and memory capacity, loss of libido, drop in sperm count, loss of bone density, obesity and depression.

Endocrine-disrupting compounds that build up in fish may be able to mimic or block hormone receptors, or alter rates of synthesis or breakdown of sex steroid hormones. In children, these pollutants may actually impair sexual development.

Boys who are exposed may grow up with smaller penises (although only by about two thirds of an inch shorter at most). Researchers have tried exposing cells from aborted fetal human penises to these kinds of dietary pollutants, and gene expression related to genital development is indeed affected at real-life exposure levels. Weíre not sure if the effects on penis length are due to the pro-estrogenic effects of the toxins or the anti-testosterone effects.

Youíve heard of save the whales? Well, male reproductive organs may be at risk from environmental hazards as well.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you havenít yet, you can subscribe to my free videos†here†and watch my live year-in-review presentations†Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food, and Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet.


Dietary Sources of Alkylphenol Endocrine Disruptors
Less Cancer in Vegan Men Despite More Testosterone
Industrial Pollutants Measured in Vegans



John B
John B11 months ago

Thanks Dr. Greger for sharing the info.

Nellie K Adaba
Nellie K Adabaabout a year ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Teresa Antela
Teresa A1 years ago


william Miller
william Miller1 years ago


Pablo B.
.1 years ago

noted. TYFS!!

Maxine Stopfer
Maxine Stopfer1 years ago

We ingest enough pollutants and yet the population keeps going up and up with staggering results.

Muff-Anne York-Haley

Anything that messes with your endocrine system is not going to have good results!

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper1 years ago