Culture

The Low Testosterone Pandemic: Why We Need To Stop Low T Men From Running The World

By Nicole Dominique
·  6 min read
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I recently saw a photo of a yearbook page from 1963 depicting seniors in an American high school. I didn’t have to examine it too closely to see that the male students from the image looked much older than our typical 16-19 year olds today.

They had well-defined, strong jawlines and prominent brow bones, and they looked more masculine. I would even go as far as to say that they looked more comparable to men who are in their late 20s or 30s in 2022. 

Today, most people would say that the teenagers from the yearbook photo I just described look the way they did because of genetics. And it's true that genetics plays a role in physiognomy, of course, but I also believe that physiological changes have other causes, including environmental factors, lifestyle choices, diet, and more. 

It goes without saying that men now are vastly different from the men of our past, and I mean that in nearly all aspects. Testosterone levels have dropped dramatically over the past 40 years. Men are not as self-assured or strong-willed. 20% of men now experience anxiety disorders. And maybe all of this came to be because our society has confused “toxic masculinity” with the natural characteristics of a commanding yet nurturing male, causing men to stray from the masculine energies that are inherent within them. These qualities that have always been embraced and embodied in the past are now misunderstood or shunned. 

But I digress. These changes we see in men aren’t all to blame on society and its social “reforms” – perhaps the biggest reason for the change in appearance and behavior of men is a result of decades of living in an environment full of endocrine disruptors.

The Impact of a Toxic Environment

Our environment is full of endocrine disruptors. It's in different kinds of chemicals that are widely used in commercial products. One example is phthalates, a group of chemicals responsible for plastic's durability. Men, women, and children who are exposed to high levels of phthalates have lower levels of testosterone. Phthalates are also known to block the effects of testosterone on the body. This chemical may be one of the biggest contributors to the low testosterone epidemic because it's found in commonly used items: tupperware, bottles, cosmetics, tap water, personal care products, vinyl walls or floors, blinds, detergent, packaged foods, medicine, etc. You get the point – it's pretty much in everything. 

Phthalates are known to block the effects of testosterone on the body.

Besides phthalates, other endocrine disruptors like parabens can be found in perfumes and cosmetics, and then there are foods that contain phytoestrogens like soy and beer. The list is seemingly endless when it comes to things that can interfere with and lower our hormonal levels. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals are just one factor in the low testosterone epidemic affecting men right now.

The Low Testosterone Epidemic

Men today have significantly lower levels of testosterone compared to the men of the past, but by just how much? Well, from 2010 to 2013, the need for prescriptions in hormone therapy rose to more than double. A study in 2007 found that the levels of testosterone in men have decreased by 1% every year since the 1980s. To put this in perspective, a 25-year-old male back in 2005 had 25% lower testosterone than a man of the same age in the year 1980. 

But those findings were completed 15 years ago, so it's very likely that percentage of prescriptions needed has since increased. This is incredibly concerning for many reasons. For one, testosterone is key when it comes to developing and maintaining male attributes. It also plays an important role in brain function. Low testosterone can lead to a decrease in sperm quality, which may lead to infertility. Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem discovered that sperm counts in the West had fallen 52% between 1973 and 2011, with an average decrease of 1.4% a year. Could the parallel decrease in testosterone have something to do with that?

Testosterone levels in men have decreased by 1% every year since the 1980s.

On the behavioral side, testosterone has incredible effects. A study by Psychoneuroendocrinology suggests that men who were given testosterone were more likely to have perseverance in difficult situations, including competitive situations that included a much stronger opponent. The men who were administered testosterone felt that they had more control over the outcome, giving them more confidence and drive to keep going. Men with high levels of testosterone are also more dominant and motivated to achieve higher status over others. 

Testosterone also plays a role in keeping men more protective, social, and generous. Is this why very masculine men are more likely to be married and happy?

There also seems to be a connection between low hormone levels and mental health decline. Perhaps the high prevalence of depression in men could be due to the low testosterone epidemic, as there is a correlation between the two. 

What Does Low Testosterone Mean in the Bigger Picture?

Could men in society today be a reflection of their hormone levels? Could lower testosterone be contributing to behavior that’s more willing to just listen to authority? Could the byproduct of low testosterone be men who lack the confidence to question so-called “experts” in the media or the “trusted” politicians in government, or to protect their family from agendas that are intended to break family units apart?

Sure, people may find it difficult to believe that hormones could have this big of an impact on behavior, and while I agree that it will take more than balancing out hormones to make great changes, I believe that it would be a great help to do so. 

Could men in society today be a reflection of their hormone levels? 

If, hypothetically speaking, everyone got their hormones to healthy levels and made proper lifestyle choices – would things change? It's hard to say for sure, but considering the fact that raising testosterone levels in men can lead to more perseverance even in the face of defeat, it's highly possible that low testosterone has had something to do with the constant acquiescing most of us witness in present times. 

Now, we must ask ourselves what the outcome will be if testosterone continues to decline at the rapid rate that it has over the past 40 years. If I had to guess, it would look like a population of low-energy, demotivated individuals in a state of constant inertia.

So, as you see, incredibly low rates of this hormone can have dire consequences, not just for men's health and wellbeing, but for society as a whole. 

Closing Thoughts

Given the prevalence of low testosterone, and its widespread implications for men and society, why aren’t we getting to the root of the issue? Plenty of articles state that the causes of low testosterone are unknown, and some actually blame it on high-protein diets, even though those have been found to increase testosterone in active individuals. Personally, I think that the decrease in testosterone levels in our society is largely due to our American lifestyle choices that most of the population deems too “normal” to even investigate.

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