How Environmental Factors Play a Role in Men's Health

Oct 30, 2023

Men's health is a complex topic influenced by a wide array of factors, among which environmental influences play a significant role. While genetics and lifestyle choices certainly play a part in determining overall well-being, it is essential to recognize the substantial impact of the environment on men's health.

Chemical Exposure

One of the most prominent environmental factors affecting men's health is chemical exposure. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic compounds that can interfere with the body's hormone regulation systems. Some common EDCs include phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), and pesticides like glyphosate.

A study of 118 men exposed to BPA (commonly found in plastics) at the workplace, resulted in decreased sperm concentration, total sperm count, and sperm vitality and motility (1). Additionally, another study revealed that men exposed to high levels of phthalates, often present in conventional personal care products and plastics, exhibited lower testosterone levels (2).

Air Pollution

Air quality is another environmental factor that can impact men's health, particularly testosterone levels. Several animal and human studies show that air pollution is associated with hormonal disturbances, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and epigenetic alterations (3). While we can’t always control where we live and what we are exposed to, there are some ways that we can reduce our exposure and mitigate the risks. This includes investing in a good quality air filtration system at home, planting more trees around your house as well as having air purifying plants in your home, and regular sauna use or exercise that induces sweating.

Conventional Cleaning Products

Conventional cleaning products can have a detrimental impact on men's health due to the presence of potentially harmful chemicals. These products often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalates, and synthetic fragrances, which can lead to various health issues. VOCs like formaldehyde and benzene have been associated with respiratory problems, including asthma and lung irritation (4).  Phthalates, commonly found in conventional air fresheners and scented cleaners, have been linked to disruptions in hormonal balance, affecting reproductive health and possibly contributing to reduced fertility in men (5).

It’s clear that what we put on our bodies (yes, we absorb chemicals through our skin which can enter our bloodstream), products we clean our homes with, and what we breathe can either positively or negatively affect men’s health. This is why it’s crucial that we choose clean, natural products.

Obesity and Weight Gain

Environmental factors can contribute to obesity, which, in turn, influences testosterone levels. Obesity is associated with increased levels of estrogen and inflammation, both of which can reduce testosterone production. One studied showed that weight loss can reduce the occurrence of low testosterone levels in middle-aged men with prediabetes by almost 50 percent (6).

Multiple Environmental Factors

It is important to recognize that these environmental factors do not act in isolation but rather overtime, with repeated exposures, can negatively impact overall health.

To maintain optimal health and hormonal balance, it is essential to be mindful of the environmental factors that surround us. Reducing exposure to harmful chemicals, adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can all contribute to better health.

(1) https://rbej.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12958-018-0447-6

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7067547

(3) https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-017-0291-8

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6081941

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8709303/

(6) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120625124914.htm

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