Low T Symptoms and Fertility; Barking up the Wrong Tree?

pesticides and fertility

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I could not be more against testosterone supplementation. Sure, patients feel better and have more energy, but people on cocaine have more energy, too. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Several years ago, very aggressive marketing by the manufacturers of testosterone supplementation put “low T” on the map, leading to a huge uptake of lab testing for testosterone levels. And guess what? Just like the vitamin D phenomenon, it seems like everyone (males and females alike) came back low.

And low testosterone became linked to everything from fatigue, low libido, belly fat and erectile dysfunction. And you can’t talk about testosterone without talking about fertility.

This is because male fertility is the ultimate expression of testosterone (it’s not, but that’s how society would have us view it). For this reason, you can bet your right testicle on the fact that any fertility consult with a “fertility specialist” will include a testosterone check.

But there are many other factors that play a role in fertility that are indirectly related to testosterone. Environmental chemical exposure to BPA and phthalates are well known to affect fertility rates in both men and women.

Low testosterone, much like low cholesterol or high blood sugar or high blood pressure, is merely the symptom of a bigger problem. Fixing high cholesterol with statins, lowering blood sugar with insulin or lowering blood pressure with medications does not, in any way, shape or form. None of those medications fix the actual underlying “broken thing” that is causing the cholesterol, blood sugar or blood pressure.

Testosterone replacement therapy is absolutely no different.

So, while you feel better in your own little plastic bubble of T replacement therapy, there is something very wrong with your physiology that is absolutely increasing your risk of all kinds of really nasty things like Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and stroke.

I have certainly written on this topic before, but just in case you think I’m really off base on this one, I’d like to present this particular study.

In it, researchers looked at the levels of pesticide exposure from fruits and vegetables and how this related to sperm quality in a group of 189 men age 18-22. The fruits and veggies were categorized as having high [Pesticide Residue Burden Score (PRBS) ≥4] or low-to-moderate (PRBS <4) pesticide residues on the basis of data from the USDA Pesticide Data Program.

Here’s what they found:

  • Higher intakes of fruits and veggies, in general, did not affect sperm quality.
  • However, men eating fruits and vegetable intake with the lowest pesticides (≥2.8 servings/d) had a 169% sperm count and a 173% higher sperm concentration.
  • The intake of fruit and vegetables, regardless of pesticide-residue status, was not associated with reproductive hormone concentrations.

So what does this mean? It means that, while eating more fruits and veggies is important for your health, but it is really important to pay attention to whether or not you are eating organic foods that are well-known to be higher in pesticide levels.

The Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Pesticide Exposure in Produce is the best guide you can find to get this information.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.