A fascinating study from the University of Jerusalem has found that the sperm count of men in the Western world has declined by over 50% in the last 40 years.
The study was quite the undertaking, analyzing more than 180 studies measuring sperm count and concentration dating all the way back to the 1970s. The findings found a 52% reduction in sperm concentration and a 59% reduction in sperm count overall. It amounts to about a 1.4% decline every year.
Researchers all but refused to attribute this shocking decline to any particular phenomenon or set of circumstances, but the study has sparked a lot of debate and speculation on the topic.
The AskDrErnst take
There are so many questions: Why is this happening? What does it mean for the future of the species? Why does this seem isolated to the developed countries of “the West”?
There are many benefits to living in the industrialized, modern West. However, one of the hallmarks of Western society is our approach to food and health.
Factory-farmed meat, eggs and fish; processed food loaded with sugar, pesticides, genetically modified organisms, fillers like corn and soy wreak havoc on so many of our body’s systems. But one of the less-often discussed issues here is the problem of hormone mimickers, namely xenoestrogen.
Studies even back in the 1990s were warning against the reproductive dangers of xenoestrogen and other estrogen mimickers. And we have evidence of these exact chemicals literally turning male fish into females.
Soy is a huge source of xenoestrogen, and GM soy is a subsidized crop in the U.S. that makes its way into countless food products. Beyond that, you can absorb estrogen mimickers from pesticides, prescription medications, industrial chemicals, plastic and a wide range of hygiene and beauty products.
The ubiquity of these products are known to have caused a phenomenon called estrogen dominance in men throughout the West, which comes with everything from enlarged breasts to higher-pitched voices to weight gain and muscle loss to more docile attitudes. It is, simply put, turning our men into women. And, for both men and women, these estrogen mimickers raise the risk of reproductive and breast cancers.
For women, estrogen dominance is blamed for a dramatic rise in cervical and breast cancers in the last 40 years, as well as the drop in average age in which girls get their periods, a worsening of PMS and earlier instances of menopause.
I don’t want to become too speculative, but I would submit there might be a correlation to the rise in divorces during that exact same time period (coincidence?) as men lose the characteristics that make them “manly.” Even further, it could be a contributing factor to general gender confusion among a lot of the youths of today. But these are controversial topics, so we’ll stop there 🙂
What you can do
Here’s a list of things you can do (or avoid) to keep estrogen mimickers at bay:
- Eat organic produce so as to avoid pesticides to the greatest possible degree
- Don’t eat processed food so as to avoid soy and other estrogen-filled fillers and additives
- Eat grass fed, wild-caught, free-range organic meat to avoid the hormones that are (directly!) fed to factory-farmed animals
- Drink out of glass rather than plastic (plastics contain estrogen mimickers) and store your food in glass containers. Especially avoid combining heat, plastic and consumables. One of the most dangerous, yet common, modern products is the plastic coffee lid. Hot coffee helps to leach dangerous chemicals from the plastic… and they you drink it.
- Use organic and all-natural hygiene and beauty products (some great resources are Erbavia and Afterglow cosmetics)
- Stay away from prescription meds in general – there are countless natural alternatives to your health problems
- Stay away from OTC meds as well
- Regularly participate in detoxification measures. Some off-the-cuff examples include coffee enemas, taking activated charcoal supplements, regular sauna usage, moderate exercise, drinking green tea, etc.
My suggestion is that you do your research and implement these recommendations to do your best to avoid estrogen dominance. We can only hope this problem is resolved, but that might take a new look at things like the farm bill, food policy regulation, healthcare and people’s attitudes toward what products they buy. It won’t be anytime soon, so your best bet is to just look out for yourself.