Written by: Anthony Alayon
Best Selling Fitness Author
Web Site: www.HealthReporterDaily.com
I remember it like yesterday. I was 17 years old and competing in my first bodybuilding show in high school. I remember seeing my abs for the first time after only 5 days of dieting. I thought it was the most revolutionary experience in all my existence.
I’d been trying to gets abs by doing countless sit-ups and crunches with little to no success. After just 5 days, I had momentum. I felt like I could gain pounds of muscle every week given my age and stay ripped.
As you might know, it’s really easy to build muscle during your teenage years and even in your 20’s. However, once you reach your 30’s, everything becomes harder. Your metabolism slows down, your testosterone gradually decreases each year and your body doesn’t recover as easy as before.
These are all side effects of getting older.
However, there is one topic I’ve felt compelled to talk about that doesn’t get mentioned in the world of bodybuilding, strength or fitness and that’s being too acidic. You might be wondering what the heck this guy is talking about. Let me explain…
Why Being Too Acidic Makes it Harder to Build Muscle & Lose Fat
I’m sure you’re probably thinking the reason you can’t see gains is because of your genetics, age etc.
The one thing many forget or completely ignore is what happens when your body is too acidic.
You might remember from back in the day during school when you studied about the Acid & Alkaline PH Scale. If not, I’ll give you a quick lesson. The acid and alkaline chart or scale goes from 1 to 14. Neutral is 7 which is right in the middle. Ideally, we’d like to be slightly above 7 and somewhere in the 7.55 range.
The higher the number, the more alkalized your body is and the better. In this state, it becomes easier to build muscle and maintain optimal testosterone levels.
The lower the number, the more acidic your body is and the worse off you are. In this state, it becomes harder to build muscle and your testosterone levels drop. You can always use a 10 second trick to boost your testosterone.
Now, what’s interesting is there are many environmental factors that cause us to become acidic. Here are my top 3 factors that cause us to become too acidic and a solution to each problem.
Factor #1: Eating Acidic Foods
This was something I didn’t realize until I was in my mid to late 20’s. I used to be able to eat practically whatever I wanted and not gain a lot of fat nor get heart burn. However, once I was about 26 years old, certain foods would give me heart burn.
Things like pasta with red sauce or anything greasy like French fries really throw gasoline on the heart burn fire. Once I began to experience heart burn, I realized something had to be done. So I began researching and quickly realized the root cause of the problem.
Now, I could always take pills or over the counter drugs, but that is a short term solution. My body is telling me something. It’s telling me to stop consuming these foods. That’s when I realized how important fruits and vegetables were. I mean fruits and vegetables are on this Earth for a reason!
Now, in the world of bodybuilding, you are often told that too much sugar is bad for you and will make you fat. So even though fruit is healthy, I would avoid fruits or eat them every now and then. Fruits and vegetables provide vital nutrients our bodies need for energy, protecting our immune system and maintaining optimal testosterone levels.
Below is a quick chart of some alkalizing foods and the other chart is acidic foods.
These foods will not only alkalize your body but are also low in pesticides which means they are really good for you to eat. Here’s what is considered the Clean 15. They are fruits and veggies that can alkalize your body and are low in pesticides.
Here is a picture of a popular food item that is loaded with grease and can cause you to become acidic.
Solution: to avoid becoming too acidic from the foods you eat, I’d suggest eating 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Now that you know which foods are alkalized and acidic, let’s jump in to the next factor.
Factor #2: Drinking Lots of Alcohol & Smoking
An occasional drink is definitely not going to hurt you. While I don’t recommend it, a cigar or cigarette here and there won’t do too much damage either. However, when you make drinking and smoking a habit, it can really cause your body to become acidic and breakdown.
Not to mention the other health side effects like liver and lung problems later on in life. That’s why I feel it was important to mention these topics. You are free to do as you wish, but realize that by drinking and smoking often, it can cause your body to become acidic and lower your testosterone levels in the long run. Now, let’s jump in to the final topic.
Factor #3: Stress
We all have experienced stress at one point or another in our lives. Some of us experience it daily. It’s almost impossible to avoid. Dealing with work, kids, finances etc. can all cause stress.
While a little bit of stress is okay, experiencing it to the point where you can’t sleep at night or have so much anxiety can be a real issue for our testosterone levels and muscle gains. Without getting too scientific, our bodies become catabolic and break down over time making it harder to build muscle and lose fat. I consider being catabolic a bodybuilder’s worst nightmare.
So in a nutshell, I’d do as much as you can to avoid stress because of how acidic it can make your body.
I hope this article has provided value and given you some information you can take with you to protect your testosterone levels and muscle gains. As I mentioned earlier, I used to think following a strict bodybuilding diet was okay for my health.
While there are many things that are great about a bodybuilding diet, there are a few things I feel should be changed when it comes to the foods we’ve been told to eat to build muscle and lose fat.
I’ve given you a detailed list of some foods to eat, as well as some lifestyle factors that can help you remain alkalized and in amazing health. If you found this information useful, please feel free to share it with a friend or family member so that can benefit from this health advice.
Want More Men’s Health Related Articles Like This One? Check Out More Articles on My Blog Below…
By Ben Tatar,
I have been involved with the fitness industry since 1997 and I have seen the big changes going into 2017 (that’s 20 years if you can believe it!). In this article, I will discuss how the world of bodybuilding, muscle development and health have progressed or regressed over the last few decades based on my personal experience at LIVE events.
CELEBRITIES at Fitness Conventions Today versus 10+ years ago
Ten years ago, you could see a celebrity like Stone Cold Steve Austin or John Cena for multiple pictures and for conversations. Today, the Arnold is so busy that they don’t even allow the fans to take posed pictures with the biggest stars. Instead, fans just get autographs to keep the lines moving. Frequently, if a fan does take a picture with a big-name star, they need to buy $100 of supplement products to get a golden token in order to get in the photo shoot line.
I think from a personal perspective the conventions have gotten too known. In 2005, you would see big name stars and you could get pictures with all of them for free and at events like the Olympia, there was barely a line at all. Then years later, Dwayne Johnson “The Rock,” will get on the microphone, announce that he is at the Olympia Expo and the whole EXPO will be flocked with people!
In 2005 it was free without a line (at west coast events), in 2010 you had to buy $40 of supplements for a pic, in 2015 you had to buy $100 of supplements and after 2016 the celebrities would make more big announcements on the mic! For example, at the 2016 Arnold Triple H would just be in the ring telling fans about wrestling coming to the Expo and The Rock would be on the mic at the 2016 Olympia telling the fans that in 2017 he would like the Olympia televised! Ten years ago, they would just be standing around taking pictures with fans and talking.
WINNER – Fitness Industry of 10+ years ago.
Booth Models Today versus Booth Models 10+ years ago
The events are known for bringing in some of the greatest models from around the world. So, which time had better models? Well, ten years ago, the models were competing to get into magazines and as a whole the economy was stronger. Today models promote themselves off of social media sites like Facebook pages and Instagram. Or they are working on face selfies or snap chat with all the filters to see how cute they are as dogs, whereas before it was having that bombshell body to get into the magazines. Some of today’s models use social media to make them appear more popular and attractive.
WINNER – Fitness Industry of 10+ years ago.
***Note- there are more different types of models today than the past because of more events. There are also more booths today. This means that you can meet more muscular cross fit models and a greater variety of females involved in fitness. They would just rate overall lower on the 1-10 scales, but there are more types.
FREAKY Bodybuilders & MONSTERS of Today versus 10+ years ago
A lot of people go to the events for the freak show. They want to escape reality and see monsters like no other. Are they bigger today or ten years ago at these events? Due to health concerns, a declining magazine industry and a focus on all types of fitness has led to a decline in freaks.
Ten to twenty years ago there were more 400lbs lean monsters walking the planet from Greg Kovacs standing at 6’3 and weighing 430lbs. Greg died at the age of 44 on November 26, 2013. Bodybuilding names like Trevor Smith and Jeep Swenson were over 400lbs. O.D. Wilson was one of the most monstrous strongman who ever lived and he died in his 30s. Although, the bodybuilding freaks aren’t as massive today, the freaks are in much better condition.
WINNER – Freaks were bigger 10+ years ago. (They are healthier and more fit today.)
POWERLIFTERS and STRONGMAN 10 years ago versus Today
Back in 2000, Glen Chabot won the 2000 Arnold as he bench pressed 720lbs in a single ply shirt at 6’2 276lbs. Fifteen years later we have Kirill Sarychev bench pressing 738.5lbs RAW at 6’5 and weighing over 395lbs. This means the highest RAW bench of today would beat the Arnold winner in a shirt from the year of 2000. It also goes to show that Bill Kazmaier’s 19-year bench press record of 661lbs back in 1981 wouldn’t even be a top-level bench press today.
In fact many of the all time RAW world records have been broken in 2015. Ray Williams set the highest squat ever in 2015, squatting 938. At 275 Zakhir Khdayarov squatted 1,041lbs RAW. At 308lbs Eric Lilliebridge squatted 1,052lbs and at Super Heavy Weight, Andrey Malanichev from Russia squatted 1,058lbs. (I’m sure these records will have changed by the time you’re reading this.)
At the beginning of 2000, the big thing was who would be the first man to bench press 800lbs with a bench press shirt. Today we have Tiny Meeker surpassing the 1,100lbs mark. The lifters today are a lot stronger at the top level than the lifters were ten years ago, twenty years ago and any time before then.
WINNER – Lifters of today.
FITNESS ECONOMY AND POPULARITY
Thanks to social media the fitness industry is way more known than ever before. I used to see these fitness events as “private paradises,” and now they are mainstream all over the world. As recent as ten years ago, there was the Arnold event in Columbus Ohio, and that was the main event. In 2006, the Arnold changed its name to the Arnold Sports Festival because of its great growth!
Fast forward ten years later and the Arnold is in Australia, Asia, Africa, Brazil and Europe. There are other events all over the world that exist now which didn’t exist twenty years ago or ten years ago. The Arnold is also promoted all over social media creating an event of over 200,000 attendees. On top of that, the Arnold in Columbus Ohio now has over 56 competitive events. The industry has grown in a very big way!
WINNER – Fitness Industry of today.
Over the years the Arnold has developed many more events and has become much more main stream. If you take an event like the Arnold ten years ago, you would see table tennis on the main stage. Today you will see WWE wrestling. There are over twice as many competitions today and so many competitions there are different buildings for them, including a kid’s fitness expo. They have everything from swimming to strongman. The event has totally evolved and now has something for everyone.
WINNER – Fitness Industry of today.
Since Critical Bench sells a program to increase ones’ bench, I thought it would only be fair to include this topic. Twenty years ago and even ten years ago, the bench press was way better as it was on the main stage with World Powerlifting Organization (WPO) and tons of high powered energy at the Arnold. It was what every powerlifting fan got excited about each year. Today the competitions can be found in different rooms in the convention center or in different buildings.
This is also more annoying for the fans because it’s not on the Arnold stage which means it gets far less spectators. In addition, fans can’t enjoy the expo while the bench pressing is taking place because it’s in another location.
WINNER- Fitness Industry of 10+ years ago.
Variety spices up life and expands our interest and perspective. The fitness industry today has way more variety. There are a greater variety of athletes, competitors, trainers and styles. This leads to a healthier and more balanced industry. This means there is far more for everyone.
However, with variety comes a potential dark side. Example, the crowds get larger which can make the fitness industry a victim of its own success. It also makes the industry more known which might make booths less personal or increase rules when meeting stars.
The industry also can become less hardcore as the ‘energy’ changes. In fact, it makes the conventions less popular with the hardcore overall and more popular with the masses. Part of this is because as things expand, some of the hardcore flavor gets swallowed up into everything else. Some people even think as the fitness industry has grown, it appears to be more fake.
WINNER – Tie – Depending on who you are and what you value. Are you new age or old school?
Was it better watching events today or ten years ago? In the past, if you wanted to see competitions or lifts done in the animal cage or on the main stage, you had to travel to be there. Everything that happened stayed at the Arnold or was then published in magazines.
Today, you can just watch everything on YouTube or videos on people’s social media pages as it happens in real time. Now many people will walk around the expo and use the LIVE filters on social media to show people what is going on. Nothing is quite like being at a LIVE event which gives attending the event in the past the edge.
WINNER – 10+ years ago.
Today the fitness industry adds new things every single year whether it’s a kids expo, a Spartan type race, mascots, talent competition or a trainer competition. Every year the fitness events expand on the entertainment side of things by adding new extravaganzas.
WINNER – Fitness Industry today.
THE MAGAZINE INDUSTRY
Ten years ago, the magazine industry was booming. You had various powerlifting magazines ranging from Powerlifting USA to Monster Muscle. There were also tons of different bodybuilding and fitness magazines. The magazines also frequently had over 300 pages of information, and at these events people would get very excited to be published in various magazines. Ten years later, many of the magazines are either out of business or have fewer pages than the magazines of old.
Today technology has changed the world a lot. If you go to a big convention and take a picture with someone, there is a great chance they will tell you to post it on social media and to tag them. Before these events even happen, there’s lots of marketing with hash tags going on. It went from a magazine planet to very much of a social media planet.
There are pros and cons to each of these worlds. Today people can share personal progress reports, make personal friends, give personal comments, show people whatever they would like and build whatever network they want. Whereas before, you actually had to be featured in a magazine or over a website to get exposure. On the other hand, if you were in the magazine people were following what was happening in the magazines more and they didn’t have social media newsfeeds to look at.
WINNER – Tie- The Fitness Industry of 10+ years ago from a prestigious perspective. Today from a mutual friendship perspective.
One of the biggest changes is the people. If you look at who went to the Arnold in 2005 versus the 2015 Arnold, only about 5-10% of the same people continue to go. Companies change fast. Models get pregnant; athletes remain in their prime for only so long, and it’s the fans/athletes who can afford to go who keep coming back.
Which was a better time for socialization? Well, if you’re looking for friendships, then definitely the past because the events were more personal! They weren’t broadcasted on every social media site, and you would see the same people every year. I also knew everyone before each event started because on Myspace (a popular network between 2004-2009,) you could interact with everyone in the industry before the events started and today social media is more about public posts with friend limits!
If you’re looking to meet more people and if you’re excited to meet new people, then today is better as there are more new faces showing up at every event. Still, the true and hardcore keep coming back.
WINNER – Tie – Depending what you want to get out of the events from a social perspective.
SKILL LEVEL of Top Athletes
Every year records get broken. These record breaking performances keep the urge to be great going. It’s also true that we live in a highly sedentary culture which makes it so that the average athlete would have been better ten years ago. However, at the top-level athletes are improving. I believe the best of today would typically beat the best of ten years ago in the athletic world.
WINNER – Athletes of Today.
METAMORPHOSIS IN BODY TYPES
Twenty years ago and even ten years ago the mentality was “Bigger is better and if it’s easy, it has no value.” There were competitions for freaks, but the regular size fit individuals didn’t have big competitions. There was no such thing as a “212 division,” and there was definitely no “Men’s Physique” competition.
In recent times this has really changed. Before there ever was a 212 division or a men’s physique division, there would be big lines for the super massive freaks and the 6’1 160-lbs fit lifters wouldn’t get lines. Today you have 5’9 300-lbs bodybuilders with only about eight people in their lines.
There are fitness models who are almost 6 inches taller and over 100-lbs lighter with very-very long lines! Some old-school bodybuilders have expressed anger because they had to get known before social media existed and they aren’t getting the attention today. Some people feel the new motto of the industry is “if it’s easy, more people will do it and more people are doing it.”
This statement is in reference to being cut, fit, more aesthetically pleasing and not super big or strong. Fitness models and fans at the booths often take pictures, use hash tags, and post on social media. That’s huge publicity! Perhaps this is healthy because it promotes health, gives mainstream people hope and keeps people connected.
WINNER – Competitors of today just based on overall health.
One of the major things that change in the fitness industry is us and how we respond to our environment. For example, in 2005, I thought it was pretty exciting to be videotaped at a big fitness expo as I would scream into the camera as loud as I could while doing an interview and do outrageous things in pictures. My excitement was just off the roof. Basically, I got carried away with the moment and took it for granted.
Sadly, some of the friends I’ve made from past events have passed away and this was a very sobering moment for me. I now realize that just because I’m seeing certain people at one event, doesn’t mean that I will see them at future events giving each event and every interaction a special aura.
In the past, my energy was pretty much out of control and I would take lots of energy supplements to up my energy at the event even more! Today, I don’t take anything for granted and I live in the moment. I do my best to enjoy the time I get to spend with all of these amazing people.
There are lots of ‘basics’ in the industry that stay the same each year like the strength competitions, physique competitions, babes at booths, champions everywhere you look and people taking pictures like crazy. Things like this will always be the same and are what make going to LIVE events so much fun. In the details and in our hearts, the fitness industry will always provide great energy and excitement because in every detail there will always be some form of METAMORPHOSIS!
WINNER – Fitness Industry of today.
The FINAL SCORE-
I gave today’s fitness industry 7 wins, the fitness industry of the past 5 wins and I gave the past & present fitness industries 3 draws. But which one wins for you? Of course, that would depend on which categories you find to be the most important and which perspective you take. No matter what perspective or opinion you have, you cannot deny that the fitness industry has been completely transformed in the past 20 years! I wonder what will happen in the NEXT 20 years???
By Chris Wilson, Head Strength Coach
Specialist in Sports Nutrition
The last few decades have seen a dramatic increase in the feminization of young boys and men.
As men become more and more effeminate, society portrays the feminization of men to be normal, which, we know is anything but normal.
There is a growing body of evidence that sperm counts have been cut in half in the last 50 years, incidences of male infertility has radically increased, rates of testicular cancer have doubled in the last 20 years, while cases of gynecomastia (the development of male breast tissue) are on the rise.
Today, a typical college age man produces half the sperm his father did and up to 85% of it is abnormal.
The question is… WHY?
Scientists now believe that certain man-made chemicals are to blame which are interfering with the male hormonal system, and are wreaking havoc on the building blocks of male sexual development, which in turn, can promote more effeminate behavior in males.
These gender bending, estrogen-mimicking chemicals that are causing this phenomenon, such as BPA’s and Phthalates, can be found in plastics, which, as we know, are in just about every consumer product you can think of and are an everyday part of lives from the day we are born.
BPA’s help to make plastics hard and unbreakable, while Phthalates make plastics soft and pliable.
The irony of this is that in the past 50 years, man has created chemicals to help simplify our lives and provide conveniences for everyday life, however, tests were never performed as to the lasting effects these chemicals would have on humans.
Many of these chemicals are known to be estrogen mimicking endocrine disrupting chemicals.
We are just now becoming aware of the profound and permanent damage these chemicals are doing to growing bodies and fetuses and are just beginning to understand that some of these synthetic chemicals are far more damaging to boys than girls.
These chemicals are robbing boys and men of living up to their innate potential.
A Brief Lesson In Biology
To get a clearer picture of the impact synthetic chemicals can have on a male, let’s take a basic look at how the male endocrine system works.
The testes are part of the male endocrine system. The endocrine system is made of a network of glands that regulate many of the body’s functions. They stimulate growth, regulate our metabolism, and control reproduction.
This network of glands release hormones that is the body’s chemical messenger.
The sex hormone, testosterone, is a chemical messenger that plays a central role in male sexual development.
Some synthetic chemicals can disrupt, or block, the functioning of testosterone, permanently damaging the sexual development of boys. This disruption of the human body’s own system may be the biggest unintended consequence of the 20th Century’s chemical revolution.
The Revolution of Plastic In Our Lives
Even though the chemical industry is only 100 years old, it has transformed the world.
By the 1950’s, the chemical industry was turning out thousands of new compounds. One product in particular, plastic, has revolutionized the way we live, making modern life, possible.
BPA’s, Plastic and Estrogen
BPA was first synthesized by chemists in 1891. In the late 1930’s, scientists discovered that BPA acted as an artificial estrogen and was being developed for hormone treatment.
BPA would have been used as a pharmaceutical hormone, but a more potent synthetic estrogen called DES was invented, precluding the use of BPA for hormone treatment.
It was later discovered that BPA could be used to make plastics hard and shatter-proof and was also used in the production of lining canned goods.
In recent years, Independent researchers and scientists have identified BPA as a known endocrine disruptor.
How Exposure to Phthalates and BPA’s Affect The Development of Boys
Those most threatened by exposure to these chemicals are fetuses because they have very few defenses against these chemicals. It is during this time that cells are developing into organs.
Sex hormones determine whether the fetus will be a boy or a girl. It isn’t until the 7th week of pregnancy that the male reproductive tract begins developing.
Chemical exposure in the womb is likely behind a 200% increase in male genital birth defects. After birth, an infant is further exposed to chemicals in the mother’s breast milk.
Phthalates and BPA’s found in the mother’s body and breast milk has been linked to the disruption of normal sexual development in male babies.
Infants are further exposed to BPA’s and Phthalates at alarming rates within their environment.
Many soft toys, nipples used on baby bottles and plastic baby bottles contain BPA’s and Phthalates which can leach out of the plastic and end up in the bodies of infants.
Phthalates and BPA’s are also found in hospitals, particularly in neo-natal wards and is used to make medical devices such as IV Tubing, Catheters, Blood Bags, Incubators, etc., exposing newborn babies to many of the plastic chemicals that can leach into the body in staggering amounts.
Brain Altering and Behavioral Effects On Boys
Researchers from The University of Rochester found that chemicals in many common household plastics may be altering male hormones in the brains of baby boys.
The researchers have noted that boys begin to play more like little girls. This may be related to the fact that phthalates cause male hormones to behave more like the female hormone, estrogen, and therefore may reduce the male drive to “play rough.”
The damaging effects BPA’s and Phthalates have on developing boys impacts behavioral and cognitive patterns which includes the demasculinization of male behavior.
Are We Risking Extinction?
Researchers are beginning to question if these endocrine disrupting chemicals that fetuses are exposed to while in the womb are affecting the ratio of male to female births.
Studies show that there appears to be a disproportionate amount of female babies being born over male babies.
World-wide there are normally about 106 boys born for every 100 girls. Recent studies have shown a decline in the proportion of male births, in the US, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands.
These declines have been very small but over time, are statistically significant. Fewer boys are being born than would be expected on the basis of the recent historical worldwide average.
The writing’s on the wall. It is clear that through chemical exposure we are altering the sexual development and birth rate of male children.
We know that there are chemicals that can be transferred from a mother to her child that affects how her child will develop and if we don’t do something about the production of these chemicals, we will see widespread dysfunction among the human population and the possible extinction of man.
1. The Disappearing Male (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-disappearing-male/)
2. What is BPA | BPA Facts (https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/bpa/what_is_bpa.php)
3. Our Stolen Future: Changes in sex ratio (http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/newscience/reproduction/sexratio/sexratio.htm)
By Mike Westerdal, CPT, RKC
There has been an alarming trend since the 1980’s that has been threatening the American Male.
It’s has seen the decline of the American Alpha Male, and with the passing of each decade, men are becoming more beta than they are alpha.
If you don’t believe me, think back to our male American role models of the past…
Are we as alpha as our fathers and grandfathers were?
What about our icons? Are our male icons of today as alpha as say John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Robert Conrad, or Burt Reynolds?
The next time you watch a newer movie with a white, American male under the age of 40, does he portray the same, strong, male, masculine characteristics of men from a previous era?
Sadly, the answer to that question is no.
Think about this.
Is it a coincidence that we are now importing leading men from Australia or Ireland to play many of our heroic American film roles?
The Decline of the American Alpha Male
So what’s happened to us? Why have we become more Beta than Alpha in recent years?
There are several reasons for this, and studies are showing that from a biological standpoint, we are not as masculine as our predecessors.
For example, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in January, 2007 there is sufficient evidence showing that testosterone levels spanning three decades were on the decline.
They studied the testosterone of men ranging from the age of 45 to 79 in three waves 1987 – 1989, 1995 – 1997, and 2002 – 2004 and discovered that men who were 65 in 1987 had much higher testosterone levels compared with men of the same in age in 1995 and 2002.
Not only are testosterone levels taking a nose dive, but so are sperm counts. Studies have shown that not just sperm quantity, but sperm quality is on the decline.
This trend is very alarming and troubling with regard to our survival as a species.
Why We Have Become Less Manly Than Our Fathers Were
What’s behind these alarming trends?
Aside from lifestyle, today’s male is exposed to more endocrine disrupting toxins and chemicals than ever before.
Although the exposure may be small with each individual chemical, the combination of what we are exposed to on a daily basis becomes quite significant and overwhelming.
In recent years, men and boys are exposed to more estrogen mimicking substances than ever before that are demasculinizing us.
These substances can be found in the water we drink, the food we eat, prescription drugs we take as well as environmental factors we are exposed to on a daily basis.
What are Endocrine Disruptors?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Endocrine Disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.
Endocrine disruptors interfere with our hormones, can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
Thanks to the chemicals we’re exposed to on a daily basis, we’re putting untold amounts of xenoestrogens into our bodies every day that mimic the female hormone estrogen.
Xenoestrogens are basically estrogens in chemical form while phytoestrogens are estrogens naturally occurring in foods and plants. They both mimic the action of estrogen in our body at the cellular level and can in fact alter hormonal activity…scary stuff!
Let that sink in for a minute.
Our bodies are being flooded with estrogen! No wonder why so many men and boys are developing breast tissue, have lower than normal testosterone levels and sperm counts.
Here’s something even more shocking to our children and future generations.
EDC damage is believed to be most severe during prenatal or early pregnancy exposure. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), EDCs can also be transferred from the pregnant woman to the developing fetus or child through the placenta and breast milk. Pregnant mothers and children are the most vulnerable populations to be affected by developmental exposures, and the effect of exposures to EDCs may not become evident until later in life.
It’s important to note that during the first few months of life, a baby boy has testosterone levels that could be as high as that of an adult male! This “testosterone surge” readies a boy’s hormonal system for puberty both for normal development of the sexual organs and also patterns of male behavior.
Exposure to estrogen mimicking endocrine disrupting chemicals during this crucial time in the first few months of life for a baby boy can adversely affect what should be normal, male hormonal development.
Common Sources of Endocrine Disruptors
Your first defense against this chemical warfare being waged against your manhood is to be able to identify the most common sources of endocrine disruptors so that you can protect yourself, your family and future generations.
Beware of Phthalates, BPA’s, and Parabens
While there are thousands of hormone disrupting chemicals and toxins we are exposed to within our environment on a daily basis, the three most prevalent that show up in just about everything are Phthalates, BPA’s and Parabens.
- Phthalates are mainly used as plasticizers and are added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability (making them harder to break) and longevity.
They are used in hundreds of products, such as vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, plastic clothes (raincoats), and personal-care products (soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes).
- BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is used to manufacture polycarbonate plastics. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles, plastic dinnerware, automobile parts and toys.
BPA resins are used in the protective linings of canned foods and beverages, dental sealants, as well as thermal paper used for sales receipt and movie tickets, that can easily leach out onto your hands.
- Parabens are a class of chemicals found in personal products that act as preservatives and antimicrobials. Parabens are used in a wide variety of cosmetics, as well as in foods and drugs.Cosmetics that may contain parabens include makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products, among others.
Cosmetics sold to consumers in stores or online must have a list of ingredients, each listed by its common or usual name. This is important information for consumers who want to find out whether a product contains an ingredient they wish to avoid. Parabens are usually easy to identify by their name, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben.
Eat Foods that are Free of Pesticides, Herbicides, and Added Hormones
Research shows that many agricultural pesticides disrupt male hormones.
Scientists are strongly recommending that all pesticides in use today be screened to check if they block testosterone and other androgens, the hormones critical to a healthy reproductive system for men and boys.
To reduce your risk to these chemicals as well as GMO’s, you’ll want to buy and eat organic produce and free-range, organic meats to reduce your exposure to added hormones, pesticides and fertilizers.
Stay Away From Soy!
Soy has been touted in health circles as being “good for you”, however, more and more studies are showing soy to be quite the opposite and should be avoided, especially for men.
Soy is one of of the heaviest subsidized crops in the United States and, almost all soy is genetically modified.
Soybeans mean big business for farmers and food manufacturers, as well as a huge boom for Monsanto which creates the toxic pesticide Roundup which is sprayed on crops and, is also the leading manufacturer of GMO soybeans.
With the case of soy, your health takes a back seat to profits and big business.
Soy contains isoflavones which are plant-derived compounds that can disrupt your hormone levels and function causing a decrease in testosterone. It’s estrogen-like (phytoestrogen) effects can cause enlargement of breast tissue, aka gynecomastia and potentially cause erectile dysfunction as well.
Avoid Bottled Water
With the purity of our nation’s drinking water supply in question, many people turn to drinking bottled water, thinking it is a better, safer, solution.
Before you reach for bottled water, you first need to ask yourself if drinking bottled water is better than drinking tap water?
Like tap water, drinking bottled water has its risks as well when it comes to being exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals.
The federal government does not require bottled water to be safer than tap. Tap water in most big cities must be disinfected, filtered to remove pathogens, and tested for cryptosporidium and giardia viruses. Bottled water does not have to be.
Both kinds of water are tested regularly for bacteria and most synthetic organic chemicals, but city tap is typically assessed much more frequently. For example, bottled-water plants must test for coliform bacteria just once a week; city tap needs to be tested 100 or more times a month.
When comparing tap water to bottled water, in short, the bottled water industry is actually LESS regulated than your local water system.
Also, when it comes to bottled water, the actual bottle that it comes in causes concern. Plastic bottles contain phthalates and BPAs which can leach into water over time.
We obviously need to drink water, but the question is, how can you protect yourself and your family from harmful chemicals?
The short answer to that question is that your best line of defense is a water filtration system and to use glass bottles or steel containers instead of plastic water bottles.
What can you do?
Knowledge is the best weapon. With knowledge we can change our lifestyle and diet to protect ourselves, our children and future generations against some of these toxins that threaten our survival.
Here are some actionable items you, your family and friends can start doing right away.
- Ditch the bottled water and tap water for filtered water
- Ditch plastic cups and containers for glass
- NEVER microwave foods in plastic or styrofoam containers
- Choose organic foods over conventional foods when appropriate
- Avoid GMO’s
- Avoid Grain Fed Beef. Choose Grass Fed instead.
- Avoid or reduce consumption of processed foods
- Choose fresh food over canned foods
- Choose products that are paraben-free
- Avoid Soy
- Use glass bottles or steel containers instead of plastic water bottles
Keep in mind it isn’t just one thing that is causing these changes in our bodies – it’s the accumulation of these chemicals. Little changes in our everyday life can make big differences in our health and the survival of man.
1. A population-level decline in serum testosterone levels in American men (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17062768)
2. WHO | Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) (http://www.who.int/ceh/risks/cehemerging2/en/)