Everyday Chemicals Are Screwing Up Your Testosterone

Chemicals are Lowering Your Testosterone

You may have already read my other article on 7 habits which are killing your testosterone. There was a section in that on Water because most people do not realize how many chemicals are in the public water supply.

For a quick glance at your own water, go here: https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/

This article will talk more in-depth on the most common household testosterone chemical killers. These chemicals disrupt your hormone profile by destroying your endocrine system and gut microbiome. Let’s quickly explore how your endocrine system and gut microbiome affects your testosterone levels before discussing the chemicals which may be attacking it and what you can do about it.

How the Endocrine System Affects Your Hormone Profile and Testosterone

The endocrine system is crucial in regulating your hormone profile, including testosterone levels. Comprised of glands such as the pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands, the endocrine system releases hormones that control various bodily functions.

Role of the Endocrine System

  1. Pituitary Gland: Often called the “master gland,” it regulates other endocrine glands and secretes hormones that influence growth, metabolism, and reproduction.
  2. Testes: In males, the testes produce testosterone, essential for developing male characteristics, muscle mass, and libido.
  3. Adrenal Glands: These glands produce hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that help manage stress and influence testosterone production indirectly.

Testosterone Regulation

Testosterone production is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. The hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), prompting the pituitary gland to secrete luteinizing hormone (LH). LH stimulates the testes to produce testosterone.

How Your Gut Microbiome Affects Testosterone

The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating hormone levels in the body through various mechanisms. This interaction is a key component of the gut-brain axis, influencing both physical and mental health. Here’s an overview of how the gut microbiome affects hormone levels, along with citations from scientific sources:

Mechanisms of Interaction

  1. Production and Metabolism of Hormones:
    • The gut microbiome can produce and metabolize hormones directly. For instance, certain bacteria in the gut can synthesize neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are also involved in regulating mood and stress hormones .
  2. Regulation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis:
    • The HPA axis controls the body’s stress response by regulating the release of cortisol, a primary stress hormone. Dysbiosis (imbalance in the gut microbiome) has been linked to altered HPA axis activity, which can lead to changes in cortisol levels and stress responses .
  3. Influence on Sex Hormones:
    • The gut microbiome affects the metabolism of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. For example, the bacterial enzyme beta-glucuronidase can deconjugate estrogens in the gut, influencing their reabsorption and circulation in the body .
  4. Modulation of Insulin and Glucose Homeostasis:
    • Gut bacteria influence the secretion of insulin by modulating the levels of incretins (hormones that stimulate insulin release) such as GLP-1 and GIP. This impacts glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, playing a role in conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome .

Evidence from Research

  1. Gut Microbiota and Estrogen Metabolism:
    • A study published in the journal Microbiome highlights the role of the gut microbiome in estrogen metabolism. The researchers found that certain gut bacteria can influence the levels of circulating estrogens, impacting conditions such as breast cancer and menopausal symptoms .
  2. Impact on Stress and Mood:
    • Research in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology demonstrates how the gut microbiome affects the HPA axis and stress response. The study found that probiotic supplementation could modulate the HPA axis, leading to reduced cortisol levels and improved stress resilience .
  3. Gut Microbiota and Insulin Regulation:
    • A review in Nature Reviews Endocrinology discusses the gut microbiome’s role in regulating insulin and glucose metabolism. It describes how gut bacteria can influence incretin secretion and insulin sensitivity, highlighting the therapeutic potential for managing diabetes .

5 Common Everyday Items Chemicals Disrupting Your Endocrine System and/or Gut Microbiome

1. How Seed Oils Affect Your Testosterone

The Impact of Soybean Oil on Gut Health

Recent research from the University of California, Riverside, has shed light on the detrimental effects of soybean oil on gut health. Soybean oil, a commonly consumed vegetable oil in the United States, has been linked to a range of health issues including obesity, diabetes, and now, inflammatory bowel disease.

The Study

Researchers fed mice a diet high in soybean oil for up to 24 weeks and observed significant changes in their gut microbiome. Specifically, they found a decrease in beneficial bacteria and an increase in harmful bacteria such as adherent invasive E. coli. This type of bacteria is known to cause IBD in humans.

The culprit behind these changes is linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid found in high amounts in soybean oil. While linoleic acid is essential for our bodies, excessive intake can lead to negative health effects. The study revealed that most Americans consume far more linoleic acid than necessary, primarily due to the widespread use of soybean oil in processed foods and restaurants.

Health Implications

The disruption of the gut microbiome caused by high levels of linoleic acid leads to increased gut permeability, or “leaky gut.” This condition allows toxins to enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as colitis. The researchers noted that the rise in IBD parallels the increase in soybean oil consumption in the U.S.


To maintain a healthy gut, the researchers recommend reducing the intake of soybean oil and other oils high in linoleic acid. Healthier alternatives include olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil, which contain lower levels of linoleic acid. They also advise being mindful of processed foods, as they often contain hidden sources of soybean oil.

2. How Plastics Disrupt the Endocrine System and Gut Microbiome

Plastic products are ubiquitous in our daily lives, but growing evidence suggests they can have serious health implications, particularly through their impact on the endocrine system and gut microbiome. Plastics often contain chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with hormone function and lead to various health issues.

Endocrine Disruptors in Plastics

Plastics contain a variety of chemicals that can act as endocrine disruptors, including bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. These chemicals can leach into food and beverages from plastic containers and packaging, leading to significant exposure. Endocrine disruptors can mimic, block, or alter the normal function of hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone.

BPA and Hormonal Disruption:

  • Estrogen Mimicry: BPA can mimic the structure and function of estrogen, binding to estrogen receptors and disrupting normal hormonal balance. This can lead to reproductive issues, developmental problems, and increased cancer risk.
  • Testosterone Reduction: Studies have shown that BPA exposure can reduce testosterone levels, impacting male fertility and contributing to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women​​.

Phthalates and Hormonal Disruption:

  • Hormone Blockage: Phthalates can block the action of testosterone, affecting reproductive development in males. This can lead to reduced sperm quality and other reproductive disorders.
  • Metabolic Impact: Phthalates have been linked to obesity and metabolic disorders by altering the function of hormones that regulate metabolism and energy balance​.

Impact on the Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome, a complex community of microorganisms in the digestive tract, plays a critical role in maintaining overall health. Emerging research indicates that endocrine disruptors in plastics can also affect the gut microbiome, leading to dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) and various health issues.

Alteration of Gut Bacteria:

  • Microbial Diversity: Exposure to BPA and phthalates has been associated with a decrease in beneficial gut bacteria and an increase in harmful bacteria. This imbalance can contribute to gut inflammation and conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)​​.
  • Gut Permeability: Endocrine disruptors can increase intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” allowing harmful substances to enter the bloodstream and trigger systemic inflammation. This can exacerbate metabolic disorders and immune-related diseases​.

Systemic Effects:

  • Chronic Inflammation: Disrupted gut microbiota can lead to chronic low-grade inflammation, which is a risk factor for various chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Immune Function: The gut microbiome plays a vital role in regulating the immune system. Dysbiosis caused by endocrine disruptors can impair immune function, making the body more susceptible to infections and autoimmune diseases​.

Mitigating the Impact

To reduce the impact of plastics on the endocrine system and gut microbiome, consider the following steps:

  • Avoid Plastic Containers: Use glass, stainless steel, or other non-plastic alternatives for food and beverage storage.
  • Check Labels: Avoid products containing BPA and phthalates. Look for “BPA-free” and “phthalate-free” labels.
  • Reduce Processed Foods: Processed foods are often packaged in plastic and can be a source of endocrine disruptors. Opt for fresh, whole foods whenever possible.
  • Support Gut Health: Consume a diet rich in fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.

3. How Clothing and Everyday Fabrics Can Disrupt the Endocrine System and Gut Microbiome

We often overlook the impact of everyday items such as clothing, furniture, and carpets on our health. However, these items can harbor chemicals that disrupt our endocrine system and gut microbiome, leading to various health issues. This blog post explores how these fabrics contribute to endocrine disruption and gut microbiome imbalance and offers practical steps to minimize exposure.


Modern clothing is often treated with chemicals to enhance durability, stain resistance, and flame retardancy. These chemicals include perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), formaldehyde, and phthalates, all of which are known endocrine disruptors. These substances may leach out from clothing and enter the body through skin contact or inhalation​.

Key Chemicals in Clothing:

  • PFCs: Used for water and stain resistance, PFCs can interfere with thyroid function and hormone regulation.
  • Formaldehyde: Often used for wrinkle resistance, formaldehyde exposure has been linked to respiratory issues and hormonal imbalances.
  • Phthalates: Found in synthetic fibers and printing inks, phthalates can disrupt reproductive hormones and are linked to decreased testosterone levels.

Phthalates in particular are known endocrine disruptors. They can interfere with the body’s hormonal systems by mimicking or blocking natural hormones, leading to a variety of health issues. Research has shown that exposure to phthalates can impact reproductive health, leading to problems such as reduced fertility, developmental abnormalities, and hormone-related cancers.

Key Health Risks of Phthalate Exposure:

  • Reproductive Issues: Phthalates have been linked to decreased sperm quality in men and altered hormone levels in women, potentially leading to infertility and reproductive system disorders​ ​.
  • Developmental Effects: Exposure during pregnancy can affect fetal development, resulting in congenital disabilities and developmental delays​​.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Phthalates can disrupt the endocrine system, leading to imbalances in estrogen and testosterone levels. This can contribute to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other hormone-related disorders​​.

Toxic BPA Levels in Athletic Wear: A Hidden Health Hazard

There is not supposed to be any BPA in clothing but recent investigations have revealed alarming levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in sports bras and athletic tops from 19 highly popular athletic wear brands.

BPA is a well-known endocrine disruptor that can interfere with hormone function and lead to various health issues. The presence of BPA in athletic wear, particularly in items marketed as “moisture-wicking” or “anti-static,” raises significant concerns about consumer health and safety.

4. How Furniture, Mattresses and Carpets Affect Your Hormones

Furniture and carpets are commonly treated with flame retardants and other chemicals to enhance their durability and safety. However, these substances can have adverse effects on human health. A report by CHEM Trust highlights the widespread use of flame retardants, which can accumulate in household dust and enter the body through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact​.

Key Chemicals in Furniture and Carpets:

  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): Used as flame retardants, PBDEs can disrupt thyroid hormones and affect brain development.
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA): Found in stain-resistant treatments, PFOA exposure is associated with thyroid disease and immune system disruption.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): Emitted from new furniture and carpets, VOCs can impact indoor air quality and hormone regulation.

Impact on the Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms that play a critical role in maintaining overall health. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from fabrics can alter the gut microbiome, leading to dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut bacteria).

Effects of EDCs on Gut Health:

  • Increased Gut Permeability: Chemicals like PFCs and phthalates can damage the gut lining, leading to “leaky gut” syndrome, where harmful substances enter the bloodstream.
  • Altered Microbial Composition: Exposure to EDCs can reduce beneficial bacteria and promote the growth of harmful bacteria, increasing the risk of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Inflammation: Dysbiosis can trigger chronic inflammation, which is linked to various metabolic and autoimmune diseases.

Reducing Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

To minimize exposure to harmful chemicals in clothing, furniture, and carpets, consider the following steps:


  • Choose Organic and Natural Fibers: Opt for clothing made from organic cotton, wool, or bamboo, which are less likely to be treated with harmful chemicals.
  • Wash New Clothes: Washing new clothes before wearing them can reduce the presence of surface chemicals.
  • Avoid Wrinkle-Resistant and Stain-Resistant Fabrics: These treatments often involve harmful chemicals.

Furniture and Carpets

  • Select Natural Materials: Choose furniture and carpets made from natural fibers like wool, cotton, and jute, which are less likely to contain harmful chemicals.
  • Ventilate New Items: Allow new furniture and carpets to off-gas in a well-ventilated area before bringing them indoors.
  • Use Air Purifiers: Air purifiers with HEPA filters can help reduce indoor air pollutants, including VOCs and dust containing EDCs.

5. The Impact of Shampoos and Soaps on the Endocrine System and Gut Microbiome

Our daily use of shampoos and soaps can significantly affect our health, particularly our endocrine system and gut microbiome. Many conventional personal care products contain chemicals that can disrupt hormonal balance and alter the gut microbiome, leading to various health issues.

Endocrine Disruptors in Shampoos and Soaps

  1. Sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate):
    • Impact: Sulfates can strip natural oils from the skin, causing dryness and irritation. More importantly, they can act as endocrine disruptors by mimicking estrogen, leading to hormonal imbalances​.
    • Health Risks: Long-term exposure can contribute to reproductive issues and thyroid dysfunction​.
  2. Parabens:
    • Impact: Parabens are used as preservatives in many personal care products.
    • Health Risks: They can disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking estrogen, potentially leading to breast cancer and reproductive toxicity​​.
  3. Synthetic Fragrances:
    • Impact: These fragrances often contain phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors.
    • Health Risks: Phthalates can interfere with hormone production and regulation, affecting reproductive health and increasing the risk of metabolic disorders​​.
  4. Triclosan:
    • Impact: This antibacterial agent can interfere with thyroid hormone metabolism.
    • Health Risks: Triclosan exposure is linked to endocrine disruption and can affect gut microbiome balance, leading to gastrointestinal issues​.

Effects on the Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of microorganisms essential for digestion, immunity, and overall health. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in personal care products can negatively impact the gut microbiome.

Health Risks:

  • Increased Gut Permeability: EDCs can damage the gut lining, leading to “leaky gut” syndrome, where harmful substances enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation and autoimmune disorders​​.
  • Microbial Imbalance: These chemicals can reduce beneficial bacteria and promote harmful bacteria growth, increasing the risk of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)​.

Benefits of Castile Soap and Essential Oils

Castile soap is a natural, versatile alternative made from oils, such as olive oil, coconut oil, or hemp oil. It is free from synthetic ingredients and harmful chemicals, making it a safer option for personal care.

I buy big jugs of it on Amazon and mix in drops of some essentials oils into a smaller container. It’s very inexpensive and just a little bit can clean my entire body. I also used it as a shampoo before I started shaving my head.

Advantages of Castile Soap:

  • Gentle on Skin: Castile soap is less likely to irritate the skin, making it suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Eco-Friendly: It is biodegradable and non-toxic, reducing environmental impact.

Adding essential oils to Castile soap can enhance its benefits and provide additional therapeutic properties. Here are a few I use in mine:

  1. Peppermint Oil:
    • Benefits: Peppermint oil has antimicrobial properties and can help with scalp health and dandruff​​.
  2. Tea Tree Oil:
    • Benefits: Known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, tea tree oil can help combat acne and other skin conditions​​.
  3. Lavender Oil:
    • Benefits: Lavender oil has calming properties and can help reduce stress and soothe irritated skin​​.
  4. Eucalyptus Oil:
    • Benefits: Eucalyptus oil has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, helping with respiratory issues and muscle pain​​.


  1. Harvard Health Publishing. (2020). Testosterone and the male body. Harvard Health
  2. Endocrine Society. (2019). An Introduction to the Endocrine System. Endocrine Society
  3. National Institutes of Health. (2021). Testosterone: What It Does And Doesn’t Do. NIH
  4. Microbiome. (2020). The role of gut microbiota in estrogen metabolism. Microbiome Journal
  5. Psychoneuroendocrinology. (2016). Probiotics and the gut-brain axis: Stress, anxiety, and depression. Psychoneuroendocrinology
  6. Nature Reviews Endocrinology. (2019). Gut microbiota and metabolic disorders. Nature Reviews Endocrinology
  7. University of California. (2023). Widely consumed vegetable oil leads to an unhealthy gut. University of California.
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Gut microbiota and endocrine disruptors in the pathogenesis of polycystic ovary syndrome. Read the full article
  9. Endocrine Society. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and public health. Endocrine Society
  10. CEH. New Testing Shows High Levels of BPA in Sports Bras and Athletic Shirts. Center for Environmental Health
  11. CHEM Trust. Chemicals in furniture. CHEM Trust
  12. Dupree, L. Common Endocrine Disruptors Found in Fashion. LinkedIn
  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). ATSDR
  14. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Hormone Imbalance. PubMed Central
  15. Environmental Working Group (EWG). Phthalates and Your Health. EWG
  16. Environmental Working Group (EWG). Chemicals in Personal Care Products. EWG
  17. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Health Effects of Chemical Exposure. PubMed

Cheatsheet: Phthalates