Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

6 Common Chemicals That Lower Testosterone (From a Doctor)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: August 7, 2023

Low testosterone levels are recognized by a lack of focus and energy, poor sex drive, and a loss of muscle strength.

Most people try to employ remedies to boost their testosterone but don't realize that certain chemicals in the items they use daily may lower the T levels.

After hundreds of hours of research and working closely with my doctor friend, I got to know the chemicals that decrease testosterone.

In this article, I will share the details of where these chemicals are found.

Keep on reading.

Quick Summary

  • Metalloestrogens, phtalates, parabens, refined carbohydrates are some chemicals that lower testosterone levels.
  • Some meals , like tofu and soy milk, are high in plant-based estrogens that lower testosterone.
  • Testosterone lowering chemicals can also be found in cans, and cleaning products.

What Decreases Your Testosterone?

A gym coach with a clipboard with a person working out on the side

Exposure to chemicals typically found in plastics has been linked to reduced testosterone levels in men, women, and children.

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men; however, it also plays a role in cognitive function, physical growth, strength, and cardiovascular health in women and men [1].

It also governs many bodily functions, which include reproduction, red blood cell production, spermatogenesis, fat distribution, muscle growth, and bone health.

It is made in the testicles by Leydig cells. When your levels of this hormone fall, you are more likely to develop conditions such as infertility and hypogonadism.

Many men have been identified as having low testosterone, and since 2012, the number of testosterone treatments has risen fivefold [2].

The pituitary inside the brain is in charge of controlling the levels of this hormone within the body.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed below, you should see your doctor.

  • Erectile difficulties
  • Low sperm count
  • Lower sex desire
  • Loss of strength
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • A rise in body fat levels
  • Breast tissue enlargement in men
  • Hair loss
  • Inability to concentrate when conducting routine duties

Related: What Causes Low Testosterone in 30s?

Below are six chemicals that may be causing declining testosterone levels:

1. Metalloestrogens

A chemist looking a test tube of metalloestrogens

They belong to a novel class of estrogen-like chemicals. Metals such as aluminum, barium, copper, cadmium, lead, tin cobalt, mercury, and others are used in hundreds of consumer items, including vaccines.

When estrogen mimickers enter your bloodstream, they bind to estrogen receptors within your cells.

Because the receptors receive instructions from the cells, these chemical estrogens might instruct the body to appear and behave more femininely [3].

This sets off a chain of physiological reactions. For one thing, a man will experience declining testosterone as his estrogen levels increase.

Fat begins to build up in his chest and tummy when this happens. His muscles contract, and he softens.

He is also fatigued or grumpy, which can impair sexual function. It's a never-ending cycle.

2. Phthalates

Phthalate exposure may happen through elastic PVC materials and a wide range of personal care items.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, elevated concentrations of urinary phthalate metabolites were linked to an 11–24% reduction in testosterone in men and women ages 40 to 60 and a 24–34% decrease in boys aged six to 12 [4].

According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, there has been a reduction in male testosterone over the previous 50 years and an increase in linked adverse health effects such as reduced semen quality in males and genital anomalies in newborn boys [5].

The findings may have important public health implications.  Environmental exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, like phthalate, may lead to a steady decline in testosterone and problems associated with hormonal changes.

Deodorants and the bulk of commercial fragrances are among the home products you should avoid. Scented toilet sprays or other fragrant personal care items should also be discarded, as they lead to increased phthalate exposure.

Finally, phthalates negatively impact reproductive development, hence feminizing male tracts by compromising the enzymes needed for testosterone production.

"With rising evidence of negative health impacts, people and policymakers might want to take precautions to limit human exposure to phthalates to the greatest extent possible."

- John Meeker,  Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

3. Phytoestrogen

Close up shot of food with phytoestrogen

If you enjoy miso, tofu, or soy milk, you should be aware that soy reduces testosterone levels.

These foods are high in phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogens.

They alter your body's normal hormonal balance. This causes a decrease in the amount of testosterone you produce.

Taking phytoestrogen-rich meals raises plasma isoflavone concentrations. It changes the weight of your prostate and lowers the plasma androgen hormones [6].

Your body's main androgens are androstenedione and testosterone. As a result, eating these meals lowers the amounts of these steroid hormones in the body.

Regarding men's health, experts are particularly concerned that high phytoestrogen intake may diminish male fertility.

4. Parabens

Are you aware that parabens are commonly included in lotions? Parabens belong to a biochemical compound group that includes propyl, heptyl, butyl, and methyl [7].

They may be found in the components of your preferred personal grooming products, such as body wash, conditioners, mouthwash, and shaving creams.

It is widely recognized that testosterone is responsible for sperm production and fertility.

With that in mind, butylparaben was connected to the development of tiny, irregularly shaped sperms with low motility.

This is owing to the low testosterone levels caused by this chemical [8].

Furthermore, parabens are believed to imitate the estrogen hormone. This reduces the amount of testosterone produced by your body.

The use of paraben-containing personal grooming products is prohibited in the European Union. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not restricted the ingredient's usage.

To minimize unnecessary exposure to the substance, carefully examine the components in the items you use.

5. Refined Carbohydrates

Close up shot of food with refined carbohydrates

Krutika Nanavati, registered dietitian/nutritionist and medical advisor at Clinicspots, adds that proccessed meats can contribute to a decrease in testosterone level due to their high saturated fat content.

Although trans fats are naturally present in traces in dairy and meat, they are overly present in processed, fried, and fast foods. These fats are well-known for raising levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the body.

Nayati explains that a decrease in testosterone production can result from high levels of LDL cholesterol, whereas a rise in testosterone might result in decreased HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Moreover, these testosterone-killing foods cause the pancreas to release insulin into circulation.

These testosterone-killing foods cause the pancreas to release insulin into circulation.

Insulin levels that remain high for an extended amount of time impair the body's major hormonal processes. As a result, testosterone levels are reduced [9].

If you prefer beef and potatoes, this might also lead to decreased testosterone levels.

Unless you consume grass-fed beef and dairy foods, most meat contains growth hormones such as estrogen.

When humans consume these foods, they are exposed to contaminants.

6. Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A, also called BPA, is a well-known testosterone depleter.

This chemical is essential in the manufacture of polycarbonate materials. It is what causes the materials to harden.

BPA is a frequent component in epoxy resins as well [10].

You can find it in reusable plastic water bottles, food cans, and plastic snack containers. Essentially, anything formed of solid clear plastic contains BPA.

Bisphenol A has a chemical structure that is comparable to estrogen. It's an endocrine disruptor that prevents the body's natural testosterone function.

Long-term exposure to this chemical has a negative impact on the level of the main sex hormone in the body.

Extensive research has been conducted to determine the relationship between BPA and decreased serum testosterone levels [11].

Where Are Testosterone-Lowering Chemicals Coming From?

A doctor thinking about which chemicals lower testosterone

Testosterone-lowering chemicals can be found in our meals, skincare, hygiene, and household care products.

Their impact on our bodies and general health may be rather worrying.

Below are some of the most common places where these chemicals can be found.

1. Plastics

Male levels of testosterone could be declining globally due to the use of plastic items.

They contain estrogen mimics as well as other testosterone-lowering substances like phthalates and BPA.

As per one study, several manufacturers simply substituted BPA with a lesser-known chemical called bisphenol S (BPS).

This is another toxic compound, and according to evidence, it is even more harmful than BPA [12].

Plastic items are practically limitless and prevalent in our daily lives. Plastic water bottles, Tupperware jars, plastic bags, and plastic toys are among them.

“To be safe, opt for items that are phthalate- or paraben-free. Also, try to utilize as few plastics as possible. Keeping food in glass jars is a good place to begin.”

- Laura Mize, Master of Science

2. Foods

Top view of a variety of food meals

These chemicals may be present in most non-organic vegetables and fruits treated with fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.

In addition, drinks and processed foods, including cookies, grains, sodas, chocolates, bread, ice cream, pastries, and frozen meals, are packed with these chemicals.

3. Cans and Nonstick Cookware

BPA is used in the epoxy coating of practically all aluminum containers.

The lining is broken down with acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes and soda. As a result, we end up ingesting BPA.

That’s why stainless steel containers are safer than aluminum since they do not have BPA linings.

Additionally, when nonstick kitchenware, like Teflon, is heated, it emits endocrine-disrupting chemicals like perfluoroalkyl.

4. Personal Grooming and Cleaning Products

A bunch of personal grooming and cleaning products on a white surface

These testosterone-killing chemicals can also be found in various cleaning products.

Laundry soaps, shampoos, dryer sheets, moisturizers, artificial fresheners, deodorants, fabric softeners, hair sprays, fragrances and perfumes, cosmetics, mouthwash, and personal hygiene items.

All of these everyday products are high in chemical estrogen.


Can Chemicals Cause Low Testosterone?

Yes, chemicals such as bisphenol A and parabens can decrease testosterone production in the body.

What Kind of Plastic Lowers Testosterone?

Plastics that contain increased phthalate concentrations can lower testosterone.

Does Shampoo Lower Testosterone?

Yes, shampoo lowers testosterone as it contains phthalate, a testo-decreasing chemical.

Chemicals and Testosterone Levels

Testosterone-decreasing chemicals can be found not only in everyday items but in the food we eat as well.

Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to be unharmed by these common materials in our contemporary society.

The effects of tampered hormonal levels can definitely impact our overall performance and the ability to gain new muscle mass.

That’s why I always recommend only the top natural testosterone boosters to my clients.

What we noticed during our regular testing is that these products can induce a higher libido, increased energy, and improved work and athletic performance.

They aid in maintaining healthy testosterone levels, especially as you age.


Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *