The role of men and the nature of masculinity are subject to intense debate at present. But let’s start by looking at the cold hard facts: men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than women. 90% of the homeless are male. Men are lonelier than ever, with some studies showing that 90% of men are lonely and that more young men than ever before are without a partner. What is going on?
There is a growing trend of men dropping out of the social society altogether, spending time alone playing video games, scrolling social media – or worse – internet porn that drains their vital energy and self-esteem. Parasitic businesses are cashing in on the loneliness epidemic with the rise of OnlyFans and – terrifyingly – AI girlfriends. All these digital addictions will destroy a man’s ability to have real interactions and relationships – bringing in even more cash for the online attention-pirates.
The internet, in the way that the internet does, has turned the crises into a source of bitter contention. It has become one of the front lines in the ever-increasing, ever-distracting culture war. One side says that men need to “man up”, control their emotions, assume traditional roles and push back against the feminising effects of modern society. The other side says men need to be more open about their feelings and that the traditional role of men in society was toxic and oppressive.
A biological perspective
As with all these debates, most people have firmly picked a side and will never budge, consuming more and more content that affirms their worldview. And this article is not going to add more fuel to this fire. Instead, we are going to zoom in and look at the problem on a biological level.
Looking at biological evidence has the advantage of being free from emotion or ideology. It is hard to argue with solid facts. And the facts show that men are experiencing hormonal imbalance to an unprecedented degree. Since the 1980s, male testosterone levels have been dropping dramatically, by around 1% a year. Even more shocking is the staggering decrease in sperm count – around 60% in the last few decades – if current trends continue, they will reach zero by 2045 according to one researcher.
It is hard to find historical studies looking at estrogen levels in men. This hormone plays a vital role in female reproductive health (see our article) and is present in small quantities in healthy men. But elevated levels in men cause all sorts of problems. We know for certain that men are increasingly exposed to environmental pollutants that can cause elevated estrogen, as we will discuss.
Low Testosterone Symptoms
What are the symptoms of low testosterone in men? There are many. Depression, mood swings, fatigue, low libido, reduced ability to handle stress and poor concentration. Testosterone has been shown to promote men’s ability to fit into social hierarchies. So imagine a man with depleted testosterone. He would be depressed, anti-social, anxious and exhausted. So of course things like social media and video games would appeal to him – to try to boost his mood without having to interact with other people or concentrate. Low self-esteem and libido may make pornographic content more appealing than pursuing real relationships.
Low Testosterone Environmental Causes
What could be causing the drop in testosterone levels? You will often hear about obesity and a sedentary lifestyle being to blame – but what if that is a symptom rather than a cause? The truth is, we are being absolutely bombarded with hormone-disrupting substances.
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are prominent players. Bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastics can disrupt testosterone balance. Similarly, phthalates in toys and vinyl flooring are known culprits.
Pesticides, with atrazine at the forefront, linger on our fruits and veggies. Atrazine is the most widely used pesticide in the world, it is everywhere and on pretty much everything! It is one of the most vicious Endocrine disrupters ever discovered.
Processed and junk foods, laden with trans fats and sugars, aren’t doing our testosterone any favours: unhealthy foods have been shown to adversely effect testosterone levels – and a larger and larger percentage of humanity is living on almost entirely processed foods!
Alcohol consumption also reduces testosterone, since this is the drug of choice in much of the world, and men are more likely to be heavy drinkers than women, it seems like this would be a major factor in the plummeting testosterone levels.
Heavy metals, like lead and cadmium, from contaminated sources can be another factor, and so can PCBs, remnants from past industrial activities still lurking in the environment. Basically, there are hormone-disrupting chemicals coming at us from all angles.
Elevated Estrogen Symptoms
Just as low testosterone brings its own challenges, elevated estrogen in men can be equally concerning. An increase in body fat, especially around the abdominal area, can be a telltale sign. Another alarming symptom is gynecomastia, the technical term for when men develop breasts. This used to be an incredibly rare condition, but it is now affecting one in three men! Alongside these physical changes, elevated estrogen can lead to emotional symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, and a decrease in libido as well as poor memory and concentration. Simply put, while estrogen is essential even in men, an imbalance can throw off one’s physical and emotional equilibrium. Just as with low T, the effects of elevated estrogen are profound and underscore the importance of hormonal balance in men.
So, if we add these effects to those of low testosterone, a man will be in an even worse position! The weight gain and gynecomastia can erode self-esteem, and the psychological symptoms will make social interactions and tasks requiring concentration more difficult.
Environmental Factors That Raise Estrogen
In recent years, concerns over factors leading to elevated estrogen in men have grown. Notably, plastics and pesticides have been put under the microscope. Plastics, particularly those containing BPA, have been linked to hormone disruption, potentially elevating estrogen levels. The same pesticides that cause low testosterone are also known to elevate estrogen levels. There have been startling findings in the UK regarding fish, displaying feminized characteristics – male fish producing eggs! It sounds like something out of a dystopian sci-fi movie, but it is really happening! This is believed to be a result of pharmaceutical contaminants in waterways, with birth control pills being a major contributor along with the other substances we have mentioned. Many of these substances contain phytoestrogens, substances that mimic estrogen in the body. While there are natural phytoestrogens available in herbs commonly used for female reproductive health, men being exposed to them can be dangerous.
Soy is often promoted as a healthy alternative to meat – but it is packed with phytoestrogens and has been shown to boost estrogen in men. It is very commonly used and found in all sorts of foods. The debate around soy has been somewhat politicised – with right-wingers referring to what they see as effeminate modern men as “soy boys”. And for this reason, the left tends to dismiss the soy-estrogen links as a conspiracy theory. But look beyond the culture war at the facts and you will see that billions of people around the world are loading themselves with phytoestrogens thanks to soy consumption, and it’s growing since vegan diets are becoming more prominent. Of course, you can be a vegan and avoid soy – but it is commonly touted as a meat substitute so be careful!
It is interesting that all over the world, beer is associated with men and masculinity thanks to billions being spent over decades of adverts. But beer, especially when high in hops, is filled with phytoestrogens. In fact, it contains the strongest phytoestrogen known to science: 8-prenylnaringenin. Something to think about next time you see an advert featuring a load of guys enjoying a beer together.
Ejaculation vs Retention
It isn’t just physical toxins we need to watch out for, modern men are also being bombarded with plenty of information and imagery that could certainly be classed as toxic.
Pornography has become normalised, and so has the hookup culture enabled by apps like Tinder and glorified by the entertainment industry. But frequent ejaculation is not healthy for men, in spite of what you may have been told.
Men who practice semen retention – abstaining from ejaculation for periods of weeks, months, or even years – report a great number of benefits. This includes increased strength, focus, energy, motivation and self-confidence. Famous advocates of semon retention include Nikola Tesla, Muhammed Ali, and Mahatma Gandhi. There are also a number of reports from men who have tested their testosterone levels while retaining and finding a dramatic increase. Semen retention is advocated by almost every ancient spiritual tradition: Ancient Egyptian mysticism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christian and Jewish mysticism, Sufism and so on. But for some reason, the modern-day scientific community seems to have little interest in the practice.
The spiritual cannot be separated from the physical, if men are becoming depleted from frequent ejaculation, this may well manifest as hormonal imbalance, we know for sure that ejaculation raises prolactin levels in men (the hormone used in female breast milk production). Being sexually promiscuous is often held up as a virtue for men, but it leads to depletion and imbalance. Sexual energy literally brings new life into the world, it is very powerful and should not be wasted or abused.
The Root Of The Problem
This article may have just taken a spiritual detour, but the biological evidence alone is enough to show that men are subject to hormone dysregulation. In fact, a recent study in Europe tested people for the presence of the notorious endocrine-disrupting chemical, BPA.
So, instead of joining in the culture war, and arguing about the nature of masculinity, it seems a more reliable way to look at this problem is on the level of biology. If men are being bombarded with endocrine-disrupting chemicals, it is no surprise that they are dropping out of society – forgoing real human interactions for artificial, addictive stimulation.
Often, we blame male loneliness on social factors or the ever-increasing array of digital distractions. But from what we have discussed, it is evident that a man with depleted testosterone and elevated estrogen is going to have little motivation to socialise or engage in tasks that require concentration. Many men have tried to change their habits, to re-engage with society and so on. But they often fail. We believe it is vital to get the body working the way it should, then good habits will naturally follow as confidence, concentration and motivation improve.
What Can We Do?
As we like to point out in all of our articles, the source of many of today’s physical and mental ailments is our separation from nature. So it makes sense, that returning to nature will provide the solution.
Sticking to only organic food, avoiding plastic packaging, refraining from drinking tap water, avoiding alcohol, and other lifestyle changes should be paramount. There are also a number of herbs known to boost testosterone and generally balance male hormones. All of the below are available in our online store or shop in Brixton. We are currently developing a special formula for men based on modern research, African and Ayurvedic traditions.
Herbs For Men
Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia): Often used in traditional medicine in Southeast Asia, it’s believed to boost testosterone levels and enhance libido.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): Some studies suggest that fenugreek supplements can increase testosterone levels and improve strength.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): An adaptogenic herb from Ayurvedic medicine, it’s shown promise in increasing testosterone levels, especially in men with low fertility.
Mucuna Pruriens (Velvet Bean): Contains L-DOPA which might help increase testosterone levels, particularly in stressed individuals.
Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium): Despite its playful name, this herb has been traditionally used to improve libido and might have some testosterone-enhancing effects.
Maca Root: Native to Peru, it’s often used to boost libido and endurance, though direct testosterone-boosting effects need more concrete evidence.
Shilajit: A sticky substance found in the Himalayas, early research suggests it might help increase testosterone levels in healthy individuals.
Zinc: This essential mineral can boost testosterone in those who are deficient in zinc.
Vitamin D: Being deficient in Vitamin D can lead to lower testosterone levels, so supplementation might benefit some individuals.
Ginger: Some animal studies have indicated that ginger can improve testosterone levels and other aspects of male reproductive health.
Calcium: This supplement may help the body detoxify and remove excess estrogen.
Passion Flower: Contains a flavonoid named Chrysin, believed to inhibit aromatase activity (it increases testosterone).
Stinging Nettle: While it’s often considered for its potential to boost free testosterone, it might also help in managing estrogen levels.
We are currently developing a male herbal tonic. based on ancient wisdom and modern research, which will include some of the above herbs. A balanced hormonal system is vital to health and well-being, and by sharing this information we hope to play a role in solving the current crises that is affecting men.