Xenoestrogens lower the level of testosterone and reduce sperm count in men. It may cause serious problems in female reproductive system too.
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Summary: Xenoestrogen are a type of synthetic compounds which have estrogenic effect on living organism. These chemicals enter our body through pesticides, use of plastics and plastic bottles, chemicals and other pollutants. Xenoestrogens lower the level of testosterone and reduce sperm count in men. It may cause serious problems in female reproductive system too. These chemicals from plastic affect fertility, cause low sperm count and low testosterone.
Hormones which Influence Sperm Production
We all know various male hormones are responsible for sperm production. Ayurveda acharyas have also mentioned the functions of these hormones in their texts. This article is an effort to explain in a simple way about hormone responsible for sperm production and its ayurvedic view.
Male hormones begin to appear in body at the onset of puberty. Boys when they attain puberty the hypothalamus (a part in Brain) starts secreting Gonadotropin releasing hormones. The pituitary gland responds to gonadotropin hormones to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Leutinising Hormones (LH). Both FSH and LH enter testes. FSH stimulates Sertoli cells which in turn nourish sperm cells and helps in spermatogenesis. LH stimulates interstitial cells or Leydig cells to produce testosterone. (Read Natural ways to increase testosterone )
Testosterone is mainly responsible for secondary sexual characteristics like deepening of voice, growth of facial, auxilary and pubic hair. Boys also start experiencing sexual drive. Testosterone also stimulates spermatogenesis or production of sperms. Any imbalance in this hormone may reduce libido and sperm production (Read Top foods that boost testosterone level and libido )
According to principles of Ayurveda – The whole male body responds to testosterone. Hence sushruta has said
“yatha payasi sarpistu goodashchekshow raso yatha shareereshu tatha shukram nrinaam vidyaadhbishagwara”
This means ” the shukra dhatu ( the element which helps in reproduction) is present all over the body . In men its action is not visible during childhood as shukra dhatu will be still in development satge. When the boy attains the proper age like puberty the function of shukra dhatu becomes visible. The whole male body starts responding to matured shukra dhatu
This process can be explained with the following examples.
The ghee (Read Properties of ghee (Clarified butter) as described in Ayurveda ) is present in milk in an invisible form. Ghee (Read Ayurvedic Home Remedies with Ghee ) is extracted by subjecting milk (Read Magnificent Milk – An ayurveda view ) to various process like heating, curdling, churning etc. These process take time and the invisible ghee in milk becomes visible at the end of the process.
We all know that Sugar cane (Read Ayurveda Health benefits of Sugar cane ( Ikshu -Saccharum officinarum ) is very sweet. This means the sugar is present all over the sugar cane. We extract sugar by subjecting sugar cane to various process like squeezing to get sugar cane juice, boiling the juice, cooling it, crystallising etc. These process makes the hidden sugar visible.
Just like above example, the shukra dhatu is present in human being in an invisible form. It undergoes various changes as children grow and at certain stage when the age is perfect the activity of shukra dhatu becomes visible and we experience the presence of shukra dhatu.
The cream of shukra dhatu (semen) comes out of the body only during the process of ejaculation. But this process of ejaculation needs a joyful union of mind and body.
Shukra dhatu not only helps in production of healthy sperms but also stimulates sexual drive. Imbalance of this dhatu or diminished quantity of this dhatu may lead to Erectile Dysfunction (Read Ayurveda Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction) , Premature Ejaculation, low sperm count and low sperm motility (Read Male Infertility Treatment and Home Remedies-An Ayurvedic View ) . Hence the shukra dhatu has to be maintained and balanced in proper quantities. Texts of Ayurveda recommend Vajikarana Therapy to keep the sexual function up. This therapy helps in Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation , low sperm count and low sperm motility (Read Best Dry Fruits to Increase Sperm Count ). It also rejuvenates male body.
Xenoestrogens – a threat to fertility in humans.
Researchers observe that day by day sperm count is continuing to plummet. The reason behind this may be environmental pollution, plastic chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides, unhealthy diets and many more. Almost all these pollutants have petrochemicals as their base. These chemicals contain compounds called xenoestrogen. Xenoestrogen are a type of synthetic compounds which have estrogenic effect on living organism.
Before analyzing the effect of xenoestrogen, let us understand how our body works with hormones. Cells of our body have numerous minute openings called pores. These pores are known as “srotas” in ayurveda. They selectively allow nutrients, hormones and enzymes required by the cell. Cells are very sensitive to hormones. They allow only specific hormones to enter at stipulated biological time.
The male reproductive system responds to hormone called testosterone. In same way the female reproductive system responds to estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone hormones balance the function of female reproductive system. Male body produces very little estrogen and female body produces very little testosterone. Any variations in level of these hormones can imbalance functions of respective reproductive systems.
Effect of xenoestrogens on male reproductive system
Now let us come back to chemical compounds xenoestrogens. These compounds enter the body through pollutants. Fast foods, pesticide remnants on plant products, meat of animals which have been fed on synthetic foods, canned foods, packed foods, environmental pollution, fish grown in polluted waters etc contribute to the list of pollutants. Xenoestrogens mimic the effect of estrogen hormones. These chemical compounds confuse the cell and prevent its response to natural hormones of body. Natural hormones are excreted from body when they are secreted in excess. But xenoestrogens cannot be flushed out of body by any means. They remain in our body and continue to affect the cells and functions. These compounds mainly affect the male and female reproductive system.
In an analysis of commercially available mineral waters, the researchers found evidence of xenoestrogen compounds leaching out of the plastic packaging into the water. These compounds can disrupt functions of male reproductive system and can cause low libido, low level of testosterone, enlargement of prostate gland, low sperm count etc.
In men xenoestrogens suppress the effects of testosterone hormone and also lower its production. This leads to
- Weight gain
- Water retention
- Enlargement of tumors
- Enlargement of prostate gland
- Low testosterone level.
- Low sperm count
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased anxiety.
Effect of xenoestrogens on female reproductive system
In women xenoestrogens imitate the effects of estrogen hormone and disturb the balance between estrogen and progesterone hormone. The following are the risks and health hazards caused by these chemicals in women.
- Precocious puberty (Early puberty)
- PCOS or PCOD
- Early menopause
- Cancer of uterus
- Cancer of breast
- Nausea, vomiting
- Tenderness of breast and enlargement
- Pigments on face.
- Weight gain
- Increased bleeding during menstruation.
What is the solution for this?
- Always use organic foods as much as possible.
- Be a vegetarian. The phytohormones of vegetables nullify the effects of xenoestrogen.
- Peel non organic fruits and vegetables.
- Chose organic locally grown and seasonal vegetables and fruits.
- Buy hormone free meats and dairy products.
- Reduce the use of plastics.
- Avoid the use of plastic wrap and plastic containers while microwaving. Heated plastics release xenoestrogens which can lower sperm count.
- Do not store water in plastic bottles for a long time.
- Do not freeze water in plastic bottles.
- Use cosmetics which are natural and free of chemicals.
- Minimize the use of nail polish and nail polish remover.
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