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04.08.2022


Alarming drop in testosterone levels in young men

In rich countries, the endocrinology of average men is changing in an alarming way. According to American scientists, young men today have as much as a third less testosterone than the young men of 15 years ago.


Alarming drop in testosterone levels in young men


Study
Soum Lokeshwar, an American physician and researcher, analyzed data from 4,045 men aged 15-39 collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys in 1999-2016. He looked in particular at the total testosterone level.

Results
In the period studied, men became fatter. Their average BMI increased by just over 2 points. That increase was statistically significant.

During the same period, the men's total testosterone levels plummeted. In 1999-2000, the average was still close to 600 nanograms per deciliter. In 2015-2016 this was only 400 nanograms per deciliter. This equates to a decrease of about thirty percent.

Click on the table and figure below for a larger version.


Alarming drop in testosterone levels in young men


Alarming drop in testosterone levels in young men


Lokeshwar again measured the change in testosterone levels over time, but then only looked at the men with a 'healthy' BMI. When he brushed off this effect, and immediately did the same for other confounders such as chronic conditions and diseases, age, smoking, alcohol and exercise, testosterone levels still dropped significantly.

Causes?
Lokeshwar does not know what could explain the decrease in testosterone level he described. Perhaps men are getting more phytoestrogens through their diets, he suggests. Or maybe it's because of the growing popularity of marijuana. But whatever it is, it's an environmental factor.

Mechanism
We, the unwitting compilers of this website, suspect that deteriorated sleep habits are the main cause of declining testosterone levels. According to surveys, not only are we sleeping less and less, but the quality of our sleep has also deteriorated.

Source:
Eur Urol Focus. 2021 Jul;7(4):886-9.

More:
The disappearance of fruit and vegetables from our diet lowers men's testosterone levels 12.12.2019
Stress and fatigue reduce testosterone just as much as age does 07.08.2017
Lifestyle improvements boost testosterone level in over fifties 01.01.2016

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Boosting Testosterone


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More sleep can double your testosterone level
Older men can sometimes double their testosterone levels by getting more sleep, according to a human study that Plamen Penev of the University of Chicago published in Sleep.

Extra hour sleep equals 12 percent more testosterone
Aging men's testosterone decline is largely due to the fact that older men sleep less well than younger men.

Overweight halves teenagers' testosterone levels
If you're carrying around more kilos of fat than is good for you, you also have less testosterone circulating in your blood than Mother Nature intended.