Are men less manly than we used to be? In a word, yes. However, it has nothing to do with skinny jeans, man buns, “murses” (man purses, not male nurses), more men in their 20s and 30s still living at home, or the sheer number of dudes who no longer know how to drive a stick. At the same time, men who choose those devices and lifestyle habits may qualify as less manly in some circles, but that may be subjective.

What is undeniably true is that total testosterone levels are at an all-time low. Studies show that testosterone levels in men across all age groups are as much as 20% lower than testosterone levels of men in identical age ranges studied twenty years ago. (Endocrine Today) Much of this disparity is caused by our living environment and diet, especially in Western civilization. Here are some of the contributing culprits to the nosedive in testosterone levels:

Less smoking

While kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray, the results are confirmed: smoking is known to increase testosterone. (NCBI) Of course, the other substantial health risks (translation: death by lung cancer) are far more documented, smoking a pipe or cigarette has at least one perk.

BPA (bisphenol A)

If you’ve ever looked on the side of a recyclable container, you probably saw the word BPA. Bisphenol A is a chemical used to produce polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. (Mayo Clinic) Polycarbonate plastics are used in plastic food storage containers, such as water bottles. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal food canisters, including soup cans, soda pop caps, and canned fruit and veggies. 

Studies show that BPA is known to sometimes leak into the consumer product, like your food. BPA can inhibit cholesterol synthesis in your mitochondria and liver, which can greatly reduce sperm production and testosterone levels. Avoid eating food out of metal cans and microwaving plastic containers.


Good luck pronouncing this one. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to increase the flexibility and durability of plastic, which is why they’re sometimes called “plasticizers”. Phthalates are used in a massive variety of consumer products, including shampoos, vinyl adhesives, raincoats, nail polish, hair products, and more. (CDC) Look for phthalate-free consumer products to limit their effect on your testosterone production.

There are even more contributors to low testosterone levels among men today, including serious influencers like parabens. If you’re feeling like less of a man, it may be a toxic living environment that’s poisoning your testosterone. We created a FREE eBook available here for instant download to help you learn more about the many benefits of testosterone replacement therapy. Many of our patients use this resource as a conversation starter with their doctor or one of our board-certified physicians. Download your FREE eBook right now and schedule your next appointment at Low T St. Louis.