Hormonal Transitioning: A Result of Environmental Toxins?


“It is critical to maintain hormone balance throughout life, and more so as we age, especially when we consider the daily bombardment of hormone disruptors weakening our microbiome from our food, water, and airborne environmental toxins.”

We know the basics: men produce testosterone and women produce estrogen, and these chemicals create masculinity and femininity. But what happens if these ratios become higher or lower? Do we not change with the levels of hormones produced?

Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. was recently interviewed by the Canadian psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson where Kennedy spoke about a conspiracy theory that young boys were being exposed to chemicals in water turning them transgender. While he did not believe that one single factor was to blame, he steered the conversation towards mental health challenges, stating that the rise in these, as well as gender dysphoria, come from chemical exposure in water, since most of these toxins are endocrine disruptors. “There’s Atrazine throughout our water supply, and (…) if you, in a lab, put Atrazine in a tank full of frogs, it will chemically castrate and forcibly feminize every frog in there and 10 percent of the frogs, the male frogs, will turn into fully viable females able to produce viable eggs.”[1] Kennedy’s conspiracy theory was already disproved in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

What if it was more than just the water but a combination of things e.g. our diet?

We know that sugar stimulates insulin (and chronic sugar ingestion keeps this going on and on) which promotes the genetic upregulation of the desaturase enzymes that convert the too highly abundant in the American diet linoleic acid (present in vegetable oils, think fried foods or potato chips) to arachidonic acid (AA). Arachidonic acid is the parent compound of the exquisitely potent pro-inflammatory molecules called 2- and 4-series eicosanoids. These AA-derived eicosanoids are the most fundamental drivers of all things inflammation in the body. Arachidonic acid is cleaved from the lipid membrane for metabolism to eicosanoids by the enzyme phospholipase A2 (PLA2). A main end product of this cascade of events is prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). PGE2 promotes genetic upregulation of aromatase (CYP19), the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen.

According to Dr. Kara Fitzgerald[2], clinicians treating the “Low T” hypogonadal epidemic need to take a full system’s approach, which means that endocrine disruption happens from all sides. Diet is our greatest leverage point in virtually all disease, but stress will increase testosterone’s conversion to estrogen and reduce total sex hormone availability. Also remember: glucocorticoids are diabetogenic. Toxins, especially plastics and all of the “cides” (pesticides, herbicides, insecticides) are xenoestrogens. Think about the sexually ambiguous salmon swimming in polluted waters or pesticides that are sprayed on conventionally grown (non-organic) vegetables, which act as estrogens once ingested.

Dr. Fitzgerald is not the only one thinking that food is feminizing men. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, noted neurosurgeon and author of The Blaylock Report: “Studies show that xenoestrogens from plastics appear to cause premature menses in young girls. Soy isoflavones appear to increase aggressiveness and heighten antisocial behavior in monkeys and appear to feminize male animals.”[3] Unsaturated fats from vegetable oils come mostly from soy, which is one of the most estrogenic plants. It is usually covered in pesticides, which come with their own estrogenic properties.

Hormones are given to cows too, to increase meat and milk production. Once inside the body, these compounds have strong estrogenic effects. Another problem is when cows are not fed the species appropriate diet and they are fed soy that has been soaked in pesticides, which is a triple hazard. This is why it is critical to eat grass-fed beef.

Hops—best known for its use in beer—is also affecting the hormonal balance. Just 100 grams of hops (about 3.5 ounces) contains anywhere from thirty thousand to three hundred thousand IUs of estrogen, depending on the type of hops. Most of it is the very potent estrogen estradiol. Estradiol, as it is taken into the male body, causes a direct lowering of testosterone levels in the testes and an increase in SHBG levels, which then binds up even more free testosterone in the bloodstream. The estradiol in hops has also been found to directly interfere with the ability of the testes Leydig cells to produce testosterone. The presence of this highly estrogenic substance in beer is not an accident.”[4]

We have mentioned plastics and their hormone disruptive properties before. The chemicals implicated are phthalates, which make plastics more pliable in many cosmetics, toys, baby-feeding bottles and paints and can leak into water and food. All previous studies suggested that these chemicals blunt the influence of the male hormone testosterone on healthy development of males have been in animals. “This research highlights the need for tougher controls of gender-bending chemicals,” says Gwynne Lyons, toxics adviser to the WWF, UK. Otherwise, “wildlife and baby boys will be the losers”.[5] “Recent evidence indicates that phtalates from plastic and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are one of many factors predicting gender dysphoria, particularly in the case of male-to-female transgenders.”[6] If hormone disruptors affect gender orientation and gender dysphoria, we can be sure that they are a clear and present danger to reproduction and the long term viability of our species.

Another question raises regarding pharmaceuticals. Numerous medications e.g. opioids or statins, will deplete testosterone. Nutrient depletions will contribute and complicate matters; vitamin D repletion alone has been shown to increase testosterone. This phenomenon emerged in connection with the contraceptive drug diethylstilbesterol too. Mothers who were unaware of their pregnancy continued to take the drug. It was found to have masculinizing effects on the brains of female fetuses. The limited evidence available indicated that when they matured, such females were less interested in caring for children and more interested in female romantic partners.[7]

According to a review Brain Sex Differences Related to Gender Identity Development “Prenatal and pubertal sex hormones seem to permanently affect human behaviour and, in addition, heritability studies have demonstrated a role of genetic components. However, a convincing candidate gene has not been identified. Future studies (i.e., genome wide studies) are needed to better clarify the complex interaction between genes, anatomy and hormonal influences on psychosexual development.”[8]

Besides pesticides, plastic, pharmaceuticals and drugs other contaminants are affecting our hormonal health as well. According to research, sodium fluoride, to which humans and animals are exposed through water, food, air and products used for dental health, disrupts testosterone biosynthesis by affecting the steroidogenic pathway in TM3 Leydig cells.
“Results showed that fluoride administered in concentrations much lower than those allowed by the World Health Organization had a negative effect on testosterone biosynthesis. The data demonstrate that fluoride downregulates the transcription factors involved in sterogenogenesis by reducing testosterone and cAMP levels. With these changes in expression levels of transcription factors, fluoride also suppresses the expression levels of genes and proteins that play a key role.”[9]

It is critical to maintain hormone balance throughout life, and more so as we age, especially when we consider the daily bombardment of hormone disruptors weakening our microbiome from our food, water, and airborne environmental toxins. Our endocrine system needs to be brought in balance: growth hormone through our pituitary gland, thyroid balance with maintaining thyroid and adrenal gland support and sex hormones by supporting and maintaining testosterone and estrogen balance.

Life Choice products helpful in supporting hormonal balance:

Additional Reading:


[1] Mackey, Joshua S. 2023.

[2] Fitzgerald, Kara. 2017.

[3] Herman, Jesse. 2016.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Coghlan, Andy. 2005.

[6] Barber, Nigel. 2019.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ristori, Jiska et al. 2020.

[9] Yilmaz, Banu Orta et al. 2018.