Penises are shrinking because of pollution, warns environmental scientist

It may sound like a joke, but this research shows the full extent of how much we are damaging reproductive health.

By Marthe de Ferrer • Updated: 13/12/2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on

Edited for content. The opinions expressed in this article may not reflect the opinions of this site’s editors, staff or members.

Our Takeaways:

· Pollution is proving to causing penis shrinkage and decreasing fertility worldwide.

· Some scientists believe the trend of infertility and smaller penises will qualify humans as becoming an endangered species.

· Phthalates which are now found in the environment are disrupting endocrine systems.

Pollution is causing human penises to shrink, according to one scientist.

A leading epidemiologist and environmental expert has published a book that examines the link between industrial chemicals and penile length.

Dr Shanna Swan’s book, Count Down, argues that our modern world is altering humans’ reproductive development and threatening the future of our species.

The book outlines how pollution is leading to higher rates of erectile dysfunction, fertility decline, and growing numbers of babies born with small penises. Though the headline fact about shrinkage may sound like a laughing matter, the research paints a bleak portrait of humanity’s longevity and ability to survive.

“In some parts of the world, the average twenty-something today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Dr Swan writes, dubbing the situation a “global existential crisis” in the book.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc.”

According to the book, humans meet three of the five possible criteria used to define whether or not a species is endangered. “Only one needs to be met,” writes Dr Swan, “the current state of affairs for humans meets at least three.”

How is pollution causing problems with fertility?

According to Dr Swan’s research, this disruption is caused by phthalates, chemicals used in plastic manufacturing, which can impact how the hormone endocrine is produced.

This group of chemicals is used to help increase the flexibility of a substance. They can be found in toys, food packaging, detergents, cosmetics, and many more products. But Dr Swan believes that these substances are radically harming human development.

“Babies are now entering the world already contaminated with chemicals because of the substances they absorb in the womb,” she says. Much of Dr Swan’s recent work has focused on the effects of phthalates, initially looking at phthalate syndrome in rats.

In 2000, however, there was a breakthrough in the field, and it became possible to measure low doses of phthalates in humans.

Since then Dr Swan has authored papers on how these chemicals can pass between parents and their offspring, the impact on female sexual desire, and – most recently – on penile length.

One of her most famous studies examined the intersection between sperm count and pollution in 2017, in ground-breaking research which looked at men’s fertility over the last four decades. After studying 185 studies involving almost 45,000 healthy men, Dr Swan and her team concluded that sperm counts among men in Western countries had dropped by 59 per cent between 1973 and 2011.

But there is some good news. Since the creation of the European Environment Agency, European citizens are exposed to 41 per cent less particulate pollution than we were two decades ago. It’s believed that these regulations have gifted Europeans an extra nine months of life expectancy, on average.

“A demand for change from citizens and subsequent strong policies have helped to clear the air in parts of Europe before, and can continue to do so to ensure that high pollution today does not need to be tomorrow’s fate,” says Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Politics Institute at the University of Chicago.

So if pollution reduction measures can be properly implemented, there is still hope for the future and humanity’s fertility.


Breakthrough into the cause of male infertility

Scientists at Newcastle University have identified a new genetic mechanism that can cause severe forms of male infertility.

Our Takeaway:

  • Scientists collected and studied DNA from 185 infertile men and their parents. They identified 145 rare protein-altering mutations that are likely to negatively impact male fertility.
  • As many as 29 of the mutations affect genes directly involved in processes related to spermatogenesis — the process of sperm cell development.
  • Experts have found that mutations occurring during the reproduction process, when the DNA of both parents is replicated, can result in infertility in men later in life.
This article is a repost which originally appeared on ScienceDaily
Newcastle University - JANUARY 10, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Images sourced from Pexels

This breakthrough in understanding the underlying cause of male infertility offers hope of better treatment options for patients in the future.

The study, published today in Nature Communications, shows that new mutations, not inherited from father or mother, play a major role in this medical condition.

Improving understanding

It is hoped that this new knowledge will help to provide more answers in the future about the cause and best treatment options available to infertile couples.

Professor Joris Veltman, Dean of Newcastle University’s Biosciences Institute, UK, led the research which involved patients from Newcastle Fertility Centre and Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.

He said: “This is a real paradigm shift in our understanding of the causes of male infertility. Most genetic studies look at recessively inherited causes of infertility, whereby both parents are a carrier of a mutation in a gene, and the infertility occurs when the son receives both mutated copies, resulting in problems with their fertility.

“However, our research has found that mutations which occur when the DNA is replicated during reproduction in parents plays a significant role in the infertility in their sons.

“At present, we don’t understand the underlying cause in the majority of infertile men, and this research will hopefully increase the percentage of men for whom we can provide answers.”

Scientists collected and studied DNA from a global cohort of 185 infertile men and their parents. They identified 145 rare protein-altering mutations that are likely to negatively impact male fertility.

As many as 29 of the mutations affect genes directly involved in processes related to spermatogenesis — the process of sperm cell development — or other cellular processes related to reproduction.

Experts identified mutations in the gene RBM5 in multiple infertile men. Previous research carried out in mice has shown that this gene plays a role in male infertility.

Importantly, these mutations mostly cause a dominant form of infertility, where only one mutated gene is required. As a consequence, there is a 50% chance that infertility caused by these mutations will be passed on to the man’s child (if assisted reproductive technologies are used) and this may result in infertility, particularly in sons.

Millions of children have already been born through assisted reproductive approaches as a result of infertility. This research indicates a significant proportion of these children may inherit infertility from their father.

Professor Veltman said: “If we are able to obtain a genetic diagnosis, then we can start understanding better male infertility problems and why some infertile men still produce sperm that can be used successfully for assisted reproduction.

“With our information, and the research others are doing, we hope clinicians can improve counselling for couples and recommend what is the best course of action in order to conceive, either by proposing an appropriate medically-assisted procedure or in cases where none is suitable, provide appropriate alternatives.”

Infertility problems

It is estimated that up to 7% of men are affected by infertility and 50% of fertility problems within a heterosexual couple are due to the man. In around half of male infertility cases, the cause is unexplained.

Moving forwards, the scientists want to expand their work by studying thousands of patients and their parents in a large international consortium.

They will follow-up their research by conducting further studies into the role these newly identified mutated genes have on the impact of spermatogenesis and on the overall fertility in humans.

Does testicular cancer affect fertility?

Testicular Cancer Will Not Stop You From Experiencing Fatherhood: Tips From Fertility Expert Treatment of testicular cancer may affect hormone levels in men and cause infertility. So, it is advisable to consider consulting a fertility expert before you go for any treatment.

Written by Editorial Team | Updated : December 24, 2021 6:16 PM IST

This article is a repost which originally appeared on TheHealthSite

Edited for content

Cancer impacts the body physically and mentally in many ways. Treatment of cancer can also impact fertility among both men and women. While breast cancer and cervical cancer are common among women, men are affected by testicular cancer. With the correct treatment, testicular cancer can still be cured and, you may still have a chance to become a father.

What is testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is a condition in which cancerous cells develop in testicles among men. In most cases, men only develop cancer in one testicle. However, in rare cases, both the testicles can be affected.

Symptoms of testicular cancer

  • Heaviness in the scrotum
  • Painless lump or swelling in either of the testicles
  • Fluid in scrotum
  • Dull pain in lower abdomen/groin
  • Chest pain, phlegm, and breathlessness (in later stages)

Risk factors of testicular cancer

  • Age: Testicular cancer mainly affects younger men between 15-35 years of age.
  • Family history: If anyone in your family has a history of testicular cancer, you stand at a higher risk.
  • Race: Testicular cancer is much more common among white and non-Hispanic men.
  • Infertility: Infertile men are more likely to develop testicular cancer.

Does testicular cancer affect fertility?

Treatment of testicular cancer can affect hormone levels in men and cause infertility. If cancer develops only in one testicle, the other one works normally and releases enough testosterone to lead a healthy life. However, if both the testicles have to be removed, you will have to take testosterone in the form of monthly injections to maintain normal levels in the body. Therefore, removing one testicle does not usually cause infertility among men. However, chemotherapy can cause infertility for some time during and after the treatment. It may also cause permanent damage to fertility among a few men. Chemotherapy can also reduce your sex drive for some time. Usually, if there is one testicle left, men can conceive after cancer has been treated or two years after chemotherapy is finished.

What options do men have?

According to a study, most men who suffer from testicular cancer can conceive biologically. Sperm banking is a good option for men in case of infertility caused by testicular cancer. Even if your chances of getting infertile are low, your physician will advise you for sperm banking, if you wish to conceive later in life. Before any cancer treatment, you can store your sperms so that they are not damaged due to radiation or chemotherapy.

Sperm banking is also a great option for boys who have passed puberty and wish to conceive a few years later. Sperms can be stored for longer periods.

Also, orchidectomy or removing a testicle will not affect your chances of conceiving, until your other testicle is healthy.

Whether you have less or high chances of being infertile after treatment of testicular cancer, you should always consider consulting a fertility expert before you go for any treatment. A fertility specialist will suggest you options like using a donor sperm.

How to prevent testicular cancer?

Many of the known risk factors of testicular cancer cannot be prevented. Because of this, testicular cancer cannot be prevented. Also, most of the cases are found accidentally. Therefore, men should examine their testicles, starting from puberty. See what feels normal, especially after a shower and bath. Consult with your physician if you notice any signs and symptoms of testicular cancer.

The article is contributed by Dr Lavanya R, Fertility Specialist, Nova IVF Fertility, Whitefield, Bangalore.

Can Specific Foods or Diets Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

Can Specific Foods or Diets Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

What you eat or drink may affect levels of the male sex hormone, but whether a diet can increase libido or energy depends on many things.

By Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D.

Published Nov. 2, 2021Updated Nov. 3, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on The New York Times

Edited for content.

Can I increase my testosterone levels through the foods I eat? And if so, which foods or diets work best?

Many men, particularly as they age, are concerned about their levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone touted to build muscle, sex drive and vigor. But individual foods are unlikely to have an impact on testosterone levels — though drinking excessive amounts of alcohol might. If you are overweight, altering your diet to lose weight may help, since carrying excess pounds is a common cause of low testosterone. But in terms of specific foods or diets, any uptick you achieve may not have a noticeable impact on libido, energy or muscle mass.

“If someone was not overweight, I wouldn’t put them on a specific diet to raise testosterone based on the data we have now,” said Alexander Pastuszak, an assistant professor of urology and surgery at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who co-authored a review on alternatives to testosterone therapy.

In men, normal testosterone levels range from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Ups and downs within that normal range are unlikely to have any impact on sex drive or vitality. Only when levels consistently drop below 300 points — as confirmed in two blood tests by an accredited laboratory — are symptoms like low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, low mood or loss of muscle mass likely to appear, a medical condition known as hypogonadism.

Starting at around age 40, men’s testosterone levels start to decline by about 1 percent per year. But the drop can vary tremendously, with some older men maintaining levels similar to healthy young men. The trajectory of falling testosterone is steeper among men who gain a lot of weight, said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, professor of medicine at Harvard and the director of the Research Program in Men’s Health: Aging and Metabolism at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Studies on foods or diets and testosterone levels have generally been small and the findings far from conclusive. A recent British review that pooled data from 206 volunteers, for example, found that men on high-fat diets had testosterone levels that were about 60 points higher, on average, than men on low-fat diets. Men who followed a vegetarian diet tended to have the lowest levels of testosterone, about 150 points lower, on average, than those following a high-fat, meat-based diet. Still, Joseph Whittaker, the lead investigator and a nutritionist at the University of Worcester in Britain, said he would not recommend a man increase the fats in his diet unless he had low testosterone levels and symptoms of low T and was already restricting fats.

Another study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested two styles of diets in 25 fit men between the ages of 18 and 30. Calories consumed were the same, but one group ate a high-fat, very-low-carb, ketogenic-style diet, consisting of 75 percent of calories from fats, 5 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. Men in the other group ate a more traditional Western style, low-fat diet, containing 25 percent of calories from fats, 55 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. After 10 weeks of eating the high-fat diet, testosterone increased by 118 points, on average, while after the low-fat diet, levels declined by about 36 points.

Similarly, a study of 3,000 men found that those who reported eating a low-fat diet had slightly lower testosterone levels — about 30 points lower — than men who ate higher-fat diets. But none of the men had low testosterone.

“The moral is that healthy men who are of normal weight with no significant comorbidities are unlikely to benefit from restrictive diets,” said Dr. Richard J. Fantus, one of the study’s authors and a urologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill.

Diet studies are complicated, because changing one component of the diet, such as fat intake, alters so many other things, such as the amount of carbohydrates, protein and micronutrients consumed. It’s unclear which component of the diet may have prompted the hormonal changes, Dr. Bhasin said. Furthermore, testosterone levels may also be shaped by how much a person sleeps, or whether they are jet-lagged, or if they are eating most of their calories at night or in small meals throughout the day.

Dr. Faysal Yafi, chief of the division of Men’s Health and Reconstructive Urology at the University of California, Irvine, says his patients who opt to follow specific diets tend to start exercising more and drinking less alcohol, all of which can raise testosterone levels. He suspects any links between diet and testosterone may be the result of an overall healthier lifestyle.

Some men worry that eating lots of soy foods may cause their testosterone levels to fall, because soy is rich in isoflavones, which mimic the structure of estrogen. But the evidence doesn’t support their concerns, even if men eat foods like miso, tofu or soy milk at every meal. (Doctors did report one anecdotal case in which a 19-year-old man with Type 1 diabetes who followed a vegan diet containing 360 milligrams of soy isoflavones daily — nine times higher than a typical Japanese diet, and 100 times higher than the typical American diet — developed low testosterone levels along with low libido and fatigue. His symptoms improved when he stopped eating the soy-heavy, vegan diet.)

Long-term alcohol abuse lowers testosterone by damaging cells in both the testes, which make testosterone, and the liver, which alters testosterone metabolism. But binge drinking every now and then does not appear to have much of an impact — it lowers testosterone for only about 30 minutes, according to one study, after which levels bounce back to baseline.

Obese men who have low levels of testosterone can increase levels by cutting calories and losing weight — the type of diet does not matter, studies suggest. On the opposite extreme, Dr. Bhasin said he is seeing an increasing number of men at his clinic who have body dysmorphic issues and are suffering from low libido and fatigue. Strict calorie restriction, exercising intensely and being chronically stressed can all cause testosterone levels to plummet and are likely to blame, he said.

The bottom line is that for otherwise healthy men who are following a reasonably healthy lifestyle, fiddling with specific foods or the composition of the diet is not likely to make much of a difference on the testosterone score card. As Dr. Fantus of NorthShore University put it: “I don’t think there is a way to game the system to get really large increases by changing the diet.”


An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that men who ate low-fat diets tended to have higher testosterone levels. Men who ate high-fat diets tended to have the higher T levels.

The article also referred to a 19-year-old man with low testosterone levels who was eating a diet containing 360 milligrams of soy daily; his diet actually contained 360 milligrams of soy isoflavones.


Aloe for Male Enhancement: Is It Safe and Does It Work?

Aloe for Male Enhancement: Is It Safe and Does It Work?

Medically reviewed by Joseph Brito III, MD — Written by Rachael Zimlich on June 7, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content.

Aloe vera can be found in many products. It can help boost the moisture content of your skin and even help heal burns and other wounds.

While it may seem like something of a miracle product, it can’t help with everything. In fact, you may want to be cautious before applying it everywhere — including your genitalia.

Keep reading to find out how aloe vera can be used for sexual health and when to avoid it.

What is male enhancement?

Male enhancement is a general phrase used to describe any efforts to improve the appearance, size, or function of genitalia — specifically the penis.

Some common enhancement strategies include:

  • stretches and exercises
  • topical or oral medications and herbal remedies
  • pumps
  • clamps and rings
  • surgery
  • grooming techniques

The goal of these strategies is to increase the size or appearance of the penis, improve erection strength and duration, or resolve ejaculation issues.

In some cases, male enhancement aims to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). This term typically refers to the inability to have or maintain an erection, but there can be varying levels of ED. In many cases, there’s another root issue, like cardiovascular disease or a medication side effect.

Improvement of ED is commonly pursued either for sexual pleasure or fertility purposes. Treatments should be designed based on the goal in mind.

Talk with a doctor about your specific symptoms and goals before beginning any new therapies or medications.

Does research support the use of topical aloe vera for male enhancement?

The use of aloe vera for general health and skin care is fairly common. However, you may be wondering if it could be used for male enhancement.

Most herbal or plant remedies are based in cultural practices, but there’s not a lot of clinical research on some claims of aloe vera benefits, like male enhancement.

Some studies have been done with animals, but the results were generally inconclusive. If anything, some of these studies raised concern about the use of aloe vera for sexual health benefits.

Here’s a breakdown of some relevant research in this area:

  • In a 2011 animal study, topical aloe vera reduced sperm concentration and quality.
  • A 2014 study showed possible benefits to sperm health and hormone levels in mice that received injections of an aloe vera compound.
  • A 2015 study showed that that aloe vera may potentially harm fertility in male rats.
  • There have been reports of libido enhancement with aloe use, but results may vary based on the specific form of aloe.

If you’re concerned about ED or another sexual health issue, talk with a healthcare professional. They can help guide you toward the right treatment for your situation.

Other natural treatments for male enhancement

There are many natural remedies you can try if you’re interested in male enhancement. However, you should always discuss any supplements you’re considering with a doctor first.

Several herbal remedies that have shown promising effects on male sexual health and performance include:

  • L-arginine
  • panax ginseng
  • L-citrulline
  • L-carnitine
  • gingko biloba

Other ways to improve your sexual health and performance include focusing on an overall healthy lifestyle, including:

  • staying active and exercising
  • eating a healthy diet
  • reducing stress
  • avoiding alcohol and other drugs
  • spending time outdoors

While regular exercise and a healthy diet are always good choices, talk with your doctor before starting any new therapies or supplements for male enhancement.

How is aloe vera used?

Aloe vera has been used on the skin and in the body for thousands of years. It can be found in all kinds of products — from juices to lotions.

Oral use of aloe vera usually comes in a pill form or as liquid extract or juice that you can drink. It’s thought to help with the following conditions:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • hepatitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease

However, there isn’t enough data to determine if oral aloe is effective for improving these conditions.

Evidence on the benefits of topical use — such as a gel, ointment, or lotion — is clearer, demonstrating that aloe can be helpful in treating:

  • acne
  • lichen planus
  • oral submucous fibrosis
  • burning mouth syndrome
  • burns
  • scabies
  • skin toxicity due to radiation

While aloe vera is generally considered safe, be sure to check the ingredients of the specific product you’re using.

Some oral aloe products may contain additional compounds that could result in side effects or interact with other medications. Even topical products may be mixed with alcohol compounds or other ingredients that can cause irritation.

Are there any possible side effects?

Aloe vera is widely used as both a topical and oral supplement. However, there have been some side effects linked to aloe vera use — either orally or topically — including:

  • liver problems
  • skin irritation
  • stomach pain or cramps
  • diarrhea
  • electrolyte imbalances

To avoid side effects, read the label of the product you’re using to understand all the ingredients it contains. You should also check for safety statements on the label.

For topical uses, it’s also a good idea to do a patch test by applying a small amount of product to an area of skin to test for sensitivity or irritation before applying liberally. This is particularly important when it comes to applying topicals, like aloe vera, to sensitive skin areas, like your genitalia.

The bottom line

There isn’t much evidence showing that aloe vera helps improve the size of your penis or your sexual performance.

However, if you decide to try it as a topical or oral supplement for enhancement, be sure to check the product’s safety, like performing a skin patch test before widespread application.

Always talk with your doctor or another healthcare professional about any supplements you plan on taking and your reason for taking them. They may be able to help treat the source of any sexual health problems you’re facing.

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

Does Garlic Increase Your Sex Drive?

Can Garlic Improve Your Sex Life?

Written by Rachael Link, MS, RD on May 25, 2021 — Medically reviewed by Kim Chin, RD

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content.

Garlic is a popular ingredient that has been linked to a long list of health benefits.

According to some studies, garlic could help fight inflammation, reduce cholesterol levels, and protect against chronic disease.

Given its many medicinal properties, people may also wonder whether garlic can improve sexual function or increase libido.

This article looks at the evidence to determine whether garlic can increase your sex drive.

May improve blood flow

Some research suggests that garlic may help increase blood flow, which may be beneficial for treating issues like erectile dysfunction in men.

In fact, multiple human and animal studies have found that certain compounds found in garlic can increase blood flow and improve blood vessel function.

What’s more, one study among 49 older men found that a medication containing ingredients like aged garlic extract, ginseng, and velvet antler improved erectile function.

Garlic can also increase nitric oxide levels, a compound that helps blood vessels dilate to promote better blood flow. This could potentially help improve erectile function.

However, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effects of garlic on erectile dysfunction specifically.


Garlic may help improve blood flow, which could help prevent erectile dysfunction. However, more human research is needed.

May enhance male fertility

In addition to increasing blood flow, some studies have found that garlic may help promote male fertility.

One review of 18 studies concluded that garlic helped boost sperm production and increase levels of testosterone, which may be due to its antioxidant properties.

In a recent animal study, S-allyl cysteine, a compound found in garlic, increased testosterone production in mice.

Another animal study also showed that aged garlic extract could protect against changes in sperm production and testosterone levels caused by chemotherapy.

Still, further research is needed to determine how garlic may affect male fertility and testosterone levels in humans.


Although studies in humans are limited, some research shows that garlic and its components could improve male fertility, enhance testosterone levels, and increase sperm production.

Acts as an antioxidant

Antioxidants can not only help protect against chronic disease but also may play a key role in sexual health and fertility.

Fresh garlic and aged garlic extract are rich in antioxidants and can help neutralize harmful compounds known as free radicals.

According to one study among 100 men with infertility, taking an antioxidant supplement increased sperm count.

Interestingly, one study in rats with diabetes found that S-allyl cysteine from garlic improved erectile function by blocking the formation of free radicals.

However, additional studies are needed to understand how the antioxidants in garlic may affect sexual function and fertility in humans.


Garlic is a good source of antioxidants, which may improve sexual health and fertility.

The bottom line

Garlic is a powerful ingredient that has been linked to many potential health benefits.

According to some human and animal studies, it may improve sexual function by increasing blood flow and enhancing fertility, especially in men.

Still, limited research is available on garlic’s effects on sex drive specifically, and it remains unclear how it might affect sexual function in women.

However, it can easily be enjoyed as part of a nutritious, well-rounded diet to support overall health and protect against disease.

Just one thing

Try this today: When using garlic, be sure to crush or chop it, and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before cooking. This increases its content of allicin, a compound responsible for many of the health benefits associated with this popular ingredient.


Human sperm count dwindling, penis shrinking at alarming rate, scientist warns

Human sperm count dwindling, penis shrinking at alarming rate, scientist warns

This article is a repost which originally appeared on

Edited for content

Amid the many global problems we are facing today, one of humanity’s biggest issues comes relatively unnoticed: the decline in reproductive health, especially for males.

Specifically, the sperm count of males in the West has significantly decreased by 59% between 1973 and 2011 due to chemicals found in everyday items, a study co-authored by Dr. Shanna Swan in 2017 has found.

In the study, which has been making headlines around the globe, scientists noted that sperm count is of considerable public health importance for several reasons including the decline of male fertility and the rise of other health issues, such as testicular cancer.

“If you look at the curve on sperm count and project it forward—which is always risky—it reaches zero in 2045,” Swan said in her new book titled “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race,” as cited by Axios on Feb. 24.

In the book, Swan also noted that aside from the decline in sperm count, penis size and testes volume have been decreasing among humans in the past few decades.

“The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival,” Swan writes in the book.

Swan has since doubled down on her warning via Scientific American on March 16, where she co-wrote with Stacey Colino that the decline in reproductive health is happening to females as well.

They found that reproductive problems in males have been increasing by 1 percent every year, while the miscarriage rate for females in the United States is also increasing by 1 percent annually.

Swan and Colino noted that while 1 percent may not seem like a big number to the public, it actually is as this means a 10% increase every decade and a 50% increase in just 50 years.

This increase in reproductive health problems is faster than the rate of global warming, but the public has not been as vocal or informed regarding the issue, which threatens humanity’s existence.

Hormone-altering chemicals

This decline in reproductive health is largely due to the hormone-altering chemicals found in items found all around us: from plastic containers, food packaging, water bottles to electronic devices, pesticides and many others.

These items contain chemicals such as phthalates, bisphenol A and flame retardants, among others. It is no coincidence that the decline in reproductive health began in the mid-20th century when these items started being produced in large numbers, the researchers noted.

“Exposure to these chemicals is especially problematic during pregnancy because what happens during pregnancy doesn’t stay in pregnancy. Rather, an expectant mother’s exposure to toxic chemicals in the air she breathes, the water she drinks, the foods she eats and the products she slathers on her skin can enter her body (and hence the fetus) and influence her baby’s reproductive development,” Swan and Colino explained.

“This is particularly true early in pregnancy—in what’s called the reproductive programming window—and it’s especially true for male babies,” they added.

Among the many health issues, these chemicals’ effect on reproductive health has also been associated with premature death.

The researchers urge humanity “to shift our collective focus” and prioritize demanding the replacement of the said chemicals from our everyday items with chemicals that do not affect our hormones.

” It’s also time to establish better testing methods and regulatory actions so that only safe chemicals can enter the market and our bodies. In other words, we need to stop using each other and our unborn children as lab rats for EDC exposures,” Swan and Colino stressed.

“The health and the future of the human race really do depend on it,” they added. Ian Biong /ra

What are the benefits of dates for men?

How beneficial are dates for men?

Medically reviewed by Grant Tinsley, PhD — Written by Mary West on March 22, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on MEDICALNEWSTODAY

Edited for content

Research does not show that eating dates provides any sexual health benefits for males. That said, the fruit’s high nutrient content may promote general wellness and help prevent disease for people of all sexes.

Potential benefits

Some studies suggest that dates may benefit health in several ways. The following sections will look at what the research says in more detail.

They may help treat infertility

In traditional African medicine practices, people have long used dates to treat male infertility. However, there is scarce scientific research to support their effectiveness for this purpose, according to one study. This study is yet to undergo peer review.

The researchers tested the effects of dates on the fertility of rats with neurotoxin-induced infertility.

The dates reduced signs of infertility in the rats, but they also reduced levels of the hormone testosterone, which is linked to fertility.

The researchers suggest that future studies should try to identify a safe amount of dates for treating infertility.

Scientists need to do much more research into the effects of dates on fertility in humans before they can make any recommendations about using dates for this purpose.

They may boost brain health

A scientific review from 2016 notes that some studies have linked regular date consumption to better thinking skills and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s impairs memory and the ability to think. The review suggests that long-term use of date fruit supplements in rodents was associated with reduced plaque formation in the brain. These plaques are characteristic in people with Alzheimer’s.

They may help alleviate chronic disease due to their antioxidants

Unstable molecules called free radicals can cause a process known as oxidative stress.

Scientists believe that oxidative stress plays a role in the development of certain chronic conditions. These include cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Dates have strong antioxidant properties with the potential to improve chronic conditions.

They may increase skin health

Topical creams containing dates may improve skin health.

Research suggests that the application of date creams to the skin can improve skin moisture content, elasticity, and brightness. The authors also note that dates in skin care may reduce the effects of aging on the skin.

None of the participants using the cream reported side effects, and the dates appeared to be safe for use on the skin.

They may help with diabetes

Diabetes involves reduced blood sugar control. A scientific review that analyzed the available research on the topic suggests that dates have the potential to treat diabetes due to their antioxidant content.

Some studies in the review indicate that dates can improve the function of the pancreas in secreting insulin, which is the hormone that helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. Other studies indicate that dates may help with the complications of diabetes.

In addition, dates are high in fiber, meaning that the body absorbs them slowly during digestion. This helps keep a person’s blood sugar levels stable. High blood sugar levels can be a chronic issue in people with diabetes.

Their fiber content may help prevent certain conditions

The fiber in dates can also help with other conditions.

One study suggests that dietary fiber can help protect against diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, fiber may help reduce the risk of conditions involving the gastrointestinal tract, such as constipation, colon cancer, and ulcers.

Risks and considerations

Dates are a nutrient-rich type of fruit that may have various health benefits. The only possible drawback is that they are high in sugar, according to one study.

People who are trying to moderate their daily calorie intake may wish to limit their intake of dates because they are calorie dense.

Despite the fruit’s sugar content, the study authors say that low-to-moderate consumption is likely safe for anyone, including people with diabetes. This is because the fiber in dates causes the body to digest them slowly, helping prevent unhealthy blood sugar spikes.

However, a person wishing to take supplements containing dates should consult a doctor first. This is because supplements may not always provide the same health benefits as food.

Nutritional information for dates

Below is the nutritional information Source for a 100-gram (g) serving of dates, which is about four dates.

Amount Daily Value
Calories 277
Protein 1.81 g 4%
Total fat 0.15 g 0%
Carbohydrates 75 milligrams (mg) 27%
Fiber 6.7 g 24%
Vitamin A 149 international units 3%
Vitamin B6 0.25 mg 19%
Manganese 0.3 mg 13%
Copper 0.36 mg 40%
Magnesium 54 mg 14%
Potassium 696 mg 15%

According to some research, dates also contain:

  • Phenolic acids: These are types of antioxidants that help protect against disease.
  • Enzymes: These are molecules that make biochemical reactions happen.
  • Carotenoids: These are orange, yellow, and red pigments that are important for various functions.

How to include dates in the diet

Here are some ideas for how to add dates to an eating plan:

  • Breakfasts: Sprinkle dates into oatmeal or add them to dough when making muffins.
  • Salads: Mix dates into any kind of salad.
  • Snacks: Combine dates with other dried fruits and nuts, such as pecans or almonds, to make a trail mix.
  • Lunches: Include dates in a tuna or chicken salad wrap made with whole wheat tortillas.
  • Main dishes: Add dates to a turkey meatloaf recipe or include them in stews and soups.
  • Desserts: Make a parfait with layers of yogurt, diced dates, and berries.
  • Smoothies: Blend dates with almond milk, peanut butter, bananas, and ice to make a smoothie.
  • Sugar substitute: Puree dates and substitute them for sugar in recipes.
  • Energy balls: Pulse dates in a food processor. Mix in natural peanut butter, chopped dark chocolate, and rolled oats. Roll the mixture into balls and refrigerate.


Scientists need to do more research before they can make any claims about the specific health benefits of dates for men or fertility.

However, preliminary studies suggest that dates may help with other aspects of health, including cognition and blood sugar control, for people of any sex.

The vitamin, mineral, fiber, and antioxidant contents of dates make them a nutritious type of food to include in the diet. There are several creative ways to add them to an eating plan.

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.


Is fish oil beneficial for men?

What to know about the benefits of fish oil for men

Medically reviewed by Grant Tinsley, PhD — Written by Zia Sherrell, MPH on March 7, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on MEDICALNEWSTODAY

Edited for content

Fish oil is a common dietary supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests they could be beneficial for health and protection from certain diseases. Additionally, there may also be specific benefits for men, as fish oil might help with erections and fertility.

People who eat lots of oily fish may get enough of these fatty acids from their diet. For those who do not, or only occasionally, eat fish, taking a fish oil supplement could ensure they get sufficient amounts.

This article explores the potential benefits of fish oil for men and the possible risks. It also suggests how people may increase their levels of omega-3.

Definition of fish oils

Fish oil comes from various species of oily fish, such as mackerel, tuna, and herring. Manufacturers can use many different methods to harvest fish oil, but most techniques typically involve a four-stage process that includes cooking, pressing, filtering, and centrifuging the resultant oil.

Fish oils contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are essential fatty acids that the body cannot make itself. Two of the most well-known types of omega-3 are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Consuming fish oils and omega-3 may bring some health benefits and help with a number of health conditions.

List of possible benefits

Fish oil may have an impact on different areas of health and be a useful supplement for many people. The following is a list of some potential benefits of fish oil for men.

Sexual health and fertility

Although not widely reported, fish oil supplements may have benefits for sexual health and fertility.

A 2017 animal study examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acids and erectile dysfunction due to atherosclerosis. In this condition, the blood vessels narrow, which can affect erections. Rats in the treatment group fed omega-3 fatty acids demonstrated significantly improved erection quality.

It is essential to bear in mind that animal studies do not indicate the same results in humans. However, an earlier review also indicates that omega-3 could help men with erectile function.

In a 2020 study of 1,694 young male participants, those who reported using fish oil supplements had larger testes and higher semen volume and quality.

They also had a healthier-looking profile of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. These are two key hormones that regulate sperm production.

Although the study cannot conclude that the fish oil is causing the improvement, it suggests that it may play a role.

Mental health

Research suggests that individuals with depression may have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids. In a small study of 23 people published in Psychiatry Research, supplementation with omega-3s helped improve symptoms of depression within 3 weeks.

There are links between depression and memory problems. Supplementing with DHA alone or in combination with EPA may improve memory function in some groups of adults.

While studies suggest that omega-3 supplementation may help prevent cognitive decline, especially in older adults, a 2019 review notes that more research is still necessary.

Heart health

Heart disease accounts for 1 in 4 deaths in the United States each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S.

Eating fish may have a protective effect on heart health by reducing some of the risk factors for heart disease.

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, and although the body needs them, if levels are too high, they can increase the risk of heart disease.

Fish oil may help lower elevated triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Eating fish may also help to significantly lower low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol.

While many sources promote the potential benefits of fish oil for cardiovascular health, clinical studies do not consistently support them. For example, an analysis published in JAMA Cardiology could not find a clear link between fish oil and lower heart disease risk.

Eye health

Some evidence suggests that an adequate intake of fish oil may help protect eye health. A 2017 review notes that fish oil may play a role in the treatment of inflammatory eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye disease.

A 2019 study indicates that people who regularly consume fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish were less likely to develop AMD compared with those who did not.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommend fish oils to reduce the symptoms of dry eye. However, some evidence suggests they have no effect. A 2018 study found no evidence to indicate that taking fish oil supplements was more helpful than taking a placebo for dry eye.

Optometrists may recommend taking omega-3 supplements or increasing dietary fish consumption to benefit eye health, even though some scientific evidence suggests fish oils are not suitable for this purpose.

Risks and considerations

Before deciding to supplement their diets with fish oils, people should also consider the possible risks.

While some research indicates that eating a diet rich in omega-3 may help prevent prostate cancer, other research suggests otherwise. A 2013 study notes that a high fish oil intake may actually increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) note that the link between omega-3 and different types of cancer, such as prostate, currently remains unclear.

Some people may experience mild side effects if they supplement with fish oil. These may include unpleasant taste, bad breath, diarrhea, flatulence, nausea, and other digestive symptoms.

How to increase your omega-3 level

The three primary omega-3 fatty acids are EPA, DHA, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). While the first two are present in fish oil, ALA comes from plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils.

ALA is an essential fatty acid, meaning that the body cannot make it, and it must come from a dietary source. Although the body can convert small amounts of ALA into EPA and then to DHA, the most practical way to increase these omega-3 fatty acids is from food or a nutritional supplement.

ALA is the only omega-3 that is essential, so it is the only one with a recommended adequate intake. Research suggests that males should aim for roughly 1.6 grams.

Both EPA and DHA do not have official recommended daily dosages as they are not essential nutrients. However, the British Dietetic Association suggest a daily dose of about 450 mg EPA and DHA for adults.

It can be difficult to judge the intake from nutritional supplements, as the amounts of fish oil may vary. For example, 1,000 mg of fish oil from one brand of supplement may contain less or more EPA and DHA than the same amount of oil from another brand.

People can get enough omega-3 by including the following foods in their diet:

  • fish and seafood, especially sardines, tuna, mackerel, salmon, and herring
  • nuts and seeds such as chia seeds and walnuts
  • plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oil
  • fortified foods such as some types of eggs, yogurt, and soy beverages

Alternatively, people may benefit from a fish or vegetarian algae oil supplement to boost levels. Some evidence suggests that taking a fish oil supplement with a meal that contains fat may help to increase absorption.


Fish oil is rich in omega-3, which is an essential nutrient. Eating a diet containing oily fish, or taking a fish oil supplement, can ensure someone has an adequate amount.

Consuming more fish oil and omega-3 may offer some health benefits for men. This may include increasing fertility and improving heart health. However, men should weigh up the benefits with a potential increased risk of prostate cancer.

Anyone who is considering taking supplements should first check with a healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe.

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

Q&A: Can COVID-19 cause erectile dysfunction? | Expert Opinion

Q&A: Can COVID-19 cause erectile dysfunction? | Expert Opinion

One of the less-publicized reported repercussions of COVID-19 infection has been male sexual health, specifically erectile dysfunction (ED).

Erections require blood flow to the penis, so erectile dysfunction often results from conditions that restrict blood flow or damage nerves and arteries.

This article is a repost which originally appeared on The Philadelphia Inquirer

Edited for content

More than 850,000 Pennsylvanians have tested positive for COVID-19, and while the vast majority of those infected are recovering, long-term effects of the disease are still largely unknown. While pulmonary, cardiac and neurologic complications from COVID-19 are widely recognized, one of the less publicized reported repercussions of infection has been on male sexual health, specifically erectile dysfunction (ED).

More men are experiencing and seeking medical care for sexual dysfunction during the pandemic, with the greatest increase seen in younger men in their 40s and 50s.

A July study published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation examined the effects of COVID-19 on male sexual and reproductive health. The study identified a correlation between COVID-19 and ED, likely caused by many factors, ranging from physiological changes to changes in the way we interact with others.

One of the hallmarks of a COVID-19 infection is an exaggerated inflammatory response. The resulting storm of pro-inflammatory signals, called cytokines, causes inflammation of the lining of blood vessels. The hyperinflammatory state triggered by COVID-19 infection can cause vascular damage, ultimately disrupting blood flow — the key component of getting and maintaining an erection.

ED has long been recognized as an excellent marker for physiological well-being. Specifically, ED functions as the “canary in a coal mine” for cardiovascular disease, often predating symptomatic heart disease up to several years in advance. People with preexisting medical conditions are at higher risk for serious COVID-19 infection, but the converse is also true: COVID-19 infection can worsen preexisting medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

In addition, many of the medications used to treat common heart conditions can have a negative effect on erectile dysfunction. The decline in overall health in COVID-19 survivors and the medications used to manage this can both result in ED.

Also, mental and emotional health plays a large role in men’s sexual health. Being in the right mindset is a vital component of achieving an erection and having a satisfactory sexual experience. There is no doubt that there has been a negative mental and emotional toll from the pandemic regardless of personal COVID-19 infection. The impact of social isolation, worry for family and self during the pandemic, and economic toll from quarantine is demonstrated with increasing rates of stress, anxiety and depression. All of these feelings can be detrimental to sexual function.

With COVID-19 having such a sweeping effect on our daily lives, finding ways to improve quality of life has become more important than ever. ED is more common than most men realize — it is recognized in more than 50% of men over the age of 50 — and may be occurring at even higher rates during the pandemic.

If you are experiencing ED, you should speak to your doctor or urologist to be evaluated and discuss treatment options. And remember that one of the best ways to lower your risk of long-term complications from COVID-19 is to prevent infection in the first place by getting vaccinated when you can, observing social distancing, masking, and using good hand hygiene.

Joceline S. Fuchs is a board-certified urologist with MidLantic Urology in Abington.