Are Men Becoming 'Feminized' From All the Toxic Chemicals Around? Researchers Say Yes

Hmm....Could men blame us for their obesity?

A new study has found that female hormones play a key role in the obesity epidemic, according to

The Web site reports that new research from the University of Adelaide has found that an imbalance of female sex hormones among men in Western nations may be contributing to high levels of male obesity.

 The research suggests that obesity among Western men "could be linked with exposure to substances containing the female sex hormone estrogen – substances that are more often found in affluent societies, such as soy products and plastics."

Scientists compared obesity rates among men and women from around the world with measures such as Gross Domestic Product to determine the impact of affluence on obesity. They found found that, while it was normal for women in the developing world to have significantly greater levels of obesity than men, the developed world is a different oyster completely.

"Hormonally driven weight gain occurs more significantly in females than in males, and this is very clear when we look at the rates of obesity in the developing world," newswise quotes study author University of Adelaide medical student James Grantham. "However, in the Western world, such as in the United States, Europe and Australia, the rates of obesity between men and women are much closer. In some Western nations, male obesity is greater than female obesity.

Grantham notes that, while "poor diet is no doubt to blame, we believe there is more to it than simply a high caloric intake." 

 "Exposure to estrogen is known to cause weight gain, primarily through thyroid inhibition and modulation of the hypothalamus," adds study co-author Professor Maciej Henneberg, Wood Jones Professor of Anthropological and Comparative Anatomy. "Soy products contain xenoestrogens, and we are concerned that in societies with a high dietary saturation of soy, such as the United States, this could be working to 'feminize' the males. This would allow men in those communities to artificially imitate the female pattern of weight gain."

Another well-established source of estrogen?  Polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC, in prominent use in most wealthy countries, from plastic medical devices to piping for our water supplies.Maybe I'm a little too old but I remember the time (back in the '80s) when PVC was outlawed for this very reason.  And now it's back, like it never went away.

Professor Henneberg says micro-evolutionary changes may be occurring within Western societies that could also be leading to changes in testosterone and estrogen in men. "This would certainly explain the various concerns about sperm count reductions among men in developed nations," he says.

Professor Henneberg and Mr Grantham say further research is needed to better understand whether or not environmental factors are leading to a "feminization" of men in the Western world.


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