Sean’s Testosterone Trouble

A few years ago, Sean came to my office with a complaint that has become more and more common. Although he was newly married, he was having what he referred to as performance problems in the bedroom. So naturally, he asked about a prescription for an erectile dysfunction (ED) drug.

These requests are not unusual. But normally men asking for ED drugs are 30 or 40 years older than Sean, who was only 26 at the time. My instincts told me something was wrong, and Sean’s blood work confirmed that. His testosterone levels were fine — if he were 70. But they were far too low for a man his age.

As usual, I questioned him extensively about his lifestyle. Did he exercise, get enough sleep, take vitamins, and eat well? Sean answered “Yes” to everything. And then he offered a clue to what was wrong.

“I eat really well — lots of vegetables, lean meat — my wife makes sure of that because she’s a health nut,” he told me. “She lets me drink only bottled water now, even got me to try soy milk and eat tofu because she says soy is good for us. I drink a lot of soy milk now.”

At that point, I stopped him and asked if he would mind trying an experiment. “I’d like you to go off all soy for a month or so, and drink only clean, filtered water in BPA-free containers. Then let me know how you’re doing. In the meantime, I’ll give you some guidelines for detoxification. There are quite a few studies showing that substances in plastic, as well as soy, are causing hormonal imbalances. And most soy nowadays is genetically modified, so it’s really not that good for you anymore.”

Eager to get his testosterone production back on track, Sean followed my instructions carefully. A little more than a month later, he called to let me know the situation was much improved. “My wife and I want to thank you for your suggestions,” he said. “All systems are go now, and I even lost weight. If it hadn’t been for you, the honeymoon would definitely be over for us. Now it’s like a whole new start.”

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