Triclosan And Testosterone
Triclosan is a compound with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is commonly found in personal care items such as soaps, deodorants, shampoos, shaving gels, hand sanitizers, etc. In 2010, European union banned the use of this compound due to its carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting properties. Few years later, Triclosan was also banned in state of Minnesota. However, it is still being used in rest of the United States. In fact, more than 1 billion dollars are spent on Triclosan and its related compound triclocarban containing products on annual basis.
Triclosan And Testosterone – What’s The Link?
In year 1994, Triclosan was declared as a safe compound by FDA. But, recently numerous studies have indicated it to be carcinogenic and a potent disruptor of endocrine system. All those researches persuaded FDA to re-evaluate the compound in year 2013. However, their re-evaluation is still under process though, based on all evidences it should be banned already.
As per one research, Triclosan significantly reduces testosterone production and increases liver enzymes. Moreover, it can completely destroy the thyroid hormones.
Another research study indicated that it not only decreases testosterone but it also lowers the levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). It also decreases synthesis of cholesterol and pregnenolone.
An in – vitro study suggested that this compound inhibits transcriptional activity of testosterone and this inhibition was found to be dose-dependent i.e. greater the concentration of this compound, more will be the inhibition.
To understand the mechanism behind negative impact of Triclosan on testosterone, researchers conducted an experiment on isolated testicular leydig cells. All cells were treated with this chemical in different doses and it was found that reduction in testosterone levels was dose dependent. The mechanism is as follows:
- cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) is a cellular messenger which triggers enzymatic activity to convert cholesterol into testosterone. This compound reduces the activity of enzyme adenylyl cyclase. This reduction causes drop down of cAMP levels due to which the enzymatic conversion of cholesterol into testosterone gets reduced. Ultimately, testosterone synthesis gets suppressed.
- Regular use of Triclosan containing products can accumulate enough concentration of Triclosan in our body to induce those drastic effects.
According to the results of a new survey, 75% Americans have Triclosan in their urine.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested 49 people for Triclosan traces out of which 42 were tested positive. Triclosan traces are also found in pregnant women and breast milk, which means most of the babies born in United States are in contact with this nasty chemical from the beginning of their life.
How To Prevent?
Sadly, there isn’t one good reason to use this compound! In fact, it is not even found to have good anti-bacterial properties. The best way to avoid this compound is to get rid of all the “Anti-bacterial” soaps and other products from house. Check if any of the personal care items have Triclosan in it and switch to Triclosan-free products. It is not only restricted to personal care items! It can be found in food and tap water! Therefore, opt for organic and natural products. Moreover, prefer spring or filtered tap water for drinking and cooking purposes.
- Scinicariello, F., & Buser, M. C. (2016). Serum testosterone concentrations and urinary bisphenol A, benzophenone-3, triclosans, and paraben levels in male and female children and adolescents: NHANES 2011–2012. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(12), 1898.
- Wang, C. F., & Tian, Y. (2015). Reproductive endocrine-disrupting effects of triclosans: Population exposure, present evidence and potential mechanisms. Environmental Pollution, 206, 195-201.
- Mihaich, E., Capdevielle, M., Urbach-Ross, D., & Slezak, B. (2017). Hypothesis-driven weight-of-evidence analysis of endocrine disruption potential: a case study with triclosans. Critical reviews in toxicology, 1-26.