Is Bottled Water Chemically Castraing Our Young Men?

10/05/2016 12:50

Is Bottled Water Chemically Castrating Our Young Men?

David Walters, DO, PhD, MBA

Reality 10-20 years ago: The average 20-30 year-old male testosterone levels  were at their peak (800-1200 ng/ml) and then slowly decreased at a rate of about 1% per year.1,2

Reality today:  The average 20-30 year-old male has testosterone levels comparable to 70-80 year-old males (100-400 ng/ml).3,4,5,6,7

What is causing this severe reduction of testosterone production in young males today? 

Here is what we know:

1.     This condition, known as hypogonadism, can be easily reversed--in young males--with a prescription drug called Clomid.

2.     Clomid is an estrogen receptor modulator that blocks the effect of estrogen at the level of the hypothalamus.

3.     The hypothalamus is a tiny endocrine gland--located at the base of the brain--that produces and releases a hormone called GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone).

4.     GnRH causes the release of LH (luteinizing hormone and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) from the pituitary gland.

5.     LH travels from the pituitary gland to the testes via the blood where it stimulates the testes to produce testosterone.  FSH stimulates the testes to produce sperm.

6.     A small portion of a males testosterone is normally converted to the hormone, estrogen.

7.     Elevated levels of estrogen will inhibit the hypothalamus from releasing too much LH and FSH through a mechanism called a negative feedback loop.

8.     The body uses the negative feedback mechanism to tightly control the levels of almost all hormones, including testosterone.

9.     Water sold in plastic bottles is known to contain high levels of chemicals—coming from the plastic--that exhibit estrogenic activity.  These chemicals act as xenoestrogens in the human body. 

10.   When xenoestrogens are consumed via bottled water they bind to the hypothalamus and shut down the natural production of testosterone.

11. These xenoestrogens, in effect, chemically castrate young males who would normally produce their highest levels of testosterone.

12. Clomid blocks the effect of the xenoestrogens and allows the hypothalamus to produce sufficient GnRH to produce normal levels of LH and subsequently, normal levels of testosterone.

13.  Alternatively, exogenous hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) can be used to by-pass the xenoestrogen blockade to directly stimulate increased testosterone production from the testes.

Numerous scientific studies--published in reputable medical journals--have shown that low testosterone levels in males--between the ages of 22-39--can be increased by more than 250% following treatment with Clomid over 1-2 months.  See table below:

Testosterone levels in men ages 22 - 39

Pre-Clomid (ng/dl)      Post-Clomid (ng/dl)               Increase (%)                          Citation





















(See diagram below for a depiction of the negative feedback loop):

Is there evidence that bottled water contains chemicals that exhibit estrogenic activity i.e., xenoestrogens?  

The following excerpts are just a small sample of the academic research that has been published in reputable scientific journals in the past 10 years:

“When comparing water of the same spring that is packed in glass or plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), estrogenic activity is three times higher in water from plastic bottles. These data support the hypothesis that PET packaging materials are a source of estrogen-like compounds.”8

In another study elevated estrogenic activity was measured in 12 of 20 brands of mineral water, including 78% of those bottled in PET and 33% of those bottled in glass. They cite several studies showing that “suboptimal storage conditions—such as prolonged exposure to sunlight and high temperatures—can cause leaching of chemicals from PET bottles into fluid contents, and point out that cell toxicity was observed for water samples of the same lot of three different brands purchased from the same retailer.” 9

Experiments were conducted in mud snails (Potamopyrgus antipodarum), an organism that is highly sensitive to estrogens, that were raised in glass and PET bottles.  Wagner says the snail data led them to conclude that at least some contamination arose from the PET bottles: “Because the snail experiment did not use mineral water but rather a defined culture medium for snails, which was the same in all bottles, the estrogenic effect in the snails could only have come from the packaging material.” “Our results demonstrate a widespread contamination of mineral water with xenoestrogens that partly originates from compounds leaching from the plastic packaging material.”9

In a more recent study further evidence for xenoestrogens was also found.  “The aim of this study is to assess the anti-estrogenic and anti-androgenic activity of bottled water and to identify the causative steroid receptor antagonists. We detected significant anti-estrogenicity in 13 of 18 bottled water products. 16 samples were anti-testosteronegenic  inhibiting the testosterone receptor by up to 90%”.10

From a study published in 2014 we learn that even BPA-free plastics can leach xenoestrogens into the fluids contained in bottles made from this type of plastic:  “The results of our MCF-7 and BG1Luc assays demonstrate that extracts of many unstressed and/or stressed BPA-free PC-replacement products, including mostacrylic, PES, PS and Tritan™-based products, release chemicals that can activate estrogen receptor-dependent cell signaling, i.e., exhibit estrogenic activity”.11

Who is profiting from the billions of dollars of bottled water sales? 

It should be no surprise that the two biggest players in the bottled water market are the same biggest players in the soda pop market.  Coca Cola and PepsiCo.  The graph below shows the sales of bottled water and soda pop over the past 35 years:

Bottled water vs soda sales

Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that any scientific studies will be conducted to test the hypothesis that estrogenic chemicals from the plastic are castrating our young men.  Why not?  Because of the extraordinary high profits that companies selling bottled water are making.  Not only would Coca Cola and Pepsi-Co stand to lose billions in sales but the entire plastics industry would do so as well.

So . . . what is a young male to do?

Do any of these studies directly prove the hypothesis that xenoestrogens from bottled water are chemically castrating our young men?  The short answer is no.  However, there is growing evidence that men between the ages of 18 to 39 have testosterone levels found  normally in 70 – 80 year-old men and that this medical condition—hypogonadism--can be reversed by blocking the estrogenic activity with Clomid. 

Every male—18  and older---should get his testosterone levels checked, regardless of their age.  If they are found to have hypogonadism they can get a prescription for Clomid from their physician to increase their testosterone levels to where they should be for a man their age.  Then they can start feeling like men again with unbounding energy, something they have been unable to have, due to chemical castration.

Bottom Line

The prudent response to the above studies--that clearly demonstrate estrogenic activity in bottled water contained in plastic--is to stop drinking bottled water or any other fluids contained in plastic bottles.  It would appear that the appropriate partial long-term solution--to reverse the chemical castration of men--is to drink fluids only from glass or stainless-steel bottles. 

A true long-term solution will require consuming only food and water/fluids that are not packaged in plastic.  Since all processed food, especially canned food, is contaminated by endocrine disrupter chemicals from plastics, this will require focused diligence by any individual who wants to consume healthy food that is not tainted by chemicals from plastics. 


1.     Longitudinal effects of aging on serum total and free testosterone levels in healthy men.  Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Harman, SM, Metter EJ, Tobin JD, Pearson J, Blackman MR.  J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab., 2001 Feb; 86(2): 724-731.

2.     Testosterone for the aging male; current evidence and recommended practice. Stanworth RD and Hugh Jones T., Clin. Interv. Aging., March 2008;3(1) 25-44.

3.     Outcomes of clomiphene citrate treatment in young hypogonadal men. Katz DJ, Nabulsi O, Raanan T and Mulhall JP,  BJU International, 2011 , Vol. 110: 573-578.

4.     Clomiphene citrate is safe and effective for long-term management of hypogonadism. Moskovic DJ, Katz DJ, Akhavan A, Park K and Mulhall JP., 2012, Vol. 110: 1524-1528.

5.     Clomiphene citrate effects on testosterone/estrogen ration in male hypogonadism. Shabsigh A, Kang Y, Sabsign R, Gonazalez M, Liberson G, Fisch H and Goluboff E., J Sex Med. 2005 Sep;2(5):716-21.

6.     Clomiphene citrate effectively increases testosterone in obese, young, hypogonadal men. Bendre SV, Murray PH and Basaria S, Peprod. Sysi. Sex Disord., 2015 4:1-4.

7.     Personal data collected from my patients over the past year, 2016.  iconmed, David Walters, DO, PhD.

8.     Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: Estrogenic activity in the E-screen. Wagner, M and Oehlmann J,  J. Steroid Bioch. Mol. Biol., 2011, 127:128-135.

9.     Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: total estrogenic burden and migration from plastic bottles. Wagner M and Ochlmann J, Environ Sci Pollut Res, 2009 16:278-286.

10.  Identification of putative steroid receptor antagonists in bottled water: Combining bioassays and high-resolution mass spectrometry.  Wagner M, Schlüsener MP, Ternes TA and Oehlmann J.,

2013 PLOS 8: 1-8.

11.  Estrogenic chemicals often leach from BPA-free plastic products that are replacements for BPA-containing polycarbonate products. Bittner GD, Yang CZ and Stoner MA., Envir. Health, 2014, 13:41-55.

          Is Bottled Water Chemically Castrating Our Young Men?