Study suggests that Cycling could Affect Sexual Health
A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology has put forward evidence that men who engage in long periods of cycling could be affected by a change in the level of sex hormones they produce.
The study was conducted by the UCLA School of Nursing, who concluded intense cycling could have a detrimental effect on the reproductive health of men. The main conclusion was that the estrogen levels found in male cyclists were significantly higher than those found in other male athletes. The implications for the sexual health of male cyclists were also outlined in the study.
The study looked at a total of 107 male subjects in good health, ranging from 18 to 60 years old. Out of these 1007 men, 45 were recreational athletes, 16 were triathletes, and the remaining 46 were cyclists. The results revealed a noticeable increase in the levels of plasma estradiol and testosterone levels among the group of cyclists compared to the other two groups.
Researchers involved in the study stated that, “Plasma estradiol concentrations were more than two times higher in the cyclists than in the triathletes and recreational athletes, and total testosterone levels were about 50% higher in cyclists than in the recreational athletes.”
The active metabolic product of the testosterone hormone is estradiol, so there is nothing out of the ordinary there. The problem occurs in the extra estradiol that is produced, because estradiol is actually a form of estrogen, a primarily female sex hormone. Too much estrogen in males can lead to a number of medical conditions, one being gynecomastia. This condition is responsible for causing an increase in breast tissue, along with a loss of pubic hair. Exactly why the elevated levels of hormones occur in cyclists has not been completely nailed down, although there is one factor that could contribute to it.
Another Underlying Issue
The cyclists that were involved in the study were asked about whether they used chamois cream while cycling. It is often used by cyclists to combat the effects of chaffing. It also helps to prevent saddles sores and possible infections that result from them. The ingredients of chamois cream include a variety of lubricants and oils, and some also contain paraben. Almost half of the cyclists in the survey said that they did use chamois cream that contains paraben.
The connection between paraben -containing chamois cream and increased estrogen levels was made because paraben is known to be a weak estrogen imitator. The study revealed that the longer a cyclist used the cream, the higher their estrogen levels were. Cyclists who regularly used the cream for over four years were the most significantly affected.
Need for Further Research
An assistant professor at the UCLA School of Nursing called Leah Fitzgerald led the study, and had this to say about the results of the investigation. “Although preliminary, these findings warrant further investigation to determine if specific types of exercise may be associated with altered sex-hormone levels in men that could affect general health and reproductive well-being.” With most men looking to exercise in order to improve performance and avoid using Cialis this could have significant implications.