Cadmium Exposure - Testosterone Effects & Your Testis!

Cadmium Exposure - Testosterone Effects & Your Testis!

Cadmium Exposure On Your Testis!

Cadmium exposure is not ideal, it's toxic to humans and animals, the body can tolerate it in small traces as we often find it in our diets, especially in nuts. However, notably, the area in the body that is most affected by cadmium exposure is, in fact, the reproductive system.

It is also Considered a "Metalloestrogen", which are inorganic compounds that act as xenoestrogens in the body, binding to cellular estrogen receptors. There are now a group of so-called "Metalloestrogens" and these inorganic compounds are:

  • Cadmium.
  • Aluminum.
  • Antimony.
  • Arsenite.
  • Barium.
  • Chromium (Cr(II))
  • Cobalt.
  • Copper.
  • Lead.
  • Mercury.
  • Nickel.
  • Selenite.
  • Tin.
  • Vanadate.

    There are now strong links to these "Metalloestrogens" accumulating and the dysfunction in testes, prostate and breast cancer. 

    Cadmium is considered a toxic heavy metal found in both industrial and agricultural pollutants. It is easily absorbed by humans and animals from sources of contamination like that of our water supply, food and circulating air. Cadmium exposure is toxic to the liver, lungs, bone, kidneys and in males the testis. Chronic accumulation of cadmium in the body sees a toxic effect on the male testicles which manifests as the following:

    • CYP11A1 enzyme increases due to exposure. (That enzyme converts cholesterol to sex hormones, increasing hormone load and exposure.) (1)
      • Cadmium also drives up 5alpha reductase converting testosterone to DHT. (2) The relative deficiency of zinc and selenium created by cadmium exposure (depletion of chelating agents to detoxify) results in further upregulation of 5 alpha-reductase and aromatase creating a deficient test: DHT and E2 levels.
        • Testis weight - Reduction of Testi's weight (3)
        • Reduced sperm production. (4)
        • Poor sperm motility. (4)
        • The high increase in sperm deformity. (4)
        • Impaired production/ secretion of testosterone. (4)

          *It is also to be noted that it can affect the fertilization process and health of the embryo.

          Agricultural Exposure To Cadmium (Cd)

          You may already be exposed to Cadmium, as it can occur in foods linked with other content of heavy metals -

          Some of the highest traces have been found in peanuts interestingly enough because many farmers fortify the soil with cadmium and sulfur-based fertilizers. Also, the more acidic the soil the higher the content of Cadmium found in the final product.

          So you can find exposure in:

          • Soils.
          • Plants ingestion.
          • Animal foods.
          • Atmospheric ingestion/inhalation.
          • The burning of fossil fuels and exposure to petrochemicals and pollution.

            In particular, there have been findings to suggest that because plants take up most of the Cadmium through their roots from the soils, that soils more depleted in other minerals like calcium and Zinc are more likely to produce plants with a higher yield of cadmium present in the final product for ingestion. This is because these minerals actually bind up and compete for absorption of Cadmium. Especially in the body. (5)

            Cadmium Exposure - Competing for absorption in the body.

            In the body, the absorption of Cadmium is directly dependent on a few things, and inhibiting it can be quite simple if you know how and what pathways it affects the most.

            See, cadmium uses the same mineral transportation pathways as:

            • Zinc.
            • Calcium.
            • Magnesium.
            • It also competes with melatonin and our ability to sleep, studies showed that supplementation of melatonin did help mitigate the effects of Cadmium Toxicity.

              Top Tip: Don’t forget that the chelating power of zinc and selenium is extremely beneficial for combating and chelating heavy metals from the body. Coriander, Brazil nuts, and foods rich in lycopene are amazing too! 

              Uncommon Knowledge...

              Iron sufficiency also plays a large role in mitigating the effects of cadmium. Deficiency in these factors, as well as selenium, play a large role in intestinal exposure and absorption of Cadmium. Those with a diet rich in these essentials found that testing for toxic levels in the body showed to be significantly lower than those without.

              Final Note

              This is not to act on a fear mechanism but rather awareness, ensuring you simply doing your best to avoid obvious contact in your environment where possible. There are heavy metal testing options available in the health care system if you believe that you may have higher than usual exposure or show significant symptoms associated with cadmium toxicity.

              Obviously, in a perfect world we would have rich soils, grown and control our own veggie patches, have clean crisp perfect air and eat nuts free of this. However, it's not a perfect world and we simply just have to be aware and do what we can to help better our own health and those of others where possible.


              1. Hormonal changes and folliculogenesis in female offspring of rats exposed to cadmium during gestation and lactationEnviron Pollut. 2018 Jul;238:336-347. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.03.023. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

              2. Blood Cadmium Level Associates with Lower Testosterone and Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin in Chinese men: from SPECT-China Study, 2014 DOI: 10.1007/s12011-015-0526-x

              3. Testis response to low doses of cadmium in Wistar rats. Int J Exp Pathol. 2010 Apr; 91(2): 125–131. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2613.2009.00692.x

              4. Sperm motility and morphology changes in rats exposed to cadmium and diazinonReprod Biol Endocrinol. 2016 Aug 8;14(1):42. doi: 10.1186/s12958-016-0177-6.

              5. Interaction Between Cadmium Stress and Sulphur Nutrition Level on Macronutrient Status of Sinapis alba L. Water Air Soil Pollut. 2016; 227(9): 355. Published online 2016 Sep 1. doi: 10.1007/s11270-016-3059-9