Chlorine and Testosterone: Endocrine Disrupting Halogen?

By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Tue 25 September 2018

Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD

The side effects of chlorine from pools can be detrimental to your endocrine system if you don’t take the right steps to flush it out.

Now, I’ve been talking about the dangers of light halogens (chlorine, bromide, and fluoride) on our testosterone levels multiple times before in this blog. The reason why those light halogens reduce testosterone is as simple as the fact that they deplete your cells from iodine, which is needed by the endocrine system in the process of testosterone production.

That’s because iodine is heavier than those 3 toxic halogens (fluoride, chlorine, bromine) making them able to oxidize iodine and take its place in the cells. When that happens inside your testicular leydig cells, you can say goodbye to your average/high testosterone. This is also bad for the thyroid health.

I actually managed to find one study that somewhat backs up my previous rambles about chlorine and testosterone.

Just check this out:

Side Effects of Chlorine in Swimming Pools: Lowers Testosterone

Side effects of chlorine in pools on testosterone levelsThe actual act of swimming may increase testosterone levels, but if you’re swimming in one of those chlorinated pools, then you’re going to experience some of the negative side effects of chlorine and do your body more harm than good.

So how do the chlorine in water side effects manifest?

In a study led by Nickmilder et al., it was found out that adolescent boys who’d been “heavy users” of chlorinated swimming pools had significantly lower testosterone levels than boys who weren’t that keen on swimming.

Nickmilder and his crew took serum hormone samples from 361 school male adolescents (aged between 14-18 years) who had visited swimming pools treated with chlorine.

What they found out was that the boys who had visited chlorinated pools for more than 250 hours before the age of 10, and for more than 125 hours before the age of 7, had significantly lower testosterone levels when compared to the boys who’d never visited a pool in their lives.

Chlorine in Water Side Effects Study Results:

Chlorine in water side effects study

This is what the researchers say:

Swimming in indoor chlorinated pools during childhood is strongly associated with lower levels of serum inhibin B and total testosterone. The absorption of reprotoxic chlorination by-products across the highly permeable scrotum might explain these associations

So do these side effects of chlorine on testosterone apply to adults?

Answer: Unfortunately it does. Chlorine is easily absorbed even through the thicker skin of an adult male.

You can test this out by filling a cup with the water from your local chlorinated pool, then test the water with chlorine testing strips to see how much chlorine there is in the cup. After that wiggle your fingers in the glass for 60 seconds and test the water again with another strip.

You’ll notice that there’s no chlorine in the water anymore. It’s now inside your body.

Is there a way to reverse this and flush chlorine out from the body?

Answer: Yes, you can supplement with strong liquid iodine which replaces the chlorine in your cells with the much needed iodine.

Conclusion on Chlorine Side Effects

There’s a clear connection between the exposure to chlorine and low testosterone levels, as shown in the study about chlorinated pools. Even though the study was done in young adolescents, the results could still apply to adults too.

So if you’re a keen swimmer or have spent a lot of time in those chlorinated swimming pools and don’t want to experience any chlorine side effects, it could be wise to look into iodine supplementation, so you can get that much needed essential mineral back into the androgen receptors.

Ali Kuoppala

Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men. He has authored and co-authored multiple men's health books and focuses on uncovering the methods of optimizing hormonal health. To date, his articles on various websites have been read more than 15-million times. To read more about Ali, visit his Medium article.