Part Two – Testicular cancer is exploding
In Part One of this series I looked at male fertility. Men exposed to Western diets are becoming dramatically less fertile. And the cause is the rapid increases in our consumption of vegetable oils made from seeds.
Vegetable oil made from seeds (Canola, Rapeseed, Sunflower, Corn, Safflower, Grapeseed, Rice Bran and Soybean for example) – seed oils – are a relatively new addition to the human diet. Unlike oils made from fruit (Olive, Avocado and Coconut) and animal fats, they are very high in something called an Omega-6 fat.
They are also incredibly cheap to make, which is why you will find them in just about every food on the supermarket shelf and in every deep fryer in the land. Because of this, we are currently consuming 10 times as much as we actually need.
Consuming up to 10 times too much of a substance that plays a critical role in the construction of sperm is having a massive and continuing effect on our ability to produce them. But that is just the beginning of the damage being wrought by these substances.
The fats in vegetable oils are highly volatile. They react quickly with oxygen and they do so even more rapidly when the temperature is high (in a human body for example). When that happens our body enters a state called oxidative stress. And oxidative stress is a known cause of damage to our DNA that results in cancer.
We can massively increase our risk of cancer by introducing any substance which damages DNA. Smokers for example, have 10 times the rate of lung cancer because they inhale a cloud of compounds which can produce DNA damage in the lining of the lung. And the compounds produced by oxidised vegetable oils damage cellular DNA in a similar fashion. Eating those fats is like smoking but the damage is transmitted to every part of the body, not just the lung.
Healthy sperm need to be flexible (for speedy tail flicking) and so have much higher levels of the ‘bendy’ polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils than the average human cell membrane. So sperm cells (and the cells that make them, called germ cells) are awash with fats from the vegetable oils we consume.
If any organ in the body were to be affected most dramatically by the massive increases in our consumption of vegetable oil, it is likely to be the Testes. Given that you would expect to see the rates of testicular cancer rising just as fast as male fertility has been falling. And you would not be disappointed.
Oversupply of omega-6 from vegetable oil in the Testes causes a cascading chain of oxidative stress which ultimately ends in random destruction of our sperm and germ cell DNA. In most cases this results in the death of the sperm and germ cells (hence the massive declines in sperm counts discussed in part One). But every now and then just the wrong mutation happens and cancer develops (usually in the germ cells).
The Australian incidence (number of new cases per year) of testicular cancer (the most common cancer in men under 50) has quintupled since 1952. A man alive in Australia today is 5 times (!!) as likely to have testicular cancer as that same man in 1952. Similar rates of increase hold in the US and the UK. If genetics was the only cause of testicular cancer, we would expect the rate to be exactly the same. The fact that it isn’t, tells us an environmental factor is at work and the science set out above, tells us that environmental factor is vegetable oils from seeds.
Because of a decided preference for non-animal fat sources, Israeli Jews have close to one of the highest rates consumption of vegetable oil in the world (about 12% of calories). The science says this is why they are at the bleeding edge of the decline in male fertility. It is also likely to be why the incidence of testicular cancer among Israeli Jews is climbing as fast as it is in health conscious (and equally infertile), vegetable oil soaked Australia.
Because it is often diagnosed early and the treatment (usually removal of a testicle) is highly effective, testicular cancer is one of the most survivable cancers (98% of men are free from it 5 years after diagnosis). And if sperm never left the male body, that would be the end of this series. But they don’t so this isn’t.
Vegetable oils are destroying male fertility and driving supercharged increases in testicular cancer but sadly the trail of destruction does not end there. Some damaged sperm do make it all the way and they are capable of creating an embryo. In the next instalment I look at the disease cascades from those damaged sperm.
Photo courtesy of 2006 advertisement of the British Heart Foundation