It’s all connected! Thyroid hormone, Testosterone, Prostate Cancer and Vitamin A.
Long Story Short:
- BCO, the enzyme that makes vitamin A from B-carotene, may also be responsible for making Testosterone.
- Thyroid hormone controls BCO.
- Hypothyroid > Slow BCO > Low T > Poor prostate health/Low Libido/Decreased lean muscle
A study testing mice found that when mice lacked an enzyme (BCO) which converts beta-carotene to vitamin A (retinol) they had lower Testosterone levels and delayed prostate growth.
What is interesting is this enzyme, BCO, is activated by Thyroid hormones. When I see a patient with low T (guy or gal) I first look to their thyroid health. If Thyroid levels are low their T production can also drop. *Interesting note: People with hypothyroidism sometimes gain an orange tint because they have a build-up of beta carotene (the stuff found in carrots)
It is a misconception that testosterone causes prostate cancer. In fact low T early in life may increase the risk of prostate cancer later on in life.
Make sure your thyroid is function is optimal (not just OK!) for the sake of your testosterone and prostate health!
- Joshua W. Smith, Nikki A. Ford, Jennifer M. Thomas-Ahner, Nancy E. Moran, Eric C. Bolton, Matthew A. Wallig, Steven K. Clinton, John W. Erdman. Mice lacking β-carotene-15,15’-dioxygenase exhibit reduced serum testosterone, prostatic androgen receptor signaling, and prostatic cellular proliferation. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 2016; 311 (6): R1135 DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00261.2016