Acetaminophen Taken During Pregnancy Can Inhibit Masculinity
By Heather Callaghan, Editor
Acetaminophen – known in other parts of the world as paracetamol and under various brand names such as Tylenol – is making scientific headlines more and more now. If you are pregnant, you should think twice before popping these pills according to the researchers in a new study. In an animal model, acetaminophen (parcetamol), actually damaged the development of male behaviors.
Paracetamol during pregnancy can inhibit the development of ‘male behavior’ in mice; new research from the University of Copenhagen shows that it can reduce sex drive and aggressive behavior
Not only does acetaminophen blunt normal human emotion and block the ability to retain new information – but now scientists are leveling their aim at America’s favorite pain reliever because it most definitely lowers testosterone levels in male babies while they are in the womb. Some may say – so what? The babies can grow up and get their testosterone levels balanced later on. No, they cannot. Lowered testosterone in the unborn male can seriously inhibit development of masculinity, sexual organs, sexual function, overall health and even the amount of drive necessary to live in this world. i.e., it sounds like the drug can eradicate male behavior before they can even develop.
In an unbelievable turn of events, the scientists felt so sure of the harmful effects of this OCT drug during mice studies, that they said it would be improper to test their findings on humans on the grounds of its obvious harm.
Commenting on their findings, researchers write:
Previous studies have shown the paracetamol can inhibit the development of the male sex hormone testosterone in male foetuses, thus increasing the risk of malformation of the testicles in infants. But a reduced level of testosterone at the foetal stage is also significant for the behaviours of adult males, says Ph.D. David Møbjerg Kristensen, a researcher employed during the studies at the Department of Biomedical Sciences and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.
“We have demonstrated that a reduced level of testosterone means that male characteristics do not develop as they should. This also affects sex drive. In a trial, mice exposed to paracetamol at the foetal stage were simply unable to copulate in the same way as our control animals. Male programming had not been properly established during their foetal development and this could be seen long afterwards in their adult life. It is very worrying,” says David Møbjerg Kristensen.
Markedly reduced male behavior
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that helps develop the male body and male programming of the brain. The masculine behaviours in mice observed by the researchers involved aggressiveness to other male mice, ability to copulate and the need for territorial marking. The mice reacted significantly more passively than normal for all three parameters. They did not attack other males, they were unable to copulate and behaved more like female mice when it come to urinary territorial marking.
After observing the changed behavioral patterns, Prof. Anders Hay-Schmidt, who was employed at the then Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology during his studies at the University of Copenhagen, investigated the specific effects of a lack of testosterone on the brain. The results showed up clearly here, too.
“The area of the brain that controls sex drive – the sexual dimorphic nucleus – had half as many neurons in the mice that had received paracetamol as the control mice. The inhibition of testosterone also led to a halving of the activity in an area of the brain that is significant for male characteristics,” he explains.
It’s not just men, female fertility suffers too
The lives of female mice suffered under the influence of acetaminophen in the womb. In 2016, the researchers published a study showing that female mice had fewer eggs in their ovaries if their mothers had had paracetamol during pregnancy. This led to the mice becoming infertile more quickly.
“I personally think that people should think carefully before taking medicine. These days it has become so common to take paracetamol that we forget it is a medicine And all medicine has side effects. If you are ill, you should naturally take the medicine you need. After all, having a sick mother is more harmful for the foetus,” Kristensen said, cautioning moms to follow their doctor’s guidelines. SEE: Acetaminophen: A Catalyst To Autism?
Although the study dosage administered to the mice was very close to the recommended dosage for pregnant women, scientists still have an out by saying that we can’t be sure about human results – nor would it be right, given the evidence of harm. However, they don’t entirely rule out the use of acetaminophen, but caution expectant mothers to “be careful.”
It would be wise if we all ask our preferred healthcare practitioners about safer, natural alternatives to pain relief. If you are pregnant be extra careful to verify the safety of herbs, essential oils and even homeopathics.