7 Surprising Facts About Men’s Health: They Die Sooner, More Likely To Get Struck By Lightning, And More


Former President Bill Clinton established National Men’s Health Week in 1994 and it has been celebrated every year since. It serves as a way to encourage the men and boys in our lives to embrace healthy habits. This year, it’s honored the week of June 12 through 18.

smoker-1209493_1280

Despite all the technological advances, many men continue to suffer from a long list of distinctive health issues such as shorter life spans, President Donald J. Trump said in a statement.

“Many men visit their healthcare providers less frequently than women,” he notes. “One in three American men suffers from a condition related to cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men.”

Celebrating the week is a way to spread awareness about issues many men face. Here’s 7 surprising facts about men’s health:

1. Men live about 5 fewer years than women

Women outlive men in every country in the world. In the United States, men typically live 76.3 years, while women have a life expectancy of 81.2 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).

2. Men are more likely to die from heart disease

Men die more often from heart disease than women do. They’re also more likely to die from the disease at a younger age, according to Harvard Health Publications.

3. Men are more likely to be killed or injured by lightning

In a CDC report spanning a 43-year time period, lighting consistently killed more men than women every year. From 1968 to 2010, about 85 percent of deaths were men. The reason for this is not included in the report, but another study suggests it may because men participate in more leisure activities that expose them to lighting strikes, such as fishing and camping.

4. Men are less likely to go to the doctor

Both men and women avoid the doctor for a number of reasons, but men in particular schedule visits far less often. But why? In an online health survey by the Orlando Health hospital system, men stated these as their top three reasons: too busy to go, afraid of finding out what might be wrong, and uncomfortable with body exams such as prostate or rectal checks.

5. Men commit suicide more often than women

Although women make more non-fatal suicide attempts, men are more likely to complete a suicide. One reason for this may be because men are less likely to seek care for depression and other mental illnesses, according to Harvard Health Publications.

6. Men are more likely to use tobacco

About 40 percent of men smoke worldwide compared to about 9 percent of women, according to the World Health Organization.

7. Men are more likely to drink excessively

Men are more likely to drink excessively than women and they are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving fast or without a seatbelt. When these behaviors are combined with alcohol, the risk of injury and death increases.

7 Little-Known Facts About Sperm For Men’s Health


Single male sperm cell swimming in the fallopian tube

Here’s the truth behind a man’s “sexy swimmers,” from dead sperm making babies to sperm coming in both genders.Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

We all know when a man ejaculates during sex he releases millions and millions of sperm. Although these “sexy swimmers” come in high numbers, only a single sperm can successfully go upstream and fertilize an egg — and there is more to a man’s sperm than just fertilizing the egg to form a fetus.

Sperm live fast and die young. Men have a constant supply of sperm, producing at least 1,500 sperm cells per second. Since they live briefly, sperm supply must constantly be replaced, hence their astounding production rate. But just how valuable is good sperm health when it comes to creating a healthy fetus?

1. There’s a difference between ‘sperm’ and ‘semen.’

Sperm and semen are mistakenly used interchangeably, but they are not the same substance. Sperm cells are actually a part of the semen, which is the whitish, viscous fluid released from the penis, according toMedlinePlus. Sperm leaves the body through the mix of bodily fluids that makeup semen. This fluid contains fructose and proteolytic enzymes that facilitate the mobility of sperm outside the male reproductive tract.

2. 90% of sperm ejaculated is deformed.

Not all sperm are created equal. Sperm can have a multitude of defects in the head, neck, or tail, such as two heads, two tails, and coiled tails — to name a few. These defects can potentially affect the ability of sperm to reach and fertilize an egg, but it does not mean men are infertile. Normal sperm, says the Mayo Clinic, have an oval head with a long tail.

3. Sperm is cold.

A flow of spermatozoaA flow of spermatozoa. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

A man may get caught up in the heat of the moment, but his testicles stay cool. They are about 7 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the rest of the body. This temperature is necessary to help healthy sperm stay chilled compared to the rest of the body. “Radiator-like” veins pull heat away while muscles in the scrotum raise and lower the testicles to bring them either closer to the body’s warmth or further away.

4. Sperm comes in both genders.

Not all sperm are chromosomally male. Several sperm do carry the X chromosome, while others carry the Y chromosome. However, female sperm is actually stronger than male sperm, according to Harvard Health Publications. This means the likelihood of getting pregnant by a female swimmer is higher than a male one. If a father provides an X chromosome, the baby will be female, whereas if he supplies a Y chromosome, the baby will be male.

5. It takes 2 months to make sperm.

It may take a second for a man to release 1,500 sperm cells, but it takes months to mature in the testes. This regeneration cycle takes about two-and-a-half to three months to fully mature. Healthy sperm will not be ready to fertilize an egg until a new set of sperm — developed in healthy conditions — matures.

6. One testicle can make enough sperm to form a fetus.

Men who have one testicle may be just as fertile as a man with two testicles. Typically, a man with two testicles will produce sperm and semen in both. However, if only one testicle is present, it will take over semen and sperm production. Although there may be reduced semen production, a man’s fertility is not affected in most cases.

7. Dead sperm can make healthy babies.

In vitro fertilization, IVF macro conceptIn vitro fertilization, IVF macro concept. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

In vitro fertilization (IVF) makes it possible to use dead sperm to help form a healthy fetus. Typically, IVF technicians manually combine an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish and then transfer the embryo to the uterus, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Sometimes, a single sperm being inserted inside an egg may be “killed” after being beaten with a technologically advanced glass straw used for this process.

But as you can see, there’s more to men’s little swimmers than fertilization.

Deficicencies in semen production linked to medical comorbidities


Researchers identified a relationship between semen production and medical comorbidities, including hypertension and endocrine disorders, according to data published in Fertility and Sterility.

“Men’s health and fertility are related,” Michael L. Eisenberg, MD, assistant professor of urology and director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, told Endocrine Today. “If one has health problems, there may be reproductive problems.”

Michael Eisenberg

Michael L. Eisenberg

With 15% of all couples experiencing fertility issues, and semen deficiencies demonstrated in half of those cases, Eisenberg said the area deserves more attention.

“If a couple is having trouble conceiving, a man should get evaluated because there may health ailments that can be treated,” he said.

Eisenberg and colleagues analyzed medical records of 9,387 men (mean age, 38 years) with semen data available. The men were evaluated at Stanford between 1994 and 2011 to examine causes for their infertility; abnormal semen was the problem in nearly half of all male fertility cases, and 44% had at least one medical diagnosis unrelated to infertility.

Using the Charlson comorbidity index, the researchers stratified the cohort and measured differences in semen parameters. Men with a higher Charlson comorbidity index score demonstrated lower semen concentration, motility, volume, total sperm count and morphology scores.

Overall health status was compared between men with semen defects and those without. Men with endocrine, circulatory, genitourinary and skin diseases all demonstrated higher rates of semen abnormalities.

Further examination into conditions of the circulatory system showed men with hypertensive disease, peripheral vascular and cerebrovascular disease and non-ischemic heart disease had higher rates of semen abnormalities.

Determining what is behind the correlation between semen deficiencies and diseases of the endocrine and cardiovascular systems was not part of the study design, but Eisenberg said most genes connected to reproduction also have functions in other bodily systems. He is currently exploring whether the treatment for disease, rather than disease itself, could be responsible for reproductive malfunction.

“As we learn more about the causes and consequences of infertility, we can better treat patients so that everyone is able to achieve their reproductive goals,” Eisenberg said. — by Allegra Tiver

Testosterone Decline: How to Address This Challenge to ‘Manhood’.


Story at-a-glance

  • Testosterone is an androgenic sex hormone produced by the testicles (and in smaller amounts in the ovaries of women), and is often associated with “manhood.” Testosterone levels in men naturally decline with age – beginning at age 30 – and continue to do so as men advance in years. Unfortunately, widespread chemical exposure is causing this decline to occur in men as early as childhood.
  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) such as phthalates, BPA, PFOA, and metalloestrogens lurk inside your house, leaching from human products such as personal hygiene products, chemical cleansers, or contraceptive drugs. They may also end up in your food and drinking water.
  • To reduce your exposure to EDCs, replace chemical sources such as pots and pans, commercial cleansers, and processed foods with natural products and organic foods.
  • There are numerous options to deal with age-related testosterone decline. Hormone replacement therapy, saw palmetto and other supplements, weight management through diet, exercise, and stress management are some recommended strategies.
  • Running Exercise

Testosterone is an androgenic sex hormone produced by the testicles (and in smaller amounts in women’s ovaries), and is often associated with “manhood.” Primarily, this hormone plays a great role in men’s sexual and reproductive function. It also contributes to their muscle mass, hair growth, maintaining bone density, red blood cell production, and emotional health.

Although testosterone is considered a male sex hormone, women, while having it at relatively low levels, are more sensitive to its effects.

Prostate GlandsWhile conventional medical thought stresses that testosterone is a catalyst for prostate cancer,1 even employing castration (orchiectomy) as a form of treatment, recent findings have shown otherwise.

The prostate gland requires testosterone for it to remain at optimal condition

Testosterone levels in men naturally decline with age – beginning at age 30 – and continue to do so as men advance in years.

Aging-induced testosterone decline is associated with the overactivity of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This process simultaneously decreases the amount of testosterone in men, putting them at risk for prostate enlargement, androgenic alopecia (hair loss) and cancer.

Unfortunately, widespread chemical exposure is also causing this decline to occur in men as early as childhood, and is completely impacting their biology. Recently, for instance, both statin drugs and the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide were found to interfere with the testicle’s ability to produce testosterone.2

How Do Environmental Toxins Affect Your Testosterone Production?

What’s even more alarming is that many of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have “gender-bending” qualities.

EDCs are everywhere. They lurk inside your house, leaching from human products such as personal hygiene products, chemical cleansers, or contraceptive drugs. They also end up in your food and drinking water, causing you to unknowingly ingest them.

EDCs pose a threat to men’s health as they interfere with testosterone production, causing men to take on more feminine characteristics.

Here’s one proof: in a number of British rivers, 50 percent of male fish were found to produce eggs in their testes. According to EurekAlert,3 EDCs have been entering rivers and other waterways through sewage systems for years, altering the biology of male fish. It was also found that fish species affected by EDCs had 76 percent reduction in their reproductive function.

EDCs Can Affect Men’s Health as Early as Infancy

Sexual development in both girls and boys are occurring earlier than expected. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics,4boys are experiencing sexual development six months to two years earlier than the medically-accepted norm, due to exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Some boys even develop enlarged testicles and penis, armpit or pubic hair, as well as facial hair as early as age nine! Early puberty is not something to be taken lightly because it can significantly influence physical and psychological health, including an increased risk of hormone-related cancers. Precocious sexual development may also lead to emotional and behavioral issues, such as:

Depression Low Self-Esteem

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Earlier loss of virginity and multiple sexual partners
  • Increased risk of sexually-transmitted diseases

Pregnant or nursing women who are exposed to EDCs can transfer these chemicals to their child. Exposure to EDCs during pregnancy affects the development of male fetuses. Fewer boys have been born in the United States and Japan in the last three decades. The more women are exposed to these hormone-disrupting substances, the greater the chance that their sons will have smaller genitals and incomplete testicular descent, leading to poor reproductive health in the long term. EDCs are also a threat to male fertility, as they contribute to testicular cancer and lower sperm count. All of these birth defects and abnormalities, collectively referred to as Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome (TDS), are linked to the impaired production of testosterone.5

Phthalates and Other EDCs: A Pernicious Mix

Pregnant WomanPhthalates are another class of gender-bending chemicals that can “feminize” men. A chemical often added to plastics, these endocrine-disrupting chemicals have a disastrous effect on male hormones and reproductive health. They are linked to birth defects in male infants and appear to alter the genital tracts of boys to be more femalelike.

Phthalates are found to cause poor testosterone synthesis by disrupting an enzyme required to create the male hormone. Women with high levels of DEHP and DBP (two types of phthalates) in their system during pregnancy were found to have sons that had feminine characteristics Phthalates are found in vinyl flooring, detergents, automotive plastics, soaps and shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, hair sprays, plastic bags and food packaging, among a long list of common products. Aside from phthalates, other chemicals that possess gender-bending traits are:

  1. Bisphenol-A (BPA) – Common in plastic products such as reusable water bottles, food cans, and dental sealants. BPA can alter fetal development and heighten breast cancer risk in women.
  2. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – A potential carcinogen commonly used in water- and grease-resistant food coatings.
  3. Methoxychlor (insecticide) and Vinclozin (fungicide) – Shown in studies to induce changes in four subsequent generations of male mice after initial exposure.
  4. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) – Potent endocrine-disruptors that can interfere with your gene expression and glandular system. They are also referred to as estrogen-mimicking chemicals that have been implicated in unnatural sex changes in male marine species.
  5. Bovine growth hormones – Estrogen-mimicking and growth-promoting chemicals that are added to commercial dairy products.
  6. Unfermented soy products – Contain antinutrients and hormone-like substances, and are NOT health foods (contrary to popular belief). Visit this page to learn more about the dangers of soy.
  7. MSG – A food additive that can impact reproductive health and fertility.
  8. Fluoride – A potent neurotoxin found in certain US water supplies and is linked to endocrine disruption, decreased fertility rates, and lower sperm counts.
  9. Pharmaceuticals that provide synthetic hormones – Pharmaceuticals like contraceptives and provide you with synthetic hormones that your body isn’t designed to respond to and detoxify properly. Chronic illnesses may result from long-term use of these drugs.
  10. Metalloestrogens – A class of cancer-causing estrogen-mimicking compounds that can be found in thousands of consumer products. Included in the list of potent metalloestrogens are aluminum, antimony, copper, lead, mercury, cadmium, and tin.

How to Limit Your Exposure to Gender-Bending Chemicals

Teflon CookwareIt may be unlikely to completely eliminate products with EDCs, but there are a number of practical strategies that you can try to limit your exposure to these gender-bending substances. The first step would be to stop using Teflon cookware, as EDCs can leach out from contaminated cookware. Replace them with ceramic ones. Stop eating out of cans, as the sealant used for the can liner is almost always made from powerful endocrine-disrupting petrochemicals known as bisphenols, e.g. Bisphenol A,
Bisphenol S.

You should also get rid of cleaning products loaded with chemicals, artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, vinyl shower curtains, chemical-laden shampoos, and personal hygiene products. Replace them all with natural, toxin-free alternatives. Adjusting your diet can also help, since many processed foods contain gender-bending toxins. Switch to organic foods, which are cultivated without chemical interventions.

How to Address Aging-Related Testosterone Decline

As mentioned above, your testosterone stores also decline naturally as you age. However, there are methods that can help boost your levels. Below are some options you can consider:

The Hormone Replacement Method

Memory ProblemIf you suspect that you have insufficient testosterone stores, you should have your levels tested. Issues linked to testosterone decline include:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depressed mood
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired concentration

A blood test may not be enough to determine your levels, because testosterone levels can fluctuate during the day. Once you determine that you do have low levels, there are a number of options to take. There are synthetic and bioidentical testosterone products out on the market, but I advise using bioidentical hormones like DHEA. DHEA is a hormone secreted by your adrenal glands in your brain. This substance is the most abundant precursor hormone in the human body. It is crucial for the creation of vital hormones, including testosterone and other sex hormones.

The natural production of DHEA is also age-dependent. Prior to puberty, the body produces very little DHEA. Production of this prohormone peaks during your late 20’s or early 30’s. With age, DHEA production begins to decline. The adrenal glands also manufacture the stress hormone cortisol, which is in direct competition with DHEA for production because they use the same hormonal substrate known as pregnenolone. Chronic stress basically causes excessive cortisol levels and impairs DHEA production, which is why stress is another factor for low testosterone levels.

It is important not to use any DHEA product without the supervision of a professional. Find a qualified health care provider who will monitor your hormone levels and determine if you require supplementation. Rather than using an oral hormone supplementation, I recommend trans-mucosal (vagina or rectum) application. Skin application may not be wise, as it makes it difficult to measure the dosage you receive. This may cause you to end up receiving more than what your body requires.

I recommend using a trans-mucosal DHEA cream. Applying it to the rectum or if you are a a woman, your vagina, will allow the mucous epithelial membranes that line your mucosa to perform effective absorption. These membranes regulate absorption and inhibit the production of unwanted metabolites of DHEA. I personally apply 50 milligrams of trans-rectal DHEA cream twice a day – this has improved my own testosterone levels significantly. However, please note that I do NOT recommend prolonged supplementation of hormones. Doing so can trick your body into halting its own DHEA production and may cause your adrenals to become seriously impaired down.

Saw Palmetto and the Testosterone-Prostate Cancer Myth

Prostate hyperplasia (BPH), or simply an enlarged prostate, is a serious problem among men, especially those over age 60. As I’ve pointed out, high testosterone levels are not a precursor to an enlarged prostate or cancer; rather, excessive DHT and estrogen levels formed as metabolites of testosterone are. Conventional medicine uses two classes of drugs to treat BPH, each having a number of serious side effects. These are:

  1. Alpha-blockers, such as Flomax, Hytrin, Cardura, and Rapaflo – These relax smooth muscles, including your bladder and prostate. They work to improve urine flow, but do NOT do anything to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate.
  2. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, like Avodart and Proscar – The enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone to DHT, which stimulates the prostate. Although this class of drugs does limit the production of DHT and shrinks an enlarged prostate, it comes with a number of significant risks, including a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.

According to Dr. Rudi Moerck, an expert in chemistry and drug industry insider, men who have low levels of testosterone may experience the following problems:

  • Weight gain
  • Breast enlargement
  • Problems with urinating

Saw PalmettoInstead of turning to some drug that can only ameliorate symptoms and cause additional complications, I recommend using a natural saw palmetto supplement. Dr. Moerck says that there are about 100 clinical studies on the benefits of saw palmetto, one of them being a contributed to decreased prostate cancer risk. When choosing a saw palmetto supplement, you should be wary of the brand, as there are those that use an inactive form of the plant.

Saw palmetto is a very potent supplement, but only if a high-quality source is used. Dr. Moerck recommends using an organic supercritical CO2 extract of saw palmetto oil, which is dark green in color. Since saw palmetto is a fat-soluble supplement, taking it with eggs will enhance the absorption of its nutrients.
There is also solid research indicating that if you take astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto, you may experience significant synergistic benefits. A 2009 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that an optimal dose of saw palmetto and astaxanthin decreased both DHT and estrogen while simultaneously increasingtestosterone.6 Also, in order to block the synthesis of excess estrogen (estradiol) from testosterone there are excellent foods and plant extracts that may help to block the enzyme known as aromatase which is responsible producing estrogen. Some of these include white button mushrooms, grape seed extract and nettles.7

Nutrients That Can Help Boost Testosterone Levels

In addition to using bioidentical hormones or saw palmetto, there are two nutrients that have been found to be beneficial to testicular health and testosterone production.

Zinc

OystersZinc is an important mineral in testosterone production.8 Yet, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that about 45 percent of adults over 60 have low zinc levels due to insufficient intake. Regardless of supplementation, 20 to 25 percent of older adults still had inadequate levels.9

It was found that supplementing with zinc for as little as six weeks has been shown to improve testosterone in men with low levels. On the other hand, restricting zinc dietary sources yielded to a drop in the production of the male hormone.10 Excellent sources of zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Protein-rich foods like meats and fish
  • Raw milk and raw cheese
  • Beans
  • Fermented foods, like yogurt and kefir

You may also take a zinc supplement to raise your levels. Just stick to a dosage of less than 40 milligrams a day. Overdosing on zinc may cause nausea or inhibit the absorption of essential minerals in your body, like copper.

Vitamin D

Sun Exposure Vitamin DVitamin D deficiency is a growing epidemic in the US, and is profoundly affecting men’s health. The cholesterol-derived steroid hormone vitamin D is crucial for men’s health. It plays a role in the development of the sperm cell nucleus, and helps maintain semen quality and sperm count. Vitamin D can also increase your testosterone level, helping improve your libido. Have your vitamin D levels tested using a 25(OH)D or a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. The optimal level of vitamin D is around 50 to 70 ng/ml for adults. There are three effective sources of vitamin D:

  • Healthy sun exposure
  • Safe-tanning beds
  • Vitamin D3 supplementation

Learn more about how to optimize your vitamin D levels by watching my 1-hour lecture on vitamin D.

The Connection Between Weight and Low Testosterone Levels

Belly Fat OverweightResearch presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 conference discussed the link between weight and testosterone levels. Overweight men were more prone to having low testosterone levels, and shedding excess pounds may alleviate this problem. Managing your weight means you have to manage your diet. Below are some ways to jumpstart a healthy diet:

    • Limit processed sugar in your diet, as excessive sugar consumption (mainly fructose) is the driving force of obesity. But this isn’t a license to useartificial sweeteners, because these also have their share of negative effects.

It is ideal to keep your total fructose consumption, including fructose from fruits, below 25 grams a day. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, it is wise to keep it below 15 grams per day.

    • Eliminate refined carbohydrates from processed foods, like cereals and soda, because they contribute to insulin resistance.
    • Consume vegetable carbohydrates and healthy fats. Your body requires the carbohydrates from fresh vegetables rather than grains and sugars. In addition to mono- or polyunsaturated fats found in avocados and raw nuts, saturated fats are also essential to building your testosterone production. According to research, there was a decrease in testosterone stores in people who consumed a diet low in animal-based fat.11 Aside from avocados and raw nuts, ideal sources of healthy fat that can boost your testosterone levels include:
Olives and olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw nuts, such as almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks Avocados
Grass-fed meats Palm oil Unheated organic nut oils
  • Consume organic dairy products, like high-quality cheeses and whey protein, to boost your branch chain amino acids (BCAA). According to research, BCAAs were found to raise testosterone levels, particularly when taken with strength training.12 While there are supplements that provide BCAAs, I believe that leucine, found in dairy products, carries the highest concentrations of this beneficial amino acid.

For a more comprehensive look at what you should or shouldn’t eat, refer to my nutrition plan.

Exercise as a Testosterone Booster

Unlike aerobics or prolonged moderate exercise, short, intense exercise was found to be beneficial in increasing testosterone levels. The results are enhanced with the help of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting helps boost testosterone by improving the expression of satiety hormones, like insulin, leptin, adiponectin, glucacgon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), cholecystokinin (CKK), and melanocortins, which are linked to healthy testosterone function, increased libido, and the prevention of age-induced testosterone decline. When it comes to an exercise plan that will complement testosterone function and production (along with overall health), I recommend including not just aerobics in your routine, but also:

  • High-intensity interval training – Work out all your muscle fibers in under 20 to 30 minutes. Learn more about my Peak Fitness regimen.
  • Strength training – When you use strength training to raise your testosterone, you’ll want to increase the weight and lower your number of reps. Focus on doing exercises that work a wider number of muscles, such as squats or dead lifts. Take your workout to the next level by learning the principles of Super-Slow Weight Training.

Address Your Chronic Stress, Too

MeditationThe production of the stress hormone cortisol blocks the production and effects of testosterone. From a biological perspective, cortisol increases your “fight or flight” response, thereby lowering testosterone-associated functions such as mating, competing, and aggression. Chronic stress can take a toll on testosterone production, as well as your overall health. Therefore, stress management is equally important to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Tools you can use to stay stress-free include prayer, meditation, laughter, and yoga. Relaxation skills, such as deep breathing and visualization, can also promote your emotional health.

Among my favorite stress management tools is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a method similar to acupuncture but without the use of needles. EFT is known to eliminate negative behavior and instill a positive mentality. Always bear in mind that your emotional health is strongly linked to your physical health, and you have to pay attention to your negative feelings as much as you do to the foods you eat.

References:

Testosterone Decline: How to Address This Challenge to ‘Manhood’.


Story at-a-glance

  • Testosterone is an androgenic sex hormone produced by the testicles (and in smaller amounts in the ovaries of women), and is often associated with “manhood.” Testosterone levels in men naturally decline with age – beginning at age 30 – and continue to do so as men advance in years. Unfortunately, widespread chemical exposure is causing this decline to occur in men as early as childhood.
  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) such as phthalates, BPA, PFOA, and metalloestrogens lurk inside your house, leaching from human products such as personal hygiene products, chemical cleansers, or contraceptive drugs. They may also end up in your food and drinking water.
  • To reduce your exposure to EDCs, replace chemical sources such as pots and pans, commercial cleansers, and processed foods with natural products and organic foods.
  • There are numerous options to deal with age-related testosterone decline. Hormone replacement therapy, saw palmetto and other supplements, weight management through diet, exercise, and stress management are some recommended strategies.

testosterone

Testosterone is an androgenic sex hormone produced by the testicles (and in smaller amounts in women’s ovaries), and is often associated with “manhood.” Primarily, this hormone plays a great role in men’s sexual and reproductive function. It also contributes to their muscle mass, hair growth, maintaining bone density, red blood cell production, and emotional health.

Although testosterone is considered a male sex hormone, women, while having it at relatively low levels, are more sensitive to its effects.

While conventional medical thought stresses that testosterone is a catalyst for prostate cancer,1 even employing castration (orchiectomy) as a form of treatment, recent findings have shown otherwise.

The prostate gland requires testosterone for it to remain at optimal condition

Testosterone levels in men naturally decline with age – beginning at age 30 – and continue to do so as men advance in years.

Aging-induced testosterone decline is associated with the overactivity of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This process simultaneously decreases the amount of testosterone in men, putting them at risk for prostate enlargement, androgenic alopecia (hair loss) and cancer.

Unfortunately, widespread chemical exposure is also causing this decline to occur in men as early as childhood, and is completely impacting their biology. Recently, for instance, both statin drugs and the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide were found to interfere with the testicle’s ability to produce testosterone.2

prostate-gland

How Do Environmental Toxins Affect Your Testosterone Production?

The escalating amount of chemicals being released into the environment can no longer be ignored, as these toxins are disrupting animal and human endocrine systems.

What’s even more alarming is that many of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have “gender-bending” qualities.

EDCs are everywhere. They lurk inside your house, leaching from human products such as personal hygiene products, chemical cleansers, or contraceptive drugs. They also end up in your food and drinking water, causing you to unknowingly ingest them.

EDCs pose a threat to men’s health as they interfere with testosterone production, causing men to take on more feminine characteristics.

Here’s one proof: in a number of British rivers, 50 percent of male fish were found to produce eggs in their testes. According to EurekAlert,3 EDCs have been entering rivers and other waterways through sewage systems for years, altering the biology of male fish. It was also found that fish species affected by EDCs had 76 percent reduction in their reproductive function.

EDCs Can Affect Men’s Health as Early as Infancy

Sexual development in both girls and boys are occurring earlier than expected. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics,4boys are experiencing sexual development six months to two years earlier than the medically-accepted norm, due to exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Some boys even develop enlarged testicles and penis, armpit or pubic hair, as well as facial hair as early as age nine! Early puberty is not something to be taken lightly because it can significantly influence physical and psychological health, including an increased risk of hormone-related cancers. Precocious sexual development may also lead to emotional and behavioral issues, such as:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Earlier loss of virginity and multiple sexual partners
  • Increased risk of sexually-transmitted diseases

Pregnant or nursing women who are exposed to EDCs can transfer these chemicals to their child. Exposure to EDCs during pregnancy affects the development of male fetuses. Fewer boys have been born in the United States and Japan in the last three decades. The more women are exposed to these hormone-disrupting substances, the greater the chance that their sons will have smaller genitals and incomplete testicular descent, leading to poor reproductive health in the long term. EDCs are also a threat to male fertility, as they contribute to testicular cancer and lower sperm count. All of these birth defects and abnormalities, collectively referred to as Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome (TDS), are linked to the impaired production of testosterone.5

Phthalates and Other EDCs: A Pernicious Mix

Phthalates are another class of gender-bending chemicals that can “feminize” men. A chemical often added to plastics, these endocrine-disrupting chemicals have a disastrous effect on male hormones and reproductive health. They are linked to birth defects in male infants and appear to alter the genital tracts of boys to be more femalelike.

Phthalates are found to cause poor testosterone synthesis by disrupting an enzyme required to create the male hormone. Women with high levels of DEHP and DBP (two types of phthalates) in their system during pregnancy were found to have sons that had feminine characteristics Phthalates are found in vinyl flooring, detergents, automotive plastics, soaps and shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, hair sprays, plastic bags and food packaging, among a long list of common products. Aside from phthalates, other chemicals that possess gender-bending traits are:

  1. Bisphenol-A (BPA) – Common in plastic products such as reusable water bottles, food cans, and dental sealants. BPA can alter fetal development and heighten breast cancer risk in women.
  2. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – A potential carcinogen commonly used in water- and grease-resistant food coatings.
  3. Methoxychlor (insecticide) and Vinclozin (fungicide) – Shown in studies to induce changes in four subsequent generations of male mice after initial exposure.
  4. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) – Potent endocrine-disruptors that can interfere with your gene expression and glandular system. They are also referred to as estrogen-mimicking chemicals that have been implicated in unnatural sex changes in male marine species.
  5. Bovine growth hormones – Estrogen-mimicking and growth-promoting chemicals that are added to commercial dairy products.
  6. Unfermented soy products – Contain antinutrients and hormone-like substances, and are NOT health foods (contrary to popular belief). Visit this page to learn more about the dangers of soy.
  7. MSG – A food additive that can impact reproductive health and fertility.
  8. Fluoride – A potent neurotoxin found in certain US water supplies and is linked to endocrine disruption, decreased fertility rates, and lower sperm counts.
  9. Pharmaceuticals that provide synthetic hormones – Pharmaceuticals like contraceptives and provide you with synthetic hormones that your body isn’t designed to respond to and detoxify properly. Chronic illnesses may result from long-term use of these drugs.
  10. Metalloestrogens – A class of cancer-causing estrogen-mimicking compounds that can be found in thousands of consumer products. Included in the list of potent metalloestrogens are aluminum, antimony, copper, lead, mercury, cadmium, and tin.

How to Limit Your Exposure to Gender-Bending Chemicals

It may be unlikely to completely eliminate products with EDCs, but there are a number of practical strategies that you can try to limit your exposure to these gender-bending substances. The first step would be to stop using Teflon cookware, as EDCs can leach out from contaminated cookware. Replace them with ceramic ones. Stop eating out of cans, as the sealant used for the can liner is almost always made from powerful endocrine-disrupting petrochemicals known as bisphenols, e.g. Bisphenol A,
Bisphenol S.

You should also get rid of cleaning products loaded with chemicals, artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, vinyl shower curtains, chemical-laden shampoos, and personal hygiene products. Replace them all with natural, toxin-free alternatives. Adjusting your diet can also help, since many processed foods contain gender-bending toxins. Switch to organic foods, which are cultivated without chemical interventions.

How to Address Aging-Related Testosterone Decline

As mentioned above, your testosterone stores also decline naturally as you age. However, there are methods that can help boost your levels. Below are some options you can consider:

The Hormone Replacement Method

If you suspect that you have insufficient testosterone stores, you should have your levels tested. Issues linked to testosterone decline include:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depressed mood
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired concentration

A blood test may not be enough to determine your levels, because testosterone levels can fluctuate during the day. Once you determine that you do have low levels, there are a number of options to take. There are synthetic and bioidentical testosterone products out on the market, but I advise using bioidentical hormones like DHEA. DHEA is a hormone secreted by your adrenal glands in your brain. This substance is the most abundant precursor hormone in the human body. It is crucial for the creation of vital hormones, including testosterone and other sex hormones.

The natural production of DHEA is also age-dependent. Prior to puberty, the body produces very little DHEA. Production of this prohormone peaks during your late 20’s or early 30’s. With age, DHEA production begins to decline. The adrenal glands also manufacture the stress hormone cortisol, which is in direct competition with DHEA for production because they use the same hormonal substrate known as pregnenolone. Chronic stress basically causes excessive cortisol levels and impairs DHEA production, which is why stress is another factor for low testosterone levels.

It is important not to use any DHEA product without the supervision of a professional. Find a qualified health care provider who will monitor your hormone levels and determine if you require supplementation. Rather than using an oral hormone supplementation, I recommend trans-mucosal (vagina or rectum) application. Skin application may not be wise, as it makes it difficult to measure the dosage you receive. This may cause you to end up receiving more than what your body requires.

I recommend using a trans-mucosal DHEA cream. Applying it to the rectum or if you are a a woman, your vagina, will allow the mucous epithelial membranes that line your mucosa to perform effective absorption. These membranes regulate absorption and inhibit the production of unwanted metabolites of DHEA. I personally apply 50 milligrams of trans-rectal DHEA cream twice a day – this has improved my own testosterone levels significantly. However, please note that I do NOT recommend prolonged supplementation of hormones. Doing so can trick your body into halting its own DHEA production and may cause your adrenals to become seriously impaired down.

Saw Palmetto and the Testosterone-Prostate Cancer Myth

Prostate hyperplasia (BPH), or simply an enlarged prostate, is a serious problem among men, especially those over age 60. As I’ve pointed out, high testosterone levels are not a precursor to an enlarged prostate or cancer; rather, excessive DHT and estrogen levels formed as metabolites of testosterone are. Conventional medicine uses two classes of drugs to treat BPH, each having a number of serious side effects. These are:

  1. Alpha-blockers, such as Flomax, Hytrin, Cardura, and Rapaflo – These relax smooth muscles, including your bladder and prostate. They work to improve urine flow, but do NOT do anything to reduce the size of an enlarged prostate.
  2. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, like Avodart and Proscar – The enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone to DHT, which stimulates the prostate. Although this class of drugs does limit the production of DHT and shrinks an enlarged prostate, it comes with a number of significant risks, including a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.

According to Dr. Rudi Moerck, an expert in chemistry and drug industry insider, men who have low levels of testosterone may experience the following problems:

  • Weight gain
  • Breast enlargement
  • Problems with urinating

Instead of turning to some drug that can only ameliorate symptoms and cause additional complications, I recommend using a natural saw palmetto supplement. Dr. Moerck says that there are about 100 clinical studies on the benefits of saw palmetto, one of them being a contributed to decreased prostate cancer risk. When choosing a saw palmetto supplement, you should be wary of the brand, as there are those that use an inactive form of the plant.

Saw palmetto is a very potent supplement, but only if a high-quality source is used. Dr. Moerck recommends using an organic supercritical CO2 extract of saw palmetto oil, which is dark green in color. Since saw palmetto is a fat-soluble supplement, taking it with eggs will enhance the absorption of its nutrients.

 

There is also solid research indicating that if you take astaxanthin in combination with saw palmetto, you may experience significant synergistic benefits. A 2009 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that an optimal dose of saw palmetto and astaxanthin decreased both DHT and estrogen while simultaneously increasingtestosterone.6 Also, in order to block the synthesis of excess estrogen (estradiol) from testosterone there are excellent foods and plant extracts that may help to block the enzyme known as aromatase which is responsible producing estrogen. Some of these include white button mushrooms, grape seed extract and nettles.7

Nutrients That Can Help Boost Testosterone Levels

In addition to using bioidentical hormones or saw palmetto, there are two nutrients that have been found to be beneficial to testicular health and testosterone production.

Zinc

Zinc is an important mineral in testosterone production.8 Yet, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that about 45 percent of adults over 60 have low zinc levels due to insufficient intake. Regardless of supplementation, 20 to 25 percent of older adults still had inadequate levels.9

It was found that supplementing with zinc for as little as six weeks has been shown to improve testosterone in men with low levels. On the other hand, restricting zinc dietary sources yielded to a drop in the production of the male hormone.10 Excellent sources of zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Protein-rich foods like meats and fish
  • Raw milk and raw cheese
  • Beans
  • Fermented foods, like yogurt and kefir

You may also take a zinc supplement to raise your levels. Just stick to a dosage of less than 40 milligrams a day. Overdosing on zinc may cause nausea or inhibit the absorption of essential minerals in your body, like copper.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is a growing epidemic in the US, and is profoundly affecting men’s health. The cholesterol-derived steroid hormone vitamin D is crucial for men’s health. It plays a role in the development of the sperm cell nucleus, and helps maintain semen quality and sperm count. Vitamin D can also increase your testosterone level, helping improve your libido. Have your vitamin D levels tested using a 25(OH)D or a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. The optimal level of vitamin D is around 50 to 70 ng/ml for adults. There are three effective sources of vitamin D:

  • Healthy sun exposure
  • Safe-tanning beds
  • Vitamin D3 supplementation

Learn more about how to optimize your vitamin D levels by watching my 1-hour lecture on vitamin D.

The Connection Between Weight and Low Testosterone Levels

Research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 conference discussed the link between weight and testosterone levels. Overweight men were more prone to having low testosterone levels, and shedding excess pounds may alleviate this problem. Managing your weight means you have to manage your diet. Below are some ways to jumpstart a healthy diet:

  • Limit processed sugar in your diet, as excessive sugar consumption (mainly fructose) is the driving force of obesity. But this isn’t a license to useartificial sweeteners, because these also have their share of negative effects.

It is ideal to keep your total fructose consumption, including fructose from fruits, below 25 grams a day. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, it is wise to keep it below 15 grams per day.

  • Eliminate refined carbohydrates from processed foods, like cereals and soda, because they contribute to insulin resistance.
  • Consume vegetable carbohydrates and healthy fats. Your body requires the carbohydrates from fresh vegetables rather than grains and sugars. In addition to mono- or polyunsaturated fats found in avocados and raw nuts, saturated fats are also essential to building your testosterone production. According to research, there was a decrease in testosterone stores in people who consumed a diet low in animal-based fat.11 Aside from avocados and raw nuts, ideal sources of healthy fat that can boost your testosterone levels include:
Olives and olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw nuts, such as almonds or pecans Organic pastured egg yolks Avocados
Grass-fed meats Palm oil Unheated organic nut oils
  • Consume organic dairy products, like high-quality cheeses and whey protein, to boost your branch chain amino acids (BCAA). According to research, BCAAs were found to raise testosterone levels, particularly when taken with strength training.12 While there are supplements that provide BCAAs, I believe that leucine, found in dairy products, carries the highest concentrations of this beneficial amino acid.

For a more comprehensive look at what you should or shouldn’t eat, refer to my nutrition plan.

Exercise as a Testosterone Booster

Unlike aerobics or prolonged moderate exercise, short, intense exercise was found to be beneficial in increasing testosterone levels. The results are enhanced with the help of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting helps boost testosterone by improving the expression of satiety hormones, like insulin, leptin, adiponectin, glucacgon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), cholecystokinin (CKK), and melanocortins, which are linked to healthy testosterone function, increased libido, and the prevention of age-induced testosterone decline. When it comes to an exercise plan that will complement testosterone function and production (along with overall health), I recommend including not just aerobics in your routine, but also:

  • High-intensity interval training – Work out all your muscle fibers in under 20 to 30 minutes. Learn more about my Peak Fitness regimen.
  • Strength training – When you use strength training to raise your testosterone, you’ll want to increase the weight and lower your number of reps. Focus on doing exercises that work a wider number of muscles, such as squats or dead lifts. Take your workout to the next level by learning the principles of Super-Slow Weight Training.

For more information on how exercise can be used as a natural testosterone booster, read my article “Testosterone Surge After Exercise May Help Remodel the Mind.”

Address Your Chronic Stress, Too

The production of the stress hormone cortisol blocks the production and effects of testosterone. From a biological perspective, cortisol increases your “fight or flight” response, thereby lowering testosterone-associated functions such as mating, competing, and aggression. Chronic stress can take a toll on testosterone production, as well as your overall health. Therefore, stress management is equally important to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Tools you can use to stay stress-free include prayer, meditation, laughter, and yoga. Relaxation skills, such as deep breathing and visualization, can also promote your emotional health.

Among my favorite stress management tools is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a method similar to acupuncture but without the use of needles. EFT is known to eliminate negative behavior and instill a positive mentality. Always bear in mind that your emotional health is strongly linked to your physical health, and you have to pay attention to your negative feelings as much as you do to the foods you eat.

 

References:

 

Source: mercola.com

 

Erectile dysfunction: A sign of heart disease?


The same process that creates heart disease may also cause erectile dysfunction, only earlier.

Erectile dysfunction — difficulty maintaining an erection sufficient for sex — can be an early warning sign of heart problems. Understanding the connections between the two may help you get treatment before heart problems become serious. Likewise, if you have heart disease, getting the right treatment may help with erectile dysfunction.

Clogged arteries: Where erectile dysfunction and heart disease meet

Atherosclerosis (ath-ur-o-skluh-ROE-sis) — sometimes called hardening of the arteries — is the buildup of plaques in the arteries of your body. The smaller arteries in the body, such as in the penis, are the first to get plugged up. The plaque reduces blood flow in the penis, making an erection difficult. Erectile dysfunction is an alert to look for atherosclerosis in larger arteries supplying your heart and other organs and to take steps to treat it. Atherosclerosis also increases your risk of other problems, including aneurysm, stroke and peripheral artery disease.

Certain men are at increased risk

Besides sharing a common disease process, erectile dysfunction and heart disease also share many risk factors. These risk factors increase the likelihood that your erectile dysfunction could be a sign of underlying atherosclerosis and heart disease:

  • Having diabetes. Men who have diabetes are at especially high risk of erectile dysfunction, heart disease and other problems caused by restricted blood flow.
  • Having high cholesterol. A high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis.
  • Being a smoker. Smoking cigarettes raises your risk of developing atherosclerosis. It also directly affects your ability to get an erection.
  • Having high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure damages the lining of your arteries and accelerates the process of atherosclerosis.
  • Having a family member with heart disease. It’s more likely your erectile dysfunction could be linked to heart disease if you have a first-degree relative such as a sibling or parent who had heart disease at a young age.
  • Your age. The younger you are, the more likely that erectile dysfunction signals a risk of heart disease. Men younger than 50 are at especially high risk. In men older than 70, erectile dysfunction is much less likely to be a sign of heart disease.
  • Being overweight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of both heart disease and erectile dysfunction due to atherosclerosis and other reasons.
  • Being depressed. There’s some evidence that depression is associated with an increased chance of having heart problems — and erectile dysfunction.

Treatment for erectile dysfunction caused by heart disease

If your doctor thinks you may be at risk of heart disease, making lifestyle changes such as exercising, changing your diet or losing weight may be enough to help keep your heart healthy — and improve your ability to have an erection. If you have more-serious signs and symptoms of heart disease, you may need further tests or treatment. If you have both erectile dysfunction and heart disease, talk to your doctor about treatment options for erectile dysfunction. If you take certain heart medications, especially nitrates, it is not safe to use many of the medications used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Source: Mayo Clinic.

 

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