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The list of possible causes of erectile dysfunction is long, yet one option is often overlooked, until recently. The results of numerous studies have indicated that vitamin D deficiency is linked to erectile dysfunction. If that’s the case, men who are living with this sexual challenge can take immediate action to help remedy this problem by taking vitamin D supplements. First, however, you should determine your vitamin D status to see if you have a deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are common around the world. Deficiency of vitamin D (levels of 20 ng/mL or lower) has been reported in more than 80 percent of some adult populations. The Vitamin D Council recommends a level of 40 to 80 ng/mL as healthy. If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, you should talk to your doctor about having a blood test to determine your vitamin D levels. (more…)
There’s a good chance you’ve been with your general practitioner for a few years. You go in a couple of times a year (hopefully no more often than that), you chat about your respective families and the state of your career, he (or she) listens, pokes, prods, palpates, and possibly prescribes. And you listen and do your best to follow instructions. Your GP is a health care professional, and there’s a degree hanging on the wall decreeing as much. So he or she must know what it takes to be healthy.
In an ideal world, the answer would be yes. But this world isn’t ideal—especially when it comes to health care.
Most doctors aren’t in the health care business. They don’t prescribe behaviors to make us healthy. They prescribe pills and surgeries and treatments to make us un-sick. Most doctors I know – professionally or personally – only rarely mention diet or exercise or stress-relief techniques to their patients, in part because they don’t believe that their patients are willing or able to follow through with such a program. Rightly or wrongly, health care consumers have come to expect quick-fix solutions from our doctors that require little to no action on our part—except maybe to take a pill or show up for a procedure. The implied agreement between you and your doctor is that you will show up sick and he or she will give you something to make you well.
In some circles, this is changing. Doctors are literally prescribing exercise—writing “Aerobic exercise 3x/week 20 minutes/day” on their prescription pads and handing it to their patients, knowing that, to a completely sedentary person, almost no single behavior can be as beneficial to a person’s health as exercise is. Bravo to them.
Too many others, however, are too embarrassed or resigned to bring it up, and instead they offer a few vaguely reassuring words, and maybe prescribe a pill to treat the patient’s depression, or blood thinners to treat his cardiovascular disease. Indeed, they’ve bought in to the medical myth of the patient as a passive recipient of treatment. These doctors are sometimes seriously overweight and deeply unhealthy themselves, and they often do little to combat unhealthy habits in the people around them. In fact, studies have shown that the standard of care given by doctors is in direct relation to their own health and fitness. Obese and overweight doctors, for example, are less likely to talk to their patients about health, exercise, and nutrition.
The “New Year” is finally over. Super Bowl is done. My resolution for the next 30+ days? No alcohol.
Don’t get me wrong, I like a drink as much as the next guy, though more recently I’ve been drinking only one day a week as I train for more Spartan and obstacle races. But I’m not 20 anymore and the 53-year-old me doesn’t process alcohol like it used to — so I’m giving it a complete break for a while. There are also some serious health consequences of alcohol that specifically affect middle-aged guys that I want to avoid, and which I talk more about in my book. Here are a few of them: (more…)
You’ve probably heard how body language is an essential component of how others see you. But it also has a profound effect on how you perceive yourself—and, not coincidentally, on your levels of the hormones associated with confidence, dominance, and stress. In recent years, Dr. Amy Cuddy has performed experiments in which she tracks the effects of various physical postures on key hormones. The results have been striking: just two minutes in a “power posture” results in an average 20 percent jump in testosterone and an average 25 percent drop in the stress hormone cortisol. Two minutes in a “repressed posture” had the opposite effect. In theory, a habitual sloucher who shifted into a power pose could boost his T by an astonishing 40 percent.
In truth, power poses are somewhat predictable positions: reaching your arms overhead like a track star crossing the finish line; leaning back in a chair with your hands behind your head like a CEO taking a refreshing pause; standing with your hands on hips, chest out, superhero style. Repressed postures are various versions of collapsed, small, or curled-in poses (think of the position you probably assumed while hunched over a tiny desk, filling in answer bubbles on a standardized test).
In work settings, people in positions of authority tend to gravitate toward “dominant” postures, while lower-status workers gravitate toward repressed ones. Instinctively, it seems, people take on the body language appropriate to their “station”—thus reinforcing the perceived social order.
Is it any wonder, then, that so many people feel powerless and stressed-out at work? Without meaning to, they’re sending themselves a powerful message, day in and day out, that they are powerless and stressed-out—a message that is then reinforced by their hormonal profile. Cuddy’s findings suggest that it doesn’t need to be this way. Instead, you can fake it till you make it. In those moments when you’re feeling stressed and re- pressed, go ahead and superman it up by putting your hands on your hips and puffing out your chest for a minute or two—and you’ll feel better. Worried you’ll look foolish? Head to the break room, an outdoor spot, or even the bathroom and go for it. The boss might notice that newfound confidence and reward you accordingly. Your T levels certainly will.
It’s generally accepted that the best way to lose weight and improve or maintain fitness is to exercise regularly and cut calories. A growing number of adults are attempting to follow this advice as they find themselves fighting creeping additional pounds and obesity as they get older. However, this formula for success also has a downside, one that is especially on the minds of athletes and active adults: the risk of losing lean muscle and, as a consequence, a decline in physical performance.
One exercise method that promotes significant improvement in muscle strength and tone, cardiovascular health, and metabolic enhancement among both elite and recreational athletes is resistance weight training. This form of exercise also is associated with an increase in muscle endurance and lean muscle mass as well as a decrease in body fat, all benefits that can improve overall quality of life and fight against age-related disease and disability.
There are problems however associated with combining resistance training and a low-calorie, low-carb diet. Basically, you can lose lean muscle mass, experience poorer athletic performance, and be at greater risk of experiencing illness or exercise-related injury. At the same time, men who engage in resistance exercise during a “cut diet” require higher intake of protein so they can avoid experiencing muscle damage and loss of athletic ability.
A cut diet is a technique in which you reduce both your caloric and carbohydrate intake. This in turn causes a reduction in your carb storage, boosts the body’s use of fat as energy, and thus reduces fat mass. This is a common way to take on the encroaching advance of fat accumulation that can occur with aging. (more…)
It’s no secret that obesity is a major health challenge today and one that has grown steadily over the past years. But why are we fatter today than we were three decades ago? At one time, experts thought the cause of overweight/obesity was simple: too many calories consumed plus a sedentary lifestyle equaled excess weight.
However, the reasons behind being overweight or obese are more involved than that. Of course, food intake and exercise play critical roles. But according to the Professor Jennifer Kuk, lead author of a recent study from York University in Toronto, excessive weight is “actually much more complex than just ‘energy in’ versus ‘energy out.’ She explained that lifestyle and environmental factors may also be key in why “ultimately, maintaining a healthy body weight is now more challenging than ever.” (more…)
Despite the significant amount of research that continues to be conducted on common diseases, experts are still relatively uncertain about their causes. One reason for this uncertainty is the fact that both genetic and environmental factors are involved, and the range of contributing possibilities in each disease category is enormous.
Surprisingly though, there are some places in the world where common diseases actually rarely occur. Below are 9 places where the prevalence of certain common American diseases is extremely low. While experts have speculated on why this is so, let’s just say the jury is still out, although there are some theories, and maybe also some principles to live by that we can all adopt from these countries. (more…)
One of the lingering concerns and questions for men is whether increased testosterone levels, either naturally produced, or in the form of prescription replacement therapy, can cause prostate cancer. However not only does testosterone NOT cause prostate cancer, it may actually help protect against it, while another hormone appears to be the main culprit in promoting prostate cancer in men.
At the May 2015 American Urological Association Annual Meeting, the results of a meta-analysis indicated that natural and prescription testosterone (endogenous and exogenous, respectively) do not cause prostate cancer or trigger increases in level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA). This was the widest review of studies ever undertaken that showed testosterone, on its own, did not cause prostate cancer. (more…)
If you get your T levels tested, you’ll probably get a slew of numbers: total, bio-available, and free. What do these numbers mean?
Hormones act like commuters on a train: they circulate through the bloodstream, where they are often linked to other substances, then they get off when they reach their target tissues (like muscle and bone) where they are to perform their particular function.
Most of the time, T hitches a ride on something called sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Less frequently, it binds itself to another substance called albumin, and still less often, it bodysurfs through your system solo.
As you probably can guess, “total” T represents all the testosterone in your system in any state—bound to SHBG, bound to albumin, and all by its lonesome. “Free” T is the stuff that’s on its own. “Bio-available” T is a measure of free testosterone combined with the T that’s bound to albumin. Generally speaking, about 65 percent of the testosterone in the blood binds to SHBG, 30 to 40 percent binds with albumin, and about 2 percent is free. (more…)
At present, our testosterone levels are under siege. Various factors appear to be pulling our T levels into the gutter—from sedentary jobs to poor diets and lifestyle choices to more ominous influences like environmental toxins. One particularly disturbing study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2007, indicated that men’s testosterone levels plummeted 17 percent from 1987 to 2004—and that’s controlling for health and life- style factors, such as obesity and diabetes, that are known to affect T levels. (more…)
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