There is a Difference

Epoch Health offers the latest innovations in cutting edge, comprehensive and personalized health care for men. 

12

December 2017

Midlife muscle maintenance: the nutritional secret to building muscle in your 40s and beyond

By: Epoch

SOURCE: Telegraph

 


We see it all the time. The busiest place in the gym is the mirror next to the weights – plenty of flexing, a few selfies and a protein shake thrown in for good measure.

Don’t worry, I'm not about to tell you that you need to go down that route – although you do need to start paying attention to your muscles. In a sense, your muscles are the forgotten man of mainstream health coverage: the media tends to obsess over body fat, looking lean, and reducing overall weight. However, our muscles are key to keeping us moving freely throughout our busy lives. We neglect them at our peril.

In recent years, there has been increasing research on the muscle, and how protein supports growth and repair, both for athletes in their prime and non-athletes at different stages of life. As with all the performance nutrition principles I'm discussing in this column, to get the most from your body relies on exercise and nutrition working together. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen. This is one relationship to invest time in.

Our muscles are key to keeping us moving freely throughout our busy lives. We neglect them at our peril.James Collins

Like an aging car, the body becomes less efficient as we move through our thirties. A key part of this physiological decline is the loss of muscle mass and function – a process known as sarcopenia. You may feel fine now, but this gradual decline in muscle strength and mass can result in the reduced ability to perform your favourite activities as you get older (playing golf, going on a weekend run, or even just walking around town). That’s why fighting the aging process, using exercise and nutrition, should start as soon as possible.

The NHS's physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19-64 was recently updated to include (at least) two resistance training sessions a week, where all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) are worked.

But training on its own isn’t enough. The second key component of muscle growth (also called muscle protein synthesis), is eating enough protein. Foods containing protein are digested, broken down into small building blocks known as 'amino acids' and these blocks are then used by the muscle to repair and build new tissue.

Your muscles undergo constant change over 24 hours, breaking down and rebuilding, so your daily protein intake needs to be sufficient to meet this demand and maintain your overall muscle mass.

What are the best foods to maintain your muscles? Well, ‘complete’ proteins, typically from animal sources, containing a complete range of amino acids, have been shown to be most beneficial, such as dairy, poultry and fish. Quinoa and buckwheat also fall into the 'complete' category. Other plant sources are also good, but miss one or more amino acids to make them complete – this means they need to be combined with other plant proteins (e.g. rice and beans), which is easy at mealtimes.

This combination of resistance training and sufficient protein are the same principles elite athletes follow to keep their muscles strong and powerful – although with aging, the muscles become less responsive (set in their ways) to both training and protein. This means protein intakes need to increase towards old age.

In general, doing some resistance work and getting enough protein to offset it shouldn’t feel like a life overall. You don’t need to start shifting those massive atlas balls like on World’s Strongest Man, but there does need to be some intent into your maintaining your muscles. Here’s how to get started...

Three steps to maintaining your muscles

1. Don’t resist resistance

Government recommendations are for 2 resistance sessions a weekwhich activate the six major muscle groups: legs, abdominals, back, chest, shoulders and arms. Book a session with a personal trainer to take you through the exercises and build confidence.

2. Prioritise protein

Include a serving of protein with each meal. This keeps a regular supply to the muscles. Include a portion of lean meat (fish, poultry) on your plate, or extra nuts, seeds or beans.

3. Reinvent breakfast

This is often where the protein can be low. To meet your needs, really you should have more than tea and toast in the morning. Eggs, porridge or cereals (with milk) are all good options. If you are in a hurry, even adding a glass of milk or Greek yoghurt to your existing breakfast can help to make the meal more functional.

 

 

READ MORE

12

December 2017

Midlife muscle maintenance: the nutritional secret to building muscle in your 40s and beyond

By: Epoch

SOURCE: Telegraph

 


We see it all the time. The busiest place in the gym is the mirror next to the weights – plenty of flexing, a few selfies and a protein shake thrown in for good measure.

Don’t worry, I'm not about to tell you that you need to go down that route – although you do need to start paying attention to your muscles. In a sense, your muscles are the forgotten man of mainstream health coverage: the media tends to obsess over body fat, looking lean, and reducing overall weight. However, our muscles are key to keeping us moving freely throughout our busy lives. We neglect them at our peril.

In recent years, there has been increasing research on the muscle, and how protein supports growth and repair, both for athletes in their prime and non-athletes at different stages of life. As with all the performance nutrition principles I'm discussing in this column, to get the most from your body relies on exercise and nutrition working together. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen. This is one relationship to invest time in.

Our muscles are key to keeping us moving freely throughout our busy lives. We neglect them at our peril.James Collins

Like an aging car, the body becomes less efficient as we move through our thirties. A key part of this physiological decline is the loss of muscle mass and function – a process known as sarcopenia. You may feel fine now, but this gradual decline in muscle strength and mass can result in the reduced ability to perform your favourite activities as you get older (playing golf, going on a weekend run, or even just walking around town). That’s why fighting the aging process, using exercise and nutrition, should start as soon as possible.

The NHS's physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19-64 was recently updated to include (at least) two resistance training sessions a week, where all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) are worked.

But training on its own isn’t enough. The second key component of muscle growth (also called muscle protein synthesis), is eating enough protein. Foods containing protein are digested, broken down into small building blocks known as 'amino acids' and these blocks are then used by the muscle to repair and build new tissue.

Your muscles undergo constant change over 24 hours, breaking down and rebuilding, so your daily protein intake needs to be sufficient to meet this demand and maintain your overall muscle mass.

What are the best foods to maintain your muscles? Well, ‘complete’ proteins, typically from animal sources, containing a complete range of amino acids, have been shown to be most beneficial, such as dairy, poultry and fish. Quinoa and buckwheat also fall into the 'complete' category. Other plant sources are also good, but miss one or more amino acids to make them complete – this means they need to be combined with other plant proteins (e.g. rice and beans), which is easy at mealtimes.

This combination of resistance training and sufficient protein are the same principles elite athletes follow to keep their muscles strong and powerful – although with aging, the muscles become less responsive (set in their ways) to both training and protein. This means protein intakes need to increase towards old age.

In general, doing some resistance work and getting enough protein to offset it shouldn’t feel like a life overall. You don’t need to start shifting those massive atlas balls like on World’s Strongest Man, but there does need to be some intent into your maintaining your muscles. Here’s how to get started...

Three steps to maintaining your muscles

1. Don’t resist resistance

Government recommendations are for 2 resistance sessions a weekwhich activate the six major muscle groups: legs, abdominals, back, chest, shoulders and arms. Book a session with a personal trainer to take you through the exercises and build confidence.

2. Prioritise protein

Include a serving of protein with each meal. This keeps a regular supply to the muscles. Include a portion of lean meat (fish, poultry) on your plate, or extra nuts, seeds or beans.

3. Reinvent breakfast

This is often where the protein can be low. To meet your needs, really you should have more than tea and toast in the morning. Eggs, porridge or cereals (with milk) are all good options. If you are in a hurry, even adding a glass of milk or Greek yoghurt to your existing breakfast can help to make the meal more functional.

 

 

READ MORE

7

November 2017

9 signs of Low T

By: Epoch

SOURCE: HealthLine.com


 

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the human body. It’s mainly produced in men by the testicles. Testosterone affects a man’s appearance and sexual development. It stimulates sperm production as well as a man’s sex drive. It also helps build muscle and bone mass.

Testosterone production typically decreases with age. According to the American Urological Association, about 2 out of 10 men older than 60 years have low testosterone. That increases slightly to 3 out of 10 men in their 70s and 80s.

Men can experience a range of symptoms if testosterone decreases more than it should. Low testosterone, or low T, is diagnosed when levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). A normal range is typically 300–1000 ng/dL, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A blood test called a serum testosterone test is used to determine your level of circulating testosterone.

A range of symptoms can occur if testosterone production drastically drops below normal. Signs of low T are often subtle. Keep reading to learn the signs of low T in men.

LOW SEX DRIVE

Testosterone plays a key role in libido (sex drive) in men. Some men may experience a decline in sex drive as they age. However, someone with low T will likely experience a more drastic drop in their desire to have sex.

DIFFICULTY WITH ERECTION

While testosterone stimulates a man’s sex drive, it also aids in achieving and maintaining an erection. Testosterone alone doesn’t cause an erection, but it stimulates receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a molecule that helps trigger a series of chemical reactions necessary for an erection to occur. When testosterone levels are too low, a man may have difficulty achieving an erection prior to sex or having spontaneous erections (for example, during sleep).

However, testosterone is only one of many factors that aid in adequate erections. Research is inconclusive regarding the role of testosterone replacement in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. In a review of studies that looked at the benefit of testosterone in men with erection difficulties, nearly halfshowed no improvement with testosterone treatment. Many times, other health problems play a role in erectile difficulties. 

LOW SEMEN VOLUME

Testosterone plays a role in the production of semen, which is the milky fluid that aids in the motility of sperm. Men with low T will often notice a decrease in the volume of their semen during ejaculation.

HAIR LOSS

Testosterone plays a role in several body functions, including hair production. Balding is a natural part of aging for many men. While there is an inherited component to balding, men with low T may experience a loss of body and facial hair, as well.

FATIGUE

Men with low T have reported extreme fatigue and decrease in energy levels. You might have low T if you are tired all of the time despite getting plenty of sleep or if you’re finding it harder to get motivated to exercise.

LOSS OF MUSCLE MASS

Because testosterone plays a role in building muscle, men with low T might notice a decrease in muscle mass. Studies have shown testosterone affects muscle mass, but not necessarily strength or function.

INCREASED BODY FAT

Men with low T may also experience increases in body fat. In particular, they sometimes develop gynecomastia, or enlarged breast tissue. This effect is believed to occur due to an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen within men.

DECREASED BONE MASS

Osteoporosis, or the thinning of bone mass, is a condition often associated with women. However, men with low T can also experience bone loss. Testosterone helps produce and strengthen bone. So men with low T, especially older men, have lower bone volume and are more susceptible to bone fractures.

MOOD CHANGE

Men with low T can experience changes in mood. Because testosterone influences many physical processes in the body, it can also influence mood and mental capacity. Research suggests that men with low T are more likely to face depression, irritability, or a lack of focus.

If you feel that you are suffering from some of these symptoms. Contact Epoch Men's Health today for a screening. We are the experts when it comes to Low Testosterone. 




READ MORE

27

September 2017

10 Ways For Men to Prevent Cancer Today

By: Epoch

Source: TIME



Sweat Daily

In a University of Vermont study, the fittest men were 68 percent less likely to develop lung cancer and 38 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancers than the least active men—and those who developed cancer had better outcomes if they exercised regularly. Cardio and resistance training help control inflammation and hormone levels—and they keep your immune system strong to fend off wayward cells. (Turn up your muscle gains outside the gym. These 18 Ways to Build Muscle All Day will help you shed fat, sculpt muscle, and accelerate recovery.)

Skip Anything Fried

Guys who eat french fries, fried chicken, fried fish, or fried doughnuts once or more a week have up to a 37 percent higher risk of prostate cancer, according to a new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Oil that’s heated to high temperatures develops carcinogenic compounds in food. (You might not know you're missing vital nutrients, but here's how to get them by learning these 6 New Food Rules to Follow.)

Sip Pomegranate Juice

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that pomegranate juice may stunt lung cancer growth. Plus, previous studies also show it delays prostate cancer in mice and stabilizes PSA levels in men who’ve been treated for the cancer. Sip about 16 ounces of the juice per day, which is rich in polyphenols, isoflavones, and ellagic acid that may team up to fight cancer.

Get Screened

If there’s a screening for a type of cancer and you’re eligible for it, get it. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if everyone over 50 had regular colon cancer screenings, 60 percent of deaths from the disease could be prevented. Talk to your doctor about screenings for colorectal, prostate, testicular, skin, and lung cancer. (Discover 8 stealth strategies to Cancer-Proof Your Body.)

Snack on Blueberries

The fruit is brimming with a compound called pterostilbene that may slash precancerous lesions in the gut that, left unchecked, could lead to colon cancer, Rutgers University researchers say. Aim for a cup and a half of blueberries per day—pour them over your cereal, snack on them fresh, or dump them into a daily smoothie.

Befriend Fiber

People on a high-fiber eating plan—about 17 grams per 1,000 calories—had a 19 percent decrease in kidney cancer risk compared with those who took in the least, a study in the journal Clinical Nutrition found. Fiber may block cancer-causing toxins from traveling from your intestines to your kidneys, the study reports. (Here are more foods with amazing—and scientifically proven—health benefits: Check out the 50 Foods with Superpowers.)

Get Help to Stop Snoring

People with severe sleep apnea—snoring is the main symptom—are almost five times as likely to die of cancer as those who snooze more soundly, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. With sleep apnea, levels of oxygen in your blood dip. This can cause small existing tumors to grow new blood vessels, giving them fuel to develop faster and spread through your bloodstream more quickly.

Stand Up

More than 92,000 cases of cancer a year can be blamed on sitting too much, a study by the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests. Even if you exercise regularly, you’re still at risk. Set your cell phone alarm to remind you to stand for one to two minutes every hour. It’ll help reduce levels of molecules in your body that are linked with cancer risk.

Down the Sunshine Vitamin

People who supplemented their diets with 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day decreased their risk of cancer by as much as 77 percent over four years compared to those who popped a placebo, reports a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin D is also available in salmon, sardines, and shiitake mushrooms.

Go Nuts

Eat three Brazil nuts every day, which deliver healthy selenium. A Harvard study found that this amount is associated with a 48 percent lower incidence of advanced prostate cancer.


 

READ MORE

8

September 2017

19 Ways To Keep Your Prostate Healthy

By: Epoch

Source: Prostate.net

All men, regardless of age, should be concerned about their prostate health. Although prostate disorders such as prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and prostate cancer generally do not affect men until they are in their 40s or older, the time to help prevent prostate problems and support prostate health is now. However, whenever symptoms of prostate disease do occur, it is important to seek professional medical help with a diagnosis.

Here are some tips on how to maintain and promote prostate health. These tips are based on more than 200 studies conducted over 15 years.

  1. Maximize your intake of fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are excellent to good sources of anticancer and anti-inflammatory compounds such as antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These foods can help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
  2. Focus on proper nutrition: Your food choices account for up to 90 percent of cancers of the prostate, breast, pancreas, and colon. Adjusting your diet can significantly lower your risk of getting prostate disease.
  3. Eat healthy fats: People who live in countries where high-fat diets are the norm (like the United States) are more likely to develop prostate cancer than people who live in countries where less fat is consumed.
  4. Choose plant protein over animal protein: Certain plants can provide all the protein you need for maximum overall and prostate health. The World Health Organization has also noted that “diets high in red meat, dairy products, and animal fat have frequently been implicated in the development of prostate cancer”.
  5. Eat whole and natural foods: Whole, natural foods are typically high in fiber, a component linked to two indicators for prostate health: lower levels of testosterone and lower PSA scores.
  6. Consume green tea: Green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that can slow the cancer cell growth, promote cancer cell death. Men who drink green tea can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by as much as 70 percent when compared with men who don’t drink green tea.
  7. Eat omega-3 rich foods: Found in certain fish, omega 3 fats fight inflammation, a process that destroys the body’s natural antioxidants and weakens the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to disease.
  8. Avoid foods and additives that harm the prostate: Some foods, supplements, and additives can harm the prostate, including but not limited to meat, calcium, chondroitin, and foods high in sugar.
  9. Choose safe supplements: Become an informed consumer of supplements. While many supplements can benefit the prostate, others can be harmful (such as calcium).
  10. Consume cancer-killing foods: Some foods and their components have anticancer abilities, including but not limited to lycopene, turmeric/curcumin, folic acid, and vitamin D.
  11. Hydrate daily: Drinking pure water is essential for prostate health.
  12. Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese is associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer, lower long-term survival rate, and more aggressive forms of the disease.
  13. Exercise regularly: Exercise can not only helps slow the spread of prostate cancer, but also has a preventive effect on prostatitis, BPH, and inflammation.
  14. Manage stress: Although stress may not directly cause cancer, long-term stress can weaken the immune system, alter your hormonal balance, and make you more susceptible to disease.
  15. Try natural therapies: Natural prevention and treatment approaches for prostate health include acupuncture, biofeedback, homeopathy, hormone restoration, massage, reflexology and stress management techniques.
  16. Follow a prostate friendly lifestyle: Smoking, inadequate sleep, some medications, and alcohol use can have a negative effect on prostate health.
  17. Maintain hormone balance: Hormone management and balancing play a major role in prostate health. The World Health Organization noted that “diet might influence prostate cancer risk by affecting hormone levels.”
  18. Maintain a healthy sex life: Sexual activity appears to be healthy for your prostate.
  19. Avoid exposure to toxins: Stay away from chemicals and other substances that can increase the risk of developing cancer.

READ MORE

4

August 2017

How to Maintain a Healthy Kidney & Liver Naturally

By: Epoch

SOURCE: LiveStrong.com

 

 


The kidneys and liver are organs in your body that help to perform vital functions, such as filtration, storage of nutrients and digestion. When these organs are functioning at an optimal level, you are able to derive the most benefit from the foods you eat. Eating a diet of unhealthy, highly processed foods can impair the functioning of the liver and kidneys and cause symptoms, such as indigestion and bloating. Fortunately, both the liver and kidneys respond quickly to a natural approach that can maintain a healthy level of functioning.

Step 1

Emphasize high-quality proteins, in limited quantities. Protein is necessary for maintaining organ function and repairing damaged tissue. If you have compromised kidney or liver function, you should be aware that eating too much protein places a strain on these organs. Higher quality protein foods include meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Lower quality proteins are those found in vegetables and whole grains but both kinds of protein are important to maintain healthy kidney and liver function. Speak with your doctor or dietitian about how many grams of protein you need daily.

Step 2

Stay within your caloric range, which should be provided by your health care provider or dietitian. Anyone who has compromised kidney function should strive to maintain a health weight. Eating healthy foods throughout the day and staying within caloric guidelines can help you lose weight and prevent excess weight from putting a strain on both your kidneys and liver. Excess calories can impair the functioning of the liver and causes fat to be stored in the liver. Consume 15 calories for every pound you weigh as a baseline amount of daily intake.

Step 3

Limit your intake of sodium. Sodium or salt is an essential mineral that is also widely used to preserve foods. Consuming too much sodium can cause an imbalance of water in your body, placing a strain on the kidneys. In addition, salt causes water retention, especially in individuals with kidneys and a liver that aren't functioning properly. The excess water can place a strain on the cardiovascular system and increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Always read nutritional labels because sodium is often hidden in foods like frozen and canned vegetables. You should be able to get plenty of sodium naturally from the healthy foods you eat and not as an additive ingredient.

Step 4

Avoid drinking alcohol which can cause significant liver and kidney impairment and damage. Alcohol destroys liver cells and can disrupt the delicate electrolyte balance the body maintains to maintain biological stability. Drinking alcohol can also cause your body to retain water in an effort to restore electrolyte balance. Unfortunately, water retention causes more impairment of kidney and liver functioning and can lead to complete organ failure if left untreated.


READ MORE

12

June 2017

9 Tests Every Man Over 40 Should Take

By: Epoch

Source: The Huffington Post

The following are tests that every man over forty should have done, as they may help you detect silent killers such as high blood pressure, or catch or even reverse other diseases while they are still in their early, treatable stages. Get these done and don’t mess around.

PSA

The PSA test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen, an indicator of prostate health in your blood. A rising or high PSA may indicate prostate cancer, or it could point to another prostate condition that may need medical attention, or it may itself lead to cancer. Despite some controversy surrounding this test, it is still an important test for all men to consider as an early warning of reduced prostate health. I found out I had an abnormally high PSA about a decade ago after a PSA blood test. Since then, I have massively changed certain aspects of my diet and lifestyle to prevent any potential progression to prostate cancer—and today my PSA level is below normal for my age.

DRE

The digital rectal exam (DRE) is a simple procedure for the early detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer and other abnormalities of the prostate gland. The doctor inserts a lubricated gloved finger in the rectum to feel the prostate gland for lumps or enlargement. As such, it’s the test guys fear the most. But man up and have it done, because it could save your life.

TESTOSTERONE

Low T can cause several changes such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, weight gain, loss of muscle, loss of body hair, sleep problems, trouble concentrating, bone loss, and personality changes. Your doctor can check your testosterone through a blood or saliva test. Before you jump on the T therapy wagon, though, I urge you to try the natural treatments listed here which I’ve used to increase my testosterone 38% in the last 5 years. Check out my book if you’re interested in exploring this in more detail.

BONE DENSITY

Osteoporosis may be more common in women, but men get it too. Experts recommend that men over fifty who are in high-risk groups (low T, family history, sedentary lifestyle, smokers, etc.) get tested, and men of normal risk get tested at sixty. A bone density scan (DEXA) can measure how strong your bones are and help you determine the risk of a fracture.

CHOLESTEROL

There are different kinds of cholesterol circulating in your blood. When you get tested you should receive the following measures:

  1. total cholesterol;
  2. low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or your “bad” cholesterol;
  3. high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or your “good” cholesterol; and your 
triglycerides, which are another form of fat in the blood.

High cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart disease. Most men can have their cholesterol tested as part of a routine blood test.

BLOOD PRESSURE

Blood pressure is a silent killer. There are no symptoms of high blood pressure, but it can harm your heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, and blood vessels. I keep a portable blood pressure monitor in my office. They’re not expensive, and you can get a pretty good idea of your own health before you visit a doctor for confirmation.

BLOOD SUGAR

A blood sugar test measures the amount of glucose in your blood. The test is an important screening for diabetes or pre-diabetes and insulin resistance. Untreated diabetes will continue to get worse and cause problems with eyes, feet, heart, skin, mental health, nerves, kidneys, and more. Insulin resistance causes weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bloating, and high blood sugar. When untreated, it can lead to diabetes. There’s also a higher risk of prostate and other cancers associated with high blood sugar.

It’s estimated that 34% of the US population is pre-diabetic. Although I’m not personally diabetic, I regularly take my blood sugar with a home blood sugar monitor so I can keep an eye on my glucose levels and make changes to my diet and lifestyle if it’s creeping up. 


COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING

Doctors recommend that people ages fifty to seventy-five get screened for colon cancer with any of three following tests: the sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and the fecal occult blood test. 
The US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer has ranked the screening methods. They say that tests like fecal occult blood screens can detect early stage cancers, but the colonoscopy is considered the best test for prevention.

I have a history of colon cancer, as my mom died from the disease in her early seventies, so I started getting checked every three to four years starting when I was forty. So far, so good—and it’s worth the regular screening to know for sure.

HIV TEST

You may be surprised to see HIV on the list, but about 15 percent of new infections each year are among people over age fifty, and people over fifty represent almost one-fourth of the HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. With birth control no longer a concern, many people over age fifty are having unprotected sex. Doctors don’t usually ask their older patients about sex, and educational programs that teach prevention neglect the patients in this age group—but HIV is certainly still a concern no matter how old you are.

These nine tests can help you stay healthy and improve your longevity. By giving you a warning that you have a condition that puts you at risk of a more serious disease, they can allow you to make changes in your diet, exercise, and other habits to reduce your risks. Because some of these conditions have no symptoms, you may have no idea that you have a problem if you do not get tested. It is easier and less expensive to prevent disease than to try to treat it after years of damage have set in.

 

READ MORE

9

June 2017

The Hits to Infertility All Add Up

By: Epoch

Source: The Turek Clinic By: Dr. Paul Turek

 


As a kid, how many times did your mother tell you to put a coat on before going outside in the winter so that you wouldn’t get sick? In my family, this was a cardinal sin… but then again we were pretty healthy kids.

The coat-in-the-winter-thing is all about susceptibility. You still need to be exposed to a virus to get sick but that’s beside the point. But, when it comes to male fertility, I believe that the susceptibility argument holds water.

Do the Math

When it comes to things that affect fertility, the math is 1+1+1= more than 3. Piling on insults to fertility is not simply additive but more likely synergistic. It’s the “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” idea, just turned a little sideways.

The first time this occurred to me was when we analyzed our data on how semen quality among infertile men improved after discontinuing hot tubs and baths. The sperm counts in many men took off after cooling the jewels for 3 to 6 months. But the semen quality in other men did not respond at all. When we took a closer look at the nonresponders, we found that they were more likely to be smokers and have varicoceles, two other insults that hurt a man’s fertility. The more that holds a man down, the more likely he won’t get up.

The second time the susceptibility idea surfaced was during a flu season. Even with the flu shot, damn near everyone gets the flu over the winter. I noticed that, unlike men with normal sperm counts, guys with low sperm counts often became temporarily azoospermic (sterile!) when hit with the flu. Pretty scary to be helping a man improve his fertility only to see his sperm count tank with a couple of days of fevers and body aches. Whatever causes the low sperm counts in the first place may also make men less robust in the face of further insults.

Eliminate Variables

Add to these examples men with varicoceles using recreational drugs or taking medications like propecia and you can see how many iterations of insults are possible, all working to keep a good man down.

So, the little things really do matter when it comes to your fertility. Sperm production is an engine that wants to run hard and at high RPM; so don’t forget to change the oil, keep it tuned and put gas in the tank. Take great care of yourself, treat your body like a temple and consume things in moderation. And yes, listen to your mother and put on a coat in the winter.


READ MORE

7

June 2017

Diabetes and erectile dysfunction: What is the connection?

By: Epoch

Source: Medical News Today


Erectile dysfunction, also called impotence, is not being able to get and maintain an erection for long enough to have sexual intercourse.

There are many causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) which can be physical, psychological, or both. One of the most common causes of ED is diabetes.

Studies suggest that 35-75 percent of men with diabetes will go on to develop ED. They will also tend to develop ED some 10-15 years earlier than men without diabetes.

Why can diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?

Diabetes can cause ED because it can damage the blood supply to the penis and the nerves that control an erection.

 

 

When a man becomes sexually aroused, a chemical called nitric oxide is released into his bloodstream. This nitric oxide tells the arteries and the muscles in the penis to relax, which allows more blood to flow into the penis. This gives the man an erection.

Men with diabetes struggle with blood sugar level swings, especially if their condition isn't managed poorly.

When their blood sugar levels get too high, less nitric oxide is produced. This can mean that there is not enough blood flowing into the penis to get or keep an erection. Low levels of nitric oxide are often found in those with diabetes.

Other causes of erectile dysfunction

Listed below are some other reasons for ED:

  • obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
  • hormonal problems such as low testosterone
  • psychological problems including stress, anxiety, and depression
  • nervous system problems including damage to spinal cord or brain
  • smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and using some illegal drugs
  • some medications such as those taken for high blood pressure and depression

Pelvic injury or surgery on the prostate, bowel or bladder may cause damage to nerves connected to the penis. This nerve damage can also lead to ED.

Tests and diagnosis

A doctor will often perform some of the following tests to diagnose ED:

  • Blood tests to check for a raised blood sugar level, which may indicate diabetes.
  • Hormone tests to measure the levels of testosterone and other hormones.
  • Nervous system tests, such as blood pressure and sweat tests, which can rule out nerve damage to the heart, blood vessels, and sweat glands.
  • Urinalysis to test for sugar in urine, which might indicate diabetes.
  • Physical examination to assess the genitals and nerve reflexes in the legs and penis.
  • Patient history to help determine why someone is having problems with erections and under what circumstances.
  • Sexual health (SHIM) questionnaire to help diagnose the presence and severity of ED.
  • Injection of a drug into the penis to check that the blood supply to the penis is normal.

Lifestyle changes


Keeping diabetes under control is a good way to reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction due to diabetes is much better understood now. Good control of diabetes can reduce the risk of ED.

Other preventive measures such as stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake will help lower the risk of developing ED.

Other lifestyle changes that may help include:

  • Eating a healthy diet and taking exercise: Studies suggest that men who changed their diet to one low in saturated fat and high in fiber and did moderate physical activity each week were able to improve ED without prescription drugs.
  • Weight loss: Some studies show that even a small weight loss can improve erectile function and sexual desire in men with diabetes. Those who lost weight had increased testosterone levels and blood flow resulting in better erections.
  • Stress reduction: ED can cause stress and tension in a relationship. Counseling can be helpful even if the origins of sexual dysfunction are physical. People with ED should try to find time for relaxation and get enough sleep every night.

A new study also suggests that supplementation with amino acids called l-arginine and l-citrulline may also help to improve erectile function. These acids are known to increase the body's production of nitric oxide, which can increase blood flow to the penis. As stated previously, low levels of nitric oxide are often found in men with diabetes.

Treatments

Treatment of ED will depend on the cause and there is a range of good treatment options. These are the same for men with diabetes and men who have ED from other causes.

Doctors can switch any prescription medications that may contribute to ED.

The most common treatment is with oral tablets. These have been shown to work well in many men with diabetes, restoring sexual function. Certain drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors are used to treat ED.

The four most commonly prescribed are:

  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • vardenafil (Levitra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • avanafil (Spedra)

These drugs cause an erection by increasing blood flow to the penis. They require sexual stimulation to be effective. They should be taken 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse.

 

 

 

 


READ MORE

5

June 2017

Infertility in men could point to more serious health problems later in life

By: Epoch

Source: The Conversation


Poor sperm quality affects about one in ten men and may lead to fertility problems. These men also have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer, which is the most common malignant disease of young males. And, even if they don’t develop testicular cancer, men with poor sperm quality tend to die younger than men who don’t have fertility problems.

Couples who can’t achieve pregnancy usually go to fertility clinics for treatment. At these clinics, emphasis is put on deciding whether the couple needs assisted reproduction or not, and, if so, to choose between different methods (such as IVF, IUI, or ICSI) for doing this. In most cases, these treatments lead to pregnancy and a live birth. So the problem seems to be solved. But if infertility is an early symptom of an underlying disease in the man, fertility clinics won’t pick it up.

Missed opportunity

Testicular cancer is easy to detect. In men seeking treatment for fertility problems, a simple ultrasound scan of the testes can reveal early cancer, so a life-threatening tumour can be prevented. If detected, 95% of all cases can be cured. But, unfortunately, testicular ultrasound scans are rarely performed at fertility clinics as the focus tends to be on sperm numbers and which method of assisted reproduction to use.

And testicular cancer is not the only threat to young infertile men’s health. Serious health problems, such as metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar and obesity), type 2 diabetes and loss of bone mass are also much more common conditions among infertile men. These disorders are possible to prevent, but if left untreated often lead to premature death.

A possible culprit

At Lund University in Malmö, Sweden, we have – together with other research groups – made a number of studies focusing on the link between male fertility problems and subsequent risk of serious diseases. We cannot yet explain the causes, but testosterone deficiency is a strong candidate. My research team found that 30% of all men with impaired semen quality have low testosterone levels. And men totally lacking the hormone have early signs of diabetes and bone loss.

We recently conducted a study in which we investigated almost 4,000 men below the age of 50 and who had had their testosterone measured 25 years ago. We found that the risk of dying at a young age was doubled among those with low testosterone levels compared with men with normal levels of this hormone.

Although testosterone treatment may not necessarily be the best preventive measure, these findings makes it possible to identify men at high risk so that they can be advised about lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking – lifestyle changes that will help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

A relatively high proportion of men get in touch with their doctor about infertility problems and, as they represent a high-risk group for some of the most common diseases occurring later in life, perhaps it is time to change the routines for managing them. With the knowledge we now have regarding these men’s health, the least we can demand from doctors is to identify those who are at risk of serious diseases after they have become fathers. This is cheap and only requires simple tests. It is no longer enough to just evaluate the number of sperm.


READ MORE