HPV VACCINE AND INFERTILITY
ANDROPAUSE & INFLAMMATION
ANDROPAUSE & BLOOD SUGAR
"The most common cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) is penile vascular insufficiency. This is usually part of a generalized endothelial dysfunction and is related to several conditions, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and obesity. These conditions underlie the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome (MetS). Hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency (TD), is an integral component of the pathology underlying endothelial dysfunction and MetS, with insulin resistance (IR) at its core."
Here is another problem for the aging male. Because most testosterone is bound to SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin), and because free or unbound hormone is the hormone that really matters no matter what hormone we are talking about, the fact that as males age, testosterone is much more likely to be bound to SHBG, creates a situation where we automatically have less "usable" T. And then there's the issue of aromitization.
Aromatase (aka estrogen synthase) is the enzyme that catalyzes androgens into estrogens. While a certain amount of this is good, normal, and necessary, just remember that either of the two factors above (inflammation or insulin resistance, not to mention obesity) automatically upregulates aromatase activity, causing increased levels of estrogen in males, which actually restarts the cycle since abnormal ratios of sex hormones are themselves inflammatory.
It's a big part of why I recently wrote the crazy-interesting article about SUGAR'S ABILITY TO TURN MEN INTO WOMEN AND WOMEN INTO MEN. Men who are over-aromatizing are going to have characteristics typically thought of as female --- excess fat on hips / butt, over-emotional, hot flashes or sweating for no good reason, moobs (man boobs), etc. Just be aware that there are a myriad of other characteristics of the Andropause, many of them easy to confuse with other problems.
- ANDROPAUSE IS LINKED TO OTHER "GERIATRIC" SYNDROMES: In the March 2013 issue of the journal Maturitas (A View of Geriatrics Through Hormones. What is the Relation Between Andropause and Well-known Geriatric Syndromes?), researchers linked Andropause to, "frequent geriatric syndromes such as falls, osteoporosis, cognitive and mood disorders, anemia and cardiovascular disease." Authors of the 2012 study in Minerva Medica (Andropause -- Androgen Deficiency of the Aging Male: Diagnosis and Management) let readers know that, "it is a pathological syndrome and should not be viewed simply as a stage in physiological aging." I would agree. While I undoubtedly see Andropause looked at by a segment of the medical community as a meal ticket (a billable ICD-10 CODE), these authors are right; it is pathological. Most people have gotten far too used to the idea that we men are supposed to fall apart and not be able to "get it up" after a certain age.
- ANDROPAUSE IS LINKED TO ANEMIA: We know that women get anemia due to the amount of monthly bleeding they do over their lifetimes, and that said anemia can be a deal-breaker as far as solving chronic health issues is concerned (HERE). What many don't realize is that hormonal issues (in this case Andropause) are sometimes associated with anemia in males as well. A Dutch journal that I will not even attempt to pronounce, let alone spell, published a study in 2012 called Unexplained Anemia in Men: Be Aware of Hypogonadism. The authors concluded that, "Testosterone exerts anabolic effects in multiple organ systems; in bone marrow it potentiates the stimulatory effect of erythropoietin on erythropoiesis. Primary hypogonadism frequently occurs in elderly patients, while secondary hypogonadism is frequently seen in middle-aged men with type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity." In other words, as your male hormones slide south, it not only affects your sex life, it affects your organ systems as well.
- ANDROPAUSE LINKED TO AUTOIMMUNITY: Take a gander at this amazing study from the November 2013 issue of Clinical Immunology (Autoimmune Diseases and Reproductive Aging). "Testosterone’s impact on the immune system is, on aggregate, anti-inflammatory. Studies of autoimmune disease onset and course during reproductive transitions such as puberty and pregnancy have highlighted the modulatory role of gonadal hormones. In men, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and multiple sclerosis (MS) are associated with lower androgen levels." The thing is, while RA, MS, and LUPUS are some of the bigger-name heavy-hitters in the AUTOIMMUNE FAMILY, there are about a jillion others (HERE) --- thousands of them unnamed simply because no one has figured out the auto-antigen or how to test for it yet. By the way, this study was mostly about women and the increase in autoimmunity seen after menopause (testosterone is diminished in aging women as well as aging men, and happens to also be the driving force in women's libido, unless there are pathological amounts present due to PCOS, which effectively squelches female sex drive).
- ANDROPAUSE LINKED TO TYPE II DIABETES: There is no possible way we could be surprised by this bullet. For instance, we already know that if 55% of the adult population of California has either diabetes or pre-diabetes, it's likely that most of the rest of the nation is even higher (HERE). A study from the British journal Diabetic Medicine (Andropausal Symptoms in Men with Type 2 Diabetes) reiterated this connection when it concluded five years ago this month that, "The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was higher [worse] in patients with neuropathy than without. The Self-Rating Depression Scale was higher [worse] in patients with advanced retinopathy. The International Index of Erectile Function was lower [worse] in patients with advanced retinopathy and nephropathy. The International Index of Erectile Function was lower and the International Prostate Symptom Score was higher [both worse] in patients with cardiovascular disease than without. Our data demonstrated that men with Type 2 diabetes have higher prevalence of andropausal symptoms, especially those with diabetic complications." But you already knew most of this (HERE and HERE) since the majority of health issues --- particularly ENDOCRINE PROBLEMS --- get started thanks to our bodies not being able to keep up with the mass quantities of sugar and processed carbs we continue to foist on ourselves.
- ANDROPAUSE LINKED TO TYPE II DIABETES PART II: Want to see the whole thing working together to create a nightmare? A 2008 issue of The Aging Male (Hypogonadotrophic Hypogonadism in Type 2 Diabetes) put this whole scenario together when stating in the abstract (cherry-picked) that, "Recent work shows a high prevalence of low testosterone concentrations in type 2 diabetes. This is associated with obesity in patients with type 2 diabetes. C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations have been shown to be elevated in [these] patients and are inversely related to plasma testosterone concentrations. This inverse relationship between plasma free testosterone and CRP concentrations in patients with type 2 diabetes suggests that inflammation may play an important role in the pathogenesis of this syndrome. This is of interest since inflammatory mechanisms may have a cardinal role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. Low testosterone concentrations are also related to an increase in total and regional adiposity." Once you see how adipose tissue (fat) acts as its own hormone-producing endocrine system (HERE), you start to see how freaky this whole thing becomes, rolling down the hill like a snowball gathering size and speed. By the way, in the decade since this study was published, there have been dozens of others, all coming to similar conclusions.
- ANDROPAUSE LINKED TO OSTEOPOROSIS: Although we don't typically associate problems like OSTEOPOROSIS with men, you need to remember that osteoporosis is not a female issue, but an "inflammatory" issue (HERE), that is greatly fed by sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. A year ago this month, the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine bore this out in a study called Severity and Pattern of Bone Mineral Loss in Endocrine Causes of Osteoporosis as Compared to Age-related Bone Mineral Loss. The authors concluded that, "A large number of endocrinopathies are known to be associated with impaired bone health." After listing some of these (THYROID ISSUES, both kinds of diabetes, problems associated with the HPA-AXIS, etc), the authors suggested Calcium with Vitamin D as a solution. Before following this advice, make sure to learn about the absolute very best calcium supplement available anywhere (HERE).
- ANDROPAUSE LINKED TO HEART / CARDIOVASCULAR PROBLEMS: If, as we saw earlier, it's true that lower levels of androgens lead to systemic degradation of all organs and organ systems, it would make sense that the heart and blood vascular systems would be included in this list. Not only did a study from a 2015 issue of Andrology reveal that we could actually use testosterone levels to "predict major adverse cardiovascular events during long-term follow-up," but a 2011 study published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology stated that, "increasing data has emerged that revealed the effects of low levels of androgens on cardiovascular disease progression. As an example, low levels of testosterone have been linked to a higher incidence of coronary artery disease". In an article titled The Male Andropause, Charles Evans (MD / Ph.D) put it this way. "It is now well accepted that women’s risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cardiac events increases after menopause. New evidence suggests that a similar phenomenon occurs in men as their testosterone levels diminish with age. Research thus far point to a strong association between low-testosterone levels and an increase in cardiovascular risk in men." Be aware that there are lots of studies linking heart and cardiovascular issues to "Low T". Also be aware, however, that there are likewise lots of studies linking supplemental testosterone to cardiovascular problems as well.
- ANDROPAUSE LINKED TO NEUROLOGICAL AND NEURO-ENDOCRINE DEGENERATION: The long title of this study from the November 2015 issue of Hormones and Behaviour (The Endocrine Dyscrasia that Accompanies Menopause and Andropause Induces Aberrant Cell Cycle Signaling that Triggers Cell Cycle Reentry of Post-mitotic Neurons, Neurodysfunction, Neurodegeneration and Cognitive Disease). Endocrine dyscrasia is an age-related dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis and is associated with abnormal neurological function as well as neurodegenerative changes in the brain. "Sex hormones are the physiological factors that regulate neurogenesis during embryogenesis and continuing through adulthood. These hormones support the formation of brain structures such as dendritic spines, axons and synapses required for the capture of information (memories)." Without getting into incredible detail, suffice it to say that inflammation commonly seen in Andropause leads to the changes that leads to cognitive dysfunction, an inability to concentrate, and even dementia. It's not a coincidence that Alzheimer's Disease is actually known in the medical research community as TYPE III DIABETES. Think I'm exaggerating the link between Alzheimer's and Andropause?
- ANDROPAUSE SPECIFICALLY LINKED TO ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: This link is not new information. The February Y2K issue of PNAS showed via the study's title (Testosterone Reduces Neuronal Secretion of Alzheimer's β-amyloid Peptides) that male sex hormone is preventative against the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's. And while there are literally scores of similar studies, a 2005 issue of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Effects of Testosterone on Cognitive and Brain Aging in Elderly Men) concluded that, "evidence suggests that testosterone loss may be a risk factor for cognitive decline and possibly for dementia. Conversely, the maintenance of higher testosterone levels either endogenously or through exogenous supplementation may prove beneficial for cognitive and brain function in elderly men." Because exogenous testosterone has proven dangerous and rife with SIDE EFFECTS, increasing your own "endogenous" testosterone is definitely the way to go. Here is another having to do with MICROGLIAL CELLS from the May 2009 issue of Neurologic Clinics (Age and Neuroinflammation: A Lifetime of Psychoneuroimmune Consequences). "The literature indicates that the innate immune cells [Glial Cells] of the brain become more reactive with age. Although it is unclear how glia reactivity increases, emerging evidence suggests these alterations allow exacerbated neuroinflammation and sickness behavior following peripheral immune activation. This amplified or prolonged exposure to inflammation in the brain may impair neuronal plasticity and underlie a heightened neuroinflammatory response in the aged that also may lead to other neurobehavioral impairments such as delirium, depression, and, potentially, the onset of neurologic disease." Neurologic disease? Can anyone say Alzheimer's? Unfortunately, it's only one of many.
- ANDROPAUSE IS LINKED TO POOR BLOOD FLOW TO THE BRAIN: One of the classic signs of Andropause is sexual dysfunction. For twenty years now, men (and probably in many cases, their wives) have been enamored with Viagra or similar type drugs --- drugs that increase blood flow, allowing impotent men to have sex while under its effects. Unfortunately, diminished blood flow is another fact of aging, but a fact that also happens to be heavily associated with inflammation-associated issues as well. The April 2009 issue of Brain Research (Resting Cerebral Blood Flow, Attention, and Aging) showed that, "Aging is accompanied by a decline of fluid cognitive functions, e.g., a slowing of information processing, working memory, and division of attention. This is at least partly due to structural and functional changes in the aging brain. Although a decrement of resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) has been positively associated with cognitive functions in patients with brain diseases" Several months later, the August issue of the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Longitudinal Study of Chronic Depressive Symptoms and Regional Cerebral Blood Flow in Older Men and Women) concluded that, "Late-life depression is associated with alterations in regional cerebral blood flow... Higher average depressive symptoms were associated with longitudinal CBF decreases..." This means that the next bullet should come as no surprise either.
- ANDROPAUSE IS LINKED TO DEPRESSION: A year and a half ago, the December issue of Aging, Clinical, and Experimental Research asked a question via the title of a study; Are Andropause Symptoms Related to Depression? Their conclusions? Not only was it related, but the authors said that, "Based on our results, there is a direct association between andropause symptoms and depression, where the increasing Aging Males Symptoms Scale score corresponds with the severity of depression." The point here is that you can never forget that Depression is yet another of the numerous diseases that fall under the umbrella of inflammation (HERE and HERE).
I could go on, but hopefully you are getting the point. Andropause is one of those physiological realities that we cannot completely get away from. However, we can certainly buffer it's effects. This raises the question of what it takes to turn this mess around (or better yet for you young bucks, prevent it before it starts)?
CONVENTIONAL AND NON-CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT OF ANDROPAUSE
"The promise of testosterone therapy may seem enticing, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what the treatment can and can't do for you. As you get older, testosterone therapy may sound like the ultimate anti-aging formula. Yet the health benefits of testosterone therapy for age-related decline in testosterone aren't as clear as they may seem. Testosterone therapy has various risks. For example, testosterone therapy may contribute to sleep apnea — a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, cause acne or other skin reactions, stimulate noncancerous growth of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and growth of existing prostate cancer, enlarge breasts, limit sperm production or cause testicle shrinkage, and increase the risk of a blood clot forming in a deep vein (deep vein thrombosis), which could break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism)" From the Mayo Clinic (Testosterone Therapy: Potential Benefits and Risks as You Age)
"In the United States, approximately 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men experience sexual dysfunction. It is not surprising that testosterone, primarily used to treat sexual problems, is being prescribed more often than in the past; a 500 percent increase in sales has been documented from 1993 to 2001. However, testosterone therapy is controversial." From a position paper by the American Family Physician (Testosterone Treatments: Why, When, and How?)
"Record numbers of men are turning to testosterone replacement therapy to increase energy levels, muscle mass and sex drive. However, boosting levels of the manly hormone can cause serious health risks, including heart attack, stroke, prostate cancer and even death. Drug companies heavily market their products promising men increased vitality, strength, sex drive and an overall better quality of life. The reality, however, is that testosterone therapy can cause a number of health complications that, some doctors say, might not be worth the benefits. Studies and clinical trials have linked the drugs to heart attacks, blood clot injuries, stroke and an increased risk for prostate cancer, among other health reactions. Evidence from published studies and expert input from an advisory committee prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling changes to reflect some risks associated with use of testosterone products. Still, critics say even more warnings about side effects are needed." From Drugwatch dot com (Testosterone Therapy Side Effects)
This is particularly problematic once you realize that most of the bullet points mentioned earlier cause Low T as a secondary function --- as a side effect. Primary Hypogonadism (men whose testicles cannot make enough testosterone due to primary problems with the pituitary, hypothalamus, FSH, LH, or receptor site issues) is much more rare when compared to the scenario(s) we've been describing (Secondary Hypogonadism). This is almost exactly what I showed women concerning HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY (HRT) just a few short weeks ago. Although there has been a huge and ongoing battle about whether or not testosterone prescriptions (pills, patches, injections, lotions, etc) cause major side-effects, there are a few studies that settle this issue for me.
By anyone's definition, supplemental testosterone use has exploded over the course of the past two decades. While there are certainly times that medical testosterone can be a godsend, as in the case of primary hypogonadism above, there are numerous warning signals that this therapy is not all it's been made out to be --- particularly for the general population of AGING MALES. This fact is verified by a 2013 issue of the journal Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America (Reproductive Aging in Men)
"Aging in men is associated with a decrease in serum testosterone levels. The practicing endocrinologist is frequently consulted for consideration of testosterone therapy in older men with late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) [secondary hypogonadism], a condition that many clinicians fail to distinguish from organic hypogonadism [primary hypogonadism]. Recent data using syndromic definition show that only 2% of 40-80-year-old men have LOH [primary hypogonadism]."
A study from a 2012 issue of Gender and the Genome (Testosterone Replacement Therapy in Reversing “Andropause”: What Is the Proof-of-Principle?) verifies what I've been telling you about simply prescribing men going through Andropause testosterone. "Testosterone replacement therapy is often equated with the macho male physique and virility and is viewed by some as an antiaging tonic. The growth in testosterone's reputation and its increased use by men of all ages has seemed to outpace the scientific evidences." There are so many factors to think about and deal with concerning Andropause, that simply supplementing with hormone is not going to address. While will undoubtedly see some benefits, this approach has a potential dark side to it --- especially once you consider that there are still no long-term safety studies out there.
This was reiterated yet again just months ago, with the publication of February's issue of Rejuvenation Research (Testosterone Replacement Therapy: The Emperor's New Clothes). I'm sure everyone remembers the children's story of the Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. To make a long story short, a couple of clever swindlers took the emperor for a whole lot of cash by telling him they could make him beautiful new clothes that were, "invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid". Wanting to find out who these people were in his kingdom, the emperor took the bait. When on public parade in front of his people one day, with everyone oohhing and aahhing about the beauty of the his "clothes," an innocent little boy cried out the truth; "But he hasn't got anything on" with the rest of the population soon following suit. Just how "naked" is prescription testosterone given for Andropause?
"Testosterone levels decrease steadily and continuously during aging, ultimately resulting in late-onset hypogonadism. Treatment of this condition might mitigate most symptoms; however, testosterone replacement therapy should be prescribed only in selected patients and it should not be considered as an anti-aging treatment. In recent years, different authors have questioned health risks associated with testosterone treatment; while position statements from many scientific societies seem to be reassuring, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning in regard to the possible side effects of this therapy."
The final straw for me, however, was a study published in the May 2015 issue of the American Journal of Men's Health (High Estrogen in Men after Injectable Testosterone Therapy: The Low T Experience). "Testosterone replacement improves quality of life and is aromatized in men in adipose tissues to estrogen. Hyper-estrogenism is believed to be harmful to male sexuality." This, folks, is the a definition of an oxymoron if I've ever seen one. I've already shown you that the aromatase enzyme converts testosterone to estrogen. I've also shown you that obesity is not only inflammatory, it tends to increase with age because men automatically get more inflamed as they get older. Unfortunately, adipose tissue (fatty tissue --- which can act as its own endocrine organ -- HERE) also increases aromatase activity. So in essence, the testosterone in older and heavier men with THE INFLAMMATORY PROBLEMS ON THIS LIST, has a much higher probability of ending up being converted to estrogen. GULP! What might be a better option?
First off, realize that there is a possibility you have a problem with your PITUITARY or HYPOTHALAMUS. If this is the case, you might need to try a FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGIST to see if it is possible to jump-start those systems. Secondly, there are a wide variety of supplements available, some of which have been shown to be effective via peer-review (emphasis on "some" as most "Testosterone Boosters" are high-priced crap. If you are really interested, talk to my friend Dr. Eric Serrano over at Mountain Dog Diet). Thirdly, there are some cool glandular products like STANDARD PROCESS'S Symplex M, that actually help rebuild the testes as opposed to simply "boosting" testosterone levels (or at least claiming to do so). And lastly, but most importantly, if you really want to get a handle on Andropause as it relates to all systems in your body, you'll have to change your wicked ways. Wicked ways?
You're going to have to kick your SUGAR / CARB ADDICTION. And many of you are going to have to stop lying to yourself --- telling yourself that it's OK to eat a ton of crap since you are young and thin (hey; I used to be young and thin -- HERE). You're going to have to change your approach to what what you eat. For those who say they can't do this, ask yourself a few tough questions. Is not giving up (insert your poison-of-choice here --- sodas, ice cream, beer, chips, Ding Dongs, TWINKIES, etc, etc) worth not having energy to do almost anything beyond coming home from work, plunking down in your easy chair, and crashing in front of the TV for the evening? Is it worth not being able to concentrate enough to carry on a conversation, do your office work, or solve a crossword puzzle? Is it worth being fat and out of shape? And maybe most importantly of all, is it worth not being able to have sex with your wife? If continuing in your current lifestyle is more important than grabbing life by the --- well; balls --- then by all means, continue on. If not.....
If you are looking for a change --- a real change (AN EXIT STRATEGY if you will), and not just another drug to mask another symptom, HERE is the protocol for you. Heck no, it's not a fool-proof or cure-all. I never said it was. However, this simple protocol addresses most aspects of male health and virility at their root level. If you are interested in getting your life, health, strength, stamina, cognitive function, and BEDROOM PROWESS back, at least take a few minutes to read the post. The cool thing is that I'm not even selling you anything. It's just information, and completely free information at that. But nonetheless, information that you could use to change your life!
AMERICAN MALES ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY FEMINIZED
SPERM COUNTS HIT ROCK BOTTOM
"Among Western studies, the mean sperm concentration declined, on average, 1.4% per year with an overall decline of 52.4% between 1973 and 2011. Trends for total sperm count and sperm concentration were similar, with a steep decline among Western studies, corresponding to an average decline in mean total sperm count of 1.6% per year and overall decline of 59.3%."
Look folks, if you did not grasp the magnitude of what this short paragraph is saying, read it until you do. In the 38 years of this study, sperm counts in Westernized nations (North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand) decreased by 60% (from 99 million sperm per cc in 1973, to 47 million sperm per cc in 2011). Before I tell you why this is happening, I want to show you why these authors (using peer review of course) believe it is a far bigger deal than simple fertility. According to their research, "Sperm count is of considerable public health importance for several reasons." Some of these include...
- Low sperm count is linked with all cause morbidity and mortality (illness or death for any and all reasons)
- Low sperm count is associated with cryptorchidism (undescended testicle(s)), hypospadias (the urinary opening is not at its usual location), and testicular cancer
- Low sperm counts are causing an economic burden that is, according to these authors, "high and increasing"
- Low sperm counts reflect the effects of modern living (diet, weight, smoking, environment, toxic exposure, stress, etc, etc)
First, while we are certainly talking about males and sperm counts here, make no mistake about it --- the very same factors that are affecting males are equally affecting females (probably affecting them worse), adding to what's becoming an EPIDEMIC OF INFERTILITY. Secondly, the causes of this mess can be broken down to two main reasons.....
- BLOOD SUGAR DYSREGULATION / OBESITY: The Westernized world has been increasingly LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE since the commercial milling of grain became widely available in the early 1900's. The end product is that a recent study of California --- the land of perpetual sunshine, warm temperatures, and fresh fruits and vegetables --- showed that well over half the population was pre-diabetic / insulin resistant. Not surprisingly, THIS FACT, along with BURGEONING AMOUNTS OF BELLY FAT, are at least a big part of why men are ending up with low sperm counts and women are ending up with PCOS --- the number one female hormonal problem in America, as well as number one cause of infertility. In fact, the problem is so widespread I recently wrote a well-received but shocking post called SUGAR AND JUNK CARBS ARE TURNING MEN INTO WOMEN AND WOMEN INTO MEN.
- POLLUTION / TOXICITY / ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS: In my recent post called BALANCING FEMALE HORMONES NATURALLY, I showed you how benzene, one of the world's most common industrial chemicals, looks suspiciously like estrogen. And that's just for starters. Men and women alike are being bathed in a sea of estrogen-mimics (herbicides, pesticides, and a myriad of toxic substances) and ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS that are fouling up our collective hormonal systems in ways we can't even begin to imagine (there are literally hundreds of freaky studies on what this is doing to the animal kingdom, not to mention humans). And while it's easy to pick on nasty habits like SMOKING, some of the worst of this pollution is completely self-induced, coming from sources like PRESCRIPTION DRUGS (particularly HERE men) and especially VACCINES.
So, not only has this dramatically affected sperm counts and fertility, but research has shown that it is affecting TESTOSTERONE LEVELS as well (increasing them in women and decreasing them in men - see my earlier link) --- undoubtedly a significant reason for the explosion of gender dysphoria being seen in Westernized nations. Bottom line? None of the underlying factors associated with low sperm counts have gotten better in the last decade, and many have gotten worse --- some of them (HERE and HERE for instance) much worse.
The good news is that the two points above (particularly the first) are fairly easy to address. Solving the first bullet is usually a matter of breaking through the barrier of SUGAR / CARB ADDICTION and figuring out how to control systemic, diet-induced, INFLAMMATION. And while the second issue is tougher to deal with, it's certainly not impossible by any means (HERE). And if you are looking for a potential solution to your chronic pain and chronic illness (as well as your chronic lethargy), take a look at THIS POST.
ANOTHER EFFECT OF SUGAR
IT TURNS MEN INTO WOMEN AND WOMEN INTO MEN
Why she walk like a woman and talk like a man
Oh my Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola, lo lo lo lo Lola
Boys will be girls and girls will be boys, it's a mixed up world.........
From the Kinks 1970 single Lola (Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One)
She had the body of a Venus
Lord, imagine my surprise
Ah Ah, Dude looks like a lady
Aerosmith from 1987's Permanent Vacation (Dude)
Although I've become a huge advocate of the PALEO DIET or similar (there are lots of similar), the reasons are simple --- it totally controls blood sugar, while limiting the amount of chemicals and toxins in the body (HERE). Why is controlling BLOOD SUGAR critically important if you want any hope of being truly healthy? Because as I've shown you many times, virtually every disease that we could list that is not 100% genetic, has origins in blood sugar (HERE and HERE are great examples). Allow me to show you, via peer-review, how our collective SUGAR / CARB ADDICTIONS are leading us down a path to destruction as far as our sexual / hormonal health is concerned.
Historically, women have always had the tendency to put weight on their hips and rear end. On some level, this is exactly how things are supposed to be --- it's how they're made. And while men put weight on around the midsection (the old "spare tire"), thanks to copious amounts of carbs and sugar, this is exactly what's now being seen in the female population. BELLY FAT in both sexes has become the new norm. What does this do? It creates "Sugar Daddies" and "Sugar Mamas".
Besides the belly fat, when men consume too much sugar or simple carbohydrate, they begin making less testosterone (they are said to have "LOW T"). Although the result is certainly a lower sex drive, low libido is only the tip of the iceberg.
When women consume too much sugar, just the opposite occurs --- they make too much testosterone (HERE). Not only does this cause a diminished sex drive as well, but it tends to cause copious amounts of body hair as well as infertility.
SUGAR FEMINIZES MEN / SUGAR TURNS MEN INTO WOMEN
Have you ever heard of SKINNY FAT (sometimes referred to as MONW)? In a study from a 2013 issue of PLoS One (Prediabetes Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Testosterone Deficiency, Independent of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome), eight Taiwanese physicians and researchers concluded that, "current evidence suggests that the causative relationship between testosterone deficiency and diabetes might be bidirectional, or even multidirectional and interrelated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, sex hormone-binding globulins (SHBG), and other factors." In other words, whichever comes first is not so important since either one can cause the other.
A 2009 issue of the Argentinian journal, Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia (The Role of Testosterone in Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome in Men), concluded that, "Over the last three decades, it has become apparent that testosterone plays a significant role in glucose homeostasis and lipid metabolism. The metabolic syndrome is a clustering of risk factors predisposing to diabetes mellitus type 2, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The main components of the syndrome are visceral obesity, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, raised blood pressure and dyslipidemia (elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), and a pro-inflammatory and thrombogenic state. Cross-sectional epidemiological studies have reported a direct correlation between plasma testosterone and insulin sensitivity, and low testosterone levels are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus." This is saying that not only is the person described here a heart attack / stroke looking for a place to happen, it's only a matter of time before things stop working in the bedroom.
Another 2009 study, this one from the Journal of Andrology (The Dark Side of Testosterone Deficiency: Metabolic Syndrome and Erectile Dysfunction) stated, "The metabolic syndrome is considered the most important public health threat of the 21st century. This syndrome is characterized by a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors including increased central abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, reduced high-density lipoprotein, high blood pressure, increased fasting glucose, and hyperinsulinemia. Reduced androgen levels [testosterone and precursors] increase cardiovascular risk factors and produce marked adverse effects on cardiovascular function. Metabolic syndrome has been associated with erectile dysfunction, and may be considered a risk factor for erectile dysfunction." Like I said, ED is probably the least of your worries once this vicious cycle starts spinning.
One of the things that DIABETES and blood sugar dysregulation does is foul up the body's ability to circulate blood --- one of the chief reasons (along with NEUROPATHY) that virtually all diabetics struggle with foot ulcers. Be aware, however, that this lack of blood flow is not confined to feet, but affects the genitals as well. Not surprisingly, ED is the result. But it's actually much worse than initially appears as far as sugar turning men into women is concerned, and as you might suspect, it has to do with THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM.
Did you realize that body fat (adipose tissue) --- particularly the belly fat packed around your internal organs --- has the potential to act as it's own estrogen-producing gland (HERE, HERE, or HERE)? If you cruise on over to PubMed and search the term "Adipose Tissue as an Endocrine Organ," you'll find page after page after page of studies --- hundreds of them --- that have either this exact name or a similar variation. Here's one from a 2013 issue of the kidney journal, Seminars in Nephrology (The Adipose Tissue as an Endocrine Organ), where the authors concluded that, "Since 1994, white adipose tissue was recognized as an endocrine organ and an important source of biologically active substances with local and/or systemic action called adipokines. Inappropriate secretion of several adipokines by the excessive amount of white adipose tissue seems to participate in the pathogenesis of obesity-related pathologic processes including endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease." Hold on to your seats because here is where the train start to go off the rails.
Although there were about 2,500 studies in this specific topic, I'm going to leave you with just one --- a piece of research from last September's issue of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Reports (Extra-Gonadal Sites of Estrogen Biosynthesis and Function)........
"Recent evidence indicates that estrogens play important roles in the immune system, cancer development, and other critical biological processes related to human well-being. Obviously, the gonads (ovary and testis) are the primary sites of estrogen synthesis, but estrogens synthesized in extra- gonadal sites play an equally important role in controlling biological activities...... Adipose tissues are considered to be the major source of circulating estrogen after the gonads in both men and women, and the contribution made by the adipose tissues to the total circulating estrogens increases with advancing age."
If you did not grasp the importance of this paragraph, read it until you do. As you get older --- or fatter --- your fatty tissues are going to make more estrogen. If everything were in perfect HOMEOSTASIS, this would be wonderful as your body fat takes the place of your post-menopausal ovaries. The problem is that with ESTROGEN DOMINANCE already being a huge issue in both females and males here in America, we can begin to see how BELLY FAT (visceral adiposity) is affecting our population, setting up a vicious cycle of obesity and hormonal disruption.
And in case you were not aware, estrogen is the hormone given to commercially-raised livestock (beef & pork) in order to make them fat (peer-review frequently refers to commercially-raised animals --- particularly beef --- as "obese"). Estrogen is why the average woman carries about 10% more body fat than the average man. While men certainly need a bit of estrogen to function normally, anything more than that is a problem --- a big problem. Enter the Endocrine Disruptors and Aromatases (yes, they are affected by sugar because NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease), caused mostly by being overweight, dramatically affects your ability for your liver to clear excess hormones (HERE).
I recently showed you how we are all being exposed to a vast array of XENOHORMONES (most of which are estrogen-based 'obesigens') and ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS. In case you think that this is no big deal, let me hit you with a study from the 2007 of a Spanish journal Revista de Investigacion Clinica (Endocrine Disruptor Compounds and their Role in the Developmental Programming of the Reproductive Axis). This study showed that, "Different perturbations during fetal and postnatal development unleash endocrine adaptations that permanently alter metabolism, increasing the susceptibility to develop later disease, process known as "developmental programming." Endocrine disruptor compounds are widely spread in the environment and display estrogenic, anti-estrogenic or anti-androgenic [anti-testosterone] activity; they are stored for long periods in the adipose tissue. The effects on the reproductive axis depend on the stage of development and the window of exposure, as well as the dose and the compound. The wide distribution of endocrine disrupting compounds into the environment affects both human health and ecosystems in general." In other words, many of us --- maybe most of us, whether male or female --- are being doused in estrogen from conception to death, and unfortunately, the problems it's causing are "permanent". And we wonder why our hormones are screwed up.
The commonest medical solution for men with Low T is giving them testosterone in various forms. While this sometimes helps for awhile, the results are usually short-lived. This is because your body's stunted / altered feedback loops are not only not addressed by this method of therapy, it actually makes the situation worse. Why? It's common knowledge that when men take Anabolic Steroids, their own testicles, sensing that there is plenty of testosterone in their system, shut down production. And this doesn't even begin to address the issue of STRESS.
When we get stressed, (the stress can come in numerous forms including emotional, physical, and / or dietary --- ie JUNK FOOD and JUNK CARBS) we release the ADRENAL HORMONE, cortisol. Among other things, cortisol makes us fat (see previous link). Bear in mind that it is impossible to solve adrenal issues without first addressing blood sugar. And unfortunately, the hits keep coming.
If you have not heard of aromatase, you need to become informed. According to Wikipedia, "Aromatase, also called estrogen synthetase, is an enzyme responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogens. It is CYP19A1, a member of the cytochrome P450 superfamily that catalyze many reactions involved in steroidogenesis. In particular, aromatase is responsible for the aromatization of androgens into estrogens. The aromatase enzyme can be found in many tissues, as well as in tissue of endometriosis, uterine fibroids, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer." Since we have a P-450 ENZYME that among other things, turns testosterone into estrogen, it's critical that we figure out what upregulates it.
As might make sense, aromatase inhibitors are used by the medical community to block estrogen in women dealing with BREAST CANCER. Interestingly enough, I found a number of studies from mainstream medical journals touting various anti-inflammatory HERBS, vitamins (C and D) or other compounds that act as inhibitors of estrogen as well. For instance, just two years ago, the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention (Inhibitory Aromatase Effects of Flavonoids from Ginkgo Biloba Extracts on Estrogen Biosynthesis) concluded that, "Our results support the usefulness of flavonoids in adjuvant therapy for breast cancer by reducing estrogen levels with reduced adverse effects."
As far as upregulating the aromatase enzyme, I found almost 10,000 studies on the subject. And although there are slews of studies about biochemical compounds that I've frankly never heard of before, the big picture is fairly clear. What do I mean by "Big Picture"? A few years ago, the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology (Aromatase Up-Regulation, Insulin and Raised Intracellular Estrogens in Men, Induce Adiposity, Metabolic Syndrome and Prostate Disease) put it this way.
"For some years now, reduced testosterone levels have been related to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, benign prostatic hypertrophy and even prostate cancer, with little attention paid to the important role of increased estrogen, in the pathogenesis of these chronic diseases. Testosterone is metabolized to estradiol by P450 aromatase, to increase estradiol concentration at the expense of testosterone. It follows therefore, that any compound that up-regulates aromatase, or any molecule that mimics oestrogen, will not only increase the activation of the mainly proliferative, classic ER-α, estrogen receptors to induce adipogenesis [obesity] and growth disorders [cancer / endometriosis] in oestrogen-sensitive tissues.... This paper simplifies how stress, xeno-oestrogens, poor dietary choices and reactive toxins up-regulate aromatase to increase intracellular oestradiol production."
The authors went on to explain how the described situation is related to insulin resistance, fat deposition (especially around the midsection), metabolic syndrome, BPH, PROSTATE CANCER, obesity, gynecomastia [man boobs], Type II diabetes, low testosterone, and increased estrogen levels in men, among many others.
Although I came across many similar, I also found a study in a 2010 issue of Toxicology Letters (Bisphenol A-induced Aromatase Activation is Mediated by Cyclooxygenase-2 Up-regulation in Rat Testicular Leydig Cells) showing that the combination of inflammation and BPA created, "increased aromatase gene expression and its enzyme and promoter activity, but reduced testosterone synthesis; increased COX-2 mRNA expression and promoter activity, the production of prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), and the gene expression of PGE(2) (EP2 and EP4) receptors." PGE2 and the COX-2 enzyme are both extremely inflammatory (COX-2 INHIBITORS are ultra common in Western Society).
And finally, we get to the hormonal FUBAR that occurs thanks to brain dysfunction (HPA-AXIS). When the body is low on either sperm or testosterone in males, the feedback loop kicks in and tells the HYPOTHALAMUS to send out a hormone called GRH (Gonaditrophin Releasing Hormone). This acts on the PITUITARY GLAND, telling it to release FSH to make sperm and LH to make both testosterone and SHBG. Any number of brain dysfunctions or certain kinds of drugs (particularly THIS MED taken by over 10% of the American population) can throw a monkey wrench into this pathway, leading to all sorts of dysfunction with the sex hormones.
SUGAR MASCULINIZES WOMEN / SUGAR TURNS WOMEN INTO MEN
PCOS is the number one female issue in America, affecting approximately 10% of the women of child-bearing age (some studies say the actual number is closer to 1 in 5) --- more than half of which are unaware or undiagnosed. Intimately linked to INSULIN RESISTANCE, there are many who believe it is another manifestation of diabetes / pre-diabetes in similar fashion to the way that Alzheimer's is widely known in the scientific community as TYPE III DIABETES. And while numerous stories and studies will tell you that PCOS is genetic, at best this is only partially true. Like hundreds of other health issues with a genetic component, the problem is far more related to EPIGENETICS than genetics.
Because there are no definitive blood or lab tests, the diagnosis is usually made clinically. What does it look like? The tell-tale cluster of symptoms includes....
- EXCESS TESTOSTERONE: Along with IR, this is the symptom that drives the others. Be aware that as I showed you earlier, testosterone overproduction is often the result of overproduction of LH (luteinizing hormone), which is a pituitary hormone. Another theory gaining traction in the scientific community is that this excess testosterone is the result of Androgen Receptor Resistance (HERE) --- which, kind of like Insulin Resistance, simply means the body has become "resistant" to the effects of testosterone (often times because the receptor sites are saturated), telling the body to make even more. While this is certainly true, It's hard to argue that it's not ultimately the result of IR.
- EXCESS HAIR GROWTH: Known as "hirsutism" medically, women with PCOS will grow hair in places they otherwise would not (particularly the face), as well as growing excess body hair in places they normally would. Interestingly enough, it is not uncommon to see women with PCOS develop or begin to develop male pattern baldness --- sometimes confused with THYROID ISSUES --- which are also not uncommon with PCOS.
- ACNE: ACNE (including "backne") is a common sequelae of PCOS.
- INFERTILITY: Already discussed and left a link.
- CHRONIC FATIGUE, ALTERED MOOD, AND LOW LIBIDO: All of these are characteristic of excess testosterone in women. Even though testosterone is the hormone that drives libido in both men and women, when women get too much of a good thing, it becomes a bad thing --- a very bad thing. For the record, realize that PCOS is one of the myriad of health issues considered to be "inflammatory". DEPRESSION is on this list as well.
- WEIGHT ISSUES: Women with PCOS have, or eventually will have if they are currently teenagers, difficulty losing weight. And, as we have already discussed, a common scenario is to see women who have man-like bellies (Central Obesity). As for those of you who say that this can't be your issue because you are normal weight, make sure to check out my earlier link on "Skinny Fat".
- DARKENING OF THE SKIN AROUND THE NECK: Known as "acanthosis nigricansis," it also occurs beneath the breasts and in the groin areas.
- SKIN TAGS: These are usually found in the armpit or the neck region.
- SLEEP APNEA: SLEEP APNEA is extremely common in women with PCOS.
Although the most common medical treatments include androgen-blockers, DIABETES DRUGS, STATINS, and going on "The Pill," these aren't very effective over the long term, while creating an array of extremely nasty SIDE EFFECTS. Be aware that plugging "PCOS" into PubMed brought up 12,500 studies to wade through. Although I only looked through a few dozen, not surprisingly I found plenty linking it to Endocrine Disruptors. Some others included CHRONIC SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION, reduced TREGS (making you susceptible to AUTOIMMUNITY), increased HOMOCYSTEINE and decreased GLUTATHIONE levels, not enough VITAMIN D, OSTEOPOROSIS, and NAFLD. If I had more time, I could have found studies linking it to any number of others.
WHETHER MALE OR FEMALE, WHAT SHOULD YOU
DO IF YOU RECOGNIZE YOURSELF IN THIS POST?
Although there might be any number of people dealing with the situations discussed in today's post who could use some help from a FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST, the truth is, many of you --- probably the majority of you (possibly even the vast majority of you) --- can start addressing this crisis on your own. And here's the doubly cool part of all this. I've given you a generic protocol free of charge (HERE) for helping resolve the behind-the-scenes inflammation. Getting started might be the hardest thing you've ever done, but after a week or two, it gets easier. Stick with it and you may even end up with results like THIS.
TYPE II DIABETES AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION & INFERTILITY
It's fascinating to me just how many couples I see in my clinic who are unable to get pregnant. While it's true that I have seen any number of women get pregnant after chiropractic adjustments (HERE'S THE MECHANISM), in the 25 years I have been in practice, it is becoming less and less likely this will happen (HERE'S WHY). Mostly it has to do with INFLAMMATION, which I showed you in the paragraph above, is the root of most of our most common health problems. In fact, there is an entire industry that revolves around this increasingly common problem (IVF). And this does not even begin to touch on the issue of libido. One thing we know for sure about sex drive is that it correlates inversely with two health problems that are almost always joined at the hip --- the Siamese twins of ill health; type II diabetes and obesity. Before I show you how to solve the majority of cases of both problems on your own, I want to hit you with some studies in no particular order (everything is cherry-picked due to constraints on both time and space) concerning the topic of today's post.
- According to last month's issue of Sexual Medicine Reviews (Diabetes & Sexuality) diabetes is a major destroyer of sexual function for both men and women. "Deterioration in sexual functioning is one of the major and serious complications of diabetes. This common metabolic disorder not only affects sexuality through microvascular and nerve damage but also has psychological aspects. In men, the primary complications are erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, and loss of libido. Women similarly experience sexual problems, including decreased libido, decrease in arousal and lubrication resulting in painful intercourse, and loss of orgasm." Diabetes lowers testosterone levels in men (HERE). With women, it's a mixed bag. Low T in women likewise causes low libido. But as often as not, blood sugar dysregulation in the fairer sex often leads to high testosterone, which not only causes sexual dysfunction, but is a chief component of PCOS as well --- the number one reason for female infertility in America.
- The March issue of the German journal Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift (Sexuality in Overweight and Obesity) essentially said the same thing, but added their two cents on how to treat the dysfunction. "The association between obesity and sexual dysfunction has been described in many studies. Neurobiological, hormonal, vascular and mental disturbances are the main reasons in male and in female gender." The authors then mentioned several new drugs and hormones used to treat this problem in women. The only one mentioned that was really new was FLIBANSERIN ("Female Viagra"); a terrible drug that will undoubtedly soon be pulled off the market due to side effects and an almost 0% rate of effectiveness.
- Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology recently published a study (Novel Concepts in the Etiology of Male Reproductive Impairment), which, as I have shown you time and time again, puts the onus for a large percentage of infertility squarely on the shoulders of the male ---- something I feel that most of the public has not been made aware of (women seem to get most of the "blame" for this issue). "Infertility is a widespread problem and a male contribution is involved in 20–70% of affected couples" A study published a few months later, in the June issue of Reproduction, Fertility, and Development (High Glucose Levels Affect Spermatogenesis....) added to this by stating, "systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus may further exacerbate a decline in male fertility. This metabolic disease, clinically characterized by a hyperglycaemic phenotype, has devastating consequences in terms of human health, with reproductive dysfunction being one of the associated clinical complications."
- Just last month, the Journal of Diabetic Complications (Diabetes Mellitus and Functional Sperm Characteristics: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies) revealed that, "Insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus (DM) are well defined causes of female infertility. Current evidence suggests that the presence of DM seems to influence functional sperm characteristics. DM seems to decrease the seminal volume and the percentage of motile cells." For us men it just keeps getting crazier and scarier. Case in point.....
- A study from the March issue of Fertility & Sterility (Increased Risk of Incident Chronic Medical Conditions in Infertile Men: Analysis of United States Claims Data) looked at chronic disease in men as it relates to infertility. Not surprisingly, the authors concluded that, "after adjusting for confounding factors, men diagnosed with infertility had a higher risk of developing diabetes." But they didn't stop there. Some of the other diseases that were also associated with infertility included, "hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, renal disease, pulmonary disease, liver disease, depression, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, injury, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder." Folks; this list includes almost every major category of disease you can name. The scariest thing about this study, however, was that the average age of the over 13,000 participants was (gulp) 33.
- The April issue of Frontiers in Physiology carried a study called Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome: An Updated Overview. "Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common metabolic and reproductive disorders among women of reproductive age. Women suffering from PCOS present with a constellation of symptoms associated with menstrual dysfunction and androgen [testosterone] excess, which significantly impacts their quality of life. They may be at increased risk of multiple morbidities, including obesity, insulin resistance, type II diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease (CVD), infertility, cancer, and psychological disorders." What I find interesting is that even though PCOS is an American epidemic, few women (whether struggling to get pregnant or not) seem to be aware of it unless it has caused them pain (a ruptured cyst). In light of the severity of this next study, it's clear that doctors need to be doing a better job of educating their female patients about this subject.
- In the spring of this year, the Czech journal Vnitřní Lékařství (no, I have no earthly idea how to pronounce it either) published a study called Clinical Implications of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. In this study, they concluded that, "Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) belongs to the most widespread endocrinopathies and it is the most frequent cause of hyperthyroidism, anticoagulation and infertility. Insulin resistance is one of the important diabetology factors impacting hyperglycemia in a majority of women with PCOS (60-80 %). Clinical expressions of PCOS include reproduction disorders, metabolic characteristics and psychological implications. Reproduction disorders include hyperthyroidism, menstruation cycle disorders, infertility and pregnancy complications as well as early abortions, gestational diabetes and pregnancy induced hypertension. Long-term metabolic risks of PCOS include type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, arterial hypertension and endothelial dysfunction. The available data confirms higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases in women with PCOS. In particular among obese women PCOS is more frequently associated with non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, sleep apnea...... and autoimmunity. Women with PCOS are more prone to suffer from insufficient confidence with higher incidence of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and eating disorders." Every one of these problems, including SLEEP APNEA, are intimately associated with obesity.
- Earlier this year, the journal PLoS One carried a study called The Gut Microbiome Is Altered in a Letrozole-Induced Mouse Model of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Researchers revealed that, "PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women, with an estimated world-wide prevalence of... up to 15% using the Rotterdam Consensus criteria." The authors went on to say how any number of diseases, including diabetes and obesity have deleterious and well know affects on the MICROBIOME. For this study; shortly after birth, a slow release form of letrozole (trade name Femara --- an estrogen blocker similar to Tamoxifen) was implanted into female mice. Although I don't have time to do it justice, the results of the study were far worse than the conclusions make is sound. "Letrozole treatment of peripubertal female mice decreased mouse gut bacterial diversity and precipitated species-specific and time-dependent shifts in the relative abundance of particular Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, many of which have been implicated in other mouse models of metabolic disease. Our observation of gut microbiome alteration in a letrozole-induced PCOS mouse model suggests that a “dysbiosis” or microbial imbalance in the gut microbiome may also occur in women with PCOS." I have shown you time and time again that drugs in general --- both ANTIBIOTICS and NON-ANTIBIOTICS alike --- are notorious for creating the (all too common) nightmare known as DYSBIOSIS. Which, like PCOS, is fed by sugar.
- What causes PCOS? The very same thing that causes diabetes. Just remember, however, that contrary to popular belief, Type II Diabetes is not technically a sugar problem. It's an INFLAMMATION PROBLEM, that just happens to be driven (for the most part) by one of our national pastimes --- over-consuming sugar, high glycemic carbohydrates, and JUNK FOOD. This is clearly seen when looking at the abstract of June's Western-Style Diet, Sex Steroids and Metabolism, found in the journal, Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. "Today, the increased consumption of simple sugars and high-fat food brought about by Western-style diet and physical inactivity are leading causes of the growing obesity epidemic in the Western society. The extension of human lifespan far beyond reproductive age increased the burden of metabolic disorders associated with overnutrition and age-related hypogonadism. Sex steroids are essential regulators of both reproductive function and energy metabolism, whereas their imbalance causes infertility, obesity, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, and increased appetite." Did you happen to catch the last two words? That's right folks, the more junk you eat, the more junk you want.
All this is great information, but I know what you're thinking. What about that point where the rubber meets the road? How in the world can both men and women go about fixing sexual dysfunction and infertility? As is almost always the case, drugs are rarely a good or long-term solution.
- The journal above concluded the quote from above by saying, "Clinical and translational studies suggest that dietary restriction and weight control can improve metabolic and reproductive outcomes of sex hormone-related pathologies, including testosterone deficiency in men and natural menopause and hyperandrogenemia in women. Minimizing metabolic and reproductive decline through rationally designed diet and exercise can help extend human reproductive age and promote healthy aging. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Quality in Diabetes / Obesity and Critical Illness Spectrum of Diseases."
- The French OB/GYN journal Gynécologie Obstétrique & Fertilité took this concept even further with publication of their April issue (Infertility: A Key Time to Follow a Medical Nutritional Management. Our Experience on 78 Patients). After admitting that the desire to get pregnant, "is a strong motivational lever to weight loss" the authors concluded that said weight loss, "leads to satisfying pregnancy rate". What do you know? It works!
What sort of diet and exercise to I recommend? Firstly, remember that what you eat is infinitely more important that what or how much exercise you do (HERE). I had a patient come in the other day whose entire family, elderly parents included, had gone PALEO. The grandfather, who has struggled with jacked blood sugar for years, despite any number of DIABETES DRUGS, dropped his blood sugar over 100 points in 3 days. Read that again, because it was not a misprint. It's all about glycemic control via controlling inflammation. And don't forget the STRENGTH TRAINING as well. If you want to see a template on what it might take to get your schwerve back or even get pregnant, HERE is the link ---- critical if you are not only overweight and struggling with PCOS, but DEPRESSED and ADDICTED TO SUGAR AND JUNK CARBS as well.
Rest assured that sugar consumption and obestity are not the only cause(s) of sexual dysfunction, infertility, and particularly PCOS. Many studies do mention "genetics" as a etiological factor. However, it is critical to realize that raw genetics --- your genes --- do not determine your health nearly as much as you have been led to believe. Otherwise the Human Genome Project would have actually accomplished what it claimed it would accomplish when it began 25 years ago --- ridding human kind of sickness and disease. The truth is, EPIGENETICS is largely what determines your genetic expression, and if you don't understand this, it's critical you click the link and read the short post.
WHY CAN'T WE HAVE A BABY?
"A digestive disorder caused by sensitivity to gluten, celiac disease can cause male infertility. Fertility may improve after adopting a gluten-free diet." From an article on the Mayo Clinic's site called Male Infertility. Be aware that NCGS is a far bigger deal than Celiac.
"The average American consumes between 150 and 170 pounds of sugar per year --- and this does not even begin to deal with high glycemic index, heavily processed carbs that are converted to sugar as soon as they enter the body." Dr. Schierling from a recent post.
Sugar causes INFERTILITY in women because it is so intimately associated with both Inflammation (HERE) and PCOS (POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME) --- the number one cause of infertility nationally. There are those who want to tell us that PCOS and infertility are mostly genetic. While I would never deny that there is a genetic component in a portion of the population, the more we learn about genetics, the more we realize that "bad genes" are turned on or 'activated' by poor lifestyle choices (SMOKING, CRAPPY DIETS, TOO MANY DRUGS, CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY ILLNESSES or AUTOIMMUNITY, exposure to TOXIC CHEMICALS AND XENOHORMONES (or HERE) as well as any number of others). This phenomenon is known as EPIGENETICS, and is where the research in this area is headed.
And as for you men, let's not try and pin this problem solely on your wives. Look in the mirror. See that gut? That OVER-SIZED BELLY of yours is slowly (or maybe rapidly) lowering your sperm count and making you impotent to boot. This means that you are severely dampening your ability to get your wife pregnant via two completely different mechanisms. If you read the link in the next paragraph, you'll notice that blood sugar, belly fat, and low T (women actually get high T -- a hallmark of PCOS), are intimately related to each other in the peer-reviewed literature. In fact, it should not come as a surprise that sugar consumption has the potential to foul up virtually any aspect of your endocrine system (HERE).
How big is this problem of male infertility? All you have to do is open the sports page of any major metro newspaper and see how many adds there are for men to attend a "Free Seminar" put on by some doctor who wants to test and fix your LOW LEVELS OF TESTOSTERONE (Low T). According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (Quick Facts About Infertility), "Infertility affects men and women equally. Twenty-five percent of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility. In approximately 40 percent of infertile couples, the male partner is either the sole cause or a contributing cause of infertility." While mechanical problems such as varicocele (an enlarged testicular vein) are certainly not an uncommon cause of infertility, I would argue that beer guts are a far more common cause.
The cool thing is, many of you --- probably the majority of you, whether male or female --- can fix this problem yourself. How do you do it? Firstly, you need to realize that sugar is turning men into women and women into men (NO EXAGGERATION!). Secondly, if you are looking for a generic protocol designed to address the underlying causes of your chronic health issues, HERE IT IS. For information that is specifically geared towards reversing infertility and getting pregnant, CLICK HERE.
PMS, ABNORMAL PERIODS, AND INFERTILITY
AN AMERICAN EPIDEMIC
Our government's National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC) says that 3 out of 4 women deal with regular PMS, while between 1 in 3 and 40% suffer, "impairment of daily activity" due to their PMS. According to the same group, between 3-8% women have debilitating PMS symptoms. The Webiste "Florida Hospital" (the central website of the nearly 90 hospitals run by the Florida Seventh Day Adventists) says in the article, Statistics on Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), that, "Almost 85% of American women experience premenstrual syndrome in the childbearing years, with about 5% of these women disabled by PMS due to the extremely severe symptoms. Symptoms can get worse as patients age and approach menopause." With approximately 160 million females living in the United States, and those between the ages of 11 and 48 having a monthly period, you should begin to get some kind of idea of how far-reaching this problem is.
Once we start looking at PCOS, things get even crazier. PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is estimated to affect as many as 20 percent of menstruating American women. The December 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology (Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) reveals that, "The prevalence of PCOS varies depending on which criteria are used to make the diagnosis, but is as high as 15%–20% when the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology/American Society for Reproductive Medicine criteria are used." PCOS is a deal-breaker for women who are wanting to get pregnant, as our own government (the NIH's Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Fact Sheet) reveals that, "PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility."
Because we can legitimately say that female-problems in American women could easily be called an "epidemic," it would behoove us to figure out what to do about them. The medical community is using the same methods they've used for decades ---- their usual repertoire of drugs (birth control pills, DIABETES DRUGS, ANTIDEPRESSANTS, SLEEPING PILLS, etc, etc, etc) to treat the symptoms of these problems. But is this the best or even most effective way to go about solving this all-too-common problem? Of course it's not. If you simply follow the links, you'll quickly notice that the side effects of these specific drugs are numerous, potentially severe, and DRAMATICALLY UNDER-REPORTED --- and are doing little besides masking symptoms. Today I want to show you what I believe has the best chance of helping you actually control your symptoms by addressing their root cause ---- a much better solution than 'pill popping'.
- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR: The truth is, I could start virtually every single post I write by making this same suggestion; CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR. This is because either directly or indirectly, BLOOD SUGAR is being linked to whatever ails you. The thing is, in PCOS it is the number one factor (see my earlier link on PCOS), and the reason that it is virtually always treated with the same drugs used to treat TYPE II DIABETICS. How do you control your blood sugar, and cut out reactive (INFLAMMATORY) foods such as GLUTEN? Simple --- you do a PALEO-LIKE DIET that is based on WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION (the same "Whole Food" principles hold true for any supplementation that you do, and there are some beneficial supplements out there for female problems). Because OBESITY (particularly BELLY FAT) is so heavily associated with PCOS, the right diet (Paleo) kills two birds with one stone by addressing this as well.
- EXERCISE PROPERLY: One of the dirty little secrets of the fitness industry is that exercise does not promote WEIGHT LOSS nearly to the degree that diet does (HERE). What exercise helps with dramatically, however, is improving one's RESISTANCE TO INSULIN. The August 2010 issue of Human Reproduction Update (Exercise Therapy in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review) looked at a number of studies on this specific issue and concluded that, "The most consistent improvements were improved ovulation, reduced insulin resistance (9–30%) and weight loss (4.5–10%). Improvements were not dependent on the type of exercise, frequency or length of exercise sessions." The exercise protocols studied lasted 12 to 24 weeks. For the record, I am a fan of exercise programs that are heavy on resistance training, light on the cardio, and can be knocked out in 20 minutes or so (HERE).
- GET RID OF TOXIC HORMONES IN YOUR SYSTEM: ESTROGEN DOMINANCE (whether caused by endogenous estrogen, exogenous estrogen, or both), along with MASSIVE CARBOHYDRATE CONSUMPTION / ADDICTION, are two of the hallmarks of the female problems we are discussing today. If you want to clear hormones and XENOHORMONES from your system (something you'll have to do to solve this problem), HERE is how to go about it (I explain Phase I, II, and III detoxification in this post). Don't forget that you'll need plenty of FIBER to bind the excess hormones and pass them out of your system with your waste (as a side note, fiber happens to be the very thing that feeds your good bacteria).
- FIX YOUR GUT: Once you have dealt with excess estrogen, you'll have to deal with the HEALTH OF YOUR GUT. This is true not just because improper elimination causes resorption of toxins (HERE), but because it will help you in your two-pronged endeavor by both solving your LEAKY GUT and reversing your DYSBIOSIS. In light of this and the previous bullet point, try this one on for size. The April, 2012 issue of Gender Medicine (Do Fluctuations in Ovarian Hormones Affect Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Women With Irritable Bowel Syndrome?) reviewed 18 scientific studies on the relationship between Gut Health and female problems (the paper has nearly 100 studies in its bibliography), coming to an interesting conclusion concerning female problems and IBS. "An increase in gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, including bowel discomfort, abdominal pain/discomfort, bloating, and alterations in bowel patterns, has been reported during premenses and menses menstrual cycle phases and the perimenopause period in women with and without irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One study reported that visceral pain sensitivity was significantly higher during menses than at other menstrual cycle phases in women with IBS. Other menstrual cycle phase–linked symptoms, dysmenorrheal symptoms (cramping pain) in particular, were more intense in women with IBS."
- FIX YOUR GUT (PART II): For those of you wondering how things like Dysbiosis or Leaky Gut Syndrome could potentially cause problems like PMS or PCOS, look no further. A study published in the July, 2012 issue of Medical Hypothesis (Dysbiosis of Gut Microbiota (DOGMA) – A Novel Theory for the Development of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) spills the beans via its title. We have known for quite some time that PCOS is intimately linked to Obesity, and that Obesity is intimately linked to one's MICROBIOME (HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE are a few examples). This study confirms the link between the Microbiome and PCOS by saying in its abstract that, "Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause for menstrual disturbance and impaired ovulation... As the majority of women with PCOS are either overweight or obese, a dietary or adipose tissue related trigger for the development of the syndrome is quite possible. This novel paradigm in PCOS aetiology suggests that disturbances in bowel bacterial flora ("Dysbiosis of Gut Microbiota") brought about by a poor diet creates an increase in gut mucosal permeability [Leaky Gut], with a resultant increase in the passage of lipopolysaccaride (LPS) from colonic bacteria into the systemic circulation. The resultant activation of the immune system interferes with insulin receptor function, driving up serum insulin levels, which in turn increases the ovaries production of androgens [TESTOSTERONE --- the reason that women with PCOS are usually hairy] and interferes with normal follicle [egg] development. Thus, the Dysbiosis of Gut Microbiota (DOGMA) theory of PCOS can account for all three components of the syndrome-anovulation/menstrual irregularity, hyper-androgenism (acne, hirsutism) and the development of multiple small ovarian cysts."
- GET PROPER SLEEP: While this would be a generic suggestion for any chronic health issue, it is particularly important for dealing with female issues such as PMS and PCOS. Just a few short months ago, the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews published a study called Sleep, Sleep Disturbance, and Fertility in Women. The authors state that, "Sleep and sleep disturbances are increasingly recognized as determinants of women's health and well-being, particularly in the context of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause." In similar fashion to the previous bullet point, they go on to present, "A model whereby stress, sleep dysregulation, and circadian misalignment are delineated for their potential relevance to infertility." The August 2009 issue of the Journal of Psychosomatic Research (Morningness / Eveningness and Menstrual Symptoms in Adolescent Females) takes this concept a bit further by saying, "Two types of sleep preference have been supported in the literature. Morning types awaken early and are refreshed upon waking, whereas Evening types rise later and have more erratic sleep schedules. Sleep affects menstrual functioning in adult women. Adolescent girls with Evening preference experience more menstrual symptoms than those with Morning preference." This all has to do with 'Circadian Rhythms,' which brings us to a couple more studies on the topic.
- GET PROPER SLEEP (PART II): The September 2007 issue of Sleep Medicine (Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and the Menstrual Cycle) reveals that, "Disruption of circadian rhythms is associated with disturbances in menstrual function. Female shiftworkers compared to non-shiftworkers are more likely to report menstrual irregularity and longer menstrual cycles. There also is accumulating evidence that circadian disruption increases the risk of breast cancer in women." Furthermore, a study published two months previous to that in the Biological Research for Nursing (Light Exposure, Melatonin Secretion, and Menstrual Cycle Parameters: An Integrative Review) concluded that, "Dysfunction in menstrual physiology has pronounced effects on quality of life, involving mood changes, body image, infertility, and pregnancy complications. Light exposure may affect menstrual cycles and symptoms through the influence of melatonin secretion. There is evidence of a relationship between light exposure and melatonin secretion and irregular menstrual cycles, menstrual cycle symptoms, and disordered ovarian function. In women with a psychopathology such as bipolar disorder or an endocrinopathy such as polycystic ovary syndrome, there seems to be greater vulnerability to the influence of light-dark exposure."
- DEAL WITH STRESS: The truth is that this is often easier said that done. However, it is critical because when you foul up the HPA (HYPOTHALAMUS / PITUITARY / ADRENAL) Axis, your chances of developing not only female issues, but FIBROMYALGIA (itself heavily associated with female problems) skyrocket. Almost a decade ago, an issue of Current Opinions in Obstetrics & Gynecology revealed that, "Increasingly, gynecologists are becoming aware of the impact of psycho-social factors on women's health generally, and on the menstrual cycle in particular. Stress impairs the ovarian cycle through activation of the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis. The effect of psychological stress on the menstrual cycle is mediated by metabolic factors. Stress-induced impairment of ovarian function may not necessarily manifest as menstrual irregularity, and the effects of stress may persist beyond the cycle in which the stress episode occurred. Interventions to address underlying stress should be part of the management regime for women with menstrual cycle abnormalities." Here are some other studies on this topic.
- The June, 2014 issue of the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology (Dispositional Resilience as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Chronic Stress and Irregular Menstrual Cycle) said that, "Menstrual-cycle irregularity may have an important influence on the subsequent development of chronic diseases. Several risk factors for irregular menstrual cycles have been detected, including stress."
- A 2009 edition of the Journal of Physiological Anthropology (The Relationship Between Premenstrual Symptoms, Menstrual Pain, Irregular Menstrual Cycles, and Psychosocial Stress Among Japanese College Students) concluded, "Both stress score and body mass index were found to be significant predictors for having experienced irregular menstrual cycles. The results suggest that psychosocial stress is independently associated with premenstrual symptoms and the experience of irregular menstrual cycles....."
- Similarly, the July, 2013 issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Does Psychosocial Stress Influence Menstrual Abnormalities in Medical Students?) revealed that, "students who reported premenstrual symptoms, irregular cycles and dysmenorrhoea severe enough to take medication had significantly higher mean Perceived Stress Scale scores. High stress was significantly associated with occurrence of premenstrual symptoms and dysmenorrhoea severe enough to take medication."
- The March, 2008 issue of Harefuah (a journal published by the Israeli Medical Association) concluded in a study called Stress and Distress in Infertility Among Women that, "In the industrialized world, approximately 12% of couples suffer from infertility. Studies have accumulated information regarding the contribution of psychological factors to infertility in women. Among the identified risk factors are depression, anxiety and stress-dependent changes like altered heart rate and increased blood cortisol levels. From the studies presented in this review it can be hypothesized that stress can induce altered cortisol-excretion patterns along the menstrual cycle, which ultimately affect the hormonal profile in critical stages of the fertilization process."
SUMMARY: In all honesty, today's post is not so different from any number of posts I have done in the past that involve solutions for Chronic Inflammatory Degenerative Diseases, Autoimmunity (HERE and HERE are lists) and even many cases of CHRONIC PAIN. I am not trying to be mean or pessimistic, but you will not find your own personal EXIT STRATEGY with a protocol whose foundation is based on the drugs that your doctors continue to load you up on. To begin to solve almost any health problem, I would suggest you START HERE. Sure, there are some of you who are going to need to go beyond this and get some specific metabolic or FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGICAL testing done. But any changes needed will be minor if you are already on board and working your program.
THE TRUTH ABOUT
Testosterone has been used by athletes for decades. Bodybuilders, football players, swimmers, baseball players, and even golfers have used steroids to gain a competitive edge. Don't kid yourself --- these drugs work (can anyone say Barry 'Bison Head' Bonds?). Synthetic forms of Testosterone increase both strength and muscle mass while helping drop body fat. On top of that, they dramatically aid in recovery and healing times. And I don't suppose I need to mention the fact that supplemental Testosterone has that almost magical quality of being able to bring back a man's ability to perform the bedroom heroics of his youth. Thus, it's not surprising that Testosterone is Ponce de León's elusive "Fountain of Youth". But not surprisingly, there's a dark side to this class of drug.
SIDE EFFECTS OF EXOGENOUS TESTOSTERONE
We have known about the side effects of supplemental (exogenous) Testosterone for decades. Once again, most of this knowledge comes from the field of athletics. According to the article in Time, there are 7.5 million American men taking exogenous Testosterone. Every single one of the bullet points below comes straight from the peer-reviewed scientific literature. I must, however, warn you that the studies on Testosterone are all over the place. Von Drehle writes that, "no matter what you think of testosterone therapy, some scientist somewhere has data to back you up.... Trusting testosterone to relieve men of aging amounts to a massive science experiment. There is so little agreement about T therapy that doctors dispute even the most basic concepts... A treatment that is benign when used briefly might become toxic with long use." Ah, the joys of EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.
- HEART ATTACK / STROKE / BLOOD CLOTS / HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE / CHOLESTEROL ISSUES: Some of this is due to the fact that steroids cause increased red blood cell production (polycythemia), which can thicken the blood. You can find more information on CHOLESTEROL and BLOOD PRESSURE by simply following the links.
- PROSTATE CANCER: Far more common than CANCER are symptoms of Prostate Inflammation --- the feeling like you constantly have to go pee even though your bladder is not even close to full. You dribble and then go back and do it again in 20 minutes.
- SLEEP APNEA: HERE is more information on Sleep Apnea.
- FEMALE BREASTS: Athletes and bodybuilders call these "bitch tits", although the official name of the problem is gynomastia.
- ACNE: This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to skin problems, as Testosterone is notorious for causing SKIN CONDITIONS of all kinds. Interesting article on ACNE.
- DIZZINESS / LIGHTHEADEDNESS:
- MOOD SWINGS / RAGE / DEPRESSION / ANXIETY / PARANOIA: Having been a weightlifter for three decades, I can assure you that with those on Testosterone, these are seen as "normal". HERE is some good information on Depression.
- BALDNESS: Too many of us men are already fighting this problem. Is it really worth it?
- GENERALIZED HORMONAL DISRUPTION: One of the most common is that taking Testosterone short circuits your body's negative feed back loop. Allow me to explain.
From the final bullet point above, you'll notice that taking exogenous Testosterone throws a monkey wrench in the feedback loop that regulates your own body's Testosterone production. A commonly known side effect of athletes who take steroids is that their testicles shrink / shrivel / atrophy. This is because when you take exogenous Testosterone, your body senses it has plenty of it, and shuts down its own (endogenous) production. In other words, your body tells its testicles to stop making sex hormone because it already has plenty. This means that the longer you take Testosterone, or the more Testosterone you take, the less your own body is going to produce. It's one of the body's numerous "Negative Feedback Loops". Bodybuilders and athletes have "tricks" to restart endogenous Testosterone production (the one I am most familiar with is injectable HCG --- remember the HCG diet from a few years back?). Trust me when I tell you that going this route involves putting substances into your body that could in no ways be described as 'harmless'.
WHAT CAUSES LOW T TO BEGIN WITH?
As usual, everyone (both doctors and patients) wants to deal with the symptom (Low T) and forget about the underlying cause(s). That's right; even though men are usually told that their low Testosterone levels are due to the number of birthdays they've had or BAD GENETICS, this is simply not true in most cases. Some of the most common causes of Low T are intimately related to each other.
- EXPOSURE TO ESTROGEN-MIMICKING HORMONES: There are a wide array of chemicals which are known as XENOHORMONES because they have the ability to act as Estrogen in both women and men (HERE).
- HYPOGONADISM: Although there are many different diseases that could cause a person to fall into this category, the numbers are minor compared to the next three.
- PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: HERE'S the link. Enough said.
- BELLY FAT: I have previously informed you just how nasty a problem BELLY FAT is (HERE also), and is intimately related to the next bullet point.
- BLOOD SUGAR METABOLISM ABNORMALITIES: When you're living THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE, it not only puts you at risk for health issues like Belly Fat and DIABETES, it puts you at risk for almost every health problem you can imagine --- particularly those of a hormonal nature like "Low T". And guess what boys and girls --- sugar is what turns men into women and women into men (HERE).
Interestingly enough, these last two points are not only arguably the top two causes of not only Male Sexual Dysfunction, but Female Dysfunction as well (HERE). The cool thing is, once you understand how it all works together, you are going to attack it like almost any other health problem (HERE). You can choose to deal with the symptom ("Low T") and take exogenous Testosterone in the form of creams, injections, pills, etc. Or you can deal with the underlying cause of your Low T, and get healthy in the process.
IVF AS THE FRONT LINE FOR INFERTILITY
IS THERE A BETTER WAY?
"IVF has evolved in many parts of the world as a profit-generating industry that values the money brought in by immediate gains of pregnancy and live birth over long-term considerations about the health of the mothers and children". Dr. Ben Willem Mol, University of Adelaide, Australia, commenting on a recent issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ)
"The statement that academic institutions (and private practices) are only 'doing it for the money' is concerning. Do the authors have proof of this?" Dr William Gibbons, of Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine from a recent MedPage Today article, commenting on the article above from BMJ
"Because of the emotional, physical, and financial toll exacted by IVF, it is preferable that a couple undertake the process with the mindset that they will be in it for more than one attempt. If a couple can only afford one treatment cycle, IVF may not be the right course of action." Dr. Geoffrey Sher of Sher Fertility Clinics Centers for Reproductive Medicine.
Seeing the potential for yet another cash-based profit center, the medical community stepped in to fill the void with IVF. How successful is this short procedure? According to WebMD, pregnancy is achieved nearly 30% of the time, with just under three quarters of those pregnancies ending in a live birth (approximately a 22% success rate). The average cost for one round of IVF is $12,500, with the mother's age and geographic location being two of the significant variables in pricing. And this does not even get into the real issue that Dr. Mol was touching on above, concerning health (he was probably referring to the Dutch study from the April 2013 issue of Fertility and Sterility showing that individuals born via IVF had a one third greater chance of developing CANCER when compared to those conceived naturally).
Although things like endometriosis, and PCOS (America's number one reason for infertility) are common reasons that people choose to undergo IVF, one of the biggest reasons couples cannot have a baby is due to something called "Unexplained Infertility". My gut tells me that with so much money at stake (as you saw from the last quote at the top of the page, couples are typically warned up front that it might take a number of rounds of IVF to get pregnant), the alternatives are not typically being discussed, despite what Dr. Gibbons tells us.
As a person who votes pro-life above any other issue(s) on the ballot, I am all about having babies, and having them as naturally as possible (HERE). It is certainly not that I have anything against IVF or other similar 'therapies'. It's just that I feel there's frequently a better way. Rather than rehashing all of this for you, why not take a couple of minutes to read the short post I did on this topic last in May of last year called "BEATING INFERTILITY NATURALLY".
BEATING INFERTILITY NATURALLY
- -Number of women ages 15-44 with impaired ability to have children: 6.7 million
- -Percent of women ages 15-44 with impaired ability to have children: 10.9%
- -Number of married women ages 15-44 that are unable to get pregnant for at least 12 consecutive months: 1.5 million
- -Percent of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile: 6.0%
- -Number of women ages 15-44 who have ever used infertility services (ART --- Assisted Reproductive Technology) : 7.4 million
Wow! Almost seven and a half million American women under 45 years old have been through IVF FERTILITY PROCEDURES known as ART. And if you throw in male infertility (numerous studies say that this accounts for nearly half of all infertility) and ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION, you can can begin to see why so many couples are unable to have children. As a woman, what can you do about it? Well, you could spend a fortune on fertility drugs, hormonal treatments, and procedures that seem more suited for a guinea pig than anything else. Sometimes these work, although there are a bundle of potential side effects. The other option is to beat infertility naturally. Here are some simple (generic) steps toward achieving your Fertility Makeover. Honestly, it's not rocket science. Some of the very same things that work for VARIOUS DISEASE PROCESSES and hormonal issues are used to treat people with Infertility.
- CONTROL YOUR WEIGHT: If you are either overweight or underweight, your chances of getting pregnant diminish substantially. Plainly stated, if you are having trouble getting pregnant and are overweight, you'll have to LOSE IT. Period -- end of story. Although there are many reasons that women (or men) gain weight, the biggest has to do with the fact that most infertile women are failing to..........
- CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR: This is the number one most important thing on the list --- by far (HERE). In case you have not been following my blog, let me share a secret to improving every single aspect of your health --- CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR! Uncontrolled Blood Sugar is being intimately tied to virtually every single health problem under the sun, including PCOS. PCOS (POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME) is critical to understand because it is not only the number one cause of infertility in America (75% OF IT), it has a known cause. One of my all-time favorite movie lines was delivered by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Predator. After the Predator (an invisible alien that is stalking a group of mercenaries through a South American jungle) trips a booby trap, everyone in Schwarzenegger's elite para-military unit lets loose with a wild burst of automatic weapon fire. Arnold looks around and finds some yellow blood on a branch. His response; "It bleeds..... We can kill it." The known cause of PCOS is Uncontrolled Blood Sugar. Fix your blood sugar (including HYPOGLYCEMIA) and you have just solved the major cause of infertility! Even if you have not (yet) been diagnosed with DIABETES. In case you did not understand, let me say it one more time. Deal with your blood sugar regulation issues and you have just dealt with the number one reason women fail to conceive. But in order to do this, you'll have to.......
- MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES TO YOUR DIET: Let's not beat around the bush. If you really want to have a baby, you need to go Low Carb, or better yet, PALEO. A WHOLE FOOD-based Low carb diet is going to allow you to deal with your blood sugar. And Paleo ---- the next logical step in the process ---- is going to do two biggies for you. It is going to cut NEUROLOGICALLY REACTIVE foods such as GLUTEN out of your diet. It is also going to help you control Inflammation. Getting pregnant will requite that you understand INFLAMMATION and the things that drive it. Let me quote to you from a study that came out just last week from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine as reported in MedPage Today. By the way, this study provides an excellent example of the pitfalls of being "SKINNY FAT".
"Two-thirds of the women who ate protein rich diets achieved pregnancy versus 31.9%, said Jeffrey B. Russell, MD, of the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine. And the results were even more impressive when a high protein intake was combined with carbohydrate restriction as pregnancy rate climbed to 80%. People talk about obesity and BMI, about not getting pregnant when they are overweight, but we had some patients who were healthy, 110 to 115 pounds, and they were making terrible quality embryos. They were thin, young and healthy, but couldn't get pregnant..... The lessons of this study might also be applied to diabetics who have the highest miscarriage rates, highest abnormality rates, and the highest birth defects and stillborn rates..... Fruits, vegetables, and lean meats will produce better quality sperm, as well as better quality eggs."
- GET ADJUSTED: Although I rarely have patients who come to me specifically for fertility issues, I cannot even begin tell you how many women over the past 22 years have gotten pregnant after being under chiropractic care. If you want to better understand why, just go HERE.
- AVOID XENOHORMONES: Xenohormones are benzene-based chemicals (virtually any chemical with a smell including cleaners, perfumes, gasoline, etc) that mimic the effects of estrogen in your body. Understanding Xenohormones is critical --- especially once you realize that most American women already tend toward Estrogen Dominance. Go HERE to learn more about Xenohormones. Oh; and hopefully you are already aware that SOY is a phyto-estrogen that should be avoided at all costs.
- AVOID CHEMICALS & TOXICITY: This can be in the form of alcohol, junk food, caffeine, pesticides, herbicides, etc. If you are trying to get pregnant and still SMOKING, you are probably already aware that you are shooting yourself (not to mention an unborn baby) in the foot. To avoid all of the crazy estrogen-based hormones contained in commercial meats (again, Xenohormones), make sure you are consuming organic. You will also need to watch out for VACCINES as they contain all sorts of toxic chemicals and elements, including mercury and aluminum --- known fertility disruptors. I could say the same things about most DRUGS.
- EAT THE RIGHT FATS: Avoid TRANS FATS and make sure you are taking your PGFO. Cook with Coconut oil and use Extra Virgin Olive Oil to make salad dressings.
- YOU MAY HAVE HIDDEN DISEASES: There are many of these and I have already covered some. THYROID ISSUES are a frequent cause of infertility as is LEAKY GUT SYNDROME.
- TAKE THE CORRECT HERBS FROM THE BEST HERB COMPANY ON THE PLANET: Firstly, there are a host of pregnancy-friendly herbs such as Chaste Tree, Dong Qui, Vitex, Stinging Nettle, Red Raspberry, Red Clover, Maca, Alfalfa, Oatstraw, False Unicorn, Saw Palmetto, and others. Secondly, you need to get them from a reputable company such as STANDARD PROCESS / MEDIHERB. You should be able to find many of these combined into a tea as well.
- HAVE MORE SEX AT THE RIGHT TIME, USING THE BEST POSITION(S): A few weeks ago my kids and I took the Appleseed Project's rifle shooting course. In order to qualify as a "Rifleman", you had to hit very small targets a certain number of times in a certain amount of time. Needless to say, the more shots you could get off in the shortest period of time, the better your chances of qualifying. This is true of conception as well. Figure out WHEN the best time for conception is, use the Missionary Position with a pillow underneath your rear end to assure that semen gets to the cervix, and by all means, make sure your husband is putting a lot of lead downrange (i.e. have lots of sex during this time). If you are having a problem in this area, HERE are the posts to read.
- GIVE IT TIME: We have all heard the saying, you are what you eat. While this is true, it is not completely true. It would more accurately say, you are what you ate last year (or ten years ago, etc). For instance, the half-life of Trans Fats is nearly two months. Do not think that dietary and lifestyle changes made today will result in a pregnancy tomorrow. Give your makeover a year to work. I just talked with a patient who, after spending a fortune unsuccessfully going thru IVF for two years, radically changed her diet. Within a few months she was pregnant. And shortly after having her first, she was pregnant with her second. Take the right steps, give it a bit of time, and good things will happen!
According to CDC’s 2011 preliminary ART Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report, 163,038* ART cycles were performed at 451 reporting clinics in the United States during 2011, resulting in 47,849 live births (deliveries of one or more living infants) and 61,610 live born infants. Although the use of ART is still relatively rare as compared to the potential demand, its use has doubled over the past decade. Today, over 1% of all infants born in the United States every year are conceived using ART.
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS & ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)
Known by its initials, ED, it;s defined as the inability to achieve and/or sustain an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse at least 50% of the time. Despite everything you may have heard or been told, ED is not normal at any age. However, here in America, it is rampant (as is LOW TESTOSTERONE). According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 1 in 20 40-year-olds and 1 in 4 65-year-olds struggle with ED. And although there are a host of known risk factors (OBESITY, UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR / DIABETES, Heart Disease, STRESS, DEPRESSION / ANXIETY, etc), one of the more common, but least talked about, is the type and number of medications one is taking. Some of the offending drugs include......
- Hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix, HydroDIURIL, Hydropres, Inderide, Moduretic, Oretic, Lotensin)
- Chlorthalidone (Hygroton)
- Triamterene (Maxide, Dyazide)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Bumetanide (Bumex)
- Guanfacine (Tenex)
- Methyldopa (Aldomet)
- Clonidine (Catapres)
- Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan)
- Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)
- Hydralazine (Apresoline)
- Captopril (Capoten)
- Enalapril (Vasotec)
- Metoprolol (Lopressor)
- Propranolol (Inderal)
- Labetalol (Normodyne)
- Atenolol (Tenormin)
- Phenoxybenzamine (Dibenzyline)
- Spironolactone (Aldactone)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Amoxipine (Asendin)
- Clomipramine (Anafranil)
- Desipramine (Norpramin)
- Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Buspirone (Buspar)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Clorazepate (Tranxene)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Doxepin (Sinequan)
- Imipramine (Tofranil)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Oxazepam (Serax)
- Phenytoin (Dilantin)
- Dimehydrinate (Dramamine)
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Hydroxyzine (Vistaril)
- Meclizine (Antivert)
- Promethazine (Phenergan)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- Indomethacin (Indocin)
- Biperiden (Akineton)
- Benztropine (Cogentin)
- Trihexyphenidyl (Artane)
- Procyclidine (Kemadrin)
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel)
- Levodopa (Sinemet)
- Disopyramide (Norpace)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Nizatidine (Axid)
- Ranitidine (Zantac)
- Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)
- Orphenadrine (Norflex)
- Flutamide (Eulexin)
- Leuprolide (Lupron)
- Busulfan (Myleran)
- Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
Not only did almost 30% of the men in the study have moderate to severe ED, the incidence and severity of the Erectile Dysfunction increased with the NUMBERS OF DRUGS that the subjects were taking. By the way, these stats were adjusted for things like SMOKING, DIABETES, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES, peripheral vascular disease, CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE, and obesity.
- 1 or 2 drugs increases the risk of ED by 16%
- 3 to 5 drugs increases the risk of ED by 20%
- 6 to 9 drugs increases the risk by 25%
- More than 10 drugs increases the risk of ED by 31%
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
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Death By Medicine
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D's Of Chronic Pain
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Jacks Fork River
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Number One Health Problem
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Re Invent Yourself
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Sleeping Pills Kill
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