Having good oral hygiene is crucial for your overall health. But did you know that it can also help prevent erectile dysfunction (ED)? According to an interesting study, there is a link between gum disease and ED, or impotence, in men. Continue reading
The number of testosterone prescriptions have tripled over the past decade, causing researchers to sound the alarm that men may be abusing the hormone
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Continue reading
Experts estimate we need upwards of 50-85% healthy fat in our diets, but due to the Standard American Diet and the FDA’s promotion of low-fat, high-carb eating, Americans are seriously deprived in health-promoting fats. A recent study shows that by helping to satiate hunger and curb snacking, avocado may help promote weight management. Continue reading
After age 30, a man’s testosterone levels begin to decline and continue to do so as he ages, leading to symptoms such as decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depressed mood, and difficulties with concentration and memory
Conventional treatment for Continue reading
… that fenugreek can help build muscles, burn body fat and protect against type 2 diabetes and heart disease?
Fenugreek is more than just a flavorful spice to add to chicken, curries and salads. It’s been a century-old favorite among ayurvedic practitioners and herbalists for treating ailments from Continue reading
Strong words, I know – but time and again science has proven that the prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening is unreliable at best, downright dangerous at worst. Even the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) spoke out in opposition to the PSA, Continue reading
Adam Lanza, the mass murderer in the Newtown School shooting, reportedly took the pharmaceutical drug Fanapt, made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. According to the drug company’s literature, published on the packing insert, Fanapt is prescribed to treat schizophrenia in adults. Fanapt was approved Continue reading
A new study found that plant based diets are a fundamental solution to our public health crisis, especially with some of the most serious and debilitating illnesses. The physicians at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute found that the frequency and the cost of many illnesses, including obesity, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, can be considerably reduced just by switching to a whole food, nutrient dense, plant-based diet that doesn’t include meat or dairy. Sometimes, the diseases were reversed just with these diet changes too.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who led the study, said: “We are potentially on the cusp Continue reading
The first step to naturally lowering your risk of impotence is to step out the door. Exercises like walking three hours per week drop your risk of having erectile dysfunction by 30 percent.1 And along with physical activity, a wide variety of herbs can also boost your sexual life.
The Value of Movement
If you’re an immovable object, your sex life isn’t likely to budge, either. An analysis of 31,742 men age 53 to 90 reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2003 shows that exercise keeps you leaner and fit for sex, as well as mentally more ready for sexual interaction.
Stress Obstructions Continue reading
Vegans aren’t just missing out on good health… there’s now solid evidence that a meat-free lifestyle can leave seniors open to pneumonia and even death.
That’s because while you won’t find the answer to colds, the flu and pneumonia in mainstream meds or vaccines… you will find it in zinc-rich foods such as steak, liver and oysters — and a new study confirms what I’ve been saying about this miraculous mineral for years.
Researchers have been keeping tabs on 600 elderly residents of 33 nursing homes in the Boston area who were given supplements with half the recommended amounts of essential vitamins and nutrients.
Those with normal levels of zinc in the blood Continue reading
For men with erectile dysfunction (ED), 65 percent are unable to have an orgasm and 58 percent have problems with ejaculation, according to new research led by physician-scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The study followed 12,130 men with mild to severe ED and is the largest-ever analysis of orgasmic and ejaculatory dysfunction. Results are published in today’s edition of the British Journal of Urology International.
Approximately 30 million American men, or half of all men aged 40 to 70, have trouble achieving or sustaining an erection. “While medications like Viagra or Cialis have been successful in helping many of these men, our research suggests there are other common sexual issues that remain largely unaddressed,” says Dr. Darius Paduch, the study’s lead author; male sexual medicine specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center; and assistant professor of urology Continue reading
A growing body of evidence suggests that antioxidants may have significant value in addressing infertility issues in both women and men, including erectile dysfunction, and researchers say that large, specific clinical studies are merited to determine how much they could help.
A new analysis, published online in the journal Pharmacological Research, noted that previous studies on the potential for antioxidants to help address this serious and growing problem have been inconclusive, but that other data indicates nutritional therapies may have significant potential.
The researchers also observed that infertility problems are often an early indicator of other degenerative disease issues such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. The same approaches that may help treat infertility Continue reading
L-arginine is an amino acid that has numerous functions in the body. It helps the body get rid of ammonia (a waste product), is used to make compounds in the body such creatine, L-glutamate, and L-proline, and can be converted to glucose and glycogen if needed.
L-arginine is used to make the nitric oxide, a compound in the body that relaxes blood vessels. Preliminary studies have found that L-arginine may help with conditions that improve when blood vessels are relaxed (called vasodilation), such as atherosclerosis, erectile dysfunction, and intermittent claudication.
L-arginine is also involved in protein formation. In larger amounts, L-arginine stimulates the release of hormones growth hormone and prolactin.
Why Do People Use L-Arginine?
In the body, L-arginine is used to make nitric oxide, which reduces blood vessel stiffness, increases blood flow, and improves blood vessel function.
However, L-arginine should not be used following a heart attack. An study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health examining the use of L-arginine after a heart attack was terminated early after six patients died, a disproportionate number. There were no deaths in the patients who did not receive L-arginine.
The study researchers speculate that L-arginine may aggravate the effects of cardiac shock. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
L-arginine has been used for erectile dysfunction. Like the drug sildenafil citrate (Viagra), L-arginine is thought to enhance the action of nitric oxide, which relaxes muscles surrounding blood vessels supplying the penis. As a result, blood vessels in the penis dilate, increasing blood flow, which helps maintain an erection. The difference in how they work is that Viagra blocks an enzyme called PDE5 which destroys nitric oxide and L-arginine is used to make nitric oxide.
In one study, 50 men with erectile dysfunction took either 5 grams of L-arginine per day or a placebo. After six weeks, more men in the L-arginine group had an improvement compared to those taking the placebo.
Unlike Viagra, L-arginine must be taken daily.
L-arginine’s possible activity in wound repair may be due to its role in the formation of L-proline, an important amino acid that is essential for the synthesis of collagen.
L-arginine is also used for high blood pressure, migraines, sexual dysfunction in women, intermittent claudication, and interstitial cystitis.
Sources of L-Arginine
L-arginine is conditionally essential, which means that the body normally has enough. It’s produced in the kidney and to a lesser extent, in the liver.
Food sources of L-arginine include plant and animal proteins, such as dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, and nuts. The ratio of L-arginine to lysine is also important – soy and other plant proteins have more L-arginine than animal sources of protein.
Severe burns, infections, and injuries can deplete the body’s supply of arginine. Under these conditions, L-arginine becomes essential and it is necessary to ensure proper intake to meet the increased demands.
L-arginine is also essential for children with rare genetic disorders that impair the formation of L-arginine.
Side Effects of L-Arginine
L-arginine may lower blood pressure because it is involved in the formation of nitric oxide. It may also result in indigestion, nausea, and headache.
L-arginine should not be used following a heart attack. If you have a history of heart disease, consult your doctor before taking L-arginine.
Higher doses of arginine can increase stomach acid, so it may worsen heartburn, ulcers, or digestive upset cause by medications. Arginine appears to increase stomach acid by stimulating the production of gastrin, a hormone that increases stomach acid.
L-arginine may also alter potassium levels, especially in people with liver disease. People with kidney disease and those who take ACE inhibitors or potassium sparing diuretics
For women of a certain age, menopause is a fact of life. But this middle-age change no longer looks so feminine.
More men are arriving in doctors’ offices complaining of sexual dysfunction, weight gain, fatigue, depression and other unpleasant, but potentially vague, symptoms. In some of these men, a blood test reveals low testosterone levels. And there has been a corresponding uptick in testosterone prescriptions, one approach to treating low male hormone levels.
For these patients, doctors like Robert Brannigan in Chicago may give testosterone replacement a trial run to treat symptoms which, he said, can have a profound effect on a patient.
“It helps many, many of these individuals to have overall improved quality of life. It not only affects them, but very often their partners and their intimate relationships,” said Brannigan, an attending physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an associate professor of urology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Male menopause, as it has been dubbed, is controversial. First there’s the name, which experts dislike because it draws an inaccurate parallel with the female experience. (The accurate term for men is late-onset hygonadism.) What’s more, the disorder itself is not universally accepted, with some saying there is weak evidence for a link between symptoms and decreased hormone levels, and questioning whether benefits outweigh the risk and unknowns of testosterone prescriptions.
“I think the question that arises is how much of this is related to hormones and how much of it is the facts of life that we experience as we age,” said Dr. Thomas Walsh, an assistant professor and director of male reproductive and sexual medicine at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine in Seattle. Walsh, a urologist, prescribes testosterone after what he describes as “heavy informed consent.” [7 Ways the Mind and Body Change With Age]
“There is still a lot of controversy, and I don’t think we have all the answers yet. You have to take the data at hand and apply it to the individual,” he said.
Up to four million men may have low testosterone, with most caused by age-related declines. However, only a minority receive treatment, according to Walsh. That number of men affected is expected to rise.
The female misnomer
‘Male menopause’ may grab attention, but experts dislike the term, because it glosses over the significant differences between the hormonal changes men and women experience as they age.
“Nobody doubts female menopause, and nobody doubts the mechanism by which it happens, that’s not the case for male menopause,” said Dr. Ike Iheanacho, editor of the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, which in June published a review on using testosterone to treat so-called male menopause. “That epithet is unhelpful, because it deters people from doing what we [have] done, which is look at the evidence.”
The review, which reflected the journal’s opinion, found weak causal evidence that age-related hormone declines cause symptoms in men, a lack of long-term data, and at best, mixed results for short-term treatment.
For a woman, menopause marks the end of fertility and occurs when progesterone and estrogen, produced by the ovaries, drop off. Symptoms can last several years, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Hormonal changes in men are quite different. Testosterone levels can decrease by about 1 percent to 2 percent each year after about the age of 40. While menopause is a universal experience for women, testosterone does not decline in all men. Other factors besides aging, like obesity or injury, are associated with low testosterone.
For many years, long-term hormone replacement for women was considered protective for all kinds of ailments, until study results in 2002 revealed it increased risks of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer, according to the NIH.
This history has implications for men with low hormones and symptoms, Walsh said. “You are seeing today far more caution on the part of clinicians and investigators.”
Two papers published in the July issue of the New England Journal of Medicine addressed the diagnosis of hypogonadism and its treatment.
In one study, researchers led by Frederick Wu of the University of Manchester used data from 3,369 European men to find correlations between testosterone levels and a battery of potential symptoms. As a result, they suggested that the presence of at least three measures of sexual dysfunction, including frequency of thoughts about sex and erectile function, in a man with a testosterone level below 11 nanomoles per liter could be used to define late-onset hypogonadism. (The study defined a decreased level as between 13 and 8 nanomoles per liter for total testosterone.) However, these symptoms were also widely reported by men who did not suffer from depressed hormone levels.
This causal relationship between hormone levels and symptoms is always a question, according to Dr. William Bremner, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, who wrote about that research in an editorial in the journal.
“In truth you don’t know that those are due to the testosterone until you give men testosterone and see whether those symptoms are improved,” he said.
Testosterone has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength, so a second study in the same journal issue set out to test how much testosterone supplementation was needed to increase mobility among men ages 65 or older with difficulty walking or climbing stairs. The authors, led by Shehzad Basaria of Boston University’s School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, found evidence that testosterone did improve the men’s strength. However, the men taking testosterone also experienced an unusually high rate of cardiovascular problems.
The latter result is surprising, and may be due to chance, since previous studies have not shown a connection between testosterone and cardiovascular risk, Bremner said.
The Women’s Health Initiative Study, which revealed risks of hormone replacement therapy, followed a total of 161,808 women over 15 years. No long-term research like this has been conducted in men, but it is needed, Bremner said.
“There really are a large number of older men receiving testosterone and the numbers seem to be increasing and it’s not something that is going away,” he added.
On the rise
In roughly the past four years, Brannigan’s urology practice has seen an increase in patients he said are suffering from late-onset hypogonadism.
“Certainly, there is no question we are seeing more patients, and the question is, and I don’t think we know, is it due to increased public awareness or is it due to increased prevalence,” Brannigan said. Still, he estimates that 95 percent of cases are undiagnosed.
His office is not unique. With an aging, more at-risk population living in a post-Viagra era, when taboos on men’s sexual health issues like erectile dysfunction are lifting, the increase is expected to continue. Prescriptions appear headed up as well.
Between 2005 and 2009, testosterone prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies rose 65 percent in the United States, according to a LiveScience analysis of data from IMS Health, a heath-care information and consulting company.
There is also a lifestyle connection. Low testosterone is associated with obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome – a combination of disorders linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. All three are on the rise within the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.