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Category: Prostate Health

Can Specific Foods or Diets Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

Can Specific Foods or Diets Boost Your Testosterone Levels?

What you eat or drink may affect levels of the male sex hormone, but whether a diet can increase libido or energy depends on many things.

By Randi Hutter Epstein, M.D.

Published Nov. 2, 2021Updated Nov. 3, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on The New York Times

Edited for content.

Can I increase my testosterone levels through the foods I eat? And if so, which foods or diets work best?

Many men, particularly as they age, are concerned about their levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone touted to build muscle, sex drive and vigor. But individual foods are unlikely to have an impact on testosterone levels — though drinking excessive amounts of alcohol might. If you are overweight, altering your diet to lose weight may help, since carrying excess pounds is a common cause of low testosterone. But in terms of specific foods or diets, any uptick you achieve may not have a noticeable impact on libido, energy or muscle mass.

“If someone was not overweight, I wouldn’t put them on a specific diet to raise testosterone based on the data we have now,” said Alexander Pastuszak, an assistant professor of urology and surgery at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who co-authored a review on alternatives to testosterone therapy.

In men, normal testosterone levels range from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Ups and downs within that normal range are unlikely to have any impact on sex drive or vitality. Only when levels consistently drop below 300 points — as confirmed in two blood tests by an accredited laboratory — are symptoms like low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, low mood or loss of muscle mass likely to appear, a medical condition known as hypogonadism.

Starting at around age 40, men’s testosterone levels start to decline by about 1 percent per year. But the drop can vary tremendously, with some older men maintaining levels similar to healthy young men. The trajectory of falling testosterone is steeper among men who gain a lot of weight, said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, professor of medicine at Harvard and the director of the Research Program in Men’s Health: Aging and Metabolism at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Studies on foods or diets and testosterone levels have generally been small and the findings far from conclusive. A recent British review that pooled data from 206 volunteers, for example, found that men on high-fat diets had testosterone levels that were about 60 points higher, on average, than men on low-fat diets. Men who followed a vegetarian diet tended to have the lowest levels of testosterone, about 150 points lower, on average, than those following a high-fat, meat-based diet. Still, Joseph Whittaker, the lead investigator and a nutritionist at the University of Worcester in Britain, said he would not recommend a man increase the fats in his diet unless he had low testosterone levels and symptoms of low T and was already restricting fats.

Another study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested two styles of diets in 25 fit men between the ages of 18 and 30. Calories consumed were the same, but one group ate a high-fat, very-low-carb, ketogenic-style diet, consisting of 75 percent of calories from fats, 5 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. Men in the other group ate a more traditional Western style, low-fat diet, containing 25 percent of calories from fats, 55 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. After 10 weeks of eating the high-fat diet, testosterone increased by 118 points, on average, while after the low-fat diet, levels declined by about 36 points.

Similarly, a study of 3,000 men found that those who reported eating a low-fat diet had slightly lower testosterone levels — about 30 points lower — than men who ate higher-fat diets. But none of the men had low testosterone.

“The moral is that healthy men who are of normal weight with no significant comorbidities are unlikely to benefit from restrictive diets,” said Dr. Richard J. Fantus, one of the study’s authors and a urologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Ill.

Diet studies are complicated, because changing one component of the diet, such as fat intake, alters so many other things, such as the amount of carbohydrates, protein and micronutrients consumed. It’s unclear which component of the diet may have prompted the hormonal changes, Dr. Bhasin said. Furthermore, testosterone levels may also be shaped by how much a person sleeps, or whether they are jet-lagged, or if they are eating most of their calories at night or in small meals throughout the day.

Dr. Faysal Yafi, chief of the division of Men’s Health and Reconstructive Urology at the University of California, Irvine, says his patients who opt to follow specific diets tend to start exercising more and drinking less alcohol, all of which can raise testosterone levels. He suspects any links between diet and testosterone may be the result of an overall healthier lifestyle.

Some men worry that eating lots of soy foods may cause their testosterone levels to fall, because soy is rich in isoflavones, which mimic the structure of estrogen. But the evidence doesn’t support their concerns, even if men eat foods like miso, tofu or soy milk at every meal. (Doctors did report one anecdotal case in which a 19-year-old man with Type 1 diabetes who followed a vegan diet containing 360 milligrams of soy isoflavones daily — nine times higher than a typical Japanese diet, and 100 times higher than the typical American diet — developed low testosterone levels along with low libido and fatigue. His symptoms improved when he stopped eating the soy-heavy, vegan diet.)

Long-term alcohol abuse lowers testosterone by damaging cells in both the testes, which make testosterone, and the liver, which alters testosterone metabolism. But binge drinking every now and then does not appear to have much of an impact — it lowers testosterone for only about 30 minutes, according to one study, after which levels bounce back to baseline.

Obese men who have low levels of testosterone can increase levels by cutting calories and losing weight — the type of diet does not matter, studies suggest. On the opposite extreme, Dr. Bhasin said he is seeing an increasing number of men at his clinic who have body dysmorphic issues and are suffering from low libido and fatigue. Strict calorie restriction, exercising intensely and being chronically stressed can all cause testosterone levels to plummet and are likely to blame, he said.

The bottom line is that for otherwise healthy men who are following a reasonably healthy lifestyle, fiddling with specific foods or the composition of the diet is not likely to make much of a difference on the testosterone score card. As Dr. Fantus of NorthShore University put it: “I don’t think there is a way to game the system to get really large increases by changing the diet.”

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that men who ate low-fat diets tended to have higher testosterone levels. Men who ate high-fat diets tended to have the higher T levels.

The article also referred to a 19-year-old man with low testosterone levels who was eating a diet containing 360 milligrams of soy daily; his diet actually contained 360 milligrams of soy isoflavones.

 

Gut Microbiome Metabolism and Lethal Prostate Cancer Risk

  • Gut bacteria convert some food molecules into metabolites that have strong associations with the development of aggressive prostate cancer.
  • Men with higher levels of these metabolites have a greater risk of lethal prostate cancer.
  • These molecules may be useful as early biomarkers of the disease.
  • By modifying diet and lifestyle, men may be able to reduce their risk of lethal prostate cancer.
This article is a repost which originally appeared on MedicalNewsToday
Katharine Lang - November 4, 2021
Fact checked by Anna Guildford, Ph.D.
Edited for content and readability - Images sourced from Pexels 
Study: https://cebp.aacrjournals.org

A study has shown that there may be an association between diet, the gut microbiome, and lethal prostate cancer.

The study, from the Cleveland Clinic, appears in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Researchers used data from the PLCO cancer screening trial, a randomized control trial of 148,000 people. It involved screening 76,685 men aged between 55 and 74 for prostate cancer and then monitoring them for up to 13 years.

Researchers analyzed baseline levels of certain dietary nutrients and metabolites from nearly 700 men. Of these, 173 later died of prostate cancer. The median time between baseline sampling and death for those who developed lethal prostate cancer was 11.69 years.

“Men with higher levels of certain diet-related molecules are more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer.”

– Dr. Nima Sharifi, MD, Director, Genitourinary Malignancies Research Center, Kendrick Family Endowed Chair for Prostate Cancer Research, Cleveland Clinic, lead researcher on the study

The researchers matched those who died for age, race, time of blood sample, and enrolment date with controls in a ratio of 1:3. Of the 519 men in the control sample, 83.6% remained healthy, and 16.4% had a subsequent non-lethal prostate cancer diagnosis during the study period.

On enrolling in the PLCO cancer screening trial, all participants gave blood samples. Researchers analyzed the blood serum for several different metabolites, some of which are formed by gut bacteria from food intake. They compared results from men who later died of prostate cancer with controls.

Increased risk

The researchers found associations between more aggressive prostate cancer and three metabolites – phenylacetylglutaminecholine, and betaine.

Phenylacetylglutamine is produced when gut bacteria break down phenylalanine, an essential amino acid. Choline and betaine are in some foods, as well as being formed by gut bacteria.

Phenylalanine is in high protein foods, such as dairy, meat, poultry, soy, fish, beans, nuts, and diet sodas sweetened with aspartame. It is an essential part of many proteins and enzymes in the body and, when converted to tyrosine, is used to make the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Choline is found mainly in animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, although pulses, nuts, and seeds are sources for vegans. Foods high in betaine include shellfish, wheat, spinach, and beets.

The researchers found that men with elevated phenylacetylglutamine in their blood serum at the start of the study were 2.5 times more likely to die of prostate cancer than those with the lowest levels. Men with increased choline or betaine had almost twice the risk of lethal prostate cancer as controls.

Dr. Sharifi commented: “[Our findings] suggest that food intake has a complex interaction with gut bacteria to affect lethal prostate cancer risk.”

Some gut bacteria convert choline and betaine into trimethylamine and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which a previous study found may also increase the risk of cardiovascular and neurological disorders. This is the first study to show an association between precursors of TMAO and cancer.

“Betaine and choline are being converted into more toxic chemicals in some. This does not mean they are bad for everyone. It’s the diet-microbe interaction that leads to the cancer.”

— Prof. Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College, London, and Zoe Study Lead.

Diet could make a difference

Studies have shown that reducing meat intake has associations with lower mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancers. This study would appear to reinforce that message for prostate cancer.

As Dr. Sharifi says: “Generally, the metabolites associated with lethal prostate cancer are found to be enriched in meat and other animal products.”

However, Prof. Spector cautioned: “These metabolites are ubiquitous. It’s difficult to cut them out.”

The authors stress that although this study shows an association between the three metabolites and lethal prostate cancer, it cannot demonstrate a causal link. Dr. Sharifi and his team are undertaking further studies to determine “how metabolism in humans interacts with prostate cancer.”

Prof. Spector believes that the study: “Adds to the story building on how diet affects cancer mediated by the gut microbiome. We are reversing decades of doctors saying it doesn’t really matter what you eat.”

Studies address how plant-based diets impact men’s health issues

Studies address how plant-based diets impact men’s health issues

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc. Sep 24 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on NEWS MEDICAL LIFE SCIENCES

Edited for content.

Three new studies by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine urologists address how consuming healthy plant-based diets impact a range of men’s health issues -; from diabetes to sexual health.

Plant-based diets is a hot topic in men’s health but one that many men dismiss for fear that eating less meat might negatively impact testosterone levels and sexual health.

Patients often ask about what they can do to keep prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels low or prevent prostate cancer.”

Mark L. Gonzalgo, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair, Urology, Miller School

Healthy plant-based diets are among the lifestyle changes that men are hearing and learning about for overall health. Consuming a healthy plant-based diet does not necessarily mean eliminating meat, rather it focuses on eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes and less animal protein, according to Dr. Gonzalgo.

Yet there remain misconceptions among men about plant-based diets, according to Ranjith Ramasamy, M.D., associate professor and director of the Miller School’s Reproductive Urology Program.

“Traditionally, men have thought that lots of protein, specifically animal protein, was necessary to maintain testosterone levels and indirectly related to maintaining erectile function,” Dr. Ramasamy said.

Miller School investigators conduced three studies, including two abstracts presented at the September 2021 American Urology Association annual meeting, suggesting plant-based diets may improve serum testosterone and erectile function.

Plant-based eating and PSA

Urology resident Ali Mouzannar, M.D., presented and was among the authors of “Impact of Plant-Based Diet on PSA Level: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES),” a study looking at the dietary habits of nearly 1,400 men with documented PSA levels in the NHANES database.

“PSA is a sensitive marker to prostate cancer. Patients with an elevated PSA require further evaluation with prostate biopsy to rule out cancer,” Dr. Mouzannar said.

Studying the impact of a plant-based diet on PSA levels is reasonable given what already is known about diets high in animal protein.

“Studies have shown that more aggressive prostate cancer can be associated with high meat intake. In addition, there is growing evidence that animal-based food has been associated with greenhouse emissions, and all-cause mortality risk., “Dr. Mouzannar said. “Several other publications suggest that fruits and vegetables may have protective effect against prostate cancer.”

Dr. Mouzannar and colleagues looked at men’s diets and PSA levels and found men consuming more fruits, vegetables and other healthy plant-based foods and less meat had lower PSA levels than men who consumed more meat or less healthy diets, including fruit juices, refined grains, potatoes, sugars, artificially sweetened beverages, and desserts.

More studies need to be conducted to determine if diet causes lower PSA levels, but in the meantime urologists and other can refer to the findings to answer patients’ questions.

“The important take-home message from this study is that it appears that adopting a plant-based diet may be associated with lower PSA levels and can certainly be incorporated into ways that patients can live healthier lifestyles,” said Dr. Gonzalgo, who also is a study author.

Other Miller School authors on the study are urology resident Manish Kuchakulla, M.D.; urology resident Ruben Blachman Braun, M.D., M.Sc.; medical student Sirpi Nackeeran; urology resident Maria Becerra, M.D.; Assistant Professor Bruno Nahar, M.D.; Associate Professor of Urology Oncology Sanoj Punnen, M.D.; Associate Professor of Urology Oncology Chad Ritch, M.D., M.B.A.; and Professor and Chair of Urology Dipen Parekh, M.D.

No ED, testosterone links

Contrary to the belief that eating more animal protein improves erectile function and testosterone levels in men, Miller School investigators found no impact on testosterone levels from a healthy plant-based diet and a positive impact from eating more plant-based foods and animal protein on erectile function, according to Miller School urology resident Ruben Blachman-Braun, M.D., M.Sc., who presented and authored “Plant-based diets are associated with decreased risk of erectile dysfunction.”

Dr. Blachman-Braun and colleagues studied nearly 2,550 men in the NHANES database.

“Of those, there were 1,085 with some degree of erectile dysfunction and after performing an analysis we showed that increased plant-based diet consumption is associated with decreased risk of erectile dysfunction,” Dr. Blachman-Braun said. “This does not mean that eating a plant-based diet improves erections. However, it shows that eating a plant-based diet does not negatively affect erections and having a healthier lifestyle with increased dietary plant-based consumption can potentially lead to having better erections.”

Other authors on this study are medical student Eliyahu Kresch; medical student Sirpi Nackeeran; Manish Kuchakulla and Dr. Ramasamy.

In yet another study published earlier this year in the World Journal of Urology, Dr. Ramasamy and coauthors analyzed health and diet information from 191 participants of the NHANES database. Plant-based diet index, or the amount of plant-based foods in men’s diets, did not predict and had no impact on serum testosterone levels.

Coauthors on this study were Manish Kuchakulla, Sirpi Nackeeran and Ruben Blachman-Braun.

The two studies presented at AUA were featured in its press release, putting a spotlight on the topic’s relevance, according to Dr. Ramasamy.

“We are on the cusp of figuring out how healthy living with decreased animal protein and more of a plant-based diet with more vegetables and fruits is not just better for your heart but also good for men’s health conditions, including sex life and testosterone levels,” Dr. Ramasamy said.

Source:

University of Miami

Journal reference:

Mouzannar, A., et al. (2021) PD65-08 Impact Of Plant-Based Diet On Psa Level: Data From The National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of Urology. doi.org/10.1097/JU.0000000000002109.08.

Fertility supplements for men: What they are, how they work, and why to take them

Fertility supplements for men: What they are, how they work, and why to take them

“Randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials basically don’t exist in this area.”

This article is a repost which originally appeared on INVERSE

Edited for content

As sperm counts around the world plummet for as of yet unknown reasons and research indicates that male fertility issues account for 40-50% of infertility cases, many men who are struggling to conceive may wonder if they can do something to improve their chances. And, of course, the world of supplements stands at the ready, offering blends specifically advertised to boost male fertility. But do these products work?

Are there any supplements that you can take to boost your fertility?

There are some widely available nutrients have been investigated scientifically for their potential to boost male fertility, including one more associated with female sexual health than male fertility.

These include:

  • Fish oil/Omega-3s
  • Folic acid — much more associated with women, especially in relation to fertility
  • Zinc
  • Antioxidants

These nutrients can come from your diet, but it is also possible to supplement your intake, too.

Do male fertility supplements work?

Inverse spoke with Charles Muller, the director of the Male Fertility Lab at the University of Washington. He has been studying sperm and fertilization for decades. When asked about male fertility supplements, he did have a story to tell.

He had two patients, one from India and one from China, who came to the Fertility Lab for assessment after struggling to conceive. Both had a condition called cryptozoospermia, wherein their semen had incredibly low sperm counts. This condition makes the possibility of fertilization very low.

Both men were treated with medicinal formulas in their home countries for several months, and upon returning to the lab, their sperm counts were high.

“Now, the question is, is that just sort of a random event? Or did these herbal supplements really help them?” Muller wonders.

He says that while there are studies of the types of male fertility supplements commonly touted in the United States, “randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials basically don’t exist in this area.” These kinds of trials are the ‘gold standard’ for sussing out whether any medication or intervention is truly effective.

He also says male fertility studies are complicated by the fact semen samples are extremely variable across populations, and even when taken from the same individual.

To really establish whether a supplement is capable of positively changing semen quality on the population level, a researcher would have to establish a “normal range” for each evaluated semen parameter for each individual in the study.

“There’s a blood-testes barrier”

Even if, theoretically, you have a condition that could benefit from supplementation, the compounds in the supplements may not be able to get where they need to go, Muller says.

“It’s possible those things don’t have any effect whatsoever, because they’re just getting thrown out by the digestive system, or second, it’s possible they’re never making their way into the testes,” Muller says.

“Bioavailability in the testes is very limited, because very little can get into the testes. There’s a blood-testes barrier.”

These issues notwithstanding, Muller says: “I don’t knock people doing initial trials. I do them too, because you might find out if it is worth looking into further.”

What are the best male fertility supplements, according to science?

Should you take male fertility supplements?

The results from the existing studies are mixed. Here is a synopsis of some of the research:

· Fish oil for men:

A recent study of young, Danish military recruits found that Omega-3 supplementation improved sperm health. Inverse previously reported that 98 of 1,679 men evaluated in the study took fish oil as a supplement and they had higher sperm count, semen volume, and testicle size than those who did not.

Muller says that, while this study is promising, it was “uncontrolled in terms of amount of omega-3 and patient selection” — two major limitations to taking the results at face value. The study authors highlight this issues, too, saying “these findings need confirmation in well-designed randomized clinical trials among unselected men.”

Ultimately, the jury is still out on fish oil supplements for men’s fertility, but these preliminary results are promising.

· Folic acid for male fertility:

Folic acid is often billed as an essential supplement for female fertility and sexual health, but what about male fertility?

A meta-analysis of seven studies found sperm concentrations were higher in men who took folate supplements than those who ingested a placebo. How well sperm swam and whether they were the optimal shape and size were not shown to be correlated with folate supplementation.

The study authors concluded: “these results should be interpreted with caution due to the important heterogeneity of the studies included in this meta-analysis. Further trials are still needed to confirm the current findings.”

Inverse also recently covered a large male fertility study which followed 2,300 male partners from couples planning to undergo infertility treatment. The men were divided in half and one group of 1,150 took 30 milligrams of elemental zinc and 5 milligrams of folic acid daily, while the other group took a placebo. After 6 months, both groups had similar birth rates. The researchers concluded, “these findings do not support the use of folic acid and zinc supplementation by male partners for the treatment of infertility.”

· Zinc for men:

Both studies above involve zinc supplementation along with folic acid. Zinc is one of the most popular ingredients in dietary supplements for male fertility, according to a 2020 paper in the journal Nutrients. Overall, it appears to be in some 70 percent of the tested supplements.

Some scientists argue zinc is an essential nutrient for safeguarding male fertility and reproductive health. But as the 2020 paper above argues, the standards for testing how well any one supplement are lacking. And for zinc, the lack of standards can be worrying.

As the authors write in the Nutrients review: “We were surprised to point out that all RCTs and meta-analyses on zinc for male infertility relied on doses always exceeding the UL.”

In other words, many of the tests for zinc supplementation they looked at had doses of zinc which were above the upper recommended intake. Too much zinc can have adverse side affects, they write, sounding a note of caution over this supplement’s supposed benefits.

· Antioxidants:

Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing free radicals — metabolic waste products which can wreak havoc on cellular health if not properly disposed of. Free radicals can kill sperm and they can also result in the fragmentation of sperm DNA, which could potentially lead to the loss of a pregnancy or even childhood cancer, according to Muller.

Because of this, antioxidant supplementation has and is being investigated as a way to boost sperm health. One 2016 meta-analysis of four clinical trials found a combination of antioxidant supplements including vitamin C, vitamin E, and CoQ10, “can effectively improve semen parameters in infertile men.”

A clinical study in which participants took a daily antioxidant formulation comprised of vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, l-carnitine, zinc, folic acid, and lycopene for three to six months found otherwise, however. This study found no benefits for sperm DNA integrity or other semen parameters.

Additionally, some researchers express concern excess antioxidant use could damage fertility through a different process than the damage caused by free radicals. Because of this potential, the researchers write, “we feel that there is a need for more elaborate research to establish the clear benefits and risks involved in antioxidant therapy for male infertility.”

How do you know you need male fertility supplements?

The science is still out on whether these supplements work.

But according to the Mayo Clinic, infertility is a common problem, affecting one in seven couples. They define infertility as the inability to conceive after a year or more of frequent, unprotected sex.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following factors are crucial for fertilization to be successful:

  • Your sperm must be healthy
  • There needs to be enough of them: Low sperm count decreases the probability of fertilization
  • They need to be effectively transported out of your body: There are a series of delicate tubes and organs involved in the creation, maintenance, and transport of sperm and semen
  • They must be able to move: Sperm motility is a major issue. If they are not moving correctly, they may not be able to travel to the egg cell

These attributes of successful fertilization can be disrupted by factors such as:

  • Infection
  • Retrograde ejaculation (semen enters the bladder during orgasm instead of exiting the body)
  • Auto-immunity conditions
  • Previous surgeries
  • Undescended testicles
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Cancer
  • Chromosomal abnormalities (such as possessing an extra X chromosome)
  • Medications including: SSRI’s, channel blockers, and certain antibiotics
  • Physiological abnormalities in the reproductive tract that prevent the transport of semen or sperm
  • Celiac disease
  • Varicocele (swelling of veins in the testicle)
  • Cystic fibrosis or possessing one of the of the genes that causes cystic fibrosis

While many of these issues can be medically addressed, there are causes of male infertility, such as missing parts of the reproductive tract, that are hard to imagine being effectively treated with supplements.

Can you get the nutrients in male fertility supplements from your diet?

Diet can impact male fertility

Whether or not they work as supplements, omega-3s, folic acid, zinc, and many antioxidants can come from dietary sources.

Additionally, a recent study found correlations between diet and sperm count, and established a kind of diet hierarchy.

Listed from highest to lowest correlated sperm counts, the investigated diets were:

· “Prudent” diet: The researchers described this as a “generally healthy” diet, consisting of fruits, vegetables, fish, and chicken. This bears a lot of similarity to the Mediterranean diet, the benefits of which Inverse has reported on before.

· Vegetarian-like diet: Limited meat and plenty of vegetables, eggs, and dairy.

· Open-sandwich diet: Traditional Danish diet including cold cuts, whole grains, and dairy.

· Western diet: Lots of red meat, fried food, and sugary drinks, and deserts.

Feiby Nassan, a co-author on the study and researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, previously told Inverse that “because following a generally-healthy diet pattern is a modifiable behavior, our results suggest the possibility of using dietary intervention as a possible approach to improve sperm quality of men in reproductive age.”

Muller agrees diet is an important factor in sperm health and questions about diet are included on the UW Male Fertility Lab intake form. Specifically, Muller’s team looks out for diets low in omega-3s or high in nitrates.

Ultimately, following a Mediterranean diet may be the best recipe for male fertility health, these data suggest. For more information on the diet’s scientific backing, take a look at these four mental and physical health benefits.

How long do male fertility supplements take to work?

This is a difficult question to answer given the dearth of reliable studies showing they work at all.

However, the Cleveland Clinic website quotes Cleveland Clinic urologist and male fertility specialist, Neel Parekh, as saying that, for men with male oxidative stress infertility (MOSI), which is a condition where there are more free radicals than antioxidants in the semen, “taking supplemental antioxidants for three months or longer can improve sperm parameters. If a patient doesn’t have MOSI, however, taking antioxidants may do more harm than good.”

He also clarifies that this is only the case for men who don’t have other contributing infertility issues.

Muller says it takes about three months for a stem cell to develop into a sperm cell, and so a supplement study should be at least that long.

Some of the studies have found positive effects of supplementation featured trial periods ranging from 8 to 26 weeks.

Testosterone can haunt your sperm

Can male fertility supplements hurt your fertility?

Counterintuitively, testosterone supplementation can reduce sperm count.

According to Muller, while testosterone is necessary for the production of sperm, increasing blood testosterone levels through supplementation (or steroid use) can drive sperm production down because of a negative feedback loop involving the hypothalamus in the brain.

When the hypothalamus detects increased testosterone levels in the blood, it down regulates the production of other important hormones called LH and FSH. When the testes start getting less LH, they reduce their own testosterone production. This is significant because healthy testosterone levels in the testes should be ten times what they are in the blood stream.

“If the testes itself is not making testosterone, it’s going to have the same level as in the blood, which is a 10th of what it needs to stimulate sperm production,” Muller says.

Other lifestyle factors known to potentially reduce fertility are:

· Frequent hot tub/sauna use

· Marijuana use

· Diet low in omega-3s

· Exposure to industrial or environmental toxins at work or in the home including: plasticizers, xylene, toluene

The Inverse analysis — While there is reason to believe that certain kinds of supplementation or traditional herbal formulas could be helpful, that certainly doesn’t mean that anything advertised as boosting male fertility is efficacious or safe.

Fertility can be impacted by myriad factors such as overall health, habits, and environmental stressors which may need to be resolved. If you’re having trouble conceiving, a first step is to get to a specialist and get some analysis done before you start popping pills.

Men’s Health Month – Testicular health

Men’s Health Month – Testicular health

Leigh Day

This article is a repost which originally appeared on LEXOLOGY

Edited for content

United Kingdom November 23 2020

We have reached the end of Men’s Health Awareness Month and we are now heading towards our first Coronavirus Christmas. My November has been spent in lockdown, glued to the US election whilst growing a tashe for Movember, a month-long charity event set up to highlight and fundraise for men’s health causes that include mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Did you know that in the UK, men visit their GP on average half as many times as women? On top of this worrying statistic is the fact that we are currently stuck in a global pandemic that has no end in sight. In April 2020, NHS England found that four out of 10 people were not seeking help from their GP because they were afraid of being a burden during a pandemic.

Being a burden should never be a consideration for not visiting your GP if you are worried about your health, regardless of how big or small you perceive the problem to be. The sooner a problem is shared, the quicker it can be solved.

One area that is important for men not to ignore is testicular health. Testicles are responsible for the production of sperm and also testosterone so it is vital we look after them.

Problems with your testicles can start when you develop a lump or a swelling. Whilst both these are not usually caused by anything serious, you should always speak with a doctor and get them checked.

The longer a problem with your testicles is left untreated, the worse it can get. With some testicular problems, time is very much of the essence and if you don’t act fast, there can be serious consequences.

In my role as a healthcare solicitor at Leigh Day, I have come across three different types of testicular problems where early discovery and diagnosis is vital to having the best long-term outcome. It is important that we all know the early signs of these problems, so that we seek GP advice if we are worried.

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is where a tumour forms on or inside one of the testicles. Typical symptoms of testicular cancer include:

  • A painless swelling or lump in one of the testicles,
  • A change in shape, texture, firmness or appearance of a testicle,
  • A dull intermittent ache or pain or the feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.

Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer of men between the ages of 15 and 49 years old in the UK. It is also one of the most treatable types of cancer and it has a survival rate of above 95 per cent. However, if undiagnosed, the cancer can spread further than your testicles and become far more complicated to treat.

Testicular Torsion

Testicular torsion is when the testicle twists around the spermatic cord. When this happens, it cuts off the blood flow to the testicle. Symptoms of a testicular torsion include:

  • A sudden, severe pain on one side of the scrotum,
  • Swelling of the scrotum,
  • Abdominal pain,
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • A testicle that’s positioned higher than normal or at an unusual angle,
  • Frequent urination,
  • Fever

A testicular torsion can happen at any time – during exercise, sitting, standing or even sleeping. It is a medical emergency and should be treated within four to six hours of the onset of pain. If the blood supply is not restored quickly, it will cause the testicle to shrink and die.

Testicular Infection

Epididymitis is a testicular infection where the tube at the back of the testicle becomes painful and swollen. Symptoms of epididymitis include:

  • A sudden or gradual pain in one or both testicles,
  • The scrotum feeling warm, tender and swollen,
  • A build-up of fluid around the testicle that feels like a lump or swelling

Whilst epididymitis can be treated easily with antibiotics, if it is ignored it can spread to the testicle and can lead to chronic testicular pain, the growth of an abscess, infertility and the loss of your testicle.

Examining yourself

It is important to examine your testicles once a month to check for any changes, swellings or lumps. The best time to do this is after you have taken a bath or shower by resting your testicles in the palm of your hand, and gently rolling each one between a finger and your thumb. For further information on examining yourself, please visit the Movember “guide to checking your nuts”.

If you find something strange, are experiencing swelling or sudden and unexplained pain in one or both of your testicles, don’t stew over whether it’s serious or not – get checked out by a doctor. The earlier a problem is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment will be.

Conclusion

I understand that for some men, the idea of sitting and talking with a doctor about your testicles can be embarrassing, worrying or stressful. I also appreciate that whilst we are in a middle of a global pandemic, people want to avoid visiting the doctor. However, if there is a problem or you are worried about your testicles, go see a doctor and tell them what is worrying you.

The earlier the problem is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can be given and the better your chances will be of a full recovery will be.

6 all-natural sex tips for men

6 all-natural sex tips for men

Posted September 15, 2020, 10:30 am
Matthew Solan
Executive Editor, Harvard Men’s Health Watch

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Harvard Health

Edited for content

If you believe those upbeat, seductive advertisements, men only need to pop a pill to awaken their dormant sex life. Whether the problem is erectile dysfunction (ED) — the inability to maintain an erection for sex — or low libido, ED medications appear to be the quickest and easiest solution.

While these drugs work for most men, they are not right for everyone. ED drugs are relatively safe, but can cause possible side effects such as headaches, indigestion, and back pain. Plus, some men may not want their sex life dependent on regular medication, or simply can’t take them because of high or low blood pressure, or other health conditions.

Fortunately, there are some proven natural ways for men to manage their ED and increase vitality. Bonus: these strategies also can enhance your overall health and quality of life, both in and out of the bedroom.

Six ways to boost your sex life without medications

  1. Get moving. Research has shown that regular exercise is one of the best medicines for ED. One study of almost 32,000 men ages 53 to 90 found that frequent vigorous exercise equal to running at least three hours per week or playing tennis five hours per week was associated with a 30% lower risk of ED compared with little or no exercise. It doesn’t really matter how you move — even walking is great — as long as you keep moving.
  2. Eat right. Go bullish on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, while downplaying red and processed meat and refined grains. This type of diet lessened the likelihood of ED in the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. Another tip: chronic deficiencies in vitamin B12 — found in clams, salmon, trout, beef, fortified cereals, and yogurt — may harm the spinal cord, potentially short-circuiting nerves responsible for sensation, as well as for relaying messages to arteries in the penis. Multivitamins and fortified foods are the best bets for those who absorb B12 poorly, including many older adults and anyone with atrophic gastritis, a condition that may affect nearly one in three people ages 50 and older. Also, make sure you get enough vitamin D, which is found in fortified milk or yogurt, eggs, cheese, and canned tuna. A study in the journal Atherosclerosis found that men with vitamin D deficiency have a 30% greater risk for ED.
  3. Check your vascular health. Signs that put you on the road to poor vascular health include soaring blood pressure, blood sugar, LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides; low HDL (good) cholesterol; and a widening waist. Check with your doctor to determine whether your vascular system — and thus your heart, brain, and penis — is in good shape, or needs a tune-up through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medications.
  4. Measure up. A trim waistline is one good defense — a man with a 42-inch waist is 50% more likely to have ED than one with a 32-inch waist.
  5. Slim down. Tip the scales at a healthy weight. Obesity raises risks for vascular disease and diabetes, two major causes of ED. And excess fat tinkers with several hormones that may feed into the problem, too. Need more reasons? Slimming down helps with tips 3 and 4.
  6. See your dentist. A study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found an association between gum disease and risk for ED. Gum disease causes chronic inflammation, which is believed to damage the endothelial cells that line blood vessels, including those in your penis.

Sexual Dysfunction: What All Men Should Know

Sexual Dysfunction: What All Men Should Know

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Women Fitness Magazine

Sexual Dysfunction: What All Men Should Know : All around the world, millions of men secretly suffer from health problems that prevent them from experiencing a fulfilling sexual life with their partner. Whether it’s the inability to get erect, ejaculate, or a loss of sexual desire or stamina, these issues affect men of all ages and backgrounds but tend to manifest with age.

More often than not, sexual potency problems arise from underlying physical or psychological causes that must be treated to allow gentlemen to enjoy healthy and satisfying sex life. In that spirit, here’s a useful reference guide covering sexual dysfunction problems in men, along with what you can do if you ever suffer from one of these conditions.

What is Sexual Dysfunction?

Essentially, male sexual dysfunction encompasses all physical or psychological conditions that avert gentlemen from experiencing normal sexual activity. These typically involve bedroom issues such as having a difficult time maintaining an erection, ejaculating too early or too late, or simply not feeling the desire to engage in intercourse. They diverge in nature and gravity and have a different diagnosis, causes, and treatments. As such, understanding these problems will enable the patient to treat it effectively and durably.

Types of Male Sexual Disorders

When it comes to sexual potency issues in men, it’s important to analyze each condition individually to fully grasp its extent and select the most appropriate solution. Sexual dysfunction comprises three main types, including:

  1. Erectile Dysfunction

    Perhaps the most widespread sexual potency issue, erectile dysfunction (ED) is characterized by the inability to grow an erection or maintain one throughout intercourse. Needless to say that impotence can have a great negative impact on performance and self-esteem, but ultimately, it’s perfectly treatable. For your reference, it’s been estimated that nearly 1 in 2 American men over the age of 40 suffer from ED to varying extents.

  2. Abnormal Ejaculation

    Another common concern pertains to ejaculation or the act of ‘coming’. While there’s no standard duration that dictates how long a man should last in bed, ejaculating too early, too late, or not at all can pose problems in a couple’s sexual dynamic. On the one hand, premature ejaculation makes a man reach orgasm too early, typically in less than 5 or 10 minutes. Naturally, this can prevent the partner from having an orgasm themselves. On the other hand, delayed ejaculation (also referred to as male orgasmic disorder) involves experiencing late ejaculation, over 30 minutes in the intercourse, or non-ejaculation.

  3. Diminished Libido

    Reduced sexual appetite can also block men from having a fulfilling sex life. It’s characterized by a decreased interest or desire in partaking in intercourse, despite having the physical ability to (usually no erectile or ejaculation problem here). Diminished libido is typically a sign of a deeper psychological ailment, which brings concrete repercussions and prevents a man from enjoying a healthy and dynamic life. There’s a lot more to find out here on how to boost your sexual stamina and drive for your pleasure and that of your partner’s. Invariably, consulting specialized online guides can be an effective first step towards alleviating this debilitating condition.

Common Causes

In modern days, thanks to the advancements in the scientific and medical fields, we possess a much clearer understanding of what may cause gentlemen to experience sexual potency issues. These symptoms often come together and result in sexual dysfunction. On a physical level, low testosterone levels, high blood pressure, prescription drugs, smoking, alcoholism, or drug abuse can take an immense toll on a man’s sex life, along with existing conditions such as diabetes, nerve damage, or strokes. On a psychological level, stress, depression, performance anxiety, relationship problems, or past sexual trauma has been proven to cause performance issues.

Treatments

Fortunately, all these sex-related problems have proven and tested remedies. The Doctor or healthcare professional will typically start by asking questions relating to your sexual activity, frequency, and habits, which you should answer in all honesty and transparency to establish the right diagnosis. Next, they will proceed with a battery of tests (blood pressure, blood sugar levels, testicular examination, prostate check) to determine whether everything is in working order. They will then prescribe the appropriate solution, whether as medication or therapy, to be followed thoroughly.

All things considered, sexual dysfunction in men can take many forms and arise from a variety of physical or psychological predispositions. Regardless of what you’re dealing with, there’s no point in feeling shame or anguish; instead, focus on finding the cause of your ailment and seek the professional medical help you need to overcome it and start enjoying a fulfilling sex life once again. Remember that, the more proactive you are, the higher your chances of finding a permanent solution to your problem.

8 Penis-Friendly Foods to Boost T-Levels, Sperm Count, and More

The best way to boost penis health? Food.

Medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD — Written by Tiffany LaForge — Updated on October 23, 2018

This article is a repost which originally appeared on HealthLine

Edited for content

We often eat with our hearts and stomachs in mind, but how often do we consider how foods affect extremely specific body parts?

First things first though: no matter what we eat, the benefits are holistic — it goes where our bodies need it.

But, let’s say, if you know, that apples and carrots are good for your prostate and penis health, wouldn’t you be inclined to eat these foods more often?

That’s the goal of our below-the-belt food list.

Instead of eating as if your penis needs special attention, fill your day with foods that optimize your whole body, and in turn, help your blood bring the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your penis needs to function. (Erectile dysfunction in younger men is rising and about 1 in 9 men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.)

On the plus side, enhancing your diet just might help with other concerns, such as heart disease, hormonal imbalances, fat burn, and more.

From prostate cancer, low T-levels, ED, and possibly infertility, these foods are here to help.

1. Spinach to boost testosterone levels

Spinach worked for Popeye, and it’ll help you, too.

Spinach is a super source of folate, a known blood flow-booster. Folic acid plays a critical role in male sexual function and a deficiency in folic acid has been linked to erectile dysfunction.

Cooked spinach contains 66 percent of your daily folic acid requirement per cup, making it one of the most folate-rich foods around. Additionally, spinach contains a fair amount of magnesium, which also helps improve and stimulate blood flow and has been shown to boost testosterone levels.

Spinach for penile health

  • A good source of folic acid which may help prevent erectile dysfunction.
  • Contains magnesium which has been shown to boost testosterone.
  • Pro-tip: Try our favorite spinach recipes for your next date night.

2. A daily cup of coffee for better sex

Your morning cup of java can be a below-the-belt pick-me-up, too!

Studies have found that drinking two to three cups of coffee a day may prevent erectile dysfunction. This is thanks to coffee’s most beloved ingredient: caffeine.

Caffeine is shown to improve blood flow by relaxing penile arteries and muscles, leading to stronger erections. Cheers!

Caffeine for penile health

  • Caffeine has been shown to prevent erectile dysfunction.
  • Improves blood flow by relaxing penile arteries and muscles.
  • Pro-tip: Not a fan of coffee? You can get your daily caffeine fix from Yerba Mate or matcha instead.

3. Apple peels to prevent prostate cancer

Apples have some great all-around health benefits, but one of their lesser known advantages pertains to penis health.

Apple peels, in particular, contain the active compound ursolic acid. This compound has been shown in cell studies to stop the growth of prostate cancer cells by “starving” the cells. Still, you should always follow a medical professional’s treatment plan when faced with prostate cancer.

Eat more fruits and veggies Grapes, berries, and turmeric also have similar effects. Studies suggest that men who consume more fruits and vegetables in general have better odds at beating prostate cancer.

Apples for penile health

  • Contain an active compound that may starve prostate cancer cells.
  • Men who consume more fruits and vegetables have a better prostate cancer survival rate.
  • Pro-tip: The cancer-fighting compound is contained in the peel so be sure to eat your apples with the skin on. You can also make dried apple chips or apple peel tea.

4. Supercharge your libido with avocados

The Aztecs were on to something when they named the avocado tree the “testicle tree.”

An excellent source of healthy fats, potassium, and vitamins, avocados are great for getting you in the mood.

This toast-topper favorite has vitamin E and zinc, both of which have positive effects on male sex drive and fertility. Zinc has been suggested to increase levels of free testosterone in the body, while vitamin E may improve sperm quality.

Avocados for penile health

  • Contain zinc which increases testosterone levels.
  • Are a good source of vitamin E which improves sperm quality.
  • Pro-tip: Out of ideas beyond guacamole and toast? Find inspiration with our 23 delicious ways to eat an avocado.

5. Chili peppers to spice up the bedroom

Can you handle the heat? Studies have found that men who consume spicy foods have higher-than-average testosterone levels.

While this doesn’t mean spicy food gives you testosterone, the chemical capsaicin has been shown to have bedroom advantages.

Found in hot sauce and chili peppers, capsaicin triggers the release of endorphins — the “feel good” hormone — and can rev up the libido.

Chili peppers for penile health

  • Men who eat spicy foods have higher-than-average T-levels.
  • Capsaicin found in chili peppers triggers the release of endorphins.
  • Pro-tip: There’s more health benefits to spicy foods than a healthy libido. Read about our top five here.

6. Carrots keep your sperm healthy

Looking to improve your sperm count? Science says to eat more carrots.

This fertility superfood may improve both sperm count and motility (the movement and swimming of sperm).

Research suggests this is due to the chemical carotenoids found in carrots, which is also responsible for giving the vegetable its orange color.

Carrots for penile health

  • Research finds that carrots can improve male fertility.
  • Carotenoids found in carrots may improve sperm quality and motility.
  • Pro-tip: Another vegetable high in carotenoids is sweet potatoes, which makes our list of the 14 healthiest vegetables on earth alongside carrots.

7. Oats for a bigger O

Oatmeal might not come to mind when you think of the world’s sexiest foods — but maybe it should!

Oats can be beneficial for reaching orgasm and Avena Sativa (wild oats) is considered an aphrodisiac. The amino acid L-arginine found in oats has also been shown to treat erectile dysfunction.

Like Viagra, L-arginine helps penile blood vessels relax, which is essential to maintaining an erection and reaching orgasm.

Oats for penile health

  • Wild oats are a known aphrodisiac.
  • Amino acids found in oats relax blood vessels and can help with erectile dysfunction.
  • Pro-tip: New to oats? Try our quick and easy 10-minute overnight oats, made three ways.

8. Tomatoes are a penile health trifecta

Want all the benefits in one punch? Start with tomatoes.

Tomatoes include several of the benefits listed above and can be eaten in a variety of ways.

Research shows lycopene-rich foods, like tomatoes, may help prevent prostate cancer.

Tomatoes might also be beneficial to male fertility and sperm quality — as tomatoes seem to significantly improve sperm concentration, motility, and morphology.

Tomatoes for penile health

  • Help prevent prostate cancer.
  • Are beneficial to male fertility and improve sperm concentration, motility, and morphology.
  • Pro-tip: Too busy to make your own marinara? You don’t just have to cook with tomatoes. Try drinking tomato juice for a quick and healthy way to get your daily lycopene.

Looking for more ways to ensure below-the-belt health? Check out our best tips to prevent prostate cancer and non-penile advice on improving your sex life.

After all, your health is more than one body part.


Will eating tomatoes make your penis bigger?

Will eating tomatoes make your penis bigger?

By Almara Abgarian

* This article is a repost which originally appeared on METRO.co.uk

We have shared a lot of penis facts as of late.

Like when we told you that you shouldn’t eat sexy pavement lichen to treat erectile dysfunction or explained why masturbating with pineapple juice is a bad idea.

Today we’re delving into a new area of penile exploration: sizing.

There are a lot of theories on the internet of foods that, if ingested regularly, will help add a few inches to a dick, including one particular vegetable that seems to pop up time and time again: the tomato.

Just a few months ago, a man posted on Quora to ask others whether the red juicy produce could work as a ‘home remedy’ for penis enlargement.

Firstly, note that we appreciate all dicks and there is nothing wrong with not having a monster aubergine in your trousers. But, to avoid queues at tomato aisles at supermarkets everywhere, we found out the facts.

Will eating tomatoes make your penis bigger?

Unfortunately, there is no research to support that spending your days eating tomato-based dishes will change the size of your penis.

However, that’s not to say there aren’t benefits.

Red fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, watermelons and strawberries, contain lycopene, an antioxidant that can have beneficial effects on your body, including your penis health.

Men who eat tomatoes – or meals that contain this vegetable – 10 times per week are 18% less likely to develop prostate cancer, due to the lycopene warding off toxins that could cause cell damage, according to a study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Additionally, another piece of research revealed that the antioxidant can potentially prevent tumuors from growing for people who have prostate or breast cancer.

What’s more, eating tomatoes could be helpful for men who suffer from infertility.

Consuming high quantities of the vegetable can improve the shape of a man’s sperm (or morphology) according to one study. Out of the participants, those who had eaten the most tomatoes had swimmers that were between 8-10% more ‘normal’.

It’s also said that the antioxidant can help improve blood flow and as a result, give men stronger erections.

‘Lycopene “is one of, if not the most powerful of nature’s antioxidants,’ Dr. Paul Turek, a fertility urologist, told Health.com.

‘It’s thought that oxidants underlie much of male infertility and prostate cancer, and we know that antioxidants are good for blood vessels in both in the heart and the penis. But their exact mechanisms of action aren’t well defined.’

To conclude, eating tomatoes is great for a lot of things – but not for penis growth.