The T-Connection Part 1: These Libido Zappers Steal Your Heart Health

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

January 18, 2012

  • Is low T destroying your love life?
  • The cold hard facts about testosterone and heart disease
  • Avoid these gender-benders that increase your risk

I see it every day. Men come into my office looking like their best friend just died. They mope around, shuffle their feet and can’t look me in the eye.

When I urge them to share their problem they shuffle their feet a little more, wipe their brow and slide a hand across the top of their head. And finally it comes…

“Doc, I need that little blue pill.”

Then they sigh in relief and I know exactly what they are thinking. “There! It’s finally been said. My doctor might think I’m a wuss but at least nobody else knows I can’t get it up.”

The truth is, no guy likes to admit he’s unable to perform in the bedroom. We all want to have a romantic romp that exhausts us and makes us feel great. And it doesn’t matter whether your 25, 55 or 75. If you can’t make “it” happen you feel like a failure.

Now, you may be surprised to hear this but male menopause, or andropause, is not a myth. Nor is it all in your head. Today research is showing more and more evidence that it’s a very real threat to aging men.

You see, starting at about age 30 your testosterone levels begin to fall off by one or two percent each year. That may not sound like much, but over time it can have a big impact on the amount of free testosterone circulating throughout your body. Fact is, about 24% of men over the age of 30 have low testosterone.

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Break that down and it comes out to just about one out of every four men.

And it’s not just an issue with libido and your ability to “get it up.” Drive and ambition have flown the coop. Suddenly you may be feeling aimless, moody and dissatisfied with life in general.

It can also lead to excess belly fat, loss of muscle strength and the development of breast tissue that women often refer to as “man-boobs.”

These are big concerns. But ultimately, they are symptoms associated with much larger problems that may negatively affect your long-term health.

And a little blue pill can’t fix a single one of them…

Now you may not know this, but low T has been linked to numerous serious health conditions. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease top the list. It’s also been implicated in osteoporosis, inflammation, reduced immune function and increased risk of death from all causes.

This is the first of a three-part series in which I’m going to talk about the testosterone connection to many of these health dangers. You’ll also find out what you can do to get your levels back up to par quickly and naturally.

Let’s start out with how low T affects your heart health. Here are some cold hard facts you should be aware of…

Cold Hard Fact #1: Men with low T are more likely to experience plaque build-up in their arteries. Part of the reason for this is due to the fact that men with lower testosterone levels typically have higher LDL cholesterol and triglycerides than men in normal testosterone ranges.

You probably already know these two lipids play a big role in your heart health. But it bears repeating. High triglycerides contribute to atherosclerosis. These fatty lipids can harden the arteries and cause the walls of your arteries to thicken. Same goes for LDL cholesterol. It tends to build up in the artery walls leading to a build-up of plaque. When you combine these events it substantially increases your risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. This is why erectile dysfunction is often the first sign of cardiovascular disease!!

Cold Hard Fact #2: High blood pressure goes hand-in-hand with low testosterone. If you have high blood pressure, it may be directly linked to you testosterone levels. Research shows men with hypertension have lower levels free testosterone available to circulate through the body.

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High blood pressure makes your heart work much harder than it should. This increases the risk of damage to both your heart and your arteries. It also increases your risk of atherosclerosis and all of the dangers associated with it. Again, erectile disfunction is a sign of cardiovascular disease.

Cold Hard Fact #3: Men are twice as likely to die from heart disease as women. And it may be due to the testosterone connection. Studies find as many as one in four men with coronary heart disease have inadequate levels of testosterone.

In one study involving over 900 men with heart disease, the results were even worse. After seven years, those with low T were more than twice as likely to die as the men with higher testosterone levels.

In addition to dwindling testosterone, these same issues may be part of what’s affecting your bedroom performance. Because if your cardiovascular system isn’t working right, it’s going to affect blood flow to your nether regions.

In the next few issues I’m going to give you all kinds of ways you can improve your testosterone levels and restore your manhood. But today we’re going to focus in on some gender-altering chemicals that may be may be robbing you of much-needed testosterone.

By avoiding some of these testosterone-zappers, you can start raising your levels immediately and begin protecting your heart at the same time…

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One of the reasons your testosterone levels may be falling is due to increased exposure to feminizing chemicals that mimic estrogen. They are called xenoestrogens. They work against you by blocking the normal production (and action) of testosterone in your body. At the same time, they increase estrogen levels. And they are all over the place!

  • Commercially raised meats and poultry are pumped up with hormones that alter your testosterone levels and ramp up estrogen. And that’s something no man wants to do. That’s one of these reasons I always recommend eating grass-fed meats and free-range poultry.
  • Soy products contain plant-based estrogens called isoflavones which mimic estrogen in the body. Even if you don’t eat soy products you could be getting far more of it than you realize. It’s one of the most commonly used additives in processed foods. You’ll find soybean oil in things like mayonnaise and salad dressing. Soy lecithin is found in all sorts of packaged foods – from frozen dinners to candy bars.
  • Flax seed. In recent years flax seed has gained popularity as a source of fiber, plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. And there are really a lot of benefits associated with flax. But if you’re experiencing low T, you should know the lignans in flax seed are phytoestrogens. In other words, they may exhibit estrogen-like effects on men.
  • Chemicals hidden in food wraps and plastics. Many of these gender-bending chemicals sneak their way into your food and drink supply in the form of packaging. For example, bisphenol A (BPA) is used in plastic bottles, food containers and food wraps. Phthalates are even more insidious. They aren’t only found in food wraps. They’re in everything from deodorants to hoses to building materials.
  • Your shampoo, deodorant and other personal care products may contain preservatives known as parabens. These chemicals are absorbed through your skin and interrupt natural hormone production in the body. They come in many different forms; methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben and anything else that ends in ‘paraben.

These are all things you need to watch out for, so it’s important to get into the habit of reading labels. Make a list of all the items above and keep it handy in your wallet. This will make it easier to check for testosterone-zapping chemicals that could sap your heart health right along with your libido.

In the meantime, numerous studies show a supplement called chrysin may be able to help prevent the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. As a result of this blocking action, testosterone levels are raised. For men I recommend 150 mg. a day.

Eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and cauliflower can also help reduce estrogen dominance. A key ingredient in these veggies, DIM (diindolylmethane,) helps balance your hormones. This, in turn, allows testosterone to work more effectively in your body. DIM is available in supplement form. About 100 mg. daily should do the trick.

Stay tuned to this special three-part series to learn about more testosterone-boosting supplements and everything else you need to know to keep your manhood pulsing and avoid other life-threatening issues associated with low T.

References:

Araujo AB, Esche GR, Kupelian V, O’Donnell AB, Travison TG, Williams RE, Clark RV, McKinlay JB. Prevalence of symptomatic androgen deficiency in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Nov;92(11):4241-7.

Hak AE, Witteman JC, de Jong FH, Geerlings MI, Hofman A, Pols HA. Low levels of endogenous androgens increase the risk of atherosclerosis in elderly men: the Rotterdam study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Aug;87(8):3632-9.

Haring R, Baumeister SE, Völzke H, Dörr M, Felix SB, Kroemer HK, Nauck M, Wallaschofski H. Prospective association of low total testosterone concentrations with an adverse lipid profile and increased incident dyslipidemia. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2011 Feb;18(1):86-96.

Svartberg J, von Mühlen D, Schirmer H, Barrett-Connor E, Sundfjord J, Jorde R. Association of endogenous testosterone with blood pressure and left ventricular mass in men. The Tromsø Study. Eur J Endocrinol. 2004 Jan;150(1):65-71.

Jones RD, Nettleship JE, Kapoor D, Jones HT, Channer KS. Testosterone and atherosclerosis in aging men: purported association and clinical implications. Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2005;5(3):141-54.

Malkin CJ, Pugh PJ, Morris PD, Asif S, Jones TH, Channer KS. Low serum testosterone and increased mortality in men with coronary heart disease. Heart. 2010 Nov;96(22):1821-5

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