MALE HEALTH and MALE POWER
What To Do, How To Do It, and What It Will Achieve For You
Do you feel tired, grumpy, stressed or depressed? Are you, your doctor or loved ones concerned about your weight, blood pressure, sleep, digestion, cholesterol levels, or plain lack of ‘zing’? These are signs of burnout, of your engine being under-serviced and over-extended. Good health is your most important investment. How effective and dynamic can you be – at work, at home, with others – without it?
By age 30, men have reached their physiological (although not psychological) peak. After that the chief male hormone testosterone starts lowering, the metabolic rate slows so weight is gained more easily, your liver becomes less efficient at detoxifying alcohol, poor quality fats, and female hormones and negligent behaviours of all types show increasingly speedy, unpleasant consequences. Welcome to the ageing process!
A small and gradual reduction in testosterone is normal and can help men become less aggressive and more empathetic than they might have been in youth. However, specific factors in modern life have created an unnaturally accelerated pace of testosterone decline. Hormones are extremely powerful chemical messengers that can instantly redirect all the body’s resources. They orchestrate the changeover at puberty from boy to man, help you act decisively – perhaps heroically – in a crisis, and direct erectile function and reproduction.
These manly attributes become jeopardised when the proportion of testosterone lowers in relation to estrogen. Estrogen has been called the female hormone. Men also produce it, but in much smaller amounts. If a man was injected with an amount of estrogen similar to what is normal for women, he would soon develop breasts and more overall body fat, lose muscle as well as interest in sex, and be unable to sustain an erection. Eventually his voice would become higher and his testes shrink.
Heavy Drinking Is Manly. Yeah Right.
This scary scenario is already developmentally in evidence due to the many sources of estrogen in and around us. The #1 method for a man to elevate and sustain high estrogen and low testosterone levels is to be overweight. Excess body fat is like growing an extra estrogen-producing organ. The #1 dietary substance for swiftly increasing estrogen levels is: alcohol (see website TIPS). This rise occurs in as little as 10 minutes after drinking half a glass of wine or an equivalent. In some social circles, a beefy guy who drinks a lot may gain masculine approval. Ironically, this is the portrait of a man heading for or already experiencing a feminised flabbiness in body, mind, mood and sexual ability.
There are also xenoestrogens – meaning from ‘outside’ in terms of diet and environment – that men intake. Throughout the animal kingdom there is evidence of gross hormonal imbalances. Scientists such as Professor Sumpter at UK’s Brunel University have exhibited male fish with testes overgrown with eggs, and crocodiles with penises so small they cannot mate. The likely cause: Chemicals (TIPS) in waterways from the likes of detergents, plastics, agrochemical run-offs, oral contraceptives, HRT and other hormonal residues. These insidious hormone mimics contribute to the growing incidence of Fertility Problems (TIPS) in both men and women. Young men’s sperm count is now 80-90% below that of 50 years ago.
Sadly these hormone manipulators are also added directly to the food chain. The highest food sources of xenoestrogens are found in modern dairy products followed by beef. Dairy and beef herds (unless organic) are treated with hormones to increase growth, milk production and speedy cycles of maturation to suit commercial, rather than biological interests. Xenoestrogens are fat-soluble so they are stored in the fat of the animal, and then in the fat of those who eat them. Larger animals such as cattle contain more than smaller animals such as lamb. Those who opt for low-fat milk need not feel smug. In one second 100 litres of milk is dehydrated into 10 litres of powder. The extreme high heat cross-links proteins and glycates sugars. Such damaged nutrients are now linked to accelerated ageing and disease (TIPS: Modern Milk).
Our disproportionately estrogenated world shows a parallel increase in hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate. About 50% of men over 50 and 80% of men over 80 experience abnormal prostate growth. The prostate is a walnut shaped gland under the bladder and just above the interior start of the penis. It surrounds the urethra through which urine and semen flow, and contributes nourishing fluid for sperm. When there is abnormal cell growth in the prostate (which may or may not be cancerous) the gland enlarges and affects urination. Many men then experience problems with urinary urgency, hesitancy, straining, dribbling, decreased flow, incomplete emptying, or frequency that disrupts sleep. Trapped urine ups the likelihood of urinary tract infections, kidney stones and disease. Poor kidney function leads to fewer impurities removed from the bloodstream, impaired blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
Love Your Liver
Critical to prostate and general health is your Liver (TIPS). Too much Caffeine (TIPS) ups stress hormones, lowers mineral levels; and with poor quality fats or unnecessary Medications (TIPS) can lead to sluggish liver function, high cholesterol, hardened arteries (cardiovascular disease is still men’s top killer), early cognitive decline and increased cancer risks. Eat top quality fats: fish, avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, cold pressed/virgin oils (TIPS: The Fats of Life). Minimise rancid, overheated, deep fried, hydrogenated (industrially preserved; most ‘vegetable oil’) sources in table spreads, biscuits, confectionary, pastry, chips, most packet and pre-prepared foods. Your brain is over 50% fat and prone to oxidation or rust-like deterioration. Eat a wide range of brightly coloured fruit and veg for thousands of protective antioxidants. The natural world is not just a holiday option but how we are biologically designed to eat and live.
For more on fats, antioxidants and their guy-approved snacks, meals and supportive protocols, see the GOOD HEALTH SOLUTION’s report, The Heart of the Matter: Significant Strategies for Preventing – and Repairing – Heart, Arterial, Stroke and Other Cardiovascular Damage.
Excess alcohol not only increases estrogen, it particularly impedes the ability of the liver to efficiently deactivate excess estrogen. The liver has a mechanism for taking downgraded (spent or unwanted) hormones out of circulation. Each time food passes out of the stomach and into the small intestine (where most nutrient absorption takes place) the liver signals its storage sac the gall bladder, to add bile to your meal contents. Bile helps breakdown any fat in the meal. It is also a depository for impurities from each of your 30 trillion factory-like cells; excess LDL cholesterol that can clog arteries; heavy metals that weaken bones and nervous system; and those unwanted hormones. All these wastes head toward the large intestine for elimination, but if there was no soluble fibre in the meal then all that debris gets reabsorbed.
Optimal Fuel Regulation
Soluble fibre is also the most important factor in steadily pacing the breakdown of all carbohydrates into life-sustaining glucose – the chief fuel for your brain and muscles. People think of fibre in terms of wholegrains, fruits and vegetables. These are great foods but primarily sources of insoluble fibre (critical for healthy bowel function and bowel cancer prevention). Suitable soluble fibre sources (see bullet points below) should be soaked then cooked to optimise their benefits. See The Shape Diet for my strongly therapeutic Linseed Cereal recipe, prepared like all traditional cereals – not poured from lurid box to bowl.
Whole linseed/flaxseed is additionally one of the top 3 sources of highly protective phytohormones (including phytoestrogens). Phyto means ‘plant’. If these reside in the prostate they prevent excess circulating estrogens from entering and stimulating dangerous growth. The other standout sources are traditionally cultured soy products (tofu, miso, tamari, tempeh, natto – not the highly processed soy added to most bread, crackers, desserts and other commercial foods) and other legumes (dried beans, peas and lentils such as in baked beans, hummus, falafel, soup). Nationalities such as the Japanese who consume lots of phytohormones have dramatically less prostate, breast and other hormone sensitive cancers. This is not just genetic good fortune. If they change to the typical western diet, their statistics become as bad as ours.
Apart from diminishing estrogen levels and helping the liver, the other key element for male health is to ensure sufficient Zinc (TIPS). This standout mineral for male health has a crucial role in testosterone production, sperm and prostate health. Poor hair growth, immunity, bowel function and wound repair; diminished night vision, sense of taste or smell; acne, eczema, other skin, hair and nail conditions (check for tiny white spots on your fingernails as one indicator) are all associated with insufficient zinc. Although problems with your Skin (TIPS) or nails may not seem a priority, these are like dashboard signals on your car. When they start flashing it is a sign of major engine issues that require immediate attention – or worse problems will develop.
The combination of low zinc with elevated estrogen encourages production of an enzyme that converts the testosterone in the prostate into a more dangerous form called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. It can lead to abnormal prostate development, DNA (cell instruction) damage, malignancy; and short, thin hair growth leading to baldness. Each year 2200 New Zealand men develop prostate cancer. Other minerals assist zinc and are also critical for the liver, arteries, muscles (including the heart), sleep, nerves, joints, digestion, stress management, mind and mood.
NOTE: too much flaxseed oil/linseed oil or capsules (minus the fibre benefits) is not recommended for men. Due to likely suboptimal liver function and low zinc levels many men will not successfully convert its short-chain Omega 3s (ALA) into the long-chain form (EPA and DHA) that the body needs. Omega 3 fish oil is already in the long-chain form ready for immediate use in power centres: testes, adrenals, brain, eyes, and the protective surround to every cell.
How to Achieve Peak Performance
1) Be firm and focused:
• Exercise at least 30 minutes 5 times weekly, or achieve this amount in smaller accumulated portions. Eg. If you are particularly busy aim for 1 thirty-minute session on the weekend. The rest of the week, do 10 minutes floor exercises upon rising, and 10 minutes brisk walking, running up stairs or other exercise before lunch or dinner = 150 minutes. Like investing money, or time in your business, small amounts and simple steps add up.
• Use the suggested exercise and dietary suggestions to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
• No smoking, illegal drug or heavy alcohol use. These are avoidance mechanisms. Be an inner warrior, and strategically analyse and deal with your problems instead. Keep alcohol to no more than 2 units (250 ml/1 cup total) of wine or (3 x 375 ml) beer on any one night, and have at least 2 nights off per week to give your liver a break.
2) Eat like a caveman:
• Emphasise foods that are as close to natural as possible and not a commercial gimmick: read ingredient labels. Have a wide range of top fibre and antioxidant sources: total of 5+ handfuls of 5 colours of veg and fruit daily, plus varied plant Proteins (TIPS): wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Alternate meat meals with fish, seafood, eggs and vegetarian. Drink purified water.
• Avoid hydrogenated fats. Buy cold-pressed or extra virgin oil; cook with the lowest heat possible.
• Decrease xenoestrogens high in non-organic dairy products; standard toiletries, cleaning agents (CHEMICALS). Choose foods, drinks, body care products with the specificity of an athlete.
• Increase phytoestrogens eg whole linseed, legumes, traditional soy only (TIPS: Soyburban Myths).
• Have 1- 2 meals daily high in soluble fibre: linseed & rice bran or oat bran (eg Linseed Cereal 5 x weekly), psyllium, slippery elm, oat bran, seaweed, mushrooms, prunes, mango, fig, legumes.
3) Think zinc to keep prostate in the pink:
• Emphasise top zinc sources (listed in order): oysters, herring, turkey, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, brewers/savoury yeast (see The Shape Diet Dynamite spread recipe), liver, maple syrup, soybeans, sunflower seeds, lean lamb/venison, fish, seafood, coconut, beetroot, other nuts/seeds.
• Minerals (TIPS) don’t play solo but work as a team. In general top providers are: nuts, seeds, seaweed, seafood, fish, real stock made from bones, then dried fruits, leafy greens. So include nuts, seeds and dried fruit with breakfast cereal; spread wholegrain toast with Dynamite (The Shape Diet), tahini (sesame paste) or Ceres nut butters (no sugar, artificial additives); snack on nuts and dried fruit, sushi, miso soup with stock and seaweed, good crackers (read labels: no hydrogenated ‘vegetable oil’, additives) with hummus; for lunch and dinner have fish and seafood 2-3 times weekly.
4) Be a team player:
• Make use of experienced specialised advisors: nutritionists, trainers, counselors and men’s group leaders. They are part of your resource pool. It takes courage to step outside comfort zones for the purpose of effective self-management.
• Just as muscles need physical exercise, neural pathways in the brain need mental and social exercise (TIPS: Free Medicine for Your Brain). Take up team sport or fitness group. Join an organisation that contributes to the community – it needs your help. Find ways to mentor those younger. Big missions start with small steps.
• With your partner, trusted friend or advisor, discuss your plans and dreams for the future. Schedule daily or weekly, practical strategies to help make your goals a reality.