What should I do if my husband refuses to treat his erectile dysfunction?

Martha writes, "My husband and I are both in our late forties, more or less like you, and I have noticed that he is suffering from conditions similar to you.  Needless to say that I am disappointed with how our sex life is these days even though I am being understanding and supportive.  I know that I am not getting young either and I have my issues to deal with but I know it is too early for us to give up and enter into a sexless marriage.  When I mention it to him, he just tells me that there is nothing wrong with him and that I am making a big deal about something so small.  Then he goes on to point out my cellulite or sagging breasts or extra fat on the tummy.  What should I do?"

The reasons that make men not ask for directions are the cause for his reluctance to admit to what is merely an age-induced health condition.  While there was a time there was no cure for it and scientists did not know much, at this time not only are their drugs like Androgel and Axiron for boosting Testosterone and Viagra for ED.  Alternatively, he could opt for a course like mine that includes dietary changes, more strenuous workouts, and mineral supplements/vitamins.

My recommendation is to first be supportive and kind (trust me he must be terrified inside and confused because we guys just don't know how to deal with this transformation) but eventually you need to be firm with him, including hints of threats to leave him.  Hopefully, he will get it, because he will know that with his manhood in doubt, it is not as if he will find another woman just like that.

Body gets used to zinc supplement

As widely recommended, I started taking a zinc supplement for raising my testosterone hormone level, and even though I was taking only the recommended amount of zinc, I noticed that I felt somewhat sleepy.  I found out that it was natural and common.  In any case, who would complain for getting better sleep, particularly when I switched my time from breakfast to just before going to bed.

As I have been taking the pill now for more than two weeks, I am observing that the body is getting used to it and I wake up pretty fresh in the morning -- whatever little lethargy I have left goes away with my one hour strength training and cadio routine.  I think my dreams are still very vivid and my sleep deep, but other than that, I have nothing else to complain.

Why I am not taking Viagra for ED?

I have already discussed previously my reasons for not applying AndroGel or Axiron as a low-Testosterone therapy.  Now as any middle aged male experiencing low-T and loss of libido knows that there is some degree of erectile dysfunction as well.  There is always this temptation to simply get a prescription for Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, and generally speaking, if your situation is like mine, a few tests here and there, consultation with the doctor, and you are all set (I have no other conditions and I am otherwise in good health).

But, guys, the reason I am giving natural ways to bring my Testosterone level back is because each medication has side effects, and the risks of Viagra are widely discussed, though, it has not stopped people from taking it.  In fact, its use is growing and even people without ED are abusing it. 

So what can go wrong with Viagra?  A lot, actually.  According to Pfizer, the most common one is vision problems and someone who started using reading glasses just a few years ago, even the thought of further damage to my eyes scares the hell out of me.  In the worst case scenario, you could go blind suddenly but more likely you will have blurred vision or just have trouble focusing and might see things that don't exist.

In addition you might have headaches or facial flushing, which are tell-tale signs of using Viagra, so be prepared to be teased by friends and colleagues.  There are also reports of people losing their hearing.  Ouch!  And there are other warnings that you have probably memorized by heart without even trying because they are repeated on television non-stop, the whole thing about chest pains (you might be prescribed the so-called nitrates for this pain and the two chemicals hate each other), the fact that you should be healthy enough to have sex, and finally, if your wife wants to go to sleep after half an hour and you want to go for more than four hours, call your urologist.  I am in no way declaring a lifelong ban on Viagra, but till the moment comes that I have to choose between sex and vision/hearing, I am sticking to zinc supplements, multi vitamins, and avocados.

Why I am not using Axiron?

I have already answered why I am not using AndroGel.  It turns out that the #1 competitor of this drug is Axiron manufactured by Eli Lilly.  When I started researching this gel, I found that the side effects and risks are identical to those of AndroGel, so I would not repeat the ones that are the same and I encourage you to simply read the blog post on Androgel.

What is the difference between AndroGel and Axiron?  Well, the first one is the part of the body where it is applied.  Axiron is applied in the underarm so it will be a little bit difficult for someone else to wipe it off your skin during a casual touch, for example, by a kid or another person who just decides to give you a hug or a pat on the shoulder.  The side effect that caught my attention and that really stands out is that the frequency of erections can go up or they can last a lot longer, which on a lighter note, sound like a great thing for all of us struggling with low Testosterone and libido, but scientifically speaking, are a huge problem. 

Why I am not taking AndroGel?

As you can see, as a middle aged man who is otherwise healthy but struggling with low T, I am trying to raise my libido and Testosterone levels the natural way, through diet, exercise, and supplements.  Nope, I am not against drugs the way Jenny McCarthy is.  I think there is a place for medicine.  While I have not taken prescription medication for an ailment for at least two decades and I have never suffered from a chronic illness (most of my treatment has been for minor injuries or short term illnesses like flu or food poisoning), I am not opposed to them.  In fact, if this approach does not work, I would not be opposed in principle to using medicines.

So why am I not taking AndroGel 1.62% right away to raise my Testosterone level?  Well, if you research this FDA approved treatment, the list of risks and side effects is terrifying.  The biggest one is the threat to the prostate gland, which is fine for now with me, but is not the case for men in my age bracket.  AndroGel can raise the risk of prostate cancer as well.  While we are a kid free couple and have no plans to have a child now, for men who would like to father a baby, their sperm count can be lowered by AndroGel.  Other side effects include swelling of body parts and this can result in a heart failure for those men who already are struggling with obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes and are more likely to suffer from heart complications.  Other associated risks are blood clots and sleeping problems.

AbbVie Inc., the manufacturer reports that while the risks above are the ones they know, the most common one found are higher probability of prostate cancer, mood swings, and skin irritation where the gel is applied.  Another important risk to know is that this gel is pretty nasty for women and actually anyone else who does not need a dose of Testosterone.  Unfortunately, even small amounts can cause a lot of problems in others around you because unlike other drugs that are taken as a pill, this is a gel applied to the skin and the skin is always exposed (you apply it in the shoulder reason and it is recommended that you wear a shirt).  So a child or woman who inadvertently touches you there can get a dose of Testosterone.  I am also afraid that it can transfer to towels and when laundry is done for the whole family, the gel can get into clothes.

How do I find out if I have low Testosterone?

Ladies, if you are reading this, then you will encounter situations in which a husband who would want to rip your body off in the good old days, now finds excuses not to even touch you.  Maybe you initiate sex, and he falls off to sleep.  He rarely shows interest in your body dressed in lingerie, he refuses to make love to you outright by finding an excuse (stress, being tired, or in a defense mechanism, he can even put the blame on you by telling you something that might hurt you; for instance, if you have gained weight, he might tell you that he is not attracted to you, or if you have been busy raising a kid, he might blame it on you saying that you have no time for him, or if you have had an affair, he might say that he is no longer in love with you), or avoids situations in which he might have to make love (coming late to bed, complaining of health issues, etc.). 

Men who might be doing some of the things above will realize that their reluctance to engage in sexual activity is a result of hormonal imbalance, particularly lack of a hormone called Testosterone.  Now, this is a complex health issue and while it leads to some erectile dysfunction, it is important to understand that ED is also a separate disease that can happen without low-T.  What I am talking about here is low levels of Testosterone for men in their 40s or older (men at any age can have this problem due to other health complications, particularly those who take prescription pills, and it is best to discuss this with a physician, because in those cases, it is more of a diseases and side effect of a pill, rather than natural reduction due to aging).  If you are an otherwise healthy male like me, eat healthy, workout regularly, are not taking any medications at all, and feel that things in the bedroom are not the same as they used to be even 5 or 10 years ago, it is simply that we are aging and losing Testosterone (and hence, libido) naturally. 

As I have mentioned before, my wife and I did not get much concerned with the drop in frequency of our sex (after all, we have been together for some two decades), but what caused panic to me was that sometimes I could not make myself hard at all, or the erection became quite weak before penetration that it was impossible to penetrate, or if the hardon was good enough during foreplay but if I did not penetrate immediately, it was difficult to hold it on for too long.  I did not notice premature ejaculation during this experience; on the contrary, due to the shame and embarrassment of not being able to perform, I was even unable to ejaculate outside when my wife tried to use her hands.  These are clearly signs of not enough Testosterone in the blood.  Needless to say that you can get a blood test done by your doctor to find out for sure, but if you are experiencing symptoms like mine, you need professional help.  Ladies, if your man is having such issues in bed, you will be naive to believe that he is not in love with you or that he is having an extramarital affair.  Most likely, the lack of enough Testosterone has wiped our desire for you from his brain.

Zinc supplement made me woozy

I declared that I am not taking a lot of zinc to improve my testosterone, but when I took zinc supplement separately (rather than part of a multi vitamin talblet), there is something I noticed: I was a bit sleepy and drowsy throughout the day when I popped the pill with my breakfast.  Since it was a Sunday, I came up with a million excuses to explain that: just being in the lazy weekend mood, less caffeine that morning, or an excuse to keep it slow.  At one point, when we went grocery shopping and I had to drive, I almost felt like telling my wife to take the wheel, but it was not that bad.  So I was kinda not at the top of my game, but it was not dangerous either.  Gee, I took only half the suggested dosage.

So what is going on?  Well, my research shows that a lot of middle aged guys trying to raise their Testosterone levels are reporting the same feeling.  Actually, people report getting great sleep in the night and for men who have had low-T due to, among a variety of other factors, lack of good sleep, that is a welcome side effect.  In fact, getting a good night's sleep is important for good overall health and definitely to have a slight impact on hormone production.  So, I suggest that you take the pill at night rather than with breakfast.  There are some complaints that you might still feel a bit low during the day, but it is small discomfort.  In any case, you need to find your own dosage and if you need to make lifestyle changes, please do so.  For instance, it should not affect your driving, and if you operate heavy machinery or fly a plane or do something else that is dangerous and critical, please consult with a doctor before taking zinc.  I have not been able to find the physio-chemical reason for deep sleep and vivid dreams from zinc, but hopefully if I run into a doctor at a party, I will ask.

How much zinc to take for boosting testosterone?

As you know I have discussed previously the critical role of zinc in raising testosterone and libido in middle aged men.  As a (for all practical purposes) vegetarian (though, once I recognized that I must do something about diet, I have been consuming animals occasionally), I must have been definitely deficient in zinc, since vegetarian dishes simply do not have enough zinc, and if you are already experiencing a rapid decline in Testosterone, you definitely need raising your zinc consumption.

Now, if you are a meat eater, particularly if you can consume oysters more frequently, there is a lot less to worry, but for me, I need to take supplements.  But like anything else, you need to be careful how much you take.  For instance, the multivitamin tablet that I take already has 15 mg of zinc in it.  I also occasionally take a scoop of Trade Joe's Whey Protein and that too has added zinc in it.  So the zinc supplement that I bought needs to be taken carefully.  It has recommended two pills daily and that would give me 30 mg zinc, but according to recommendations, a healthy male should be taking about 10-15 mg zinc daily.  So I am being careful and taking only one pill of the zinc right now and maybe the day I consume the whey protein I will not take the pill.  Or the days I realize that my diet is not very rich, I might pop two pills.  Doctors suggest that the daily consumption should not exceed 40 mg and that too only for short periods of time while you raise your Testosterone level.  My hope is that if I get my original libido back or even if it improves significantly, I might stop the pills and just get my zinc from the multi-vitamin pill.

Avocado boosts testosterone production

Most of us think of guacamole as something to be eaten when dining out at a Mexican restaurant and it is not served with all dishes.  I love Rosa Mexicano restaurant and this is their signature dish but they put such a huge show for making it right next to your table that the price is way too high.  We did it once for its entertainment value but never again.  Actually, you can buy avocados in almost any supermarket these days, and if your super market does not carry it, tell them to, or just visit a store that has more ethnic foods.  If you have a Whole Foods in your area, you can definitely find it.  They should cost about a dollar a unit, though, in a bag they can be somewhat cheaper.  When you buy them, they should be just firm, and when you bring them home, they will start to soften in a day or two.  You can always find a guacamole recipe online but there is no reason to do make things complicated.  You can simply peel the avocado, scoop out the avocado, and put it on your plate as a side dish.  I would say that you could eat a whole avocado in one day by eating one half at a meal (the half cut avocado can be preserved by wrapping it in Saran Wrap; it might get slightly discolored but not to worry).

Avocado has been known to have a positive impact on Testosterone production in the body, and in any case, it has healthy fats essential for hormones and overall health.  It is a fruit that is very rich in many vitamins, so even if you are not trying to enhance your libido, you will do well to consume an avocado regularly.

Multivitamin supplement for boosting Testosterone

I already highlighted the importance of adding zinc to you diet through food and supplements, but I also want to emphasize that it is not a bad idea to take one of those one pill a day vitamin and mineral supplement.  As I said before, I am somewhat skeptical of supplements in general (if I could I would get all my supplements naturally from my food) but I know that for all kinds of reasons you don't always get what you need from your food.  Maybe there are foods that I should be eating and I don't, or I am eating something that does not let a certain vitamin or mineral be absorbed, and so forth.  That is why I do not mind popping a pill (there are some foods like cereals and drinks that are supposedly fortified with vitamins -- I personally do not consume processed foods and drink only water; I make my organic, steel cut, oatmeal from scratch rather than ever eat breakfast out of a box) each day with my breakfast.  These pills contain way more than your recommended daily intake (the reason being that a very small portion of what is in the pill actually gets absorbed -- you will see the notice the change in color of urine) but it is your insurance policy.  So, like myself, try to eat a variety of foods on a weekly basis, but pop a pill just in case.

How does a man with low Testosterone feel?

Being diagnosed with low T was also a low point of my life.  Look, I am realistic and grounded; I am in my 40s and do not expect to pump like a 20-year old stud in bed, but it was the first time I felt that I was not a man enough (I don't know if women have similar feelings, but maybe this is how a woman might feel after losing her breasts to cancer or experiencing infertility).  It was the first time in my life, that there were times that I hoped that I would not need to make love.  I couldn't believe it.  It was incredible for me to realize that what made me a male was gone.  I guess like most dudes I would never miss an opportunity to get some action in the bedroom with my lovely wife, but if my wife would not initiate sex, I would be relieved and go to sleep.  I did not look forward to vacations because I knew she would be much more relaxed and more often in the mood.  I saw older men with hotties on their arms and wondered how they managed, maybe they were on Viagra/Cialis/Levitra, or they were already applying that AndroGel to their skin (at least for the time being, I want to stay away from prescription medications to deal with low-T and erectile dysfunction because the side effects are too dangerous).

This is why it is very important for women to realize that if the man in their lives is reluctant to engage in physical intimacy with them -- they might want to reassure themselves that he has not fallen out of love with them by asking the question directly or through other signs -- but not assume that he is having an affair (it is reasonable to expect that even if a dude is having an extramarital affair or is cheating, he will still want to have sex with you because if he can do it, he will, particularly because it will help him hide his cheating).  Most likely, it is his hormone level that is driving him insane.

What shocked me the most was that desire simply vanished from my brain.  Yes, it impacted the number of times I would feel some activity in my underwear, but more importantly, if I saw even the hottest girl in the world and she threw herself at me and let me do whatever I wanted, I no longer felt the intense desire to rip her clothes off and enter her right away.  I could not believe it and only that feeling made me realize that the brain is so powerful in how we feel and react.  It also shows that we are nothing but bones and muscles guided by our hormones.  In the end, let me emphasize that whether you are a male reading or this or a female who has seen such behavior in their partner, get help if this is happening.  Men love sex and if they do not desire it, something is wrong with them.  Thankfully, with diet and exercise Testosterone levels can be improved or at least the rate of falling can be slowed down.

Transitioning from running to weight lifting

In my efforts to raise my testosterone levels through diet and exercise (hey, I watch way too much Food Hospital, the British program on Cooking Channel and I have a crush on Lucy Jones), I am trying to engage in daily strength training.  Look, I am the type who likes to run every day.  I easily do 45 minutes of running while listening to Morning Edition on NPR.  I have found other forms of exercise to be less interesting and my doctor has told me that I should do what works for me, what I enjoy, and what makes me happy.  Now that I recognize the value of weightlifting (not only does this impact the production of Testosterone by the body, as we age, we lose muscle, and lifting weights is the only way to slow down that muscle loss) for something so important, I have started to do it every day.  I don't go nuts, I just push myself till I have a hard time breathing and my heart is pumping like a jet engine.

What keeps me motivated?  Hey, I would love to be a stud again in bed, but on a serious note, it is all about slowing down aging.  The trick that has worked for me in all aspects of life and I have used it consistently is to tell myself that something is not a choice.  So about a week ago, I told myself that I have to lift weights daily when I workout and there is no choice.  I always take the example of brushing my teeth each morning and before going to bed.  Is there a choice?  Nope.  Yeah, I realize that if I am somehow trapped in a jungle for days and have no water or toothbrush or toothpaste, I will not.  Similarly, if I am sick, I might not lift weights, but if I am fit enough to exercise, I WILL lift weights.  It works.  I am now doing something that I did not enjoy in the past and I am doing it because I know it is good for me.  I am optimistic that after doing it for some time, I might even like it.

Zinc is the savior for Testosterone seekers

For a middle aged man struggling with low-T, things that work, in addition to aggression, weight lifting, having sex, and higher fat diet, is providing the body with a mix of nutrients that promote production of Testosterone by the body.  You can see a list of supplements that I am taking on the right side, and I must add that I am seeing an improvement in my libido, but being someone with a scientific mind, I can say that at this point because I am doing so many things at the same time, I cannot say for sure if the supplements are working.  I do not plan to stop my supplement regimen, because it is better to take them, rather than not, but I always take supplements with a hint of doubt, since I am a big believer in consuming supplements naturally (unfortunately, not possible in most cases, particularly when you are trying to undo a deficiency).

So in addition to all of the above, I am also trying to include more zinc-rich foods, like oysters (there is a reason they are considered as aphrodisiacs and recommended as the dish to order on the date that you are likely to get lucky in the bedroom, though, I am not sure that two hours after dinner the zinc would have produced the Testosterone), seeds/nuts, seaweed (that I drop in miso soup), mushrooms, chives, eggs, and milk.  Notice that I am including mostly vegetables, and that is because for all practical purposes, I am a vegetarian, because I do not think our animals are too contaminated for consumption.

Have sex to raise Testosterone

I have always wondered how marriages become sexless because as a male, that is all I think about (maybe I am exaggerating a bit but indeed it is true that like most dudes I do think about women and sex a lot), or at least used to.  Now, when we first saw early signs of erectile dysfunction and lack of libido in both of us, the most natural thing was to just avoid even trying it, and days would fly by (I was petrified of not being able to perform in the bedroom).  So all those ladies who are wondering why their husband is tired, or pretending to be tired, or is unable to perform in bed, or is not initiating sex, or is reluctant to make love, or has an excuse every time you touch him, or is unable to satisfy you, or pays no attention when you walk around the bedroom in your sheer negligee, trust me, it is most likely his hormones.  And now, while this problem is more common among older men, mostly older than 40, low-T can be a problem even at a younger age, due to obesity or extreme stress or poor diet or due to a medical condition.

Deal with aging like grownups:  So when my wife and I eventually dealt with it as grownups, as a medical condition, rather than just her initial assumption that as she had gained a few pounds or that her breasts were not as perky or that she now had cellulite/stretch marks/wrinkles, we felt much more comfortable with aging (isn't it amazing that despite knowing what aging can do we still get shocked by how it creeps up on you -- I couldn't believe how I changed everything in my office but only later on I realized that if I was getting headaches after working or my eyes were dry or that I was getting too tired at the end of the day, it was just that I was getting older and needed reading glasses).

Bedroom action raises Testosterone:  Research shows that just thinking about sex can boost Testosterone levels.  Trying to get frisky in bed can do wonders to the body.  And being able to actually make love is a huge boost to the Testosterone manufacturing machine within us.  So, while at the peak of our youth, we might not have been too methodical about it, but we recently decided that unless there are extenuating circumstances (like her period or one of us being ill or simply not in the mood), we will try to be intimate every other day.  Maybe it won't lead to penetration or release, but the idea will be to please each other.  So my advice to you is that the harder it gets to make love, the more you should try, rather than avoid it.

How soon do you see change with raising Testosterone?

I know TRT is much faster in improving levels of Testosterone in the body, and I have read that natural ways of improving libido take longer.  So my expectations are low.  In addition, it is not as if my Testosterone level is really low; it is just showing signs of normal decline with age.  So I have been with this problem on and off for about three years now, but only about a month ago, I decided to get more serious about raising my Testosterone through diet and exercise.  While this is not a scientific conclusion, I am noticing improvement.  Last night, I made love like my normal self.  I was a bit nervous because I have had issues maintaining erections for long -- my wife takes longer as well to be lubricated due to her being in 40s as well -- but last night it seemed that the good, old days were back.

Eating more fat without getting fat

You know my self diagnosis reveals that I might have low-T due to eating a very low fat diet, of course, in addition to my being in my forties.  I have researched that a healthy male like me should get somewhere between 20 and 35% of my total calories from fat.  Since I was not eating enough fats and actually almost all of it were from unsaturated fats, not only do I have to eat more fat, I have to raise the amount of saturated fat.

Now, I do not want to become obese, or overweight, and most likely I won't, because I am so disciplined about what I eat.  For me the challenge is to make dietary changes so that while my overall consumption of calories remains the same or goes up only slightly, I just get more fat into my diet.  My plan is to increase the level of exercise, particularly weightlifting, so that I burn all the excess calories.  I plan to watch my weight very closely and I know it is going to be a challenge.  I am not too concerned at this point but I will report in a few months on how it works out.  I have been on the verge of being underweight, when the Testosterone problems first appeared, so I do have some room to weigh more without getting out of the normal BMI range.

Aggression helpful in raising testosterone

We all know that the hormone testosterone is what makes guys manly or gives them their typical manliness, characterized by their more aggressive behavior.  It is also widely understood that rage fueled, angry people just have too much of Testosterone in the body.  In that sense, having excessive Testosterone can have harmful consequences.

I, on the other hand, have always been a very calm, quiet, sweet person, who likes to stay cool even during very stressful circumstances.  It has served me well my whole life so far and I have never gotten into trouble with anyone ever, at least not for being angry at them or mistreating them.  In fact I am so nice to people around me that no one gives me a hard time and I am easily able to embarrass my wife when she (rarely) does get angry at me.  I simply remind her that I have never ever screamed at her and it was inappropriate for her to do that to me. 

There is something else that has happened in my forties.  As I have entered my middle ages and developed greater appreciation for my mortality, I have become more spiritual, focusing on what is important and completely ignoring the noise in the world.  It has lowered my stress level, I sleep better, have low blood pressure, and raised my happiness level.  I just don't have many aggressive thoughts during the course of the day.

No wonder, then, that all these supposedly "good" habits are bad for Testosterone.  So here are a few things that I am trying to do and you can do some as well to force your body to produce more testosterone:
  1. Weight lifting; basically, push yourself to do something that is difficult.
  2. Engage in an aggressive exercise like martial arts (judo, karate, jijutsu, kendo, boxing, etc.).  That way you get all the benefits of being aggressive without being arrested for screaming at someone in a bar.
  3. Get your emotions out.  While I rarely get angry, I do get upset.  So I often scream at politicians when they are talking nonsense on television.  Thank God that we have so many wonderful Republicans in America that Testosterone seekers like me can always find someone from the GOP just saying something really awful.  I some times even turn on Fox News just for the heck of finding someone to scream at.
  4. Adopt habits that make you feel powerful and strong.  It has been found that just sitting with your feet on the table when you work, something that makes you feel important and powerful, can raise your testosterone level.  Since I work from home, I do it when I am talking on the phone, for example.

Beginning of a sexless marriage

I have often read about couples gradually entering a sexless marriage, and as a guy, I used to wonder how could that be.  Aren't men supposed to be constantly thinking of sex?  Don't they fantasize about making love to anything that moves?  Well, there are many reasons why a couple may move into a phase that they are not intimate often enough, but from personal experience, I can say that despite being deeply and madly in love (I am with my wife of more than a decade and we have been together since 1995), you can still lose all desire due to low levels of testosterone.  I can't imagine not being with my wife or not look at her and feel what a lucky dude I am, but when the libido tanks, it is shocking how the mind becomes so blank.  You have all these normal thoughts but all those dirty thoughts that drive a young man when seeing a girl are gone.  So ladies, if you are seeing such signs in a man, don't just assume that he has fallen out of love, or is seeing another lady (unless you have the evidence and that is indeed the case), but also pay attention to his hormones.  Maybe go to a doctor and get a blood test for low-Testosterone.  It could just be the poor guy's hormones sending him into a dry phase.

Strength training to raise testosterone levels

You see, I have always been a fairly fit man. I eat healthy and engage in physical activity.  For over a decade now, that means since my late 30s, I have been running regularly five days a week.  I also work in my backyard and during the New England winter I even shovel snow without a snow-blower on a two-acre property.  What I don't do is weight lifting; instead, focusing on cardio and bending/stretching exercises.

It turns out that while doing what I am doing is awesome for normal health and fitness (some experts still tell me that strength training is still a must because as we advance in age, we lose muscle, and strength training can delay that), if I am to raise my testosterone level, I need to lift weights.  Why?  You need to push your body to do tasks that are difficult; that is when the body realizes that it needs to produce testosterone.  So no walks in the park or even running on a treadmill are going to cut it; you need to lift real weights and push yourself till you are breathing really hard and literally sweating within minutes (disclaimer: please do not follow my advice blindly and discuss this with you family doctor because the last thing you want is a heart attack).  I have started this starting today and will watch what happens; for the time being, I am just feeling some pain in the muscles, which I am assuming is a good thing.

Low-T due to low fat diet

I have always been a very health conscious man.  We cook each meal from scratch, fast food is rarely eaten, we are picky when and where we go out to eat, I work out regularly, and we avoid all toxicity we can from food.  Still, for my 5'8" frame and just 130 pounds of weight, I had a slight tummy, that bothered me and my wife teased me about it.  It was not a beer belly because I rarely drink beer.  I suspect that it is due to my work that forces me to sit all day on a chair and work on a computer.

Since I could not do anything about my sitting, I thought that I must lose weight.  In retrospect, it was so stupid.  I pretty much eliminated all the fat from my diet (we hardly eat any saturated fat any way) and increased my workout period.  Within a matter of months, I started to lose weight and at one point, I was down to 118 lbs.  Guess what, I still had a tummy, no sixpacks for me.

It was also around the same time that I started to feel that I may have low testosterone and it was not until much later that after researching the topic, I concluded that all human beings need to eat, including the bad fats, the so-called saturated fat, found in butter, cheese, whole milk/yogurt, etc.  Yes, it was good that I was eating mostly unsaturated fats from olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, salmon, etc.), but the shocking revelation for me was that I had to put cholesterol in my body as well because it is essential for formation of hormones like testosterone.

Why did I never have problems in the past with such a low fat diet?  I am assuming that when you are young, you have so much testosterone already in the system that you can get away with it.  As we get into our 40s, if your testosterone is falling naturally, you cannot survive without enough cholesterol.

The aha moment of low-T

Somewhere in my mid-forties, I was realizing that it was not the same me.  I wanted to make love, just not as often enough as before.  I assumed it was just that my wife and I were getting more and more comfortable with each other and desired each other less (after all we have been together since 1995). I even wondered if this was due to some stress in our business.  I knew I was aging -- after all, I had just started using reading glasses -- but I thought that healthy male like me would never experience something like this.

The shock came one night when I just could not have intercourse.  My wife was very supportive.  We both thought that it was just an out of the ordinary event, maybe I was tired, or not in the mood, and it will be just fine.  And so it was.  The next few times, it worked fine, though, my erections were not as strong.  And then a few weeks later, it happened again.  I knew it was a problem.  This happened about three years ago.

During this period, we have gone through ups and downs but things are not the same.  I have tried to eat better, spend more time on my fitness, but now I want to get serious about this.  That is why I now have a plan.