Should I take selenium?

For my book The Testosterone Challenge, I did extensive research and concluded that among many other nutrients that I needed to take, zinc was the most important.  It is obviously pinpoint to this as the main cause of getting my libido back, but I would like to believe that it is the case.  Lately, though, I have been running into several articles online about how you should also include selenium in your diet.  When I checked my men's daily multivitamin supplement, I found that it did not have selenium.  I did notice that the whey protein powder that I occasionally consume with my oatmeal has about 33% of daily value.

So I started to sniff into academic journals to see what the deal was.  It turns out that selenium is important but not critical for Testosterone production.  Also, most people do not have a deficiency because it is needed in very small amounts.  If you occasionally eat seafood, you are probably getting more than you need.  Someone like me who eats animal products maybe once or twice a month, I should get some from egg, oats, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, organic milk, and broccoli.


 

In any case, a study by Shafiei, Gaeini, and Choobineh at the University of Tehran found that "...zinc and selenium supplementation had no significant effect on resting testosterone and lactate levels of subjects who consume a zinc and selenium sufficient diet. It might be possible that the effect of zinc supplementation on free testosterone depends on exercise."  So maybe all the supplements that I have been popping our merely acting as placebos while what is doing wonders is my strength training routine.  So guys, go and hit that gym that you might have postponing for some time.

Low-T may cause RA

My quest to fight low-T was purely about sex, because I was otherwise quite healthy and did not experience any other symptoms of falling Testosterone, but obviously, I am still in my forties and mostly in excellent health.  Looks like there is another reason to address your declining Testosterone because low-Testosterone has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA).  It does not happen right away but as we men age, the probability of this debilitating disease goes up.  Basically the implication of this research is that there may be yet another reason to deal with this hormonal deficiency.

No link between prostate cancer and TRT

There are many reasons I opted against undergoing Testosterone Replacement Therapy in my very early stage of low-T and thankfully my plan to improve my Testosterone level through diet, exercise, and supplements worked (you can read my story in Kindle ebook format here), but one of the reasons I was terrified of Axiron, Androgel, Aveed, Testopel, and Testim was that they all seem to raise the risk of prostate cancer.

Now, we have a study by Dr. Eisenberg, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford University Medical Center that proves that there is no higher risk for at least nine years.  This is very encouraging news, but there is something that bothers me.  The research was funded by Endo Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Aveed.  And we all know how that works.  These drugmakers suppress any research that does not help their drug look good and publicize the ones that prove their selling points.  So I will take this finding with a pinch of salt, and would wait for more independent research to come out.

Doest TRT improve quality of life?

Let me just start off by saying that since I embarked on a mission to raise my Testosterone level naturally and accomplished that goal, the feeling was remarkable.  I felt as if I got my life back.  I was able to make love without fear, my self esteem returned, and I felt even more energy because of my strength training regimen.

Now, there is some evidence that Testosterone Replacement Therapy does not work and the risks of TRT are too high to even consider it, but a new study by Dr. Hiroyuki Konaka of Kanazawa University has concluded that (under the limitations of his research in Japan) men experienced both physical and emotional boost from the hormone.  In this one year study, Japanese men experienced "...significant improvement in muscle volume, voiding, physical role functioning, and erectile function, such as ability to penetrate, measured on the International Index of Erectile Function."

How big is the size of the Testosterone business?

Granted that I started paying attention to Testosterone when I myself experienced symptoms of low-T, but like the commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, the advertisements for Axiron and Androgel are so common now that even a regular viewer cannot miss them.  After all, according to the latest data, last year the drugmakers blew a cool hundred million dollars on advertising.  You must be wondering that it is a lot of money.  Well, not if the total sales of Testosterone Replacement Therapy drugs to be as much as $2 billion in 2012. 

Gel fire hazards

Gee, I was scared of Axiron and Androgel already with their side effects and risk of transference, and now comes the revelation that gel is actually a fire hazard.  I mean think about it, here in New England during a cold winter night with the snow falling outside, you light up a fire, grab a glass of wine, and want to set the mood for making love, and the next thing you know, a little mistake, and you could be on fire.  No, not in the 'fire of passion' way that can be extinguished with sex with your loving partner, but the kind that necessitates a 911 call to the fire department.

Wear red to fight low-T

Like most average guys, I tend to wear a lot of blue (with a mix of white, khaki, beige, gray, and other muted colors).  It was a long time ago that I even gave up wearing neckties so except for my underwear, there are not many colors that I own.  This rather harmless choice of color may explain why I had low Testosterone levels in the first place.  University of Sunderland scientist Daniel Farrelly has found that men who chose the color red were more competitive and aggressive and had higher Testosterone level.  "The research shows that there is something special about the color red in competition, and that it is associated with our underlying biological systems," says Farrelly.



Image of a strong man climbing a wall in a red jacket


Now the way you can raise your Testosterone level by watching competitive sports rather than actually playing it, you do not have to wait for your preferences for color to change naturally.  If you include more red items in your life, you will feel stronger and aggressive.  I guess there is a reason presidential candidates often wear red ties to the debates.  I just need to figure out how to include red in my lifestyle.  A car is going to be a challenge any time soon but I might start with simple objects like T-shirts, workout gear, and other mundane objects in my office.

Could my opioid prescription killing my libido and causing ED?

If you have suffered from severe pain, more specifically, backache, chances are that your doctor has prescribed an opioid drug to you, and scientists like Richard Deyo of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland have concluded that if you are on these types of medications for extended periods of time, you will notice lower levels of Testosterone which will wipe out your libido and if you can manage to bring yourself to your partner, you will unable to perform due to erectile dysfunction.  Ouch!  Yeah, really!  The pain is bad enough and there goes your sex life out the window.

I guess you need to discuss this with your doctor to figure out some kind of a solution because getting on yet more medication in form of testosterone gels and Viagra simply means even more drugs into the system and even more serious side effects.

Raise Testosterone level by watching competitive sports

As I have been repeatedly saying that doing regular strength training exercises has raised my Testosterone levels, I have also been writing about the critical role of being aggressive like an alpha male.  I had cautioned not to pick fight or kill innocent animals mercilessly with a gun but to try activities like boxing or martial arts where you can be aggressive without ending up in jail.  In addition just feeling in control and in a powerful position helps.

Now, there is some great news for couch potatoes out there who simply do not want to go pump iron even if they can't get the girl.  University of Missouri professor of anthropology Mark Flinn has found in a study that testosterone levels in males went up when they won against a rival team.  Now, ideally, you will be actually playing in the team to get the most benefit, but the research concluded that just watching your favorite team can have a positive effect as well.  Professor Flinn says, "The fascinating thing about humans is that whether we are watching or playing the sport, we have the ability to put interactions among the whole team in our heads."

How does Rod Stewart keep his wife happy?

For all those men with low-T, libido, and erectile dysfunction issues, I thought I will share an inspirational story.  Granted Rod Stewart is a celebrity and has been way too many women to keep count, but look what this 68-year old man says about his marriage to a 42 year old model Penny Lancaster.

He says that he sleeps at ‘three quality times’ a week with her.  Do you notice the term 'quality time?'  I think this is something we older guys need to learn that not all intimate moments need to end with penetration, ejaculation, and orgasm.  The goal is to spend quality time with someone we love and while that might start off with wine and dinner but should end up in bed where we please each other to the extent our bodies allow.


 

Since Rod can't stop having babies, he is still not a man to have a house all for himself and his wife, but he compensates for it by hiring babysitters and going on beach vacations with his wife where tries to seduce her with champagne and candle light dinners.  Guys, if this guy whose liver is probably a mess with all the alcohol he has drunk, can do it thrice a week, how about you eating right, working out, and then getting naughty in the bedroom?

Be a man and deal with Testosterone deficiency

An irritable guy due to low T  is generally harmless (though I would take his gun away) but when his wife feels that he does not like sex or when he does not even have enough energy to make love, there is a real problem there.  Take the case of this woman who was dating a man who was in denial about his lack of libido and ED.  Like many dudes in denial, he convinced himself that he would be able to perform only if the right woman came along (for married men this might manifest itself in form of 'only if my wife was not so fat,' or 'only if she wore sexy lingerie,' or 'only if she knew how to seduce a man,' etc.) and when he was unable to perform in bed with her too, rather than rushing to a urologist, he told her that they should just be friends (she refused).


 

So my dear fellow men, look, I know the feeling.  It seems awful that we are not what we used to be and as much as that is true about the level of Testosterone in our bodies it is also true about our failing vision or falling/graying hair or ability to run for an hour without feeling tired.  Now would you feel embarrassed wearing your reading glasses in public?  It is the same thing.  Despite being very healthy, working out regularly, having the right weight, and eating super healthy, I still had low-T because the hormone declines naturally with age.  Obviously, I was able to bring it back by making some changes and you can too.  Actually, if yours has declined because of not working out or being overweight/obese or eating bad, if you make those changes, the improvement will be even more remarkable.  As a last resort, there is always Testosterone Replacement Therapy or ED treatments like Viagra.  The last thing that you want to do is to hang on to your self pride and pretend that there is no problem -- trust me, women can see right through it.

Does TRT cause infertility?

As I have written before, there are some serious doubts if Testosterone Replacement Therapy works for most males.  As far as I was concerned, I opted for a more natural way to boost my Testosterone through diet and exercise, not because I was totally convinced that it did not work, but because almost all prescription solutions like Axiron, Androgel, Testim, Testopel, and Aveed, had side effects that scared the hell out of me despite their promises of youth and vitality.  Let me repeat: I am not necessarily dead opposed to them and will take them on my doctor's recommendation if low-T returns later on, but in the meantime, I am sticking to my zinc, nuts, and oatmeal.


 

Now if you have done your own research on low-T medications, you might have noticed that there is some mention of sperm count.  Now this number is not important for men like me who are no longer wishing to impregnate a woman, but guys who want to become dads need to worry.  Lower the sperm count, lower is the probability that you can make a woman pregnant.  So if you are already struggling with infertility, the last thing you want to do is to undergo TRT despite the cool ads on television these days.  Dr. Bradley Anawalt, an endocrinologist and chief of medicine service at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle is quoted as saying, "Men struggling with fertility should not be on testosterone, [But] this is not something that most physicians or patients are thinking about."  He was responding to the study completed by Dr. Peter Kolettis, a professor of urology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Let me add that this study focused primarily on prescription Testosterone and no one knows if those pills in health food stores do the same, but I am even more skeptical of those because they are not approved by the FDA.

Low Testosterone makes guys irritable

And it is even called by an impressive medical term: Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS).  In fact one doctor by the name of Greg Jantz goes so far as to claim that IMS leads to midlife crisis in men.  I do not think I am in denial about this, but I have never felt that I became irritable just because I had low-T.  On the contrary, as I reached my middle ages, became wiser and mature, I became increasingly more spiritual (without being religious).  I calmed down, learned to appreciate life, and realized that there was way too much nonsense in the world.  This gave me tremendous peace of mind and I became happier.  So there is no reason to feel that you have some impressive sounding illness or that just because your Testosterone level is lower, you need to get irritated.  In my opinion irritable people can be young and full of Testosterone while guys with low-T can be just normal and charming.

Men must avoid BPA

If you have been paying attention, a chemical that is found in almost everything that we use at home and outside has been linked to all sorts of diseases in both adults and children.  It is called BPA (bisphenol-A) and it is found most commonly in hard plastic bottles and metal cans.  This means that there were already enough reasons to eliminate BPA from our lives but now yet another reason to avoid it:  lower Testosterone in men.  I would not recommend that you go crazy but make sure that you replace your standard water bottle to one that clearly says "BPA free."  Most stores carry them and they just tend to be slightly more expensive.  In addition, you should avoid consumption of canned foods, which are unhealthy in so many ways, but this yet another reason to avoid them.  Another thing to remember is that in general avoid using plastic containers in the kitchen and even if you occasionally do, do not put hot foods in them because BPA leaches into them.  Similarly, do not cover food with Saran wrap and put it in the microwave oven.

My husband does not like sex

This is the question I received from one of my readers.  Another lady had slightly different subject line: my husband refuses to have sex with me.  The problem is essentially the same: a man reluctant to make love to his wife.  I am assuming in that in all such cases a woman finds that her hubby or boyfriend was not always so and has changed (I make that distinction because there are some asexual folks, very small number, but they do exist).

So if someone with normal libido in the past is suddenly or even gradually reluctant to make love, the problem has to be first seen in the right context.  Are you two gradually simply getting old (I want to say this because despite having no health problems we all tend to have sex less infrequently over our lifetime)?  Are there other factors like tragedy, stress, depression, etc. that could be bothering him to a point that he has no desire to make love?


 

As I have repeatedly said in the past, the common reason that many women assume -- there is another girl in the picture -- may not always be a factor.  Obviously, it is best to rule it out (not by confronting him until you have solid evidence) through some investigation and gathering evidence, but chances are that a man who is seeing another woman and is sexually active with her will continue to have sex with his wife as well, because the more sex you have the more you want it.  In fact, many adulterers actually have more sex with their wives just to make sure that they don't suspect that he is having an extramarital affair.

So now you know all this, it might actually be the time for a health checkup.  It could be weight gain, hormonal imbalances, poor diet, lack of physical exercises, or something else that might lower a man's Testosterone levels to a point that despite being a normal guy in every other sense, he might feel no desire for you.  The good news is that with diet, exercise, and natural supplements a lot of improvement can be made; if that does not work, there is always TRT.

Why am I ejaculating sooner then normal?

I have received several question on this topic and some men have added that they have also noticed a drop in the amount of ejaculate.  Guys have been wondering if it has something to do with low-T.  So unless you have always had a premature ejaculation problem -- which incidentally is rarely a disease and is mostly a myth perpetuated by watching too much nonsense online -- low levels of Testosterone does not actually create or exacerbate the problem.  What does happen, though, is the extent of performance anxiety can mess up everything while making love.  My advice is to forget about the act itself, relax, breathe, and just do it as if you were doing anything else during the day.  Ignore that you are trying to impress your partner, or that you have a condition, or that you need to prove to yourself or your partner that there is nothing wrong with you.  Eventually, as you relax, everything will fall into place, the way it did for me, after you follow my natural techniques to improve Testosterone levels, or simply choose a prescription medication for low-T.

Lack of energy for sexual activity

Cassidy writes, "My boyfriend gets hard but says he is too tired for sex! I'm confused."

Unlike me, a lot of men with low-T also experience low levels of energy.  You have not indicated if he is also seriously overweight, or even obese, because that may make him not have enough stamina to make love.  In general, though, low levels of Testosterone leaves men with a lot less strength to not only please a woman in bed, but also to be able climb a flight of stairs or work in the yard or shovel snow manually.  I would suggest that you motivate your husband to eat healthy, engage in regular exercise, lose weight if he has excess weight, and not bother with any medication at this point, unless a blood test proves lower than normal hormone levels.