Sugar and salt are destroying your marriage

Previously, I gave you a list of libido killing foods and since then I have talking about other things that are killing your sex life like fried foods, canned foods, insomnia, and stress.  In this blog post, I want to share what I have learned about consumption of excessive salt and sugar, both so fundamental to our diets that we cannot imagine eating less of them.

How is salt bad for middle aged men?  You see there is clear evidence between eating a salt rich diet and higher blood pressure (the process is simple: salt retains water and that is why when we get more water in our blood, the heart has to pump a lot harder and that raises the blood pressure).  Unfortunately, high blood pressure weakens the heart eventually and then it cannot pump enough blood to Little Johnny down between your legs, thereby, causing erectile dysfunction

How is sugar bad for middle aged guys?  What sugar does is to cause imbalance in the insulin level in the body and excess sugar lowers blood Testosterone levels.  Also, excessive sugar is stored as fat in the body and that is too bad for Testosterone.  So, ideally, you should just eat no sugar or very little of it, and be very watchful of sugar in supposedly non-sweet products like bread, but if you are willing to give good sex to eat sugar, at least avoid eating sugar a day or so before you think you are likely to get some action in the bedroom.

French fries are killing your sex drive

If you are one of those men who enjoy eating fast food that often includes deep fried dishes like fried chicken or French fries or baked foods like donuts and have noticed that the only craving you have is to eat even more junk food rather than make love to a woman, it is not that you are becoming asexual.  Blame the food instead.  And ladies, if you are reading this, put a wireless tag on your man and do not let him go to eat junk food or any types of dishes made from trans fats (it is the worst and cheapest type of food, and thus, a favorite of food processing companies and junk food restaurants that use it in dishes to make them stay on shelves for months without going bad and to enhance flavor).

Image of a guy eating a high trans fat containing english muffin

How could eating trans fat cause me erectile dysfunction or destroy my libido?  Aha, I am glad that you asked.  First, let us discuss how do you get an erection.  In the simplest term, an erection happens when blood rushes to Little Johnny between your legs and that happens when we feel desire for a woman.  Now, if you are overweight or obese from eating a lot of sweet baked goodies and fried dishes, your blood starts to have more of cholesterol.  Imagine this cholesterol as a deposit on the walls of your blood vessels.  The more cholesterol you have, the more it attaches itself to the walls, thus, narrowing the passage for blood.  In short, enough blood simply does not reach Little Johnny and it fails to get solidly erect or the erection disappears before you can even act.  Also at the same time, your heart is pumping too fast, you might even be sweating, you are nervous because things are not going too well and you have an eagerly waiting woman in front of you to impress (yes, that is what causes many men to have heart attacks during sex).

Eating too many trans fats also raises estrogen (the female hormone) levels in the male body and reduces the male hormone Testosterone, which is what produces desire for making love in the first place.  In other words, eating a fat rich diet attacks us guys on two fronts, both fundamental to performing in bed.  It attacks libido by lowering it and then whatever libido we can manage is useless because we are unable to perform in bed due to ED.  Ouch!

How canned food is destroying your relationship?

It maybe difficult to understand the link between how consuming food stored in a metal containers can do so much damage to a man's sexual health that he can lose all his desire to make love, but bear with me to understand how this works.  Each and every single can out there contains a nasty and dangerous chemical called BPA (bisphenol-A) and so when you drink a can of beer or soda or any other beverage or eat food that was packed in a metal can, you are consuming this chemical.  Unfortunately, this chemical does havoc in the human body but let us limit this discussion to what it does to Testosterone, the male hormone that gives them vitality, vigor, youth, and libido.  Guys who always seem to be holding a can (or cheap plastic bottles, which too contain BPA) or are too lazy to buy fresh meats and vegetables are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction and ejaculation issues.

So what can a man do avoid exposure to BPA?  I can understand that it is nearly impossible to get rid of cans and PET bottles from our lives but it is definitely possible to reduce them.  Now, as I have written before, there really is no good reason for men with low-T to drink alcohol, but if you insist on hurting your sex life, maybe you want to buy beer in glass bottles or switch to wine.  I have never heard anyone tell me a single good reason to drink any thing other than plain water (and an occasional glass of fruit juice, only if it is freshly squeezed by you at home from a real fruit  -- it is better to eat the fruit instead) but there is definitely no reason to drink your water out of a plastic bottle.  Instead, you should simply drink your water from a faucet poured directly into a glass.  You can also carry your own water wherever you go in a BPA-free bottle, that are widely available these days.

Similarly, who told you to ever eat food from a can?  Don't you know that the food inside a can was harvested months/years ago, highly processed, and pumped with tons of preservatives and high levels of salt, that it is really no longer fit for consumption by living beings.  It is much cheaper than buying fresh meats and vegetables but this is an area not fit for cost cutting.  So think again before using a can opener.  Instead, consider using frozen options since they are typically untreated and do not come in a can.

How your insomnia is killing your sex life?

Chances are that insomnia has made your cranky and unproductive and it is affecting your performance at work and maybe your family is unhappy with you, I found out today that lack of sleep is equally detrimental to libido.  This is how it works.  The hormone Testosterone which creates desire in men for having sex is primarily made by the body during sleep.  That is why Testosterone levels are highest first thing in the morning and couples who make love in the morning report better sex but also lasting a lot longer compared to doing it before going to bed when Testosterone levels are low and both partners are tired.

Image of a man sleeping on the beach with his mouth open and eyes covered with a towel

The highest level of Testosterone is produced during what scientists refer to as rapid eye movement or REM sleep.  I do not want you to bore with the details of different phases of sleeping but if you are not getting uninterrupted, peaceful 7-9 hours of sleep every single day, you are not getting enough REM sleep.  The result will be lower levels of Testosterone as well.  In fact, this link is so well known that law enforcement authorities use sleep deprivation as a very effective technique to force criminals and terrorists to talk.  One study was conducted on military trainees and it was found that with sleep deprivation, their Testosterone dropped by as much as 70%.  With a man with such low levels of Testosterone, his self esteem is gone, he is irritable, he has no aspirations or ambitions, and he can be manipulated to do anything.  It is during this phase that interrogators play mind games with a criminal or terrorist and get a confession.

Can healthy diet prevent low-T?

You know this has been a very important question since despite being at a very healthy weight, committed to working out five days a week, and having no other bad habits like excessive drinking, smoking, high levels of stress, using recreational drugs, or taking any type of prescription drugs, I still experienced a phase in my life of low libido and poor erections, which thankfully, I fixed with my lifestyle changes and supplementation, as I documented in my book The Testosterone Challenge.

So I had always wondered if I could have prevented a year or so of poor sex and anxiety caused by not being able to get an erection on demand and the answer has come from Dr. Michael O’Leary, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  According to him, "We don’t know if a healthy diet prevents low testosterone, but a healthy lifestyle will make it less likely to occur.”  Obviously, I might think that I was on a healthy diet but as I discovered later on, as someone on an extremely low-fat, mostly plants based diet, I was not getting enough zinc, a fundamentally important mineral for formation of Testosterone by the body.  However, if I am reading the comments of the professor right, even a perfect diet would not have been so helpful if I was a living a life that was not optimal.  Dr. O'Leary adds that "People are working long hours and have stressful lives. Certainly, obesity doesn’t help — that much we do know. Men who eat a fatty diet have more estrogen, which lowers testosterone."

What does stress have to do with low-T?

For all we know low T may not even be a medical condition, but I do recall going through a phase with way too low libido and some degree of erectile dysfunction.  Contrary to what the Testosterone gel manufacturers will make you believe, the unbiased doctors do not believe that there is such a thing as low Testosterone and that low-T causes poor erections.  Based on my experience, all I can say is that low libido can happen if the Testosterone goes down, which it does with age and other lifestyle choices.  I also learned that when your libido is high you are more likely to have a decent erection and be able to make love normally.  Being a vegetarian and becoming deficient in zinc, I noticed a drop in libido and after making such changes as reducing alcohol, moving from cardio to strength training, taking zinc supplements, and consuming more fats, I got my libido back and magically my ED was gone as well, as I have documented in my Kindle ebook The Testosterone Challenge.

At the same time, I have been grappling with stress, which I think is minimal, but is there due to some work related issues.  Scientists say that it is true that stress can produce more cortisol in the body and that destroys Testosterone but there is no evidence that men with high Testosterone are less stressed or TRT will lower your stress, which by the way is a choice that we make, rather than it being a hormonal condition.  In that context, I liked a remark by Cleveland Clinic urologist Daniel Shoskes, who said, "The idea that you can reduce stress, increase your testosterone, and become a beast in bed is probably nonsense, but it is still good for you to reduce stress. My first advice for reducing stress is to stop worrying about your testosterone."  Exactly, I must confess that after I had issues performing in bed, I have been so stressed out by the whole thing.  I have been afraid of getting old, often wondered if my wife would leave me or have an affair, and get quite terrified if my wife initiates sex and I am not in the mood.  I guess I should follow the advice from Dr. Shoskes and just relax.

Does low-T even exist?

As you know what I have experienced is natural decline in Testosterone level with age and my condition was somewhat exacerbated because of my diet that was extremely deficient in zinc, an essential mineral for sexual health.  Once I started on zinc supplementation, made small changes in my diet to include foods that impact libido, and altered my workout regimen from cardio to strength training, my libido returned and my erectile dysfunction disappeared.  No, I am not like I used to be when I was 20, but that is not I should be in any case, considering I am counting my time to touch 50.

Still, I have read a lot about low-T and definitely watched way too many commercials on television about low-Testosterone but I am also reading in The Times that, according to Harvard Medical School's Dr. Joel Finkelstein, who specializes in studying impact on older men from hormonal changes, there is no such disease as low-T and that it is a buzzword cooked up by pharma companies to drum up sales for their Testosterone gels.  He goes on to say that despite the FDA approval, there is no evidence that TRT works and we definitely do not yet know the risks and side effects completely.

Let me also add that because Republicans hate taxes so much, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is no longer funded by tax dollars.  Instead, the drugmakers pay fees to the agency to approve drugs.  In other words, it is in the best interest of FDA bureaucrats to keep their drug lords happy in order to keep their jobs and that is why they pretty much approve all drugs.  And the way the pharmaceutical business model works is that you get a drug approved and then spend the hell out of marketing that drug to make your profit as soon as possible (eventually they are replaced by cheap generics made in India) and if at any point you get sued for death or personal injury, you hire a powerful law firm, harass the victims or their families till they give up, and finally just settle.  Then, you move on to the next drug.

Best protein powder for men with low-T

As a (mostly) vegetarian and someone who is seriously engaging in strength training and weightlifting, I need to make sure that I get enough protein.   I have discussed previously that without frequent consumption of meat, I end up eating a lot of carbs and that is why in my oatmeal for breakfast I add protein powder.  If you have tried buying protein mix in a store, you will notice that they are derived either from soy or milk.  If you are wondering which one is good for you, here is the answer.

Dr. William J. Kraemer has published a paper ("The Effects of Soy and Whey Protein Supplementation on Acute Hormonal Reponses to Resistance Exercise in Men") in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and he concluded that with just two weeks of consuming soy protein powder the Testosterone level went down.  In other words, for those of us with low-T, despite being able to consume tiny amounts of soybeans occasionally, soy protein can do more harm.  Dr, Kraemer also found that when men consumed whey protein they noticed that lower amounts of cortisol was produced after strength training.  If you remember my past discussion of cortisol (the stress hormone) you do not want any of it (except when you are being chased by a panther in the jungle) and the lower you keep its amount in the body, the higher is the Testosterone level is going to be because they hate each other.

Is pomegranate good for raising Testosterone?

A lot of you have written to me asking if you should start drinking POM juice to naturally raise your Testosterone.  Readers have mentioned a Queen Margaret University which concluded that men experienced a boost in their Testosterone after drinking a glass of juice daily for two weeks.  Look, I am mostly a vegetarian and I consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, so by all means, pomegranates are good.  I want to remind you, though, that the best way to consume fruits is to eat them rather than drink the juice.  Eating a fruit gives you the fiber in its undamaged form and the sugar level does not spike immediately because it takes a while for the body to get that sugar out of the fruit bites.  However, if you insist that you want to drink the juice (maybe you cannot find fruits in your area -- I know here in New England the fruits are expensive), then, make sure that the juice is 100% natural, has no additives, and definitely has no added sugar.

Image of pomegranate fruit split into pieces

Now does it really raise the T level?  Granted that most fruits and vegetables have low zinc and can actually impede absorption of zinc by the body, this fruit has some.  Actually, just 0.2 mg per cup of juice (the amount in the fruit will be a lot less).  Even though my Testosterone level is now normal, I still take 40 mg of zinc daily in supplements and I get a few mg daily from my diet.  In other words, if your level is only slightly lower, you might feel a bit more desire to make love, but most likely it is only the placebo effect.

Hormone therapy after 70s

Image of Suzanne Sommers with her husband Alan Hamel

I was quite impressed with how Rod Stewart keeps his wife happy in bed and it is all due to the set of medicines that are now available (I could not find if he is on TRT and/or ED pills like Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis).  But I do know now that Suzanne Somers (who is 66) and married to 77-year old Alan Hamel is having sex twice a day every day.  And she has gone public with the fact that both she and her hubby are on hormones.  She also gave away another important secret that anyone suffering from low libido must remember: morning sex when Testosterone levels are naturally high.

Occasionally your body will still fail you

Since I started my project to raise my Testosterone level naturally through diet, exercise, and supplements, I was successfully able to achieve the same level of sexual health that I had in my early 40s, as I documented in my Kindle ebook Testosterone Challenge.  While saying this gives me an ego boost, something that helps any man struggling with low self esteem due to aging related symptoms, I also keep repeating this to remind my readers that they can also achieve the same results.  I am not someone special or unique; I am just like anyone else who was committed to bringing my sex life back to normal level without suffering from side effects associated with Testosterone gels.

Well, not that I was becoming arrogant or super-confident -- in fact, I have been quite apprehensive of my bedroom performance during the last few months and always have some level of anxiety -- but after months of reliable performance, it happened.  I failed miserably to have an erection.  I was terrified.  Granted that I had just returned from a trip to Asia, I was jetlagged, tired, my stomach was upset, etc., but I thought that being separated from my wife for over a week would produce enough desire to not have this, but I did.  Thankfully, within a matter of days, I resumed my normal diet, caught up on sleep, and resumed my normal workout routine (staying with other folks in a warm location and not having access to gym was a barrier to continue my exercise regimen, though, I still managed to do several exercises that can be done even in a small room without any equipment).  I was pleasantly surprised that things started working normally the next time after a few days.  I guess the big lesson of aging is that you can never take things for granted and keeping my Testosterone level normal is going to be a lifelong challenge, and the older I get, the harder I will need to work.

Losing weight alone raises Testosterone

You have probably read a lot of stories these days in the media how a man had low libido and his life was on a downward spiral.  Then, he visits a doctor who prescribes him one of the many low-T prescription medications and the next thing you know he feels like a man again, his wife is jumping with joy, and his doctor is telling the reporter how every man who is suffering from such symptoms should consider TRT.  In case, you did not know, these are stories that are planted by public relations (PR) agencies that work with pharma companies and physicians who provide them with real people and their stories.  Generally speaking, this can be a good thing because we can learn something new with a real person's face on it even though we know it is an infomercial.

The sad thing is that in some cases they pick a really bad example.  Like that of Brian Cunningham of Edinburgh, Scotland.  A lot of men who take prescription medication to cure an illness can often experience brief periods of low levels of Testosterone but the level returns to normal once you discontinue the drug (if you are taking a medication for a chronic illness and your libido drops, you should speak to your doctor about it because it is possible that the medicine maybe changed or that you might need Testosterone Replacement Therapy).  The problem with Mr. Cunningham is that he is clearly morbidly obese.  Granted that his situation got worse after an injury and treatment, but the reality is that his weight is so high that it is the primary cause of his low Testosterone and resulting erectile dysfunction and diminished libido.

I am happy for Mr. Cunningham that he got his life back and that the Testosterone gel is working for him but men like him will be much better off losing as much weight as possible.  As I have written previously, being overweight and having a huge tummy alone will destroy your Testosterone.  Obviously, you can rely on gels for the rest of your life or make an improvement naturally by losing weight.  That is a healthier alternative, has no side effects, and not only costs nothing but also has other health benefits.