All posts in Male issues

Fitness Beats Weight Loss For Healthy Aging

  • From: Epidemiology and Prevention.
  • Title: Long-Term Effects of Changes on Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Body Mass Index on All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in Men
  • Author: Duck-chul Lee
  • The Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study
  1. Abstract

Background—The combined associations of changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and body mass index (BMI) with mortality remain controversial  and uncertain.

Methods and Results—We examined the independent and combined associations of changes in fitness and BMI with all-cause and cardiovascular disease  (CVD) mortality in 14 345 men (mean age 44 years) with at least 2 medical examinations. Fitness, in metabolic equivalents  (METs), was estimated from a maximal treadmill test. BMI was calculated using measured weight and height. Changes in fitness  and BMI between the baseline and last examinations over 6.3 years were classified into loss, stable, or gain groups. During  11.4 years of follow-up after the last examination, 914 all-cause and 300 CVD deaths occurred. The hazard ratios (95% confidence  intervals) of all-cause and CVD mortality were 0.70 (0.59–0.83) and 0.73 (0.54–0.98) for stable fitness, and 0.61 (0.51–0.73)  and 0.58 (0.42–0.80) for fitness gain, respectively, compared with fitness loss in multivariable analyses including BMI change.  Every 1-MET improvement was associated with 15% and 19% lower risk of all-cause and CVD mortality, respectively. BMI change  was not associated with all-cause or CVD mortality after adjusting for possible confounders and fitness change. In the combined  analyses, men who lost fitness had higher all-cause and CVD mortality risks regardless of BMI change.

Conclusions—Maintaining or improving fitness is associated with a lower risk of all-cause and CVD mortality in men. Preventing age-associated fitness loss is important for longevity regardless of BMI change.

dr. Tucker’s thoughts:  I think it is important to keep your weight at a healthy level, this study found that weight loss (defined as lowering a person’s body-mass index) was not associated with a reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality (dying from anything) or cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality.

What the researchers did find is that those men who keep their fitness level stable significantly reduced their risk of all-cause and CVD death. Men who were able to increase their fitness level as they got older saw even greater reductions in their risk of death.

I say stay physically fit doing regular exercise, including cardio, flexibility, balance and resistance training. Eat well and stay within a healthy body composition range and you will have even more benefits.

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Hearing loss

Common painkillers may significantly damage your hearing. In this analysis of the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study, researchers found that men who took acetaminophen at least twice each week DOUBLED their risk of hearing loss. And compared to men who used painkillers infrequently, regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen increased hearing loss more than 60 percent.

Sources:
“Analgesic Use and the Risk of Hearing Loss in Men” The American Journal of Medicine, Vol. 123, No. 3, March 2010, amjmed.com
“Common Painkillers Might Make You Hard of Hearing” Megan Brooks, Reuters Health, 3/5/10, reutershealth.com

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September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month

The prostate makes a protein called PSA that is secreted into the blood. The normal range for white males is 0 to 4 ng/ml and for African American men over age 50 is 0 to 3.5 because a study involving 400 African-American men at Walter Reed Army Medical Center showed that nearly 40% of prostate cancers were missed if the normal limit of 4 ng/ml was used.

About 20% of men with prostate cancer have a PSA less than 4 ng/ml. Only 25% of patients with PSA in the 4 to 10 ng/ml range, however, will have prostate cancer.

As men age, the prostate usually enlarges due to benign prostatic hyperplasia and consequently, the PSA rises.
Table 1. Age-Adjusted Normal PSA Values

40 to 49 years old 0 to 2.5 ng/ml

50 to 59 years old 0 to 3.5 ng/ml

60 to 69 years old 0 to 4.5 ng/ml

70 to 79 years old 0 to 5.5 ng/ml

An elevated PSA can occur from any of these (other than cancer)
· Benign prostatic hyperplasia
· Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) – PSA should return to patient’s normal after proper treatment
· Bike riding for extended periods of time; Marathon Running12
· Ejaculating within the last 24 hours
· Mechanical manipulation: Digital rectal exam before the PSA test, Biopsy, Cystoscopy, Foley catheter placement and TURP.

PSA Does Not Extend Life. There is no conclusive evidence that routine use of PSA screening in all men decreases the death rate from the disease. This is because even if prostate cancer is detected early, aggressive management of prostate cancer provides little or no improvement in survival rates. Furthermore, prostate cancer develops over a long period of time. It is often said that men die with prostate cancer, not from it. Early detection will increase the number of prostate cancer cases resulting in anxiety, depression and fear for patients who are unlikely to suffer from any symptoms of the disease. In an effort to “do something” many patients will undoubtedly be treated resulting in unnecessary suffering from side effects and expenditure of health care dollars on unnecessary treatments.

If you are borderline, the new approach to treatment is called “Active holistic survailance”. I often co-manage these cases with clients MD’s and some of the things I do in practice are recommend natural anti-inflammatories, use AHCC, check vitamin D3 levels, use fish oils, reduce red meat, and recommend exercises.

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Prostate cancer, index finger, & penis size?

Guys with shorter index fingers than ring fingers tend to have bigger penises than guys with the opposite digit scenario, finds a new study in the Asian Journal of Andrology.

Men who came in to a Korean hospital for urological surgery were anesthetized, scientists measured consenting patients’ penises. 

Fact: Since shorter members stretch more than longer ones, the stretched measurement—used by the researchers—is more telling about the size of an erect penis. Other researchers measured the patients’ index and ring fingers.

The connection: The testosterone men get exposed to while they’re still fetuses controls both penis and finger length, the researchers explain.

The early testosterone exposure causes a shorter index finger than ring fingers—known as a low digit ratio. These men tend to have a higher risk of prostate cancer, be better at sports and financial trading, and have higher sperm counts.

The study says that the average size of an erect penis is about 5.5 inches.

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Prostate Cancer Prevention

Men over the age of 50 pay attention. 

Avodart and Proscar are drugs in a class known as “5-ARIs.”

This class of drugs was developed to treat enlarged prostate (also known as BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia). 

In a 2010 New England Journal of Medicine study, about 3,300 men at high risk of prostate cancer took Avodart for four years. A second group of men — also at high risk — took a placebo.

Compared to placebo, the relative risk of any level of prostate cancer was reduced by nearly 23 percent in the Avodart group.

Sounds pretty good, right? I mean…based purely on that number, you wouldn’t blink if your doctor encouraged you to take a 5-ARI if you’re at high risk of prostate cancer. And keep in mind that every man between the ages of 50 and 75 is considered high risk. 

Patrick Walsh, M.D., is a Professor of Urology at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he served as Urologist-in-Chief for 30 years. In an editorial he wrote that appears in the same NEJM issue as the Avodart study, Dr. Walsh points out that Avodart and Proscar, “do not prevent prostate cancer but merely temporarily shrink tumors that have a low potential for being lethal, and they do not reduce the risk of a positive biopsy in patients who have an elevated PSA level.” 

“Men will believe that it prevents cancer, will be pleased that their PSA levels fall, and will not understand the potential danger of undiagnosed high-grade disease.” Speaking specifically about the Avodart study, he said the results showed, “there was a 23% reduction in low-grade tumors that the patients would never have known they had. Does this sound like an indication to take a pill with sexual side effects that costs $4 a day?” 

In the NEJM study, sexual dysfunction was higher in the Avodart group, and — even more important — subjects in that group were nearly TWICE as likely to experience heart failure compared to placebo.

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B6 & Prostate

Your body puts B-6 to use in activating nearly 120 enzymes and 19 of your body’s 20 amino acids. And all of that contributes to DNA repair, healthy immune, hormone, and cognitive functions, as well as prevention of heart disease, depression, kidney stones, and some cancers.?

B-6 has been shown to modify the way the prostate responds to testosterone.??Therefore?B complex?may have a preventive effect on the development and progression of prostate cancer.

To investigate this link, a team from the Harvard School of Public Health looked at dietary habits of 525 men with prostate cancer. Survival over a period of 20 years was compared to the intake of four B vitamins: folate, riboflavin, B-6, and B-12.

Results: Men with highest B-6 intake were significantly more likely to survive the two decades compared to men with the lowest intake of the vitamin. None of the other nutrients were linked to longer survival time.

Most importantly, men with the best survival records were those who had localized-stage prostate cancer at the outset of the study and also had the highest B-6 intake. In other words, high levels of the vitamin were most effective when the cancer was newly diagnosed and had not yet spread beyond the prostate.

Men who had the highest intake averaged 2.2 to 2.9 mg of B- 6 daily–about twice the recommended intake.?

Bananas and chicken breast have particularly high levels of vitamin B6. Red meat, fish, beans, fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens are also good sources.?

Daily recommends 100 mg of B-6 daily, along with other B vitamins, of course, and magnesium.

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Testosterone & Male Menopause

Men also experience a change of life coincident with an age-related decline in testosterone, the hormone that plays a key role in everything from puberty to maintaining muscle strength and bone mass to sex drive.

It  begins in their late 30s or early 40s, with a gradual drop in testosterone of about 1 to 2 percent a year. Eventually a deficit of testosterone occurs and symptoms may arise. Symptoms include depression, irritability, low energy, decreased muscle mass, weight gain, sexual dysfunction and even the occasional hot flash or night sweats.

Low testosterone levels are linked to low sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and a poor morning erection, and if these three symptoms are present, get your testosterone checked. 

 

“Lack of energy and motivation, poor memory, weight gain, and muscle weakness are reasons to get checked” says Dr. Jeffrey Tucker “Do you have lower energy? Are you not sleeping as well? Is your libido down? Are your erections not as good as they used to be?” GET CHECKED! 

I think testosterone supplementation in aging men is probably safe in the long run. I have had patients use topical creams, injectable and implanted testosterone, and supplements that stimulate the body’s production of testosterone. My first line therapy is to recommend each man take the ‘Wellness Essentials for Men’ vitamin packets from Metagenics. You can order these from from site.

 

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Prostate Nutrition

Tomatoes: Red tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. Studies show that antioxidants protect against prostate cancer. 
Green Tea: Study after study shows the benefit of drinking green tea for general good health. Green tea is protective against prostate cancer. Try to brew up at least two cups per day.
Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, & cauliflower help protect against prostate cancer. Others include kale, and mustard greens. Just three or more servings per week may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 50 percent. Try to include at least one of these vege’s per day in your meals.
Garlic: It contains selenium which is an essential antioxidant that fights cancer and may cut prostate cancer risk by  50 percent.
Brazil Nuts: Another great source of selenium. A daily handful of Brazil nuts offers enough selenium to lower your risk by 50 percent.
Fish: Contains Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and selenium. These three taken together should be part of a prostate cancer prevention program. Best sources: Sardines, tuna, and salmon.
Flaxseeds: These are a rich source of vitamin E. Research conducted on mice shows that flaxseeds may slow the spread of prostate cancer. I like to put Flaxseeds in my protein shakes – UltraMeal powder by Metagenics or FitFood powder by Xymogen.
Pomegranate Juice: Pomegranate juice also slows the growth of prostate cancer, according to research on mice.
Scallions: One study showed that eating just a tenth of an ounce of scallions each day reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 70 percent.
Saw palmetto also boosts prostate health. Saw palmetto alleviates the symptoms of prostate gland enlargement. The herbal extract is the initial treatment for urinary tract problems in several European countries.

If you need added support and want to take a supplement in conjunction with a healthy diet, I recommend Prostate FLO by Xymogen (1-800-647-6100). This is a comprehensive prostate support formula. Its primary mode of action involves maintaining healthy testosterone metabolism. 
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Coffee & Prostate Cancer Prevention Update

This research was published this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. It’s called the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

Lead author Mucci’s team followed 47,911 men from 1986 to 2008. During that time, the men kept track of their coffee consumption.

Men with the highest coffee consumption had a 60 percent lower risk of developing a form of the cancer that’s most likely to result in death.

Men who drank six or more cups a day had a 20 percent reduced risk of any form of prostate cancer. Even one to three cups a day corresponded to a 30 percent drop in the risk of lethal prostate cancer.

Mucci said, “Our study is the largest to date to examine whether coffee could lower the risk of lethal prostate cancer.”

What was responsible for the positive results? Researchers credited quinine, magnesium, and trigonelline. These compounds cut inflammation and manage insulin. Coffee also contains antioxidants that fight free radicals and prevent cell-damaging oxidation.

It doesn’t matter if you prefer regular or decaffeinated coffee. Researchers found the same reduction in risk with both.

And for the best protection against prostate cancer, you should drink your coffee black.

Dr. Neal D. Barnard reviewed 12 international studies. He found that “consumption of dairy products is associated with increased risk of prostate cancer incidence and mortality.”

If you need a little milk in your coffee, try almond milk instead.

 

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Grape Seed Extract – anti-inflammatory & prostate fighter

Grape Seed Extract, which has been used as a potent anti-inflammatory for generations of men who suffer from prostate cancer, works in a startling way against the cancer cells by preventing them from reproducing at a genetic level.  The effect is epigenetic, meaning it is an outside factor that can influence gene expression.  One marker scientists use to identify tumor cells is a change in a process called histone acetylation, and special proteins that assist the process are called histone acetyltransferases (or HATs, for short).  Grape Seed Extract was able to interrupt the activity of the HATs in prostate cancer cells by 30-80%, and slowed down the amount of hormone-sensitive growth within the cell by decreasing the number of protein messengers in it.  So not only did the Grape Seed Extract slow down the tumor cells, it actually kept them from growing. 

Unfortunately, if something like Grape Seed Extract can work on an epigenetic level to shut down cancer cells, that means there are plenty of chemicals out there that can switch them on the same way.  But as the editors of Journal of Medicinal Food wrote in response to the findings, this study is a good case in point of the failure to make genotype (the set of genes you’re born with) automatically determine phenotype.  Put another way- we’re more than just our genetic code, and we have the ability to alter what gets switched on or off through our interaction with the environment.

S.Y. Park, Y.-H. Lee, K.-C. Choi, A.-R. Seong, H.-K. Choi, O.-H. Lee, H.-J. Hwang, and H.-G. Yoon (2011). “Grape Seed Extract Regulates Androgen Receptor-Mediated Transcription in Prostate Cancer Cells Through Potent Anti–Histone Acetyltransferase Activity.” Journal of Medicinal Food 14 (1/2) 2011, 9–16.

 

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