I never quite got into the Movember movement, or any special awareness program for that matter, probably because I have been in the awareness business and educating people on health and nutrition for the past 20+ years now. They bring on a trend, without any real actions to tackle the real underlying subjects, such as bullying, breast, testicular and all types of cancer.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly care about these types of illnesses and diseases, but I think that creating a trend in order to bring awareness is only a small percentage of the work to be done to educate people. Take the climate walk by the little one, Greta. I would bet that most people didn’t know half of the real issues about climate change. They just walk because it was a cool thing to do and their employer give them a day off!
The same goes for the Movember movement. I applaud those who started it but growing a mustache for awareness won’t save anyone. Just to tell you that everyone seems to associate the movement with growing a mustache and prostate cancer right? But what if I tell you that they also talk about testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention? These are big, and often taboo subject matters to tackle, especially with big strong dudes right? Well, it’s time to stop this type of ignorance.
The real action to take is to educate with real information, which is not fun. It takes habits change, monetary and personal investment. You will have to change a few habits, not the easiest and unnecessary ones, unfortunately. You want to get involved, have a read.
Here are the stats
- 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- 170,000 men living with and beyond prostate cancer. Many are dealing with serious side effects from treatment.
- Testicular cancer strikes early and is the most common cancer in young Canadian men.
- Globally, 1 man dies of suicide every minute of every day.
- Around the world, the rate of male suicide is alarmingly high: 6 out of 10 suicides are men.
What if I tell you that all these might have some kind of close relation to one another? That they might all start from the same few issues?
Besides all the action we can think of to support those in need, one of the obvious and best actions to take is and will always be prevention. The problem is that everyone seems to think that they have some kind of immunity to it. Everyone is fine with their standards. Little do they know that no one is very far from losing a close battle with sickness and worst health sentences, especially if we fail to see and feel the signs and symptoms our body is sending us.
Habits to watch and change to give you a fair chance
Your body is constantly sending you feedbacks.
Feel tired, libido is down, hungry, can’t sleep, waking up often during the night, bloated, constipated, acid reflux, weight gain or loss, unable to gain or lose weight, anxiety, depressed, down, hyperactivity, unable to concentrate, headaches, joint and muscle aches, etc.
These symptoms, which are very common, are not like the common flu, you can’t catch them from someone else. These are induced, by your habits and most of the time, the result of a chemical imbalance inside your body, which provokes a cascade of hormonal disruption or issues. As little can be the influence, if not taken care of early, it can eventually grow into major consequences on the long run. Which leads me to the most important part of this article and what should be in my opinion the main focus of the Movember movement:
The end of the virile men.
Estrogen is the female hormone, right? The problem is that we are finding higher levels of these hormones in men. Weight gain, mood swings, erectile dysfunction, obesity, and gynecomastia are amongst the symptoms related to higher levels of estrogen in male’s blood, more specifically the enzyme aromatase.
That enzyme is responsible for the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. Wait, it doesn’t stop here, even though the medical community may refute some of these claims, pollution, and xenoestrogens are putting an additional load on us and can mimic and take the same pathway as endogenous estrogens.
So basically, the ultimate goal would be to lower estrogens and increase or, at least, get optimal levels of testosterone. Testosterone is critical in male’s sexual behavior and reproduction but also brings important benefits to muscle mass and strength, adiposity, bone density, vigor, and well-being.
Every time someone walks in my office, I must screen them as fast as possible and determine whatever major issues I need to work on before starting any lifestyle changes. Besides blood test, which I always want to have in hand, I look for some of the previously mentioned symptoms. In fact, for any male clients, if I want to have a small idea of what their testosterone profile looks like, I ask one very simple question:
Do you pitch a tent before or when you wake up, better known as morning wood?
I told you, some of the issues might be hard to talk about (no pun intended), but this is one of them, erectile dysfunction. Don’t think your testosterone levels are fine if you can’t get it up. A healthy man usually has anywhere from three to five erections during the night lasting about 25 to 35 minutes, which the last of the series are usually right before you wake up.
But what does it really say about your health?
When testosterone levels are optimal, we have one of these spikes (no pun intended, but they are endless) in the early morning. So, you can have a sigh of relief when you do get one since it’s a good sign the equipment is working well.
It also indicates that blood flow is on point. If a man's vessels are obstruction-free and elastic, it indicates that the heart and brain are functioning and that erections should be rock hard.
At last, it says a lot about your quality of sleep. If the body can’t rest and regenerate, hormones can’t go back to their natural levels to tackle another day. Morning wood happens especially after coming back from REM sleep, one of the deepest cycles also known as the “rest and regeneration” cycle. No need to say more.
The key to success lies in prevention. Keep in check those habits to make sure you give yourself a fair chance.
Most of the testosterone is produced during sleep, so maximizing your “zzz’s” is crucial for your manhood’s health. In older men, morning testosterone levels are partly predicted by total sleep time. When we know for a fact that total sleep time averages have gone down significantly in the last 20-30 years, from 8-9 hours a night to an average of almost 6 hours, it is fairly easy to say that, you are not the man your father was. In fact, testosterone therapy amongst men is on the rise. From 2010 to 2013, prescriptions doubled, which researchers partially blame on drug marketing campaigns of T-boosters. The fact that these campaigns are successful speaks volumes on the current conditions of modern men.
Although sleep issues and how to fix them could be the subject of a whole article to itself, everyone can benefit from having a pre-bedtime routine. Two or three hours before bed, dim the lights, get rid of anything you have in mind or that you don’t want to forget by writing everything down. Plan the following day and get everything ready now. Close all techs and grab a book or do some meditation. The goal is to bring the stress down and slowdown that thinking box. Might take a few nights before it works, but get this routine in your habits and I guarantee you that you’ll improve the quality of your sleep.
Impaired digestion leads to visceral issues. The rest and digest cycle needs to have the necessary nutrients to (you guessed it) regenerate. Regeneration also means improving all hormone levels, including testosterone. Maximizing digestion also means improving the detoxification abilities of our bodies. Environmental pollutants (xenoestrogens) can sometimes take a toll on our digestive system so making sure you get all the necessary building blocks such as all the amino acids to improve detoxification processes will be of great help.
Our enzymatic control might just be what can help you improve digestion. It helps reduce gas production/flatulence following a meal rich in fermentable carbohydrates (such as vegetables, pulses/legumes/beans, and whole grains) and is traditionally used in herbal medicine to help relieve digestive disturbances/dyspepsia.
Cooking the gonads
One very bad habit most people have is to put their laptops on their lap. The temperature of the testes is maintained at 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), i.e. two degrees below the body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Higher temperatures affect spermatogenesis and testosterone production. The primary reason your testicles lie in a little pouch is that they function best at a few degrees lower than body temperature, so cooking them with your laptop is a really bad idea.
Protein and calories
What you eat has a major impact on testosterone and other hormones as well. I must also mention that frequent dieting/low calories diets and calorie restriction strategies can lower testosterone too. A study tracked down a bodybuilder to look at health markers and how they regulate during and after competition prep. Testosterone declined from 9.22 to 2.27 ng/mL during preparation and returned to the baseline level, 9.91 ng/ml, after a competition. Although they didn’t talk about the methods of preparation, it’s fair to say that overtraining and calorie restriction has an impact on your hormones, so imagine repeating this process a few times during the year, for a few years.
Besides carbs and fat, eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss, which is also associated with your testosterone.
Strength train efficiently, not maximally
If you’re a man with low testosterone, exercise may help. However, several factors besides your workout are involved. The thing is, you have to do it regularly to reap the benefits. After exercise, test levels rise, but not for long. "Sometimes it’s 15 minutes, sometimes it can be up to an hour,” says Todd Schroeder, PhD, who studies exercise and hormones in older men at the University of Southern California.
In another study, Growth Hormones and Testosterone were measured in young (23) and elderly (63) subjects before and after a 12-week training program. They found that the increase is significant in both parties, but that the elderly response does not equal that of the young.
It also has to do with the amount you are doing. Overtraining is a big issue. Most studies conducted on the subject do small bouts of hypertrophy training, textbook training with proper rest intervals. However, there are many limiting factors to such studies, such as sleep disorders, metabolic syndrome (dyslipidemia), Autoimmune diseases, vitamin deficiency, etc. Nonetheless, it can have a negative impact on hormones, and quality of life.
My goal with everyone is to find the minimum we can do to have maximum results. The gym culture of recent years has put too much emphasis on killing yourself to show you’re an alpha, thanks to new trends that I won’t mention. The goal is to train efficiently, not maximally.
Aromatek for the win
Optimizing male sexual health is more complicated than simply “boosting testosterone”. In fact, many symptoms of low testosterone are NOT due to issues with testosterone production!
This is the reason why ATP developed Aromatek. Modern life brings a lot of new major concerns about hormones. Males are turning slowly into females because of the massive volume and the frequency of the hormonal aggression they face everywhere in their environment.
Nowadays we can speak of a sea of pollutants with “hormonal” or “xenoestrogen” functions in which men are immersed. Hundreds of substances found all around our environment can mimic estrogens and disturb men’s hormonal balance.
To those pollutants, we must add nutrients discrepancies caused by an undermined modern agriculture. Soils are overused and their minerals levels have never been so impoverished. The food they produce is weak and lacks essential nutrients like zinc, magnesium and many more.
To fight back against environmental aggressions, we need to make better choices. It means stop using plastic bottles, avoid phthalates, choose your detergent and cosmetic wisely, follow a bio-veggies-rich diet, avoid drinking too much alcohol, avoid sugar, etc. And even if you make all the necessary efforts, reaching an optimal and balanced level is not simple. This is why we developed Aromatek. GO check our website to get every detail about this new formula specially designed for maximizing male hormones.