low testosterone levels

  1. The hidden risks of fatherhood

    You make a lot of sacrifices when you become a parent -- but this is one I'm sure most men never see coming...

    It's the loss of their manhood.

    No, I'm not just talking about the fact that one-time tough guys will coo at a baby, or decorate a nursery in pink.

    I'm talking about real research that reveals a sharp dip in testosterone levels from the moment they hear the words, "It's a boy!"

    Fatherhood can literally cause testosterone levels to plummet by as much as half the moment a child is born. And while it recovers after that (a little bit, anyway), they never quite get their pre-parental mojo back.

    Researchers measured testosterone levels by taking saliva samples from 600 childless men in the Philippines, then repeated those tests for five years. The men who had kids during that time saw their levels plunge by 50 percent in the first month of fatherhood.

    Those who were most involved in physically caring for their child had the biggest drops. (If you ever needed an excuse to skip diaper-change, this is it!)

    Testosterone levels eventually recovered when the children reached toddlerhood — but not completely. Men with kids had 34 percent less testosterone by the end of the study, while men without had drops of just 14 percent (we all lose a little as we age).

    But you don't have to tolerate low testosterone levels, whether you're a dad or not. There are simple steps you can take right now to keep your hormone levels exactly where they need to be.

    First, be sure to get your rest. Testosterone levels can fall by 15 percent after just one week of sleepless nights, according to a recent study.

    Next, lose some weight: Studies have found that overweight and obese men have lower levels of the hormone -- and that those levels rise when the weight comes off.

    Finally, find a safe way to get off the drugs you don't need (and that's nearly all of them). Many come with side effects that are downright emasculating. One recent study found that men who take statins, for example, have double the risk of low testosterone.

    If none of these apply to you, and you're suffering from low testosterone, here's one for you: Emerging research has found that an extract of the spice fenugreek can actually cause free testosterone levels to surge by as much as 96 percent. Read more about it here.

    That's enough to turn you into the manliest dad -- or even granddad -- around.

  2. Statins linked to low testosterone

    Looks like those statin drugs lower a lot more than just cholesterol levels--a new study finds that men who take these meds face shrinking testosterone levels, too.

    Ouch!

    Italian researchers made the alarming discovery when they looked at data on nearly 3,500 men with sexual dysfunction who visited a clinic at the University of Florence between 2002 and 2009.

    When they looked at the records and separated the men on statins from the rest, they found that the men taking the drugs had double the risk of low testosterone, according to the study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

    That's a real kick in the manhood... but the journal's editor, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, isn't surprised. He told HealthDay News that he sees patients several times a week who say they've had sex problems after starting on statins.

    The authors of the study say the drugs appear to block the pituitary gland from signaling the testicles that they need to make more testosterone. So they stop... and you pay the price.

    And if those low testosterone levels keep you from performing in the bedroom, then your spouse is feeling the statin side effects, too.

    Now that they're trying to give these meds to millions of new patients who have perfectly normal cholesterol levels, it's possible that we're going to see a new wave of lonely nights in bedrooms across the nation.

    Even without testosterone problems, these meds are bad news. Statins have been linked to debilitating muscle pain, kidney damage and even kidney failure. Yet tens of millions of Americans take them every single day, and are expected to keep taking them until the day they die, despite the fact that there are easier, safer ways to keep your cholesterol levels under control.

    The first and best approach is something I've written to you about before: Keep your weight in check and get some steady exercise. Not only will these lifestyle changes help lower your cholesterol levels, but they will also keep you healthier overall and can even improve your sex life rather than harm it.

    And that's true whether you have a cholesterol problem or not.

    For a little more help, be sure you're getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. You might also want to talk to your doctor about phytosterols and red yeast rice, two natural (and far safer) alternatives to statins.

    You don't have to kill your sex life just to lower your cholesterol levels.

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