muscle weakness

  1. Testosterone can help with obesity and other health problems

    The hormone men need for everything

    It's one of the most common misperceptions about aging -- that as men get older, they have to tolerate getting weaker, slower, fatter, and less able to have normal sexual function.

    Nothing could be further from the truth -- because none of that has to be a part of the aging process. All of those problems and more can often be traced to a single cause: low testosterone.

    The bad news is, low testosterone does tend to come with the aging territory. The older you get, the less your body makes -- ironically just as you need it most. And along with all those problems I just mentioned, low levels of the hormone can put you at risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

    But there's good news here, too, because that means all of those problems can be cured or avoided by simply boosting your testosterone levels -- and the latest research backs what I see all the time in my own practice.

    In one new study, German researchers gave testosterone injections to 115 obese men between the ages of 38 and 83 every 12 weeks for five years, slowly bringing their hormone levels back up to where they should be.

    And over those five years, the men lost an average of 35 pounds and shaved an average of 4 inches off the waistline, going from 42 inches down to 38.

    The benefits didn't end there. Researchers say the men had improvements in cholesterol, blood pressure levels, and more.

    Naturally, when you lose weight, you also lower your risk of diabetes -- and testosterone is the stone that can kill both of those birds. The new study even shows how, since the men given testosterone also saw improvements in blood glucose levels.

    This is no coincidence since testosterone plays a key role in insulin production -- and another new study confirms that link.

    In this one, mice bred to have impaired testosterone function in their fat tissue were much more likely to be insulin-resistant -- and that was true whether the mice were fat or normal-sized.

    If the study holds as true for men as it does the mice, it means low testosterone could boost your risk of diabetes even if you're not fat.

    But while low levels can increase your diabetes risk, higher levels can help -- even if you already have, or are at risk for, the disease.

    In a 2008 study of 220 men with either diabetes or metabolic syndrome (which is often a precursor to diabetes), men given a testosterone gel had improvements in both insulin resistance and glycated hemoglobin levels when compared to men given a placebo gel.

    The men who got the gel also had improvements in body fat as well as cholesterol levels.

    They also had a couple of very noticeable changes in that "other" area testosterone is famous for: They had improvements in both orgasm and erectile function.

    And yes, testosterone is pretty good for that, too -- and that's true whether you have diabetes or not.

    If you think you may need a hormone boost, visit a holistic doctor who can treat you with natural bioidentical hormones. I help men with this issue all the time at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

  2. Walk faster, beat death

    Every horror movie has the slow guy -- the one who falls behind everyone else... and you know what happens to him, right?

    Zombie chow!

    Out here in the real world, it's pretty much the same deal (minus the zombies) -- because it turns out the slowest walkers have the highest risk of death.

    Australian researchers checked the walking speeds of 1,705 senior men and then tracked them for up to 21 years. They found that those who walked at 1.8 miles per hour or less were far more likely to die in that time that those who walked more quickly.

    Those who topped 2 miles per hour, on the other hand, were 1.23 times less likely to die than the slowpokes -- while those who kept up a brisk 3-mph-pace had the lowest risk of death overall.

    That's in line with a study last year that found that seniors who can walk at 2.2 mph outlive those who only go 1.3 mph or less -- with the benefits increasing along with the walking speed. (Read about that study here.)

    In that study, researchers found that those who walk the fastest can live between 8 and 10 years longer than those who walk the slowest -- which gives you plenty of extra time for walking or whatever else you want to do.

    Of course, there's more than just walking speed on the line here. People who walk slower tend to have other physical problems that can boost the odds of an early death.

    Slow walking can be a sign of muscle weakness, which could lead to a fall and a devastating or even deadly bone break. It could also signify a neurological problem, including Parkinson's disease.

    Circulation problems, pain, arthritis -- all of these conditions and more can also slow you down, diminish your quality of life, and maybe even allow the Grim Reaper to gain another step or two on you.

    And that's someone you don't watch catching up.

  3. Statins for the masses

    Pfizer is getting ready to take a multibillion-dollar loss this fall when it loses patent protection on the best-selling drug of all time. But don't expect them to sit back and watch Lipitor's $11 billion a year in sales go down the drain. The Wall Street Journal says the company is hatching a plan to have its cholesterol-lowering drug sold over the counter.
  4. Soda: still no good

    Ounce for ounce, there are few things in your home as bad for your body as soda.

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