Testosterone Therapy

Like most men our age, we may feel we don’t have the same energy levels that we once did. To put it bluntly, the love life isn’t what it should be and we don’t feel like the man we once were. There are a lot of commercials hitting us with the need to get hormone therapy. The question I’m wrestling with is, do we?

What’s Your Problem?

Taking this back to my initial meeting with my team, I have low T and I knew it before I ever saw the numbers. I had a choice to make, treat the low T, lose weight, or both. The combination was out of the question for several reasons. For starters, it cost way too much. I’m all about getting healthy, but c’mon now. So, I had to choose between the two options and I should say, I was leaning towards the hormone therapy. Those ads started playing in my head.

Brothers, let’s take a step back and think about this. What is the problem we are trying to solve? Yes, we want our energy back, but does it matter if we look pudgy and gross? If we are “jiggle bear”? Our own self-esteem and confidence have a role to play here, doesn’t it?

Is Low Testosterone the Cause or the Result of Obesity?

This is really the question on my mind. I’ve got smart people telling me that increasing your lean, red meat and exercising more will replenish the testosterone. And there is some evidence that supports this. But there is a caveat – it seems to be only with men who are younger and thus have borderline deficiency. If you are way down in your Testosterone tank, exercise and diet will not help much.

Sometimes it’s 15 minutes after exercise that testosterone is elevated. Sometimes it can be up to an hour”

According to a published article, “Sometimes it’s 15 minutes after exercise that testosterone is elevated. 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 (source). But this trick only works for a while. Even worse, overdoing exercise may harm your testosterone levels.

The article goes on to suggest that while exercise and diet are important, obesity is a symptom of low testosterone and exercise alone will not reverse it. It is what it is.

It Gets Worse

I mentioned earlier about Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) being lower in obese people. That hormone is required to transport Testosterone. So we have this loop, where we become fat because we have low T, which harms the distribution of the T we have left. Ah, this suck!

Conclusion

If you have relatively low T, you probably can exercise your way out of it. At least for a while. But it’s sort of like vision and age, at some point you will need both glasses and hormone therapy. If you are vegetarian or vegan and deep in your  40’s, you’re gonna need to get some T. It appears my clinic was probably right to recommend both to me (I hate when the white coats are right!) But I still think I was better off going with the diet first, for personal reasons. I think the diet made me focus on overall changes in my approach and understanding of food that hormone therapy may have allowed me to avoid. Basically the diet prevented my eating a few more cheeseburgers. In the end, I’m going to go back and get treatment and if my timing is right, it will be just before my next vacation with wifey.

PS

I’m now down to 214 pounds and have started weight training.

The Foods Causing High Cholesterol

The Foods Causing High Cholesterol

As I began my diet with its prescribed menu I decided to use the time to decide what my diet would be after. Remember the problem is not only obesity but high cholesterol. I thought that meant cutting out red meat – that’s what I was told back when. But then my HCG diet specifically required eating lean sirloin and ground beef. Do I actually know the foods contribute to high cholesterol?

It Isn’t Just Cholesterol – it’s LDL

LDL cholesterol is the result of eating foods, some of them surprising, that are fatty or processed. Here is a short list of those foods:

  1. Ground turkey (unless labeled 90% lean or better)
  2. Sugar and High-fructose corn syrup
  3. Mashed potatoes – Well the potatoes are not the problem, it’s the amount of added butter, cream, and cheese that are added, making it a saturated fat bomb to your diet
  4. Pizza – yep, cheese again but also the sausage and pepperoni that you add to it
  5. Most whole fat dairy products
  6. Pretty much any fast-food
  7. Ghee or clarified butter. Common to Indian recipes, this food is high in Palmitic acid.
  8. Flakey pie crusts and pastries are high in saturated fat
  9. Potato chips and peanut butters (though some have had the trans fat removed)
  10. Movie theater popcorn
  11. Coconut Oil. I hesitate to put this on the list but full disclosure, most advocates of Coconut Oil tell you it is 60% medium chain triglyceride (MCT) that are easily digestible and that is good. But there is 40% of something else – a Long Chain Triglyceride (depending on who you talk to)

What Are My Alternatives?

  • Use lean, grass-fed beef instead of ground turkey. It is higher in omega-3 acids and lower in fat, so its better for me. But be aware, it smells, and tastes a bit different than the corn fed beef that I have to get used to.
  • Avoid most sugars (if I am considering a Paleo diet, maple sugar will become my friend).
  • Reduce cheese and butter consumption, use butter seasonings for my popcorn. They have no fat compared with the real thing. But what to pop popcorn in? Anyone, help?
  • Switch oils to MCT oil and olive oil. MCT is derived from coconut oil and can be found in fitness stores as well as Sprouts and Whole Foods. The MCT vs coconut oil debate is something I might touch on later. Seems like both have too low a smoke point to use for cooking, but my experience is coconut oil is slightly higher.

While trying to take care of both my heart along with my weight, I might now start thinking about a paleo, vegetarian, or vegan diet. I’ll outline the concerns of each in another blog.