Men Sexuality and "reproductive" problems by Steven H. Horne, RH (AHG) and Kimberly Balas
In this article I'll talk about the environmental toxins that
are reducing our testosterone levels and reproductive health and
the nutritional deficiencies that are weakening our bodies.
There are a number of chemicals that reduce male health
Xenoestrogens are environmental chemicals that have an
estrogenic effect, meaning they attach to estrogen receptors in
the body and stimulate them. In women, xenoestrogens cause
estrogen overload and result in over stimulation of breast and
In men, xenoestrogens disrupt the natural balance
between male and female hormones, causing men to lose some
of their manly traits.
For starters, xenoestrogens are believed by some researchers
to be the primary cause of a world-wide decrease in male fertility.
They are both reducing male sperm count and reducing the
quality of male sperm.
Xenoestrogens are also believed to be a major factor in the
rise of prostate diseases. The prostate has estrogen receptors, so
these chemicals over stimulate prostate tissue resulting in the
overgrowth of the prostate, a condition known as benign prostate
hyperplasia (BPH for short). They also contribute to prostatitis
(inflammation of the prostate) and prostate cancer.
Since testosterone helps a man burn fat and build lean
muscle, xenoestrogens also contribute to obesity in men. They
may cause men to develop more breast tissue (a very common
problem with modern men) and to experience erectile dysfunction
(we have become the Viagra generation). Clearly, any man
who values his manhood ought to do all he can to avoid xenoestrogens.
Pesticides and other agricultural chemicals are a primary
source of these xenoestrogens, which is one reason why many
farmers have developed serious weight problems in spite of the
physical labor they perform. Men ought to be eating organically
grown produce wherever possible and making sure that regular
produce is properly washed to remove as many of these chemicals
Since plastics are another major source of xenoestrogens, soft
plastic containers should be avoided in favor of glass or stainless
steel. At the very least, use hard plastics instead of soft ones. Since
heat releases these chemicals, don't microwave food in plastic containers
or put hot food into plastic containers. Also, don't give
your children, especially your sons, soft plastic toys. They will
chew on them.
Plastic baby bottles should also be avoided.
One of the chemicals in plastics that has been shown to
inhibit testosterone and damage male reproductive organs is
phthalates. In addition to being used to soften plastics (hence
the reason for avoiding soft plastics), phthalates are used in
perfumes, hair sprays, lubricants and wood finishers. They are
also responsible for that new car smell as they are volatile (which
means heat releases them). About a billion pounds of materials
containing phthalates are produced worldwide each year.
Q. What is your protocol for helping men with BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)?
Anytime you have something with inflammation involved,
it will be affecting all areas of the body as well. I use a high
quantity of IF Relieffor most people since the underlying root
cause of most diseases is inflammation. Men's Formula is a good
adjunct to this too. It helps with the feeling of frequent urination.
Supplements like Saw Palmetto and KB-C are also helpful
Considering the problems men are having with reduced testosterone
levels due to these environmental chemicals, it would
seem wise that men also reduce their exposure to phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens. While phytoestrogens
may be beneficial for women as they do help to block the more
powerful xenoestrogens, they probably are not a good idea for men
who are trying to balance their hormone levels.
One of the foods that may be particularly problematic for
men is soy.
There is research that demonstrates that genistein,
one of the phytoestrogens in soy, decreases male fertility. There
is also research that suggests that soy products in animal feed can
reduce the fertility of male animals. Occasional use of soy products
(2-3 times per week) is not a problem, but soy is increasingly
being added to many foods and vegetarians often consume very
large amounts of it. Many body builders claim it is harder to
build muscle on soy-based protein powders, too.
Based on what I have read, I have decided to limit the amount of
soy in my diet. Instead, I am opting to include more organic,
grass-fed beef in my diet. I have done this even though I am an "A"
blood type and soy is supposed to be a beneficial for me and red
meat is an avoid. I have found that as long as I don't eat large portions
of the grass-fed beef (no more than 2-4 ounces) and take
protease enzymes with it, that I actually do better than I did
when I ate more soy.
Another interesting plant that has strong phytoestrogenic
effects is hops. Hops has been traditionally used to decrease
sexual desire in men and increase it in women. According to
Stephen Harrod Buhner in his book The Natural Testosterone
Plan, beers were originally made from a variety of medicinal
plants, many of them possessing testosterone-enhancing action.
The decision to require that beer be made from hops was made
under pressure from the Protestant reformers who wanted to
remove sexually stimulating herbs from beer. They chose hops
because it is a sedative that makes a person sleepy and reduces
male sex drive. Men who handle hops during the brewing process
can actually develop impotence in middle age just from
handling the plant because the estrogens in hops will transmit
directly through the skin.
Enhancing Male Testosterone Levels
Just like women have more than one form of estrogen,
men have more hormones than testosterone that contribute to
our masculinity. These hormones, which include testosterone,
androstenedione (andro), androstenediol, dihydrotestosterone
(DHT) and DHEA, are collectively known as androgens. The
ratio of androgens and estrogens in the body is important.
Androgens like testosterone are not just important for a
man's sex drive. They are also important for men's overall health.
Testosterone helps a man put on muscle and burn fat. It elevates
a man's mood to keep him from becoming depressed. It protects
him from heart disease and cancer. Testosterone also makes a
man more creative and imaginative. So, the bottom line is having
a high level of testosterone is good for a man.
Most of the testosterone in a man's body is bound. This
means that it's not immediately available for use. Only a small
percentage, about 2-3%, is free testosterone. As men age, levels
of free testosterone decline. This is responsible for a shift in
middle age men called andropause. Men naturally become a
little less aggressive and a little more sensitive. However, if men
start making, or are exposed to, too many estrogens and/or have
too little free testosterone, this shifts the androgen/estrogen balance
and causes numerous health problems like prostate swelling,
infertility, weight gain, etc. So, how can men increase their testosterone levels for a better
Well, for starters, looking at attractive women stimulates testosterone
production. That's probably part of the reason married
men tend to live longer than single men. So, don't feel guilty
that it makes you feel good to see a pretty girl, it is perfectly normal.
Exercise also helps free testosterone for use, particularly exercising
the legs with resistance training.
Eating organically raised,
grass fed beef also enhances testosterone in men. Actually, beef in
general enhances testosterone, but commercially raised beef just
is not as healthy as grass-fed beef.
There are also testosterone-enhancing herbs and supplements
men might consider. According to Steven Buhner the
pollen of pine trees is one of the strongest androgenic herbs
that increases levels of free testosterone in the blood. It is used
in Chinese medicine as a rejuvenating tonic, but is not a widely
used remedy in the United States.
Testosterone-enhancing herbs that most men would have
easy access to include, Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), American
ginseng (P. quinquefolia), eleuthero root(Eleutherococcus senticosus),
tienchi ginseng (P. notoginseng) and puncture vine (Tribulus
terrestris). These herbs can be useful tonics for men to take as we
get older because they help stimulate the production of androgens
and slow the effects of aging in men.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for men with erectile dysfunction?
What is your approach to this problem?
Fifty percent of men ages 40-70 experience some degree
of erectile dysfunction (ED). There are two basic types:
a. Psychological ED is mentally and emotionally based, while
physiological ED is due to some form of physical or medical
The first type, psychological ED, can be related to many
issues, such as depression, performance anxiety, marital stress or
relationship problems, marital boredom, life crisis, financial difficulties,
religious repression or some type of mental illness. This
requires counseling or emotional healing work.
b. Physiological ED becomes more common as men get older.
It has four major causes: vascular, neural, hormonal and drug induced.
The appropriate approach will depend on the cause, so
let's look at each of these causes and what to do about it.
1. Vascular causes of ED
This has to do with blood flow. It takes blood flow to the
penis to get an erection, so any condition that impedes blood
flow can cause ED. This includes atherosclerosis (hardening of
the arteries), hypertension, inflammation of the blood vessels
Other factors that impede blood flow could be
injury or surgery to the pelvic or abdominal area and smoking.
Smoking reduces genital blood flow.
If circulation is the cause, the l-arginine found in Solstic Cardio can be helpful. L-arginine acts as a precursor for nitric oxide,
which dilates arteries and small blood vessels. This reduces blood
pressure and increases blood flow to the genital area. A small
1994 study, in which men took 2.8 grams of arginine every
day for two weeks, showed a significant improvement in ED.
Another study found that almost three-quarters of 178 men with
low sperm counts had significantly higher counts after taking
four grams of arginine daily for three months. Most recently, a
study published in 1999 followed 50 men with erectile dysfunction
for six weeks. Among those who took a high daily dose of
l-arginine (5 grams), 31 percent reported significant subjective
improvements in sexual function, compared to only 12 percent
of those taking a placebo.
Mega-Cheltaken between meals can also be very helpful.
2. Neural causes of ED
Nerve damage from disorders such as multiple sclerosis,
Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and strokes affect the brain's ability
to respond to sexual stimulation and cause erectile dysfunction.
ED is common in men undergoing surgical treatment for prostate
enlargement or cancer. Essential fatty acidsplay a key role in nerve repair, so supplementation
with good fats is essential.
St. John's wort can stimulate
nerve regeneration and repair.
Adaptagens and nervines are
very important, too. Nervous Fatigue Formula, Adaptamax and Suma Combination are a few of the remedies to consider.
3. Hormonal causes of ED
Low levels of androgens, such as testosterone, are sometimes
a component of erectile dysfunction.
Testosterone levels decline
about 1 percent each year in men, which may contribute to
erectile dysfunction with aging. Replacement of androgens can
sometimes be helpful in those with age-related erectile dysfunction.
Saliva hormone testing can help establish where hormone
levels currently are so they can be brought into balance.
Some of the remedies to consider include the following. DHEA converts into testosterone and can help with ED. Pregnenolone can also increase testosterone levels. X-A and X-Actionhave a positive influence on ED. I also use Men's Formula, DHEA-M and liver cleansing to help balance androgens.
4. Drug or medication-induced erectile dysfunction
Drugs that interfere with erectile function include some
varieties of anti-hypertensives, SSRIs (like Prozac), sedatives,
and beta-blockers. Beta-blockers such as propranolol, atenolol,
and others, are some of the most common medications that
cause erectile dysfunction.
SSRIs, used in the treatment of depression, cause erectile
dysfunction mostly due to their effect on serotonin metabolism.
Serotonin has an inhibitory effect on erectile function and sexuality.
Surprisingly, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen also
cause erectile dysfunction. Regardless of the reason for taking
them, painkillers classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs (NSAIDs) apparently increase the likelihood that middleaged
and elderly men will develop erection difficulties.
In 1994, a thousand men, between 50 and 70 years of age,
without erectile dysfunction participated in a survey regarding
their erectile function and medication usage. When the questionnaire
was re-administered five years later, the investigators
found that the erectile dysfunction rate among NSAID users was
nearly triple that of nonusers.
Alcohol's negative affect on sex drive increases with age.
Researchers in India found that men being treated for alcoholism
had lower testosterone levels and more sperm abnormalities
than non-drinkers did. They also had a far higher rate of
erectile dysfunction (ED) - 71 percent, versus seven percent of
abstainers. Therefore, a natural remedy for erectile dysfunction
is to reduce alcohol intake, particularly beer. Beer contains hops
which is a potent estrogenic plant.
There are other causes of ED besides these major causes.
For example, sitting on a bicycle too long. Men who log several
thousand miles a year on their mountain bikes suffer scrotal
damage that could reduce their fertility or cause ED.
Nutrition and Reproductive Health Although I won't spend as much time on this topic, poor
nutrition is also playing a role in reducing masculine strength
and energy. Pottenger's experiments (discussed in his book, Pottenger's
Cats) show that nutritional deficiencies alone can cause reproductive
changes in both male and female animals. The reproductive
glands do not function independently from the rest of the
body, so general good health is needed for reproductive health.
A medical doctor who is a good friend of mine, Dr. Hugo
Rodier, has commented that there ought to be warning labels
on high sugar foods that say, "Warning: May Cause Erectile
ÂHe feels this would probably help men avoid
these very destructive refined carbohydrates and the many health
problems they cause.
Unfortunately, many men don't know how to cook or have
anyone in their lives who prepares healthy meals for them. As a
result, many men rely heavily on "fast food"Â which damages their
health and virility. So, we men need to wake up and realize that this
"fast food"Â is destroying our health and make wiser choices about
what we eat. I don't want to go into a lengthy discourse on nutrition
here, but I suggest you watch the movie Super-Size Me and
you'll see what I'm talking about. Then get the book Nourishing
Traditions by Sally Fallon and learn how to eat in a way that
builds the strong, masculine body you want to have.
Q. What does a high PSA count mean and how do you reduce it?
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein originally found
in semen, the fluid that carries sperm. Normally, PSA is made
in cells of the prostate called epithelial cells. It helps to keep the
semen in its liquid form.
Small amounts of PSA, made by the prostate, get into the
circulation and can be measured in the blood. Certain prostate
conditions, including prostate cancer, can cause high levels of
PSA in the blood. PSA itself does not have any known effect
outside the prostate; even high levels of PSA are not directly
harmful. High PSA levels in the blood, however, may be a sign
of a prostate problem, perhaps even a serious one.
The most common condition leading to a high PSA is benign
(noncancerous) enlargement of the prostate, called benign prostatic
hyperplasia (BPH). The key is to have enough good fats in
the diet for hormone combustion.
I use Master Gland, Men's
Formula and IF Relief for this problem.
A high PSA count can also be caused by infection. Using the
Silver Shieldcan address the beginning stages and even lower
numbers on blood tests.
In addition to prostate problems, some medical treatments
can affect PSA levels.
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