Tag: men’s health

Male Fertility’s Two-Front War, Plus Sneaky HFCS

Today’s edition of Monday Musings is a quick account of two recent studies that highlight actual, literal threats to the fruitfulness and productivity of the human male loin. For years, the average male sperm count has been decreasing, especially in Western industrialized nations, by about 1% to 2% per year. Globally, of course, populations have been increasing, so sperm is successful by playing the numbers game, but we’re worried about the individual. We’re concerned with per capita sperm count. And it’s been dropping.

But why?

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8 Health Reasons to Have Sex (As If You Needed Them)

As promised in last week’s Hunter-Gatherer Fitness post, I’m stirring up the (apparently much awaited) subject of sex – specifically the benefits for physical and mental well-being. Uh, you mean coitus? Yup. Thanks to everyone who responded to the announcement with rousing enthusiasm as well as comments and questions.

What could be more Primal than sex, many of you have suggested. Absolutely right. It was probably one of Grok’s most valued pleasures. (Are people today much different?) For our part, however, we have new freedoms in a manner of speaking. Although we might honor the evolutionary imperative behind our primal appetites with eventual procreation, we’re not beholden to the natural odds with every tryst. As I’ve said many a time, I love studying and learning from the example of Grok and his kin. Nonetheless, I’m a happily modern man in this instance as much as any.

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A Primal Primer: Estrogen

The human endocrine system exists in a state of delicate balance. None of its constituents function in a vacuum, and trying to explain every hormonal interrelationship would take volumes, but one statement is fairly safe to make: one hormone affects another. Secreting one often inhibits the next, which in turn sets off an entirely different chain reaction of hormonal secretions, inhibitions, and syntheses. I almost feel like trying to micromanage your entire endocrine system is tedious and counterproductive (and probably impossible to do effectively). I much prefer to simply eat right, exercise smart, get good sleep, normalize stress, and take advantage of simple lifestyle hacks. Still, it doesn’t hurt to understand some of the major hormonal players, especially one as widely maligned by the strength and fitness community as estrogen.

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To Circumcise or Not To Circumcise?

Once a proverbial given in this and a number of other countries, circumcision has become a hot button issue, intensely debated in both family and medical circles. For decades it was standard procedure for hospital births, but the numbers are quickly declining. Today, 56% of newborn boys are circumcised, although the rate varies considerably by geographic region in the U.S. In 1999, the American Pediatric Association revised their statement on circumcision to acknowledge the “potential medical benefits” of the procedure but concluded “these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.” Most of Canada has “de-listed” circumcision as a necessary (i.e. paid for) procedure.

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Watermelon a Natural Viagra?

A study by researchers at the Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center at Texas A&M University suggests that watermelon may act as a natural version of the erectile dysfunction (ED) drug Viagra.

The Food of Lust?

While researchers have always been aware of watermelon’s high citruline content, studies had suggested that the bulk of the chemical was in the less-commonly eaten rind. However, the latest research from Dr. Bhimu Patil suggests that there are also high concentrations in the more tasty flesh of the fruit.

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Definitive Guide: The Primal Blueprint

Build the Healthiest Possible Body with the Primal Blueprint

I get emails every day from people who are changing their lives for the better by following the guidelines I outline on this site. But many are looking for more of what the Primal Blueprint has to offer. That is to say, they want a comprehensive break down of the elements that make up the Blueprint; a Primal primer if you will. In coming weeks I will be going into detail – anthropological evidence, modern research, etc. – regarding this health philosophy, but I first want to offer up this summary of the Blueprint. I think it is a good starting point for what is to come.

In this extended article you will find the basic building blocks needed to discover the Primal side of your life. What does this mean? It means learning and understanding what it means to be human. It means using this knowledge to help you make important lifestyle choices. It means modeling your life after your ancestors in order to promote optimal health and wellness. And, most importantly, it means taking control of your body and mind.

If this article intrigues you be on the look out for a much more thorough explanation of how we can learn from our past to shape and mold our future.

My basic premise is this: The Primal Blueprint is a set of simple instructions (the blueprint) that allows you to control how your genes express themselves in order to build the strongest, leanest, healthiest body possible, taking clues from evolutionary biology (that’s the primal part).

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Dear Mark: Primal Blueprint for Both Men and Women?

In last week’s guest post on muscle building, reader Charlotte raised the issue of gender differences in exercise benefits. Are men and women the same when it comes to the effects of cardiovascular exercise? What about the most effective ways to burn fat? These were just a few questions that got the comment board going full throttle. Thanks to Charlotte and everyone who contributed their expertise and experience. (It’s what I love about doing MDA!)

So, what about the question of gender? Let me first say that the Primal Blueprint is fully intended for and applicable to both men and women. Sure, women naturally have a higher percentage of body fat and tend to carry it in places where it’s not as readily burned as abdominal fat. It’s true, also, that our relative hormones levels have some influence on our body’s use of fat for fuel, our resting metabolism, and our sensitivity to other hormones key to exercise response. But these gender-based differences have been found to be relatively modest. And ultimately, we are not necessarily trying to be body-builders or runway models, but simply trying to find that mix of diet and exercise that achieves the healthiest levels of low body fat and balanced, useful and well-sculpted muscles for each or our unique bodies.

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Dear Mark: Mulling Multivitamins

Dear Mark,

I’m new to your blog and am interested in taking better care of my health. I’m changing my diet and want to start a multivitamin. I go to the store though and end up bewildered enough that I don’t end up buying anything. What am I supposed to be looking for?

Not surprisingly, I get a good number of questions about supplements. Since it’s a topic I’m obviously passionate about, I’m always happy to offer advice on what my research and experience have taught me about wise supplementation.

First off, I definitely recommend the kind of product you’re looking for: a core nutrient assurance. As you know, I’m all about a good diet – a great diet, in fact. But a great diet with strategic supplementation can offer optimum health benefits A few fundamental suggestions:

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Study Finds Frequent Sleep Disruption Increases Risk of Kidney, Heart Disease

A study published in the April edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology suggests that frequent disruptions in the sleep cycle (also known as circadian rhythm) can increase the risk of kidney and heart disease. (The study is not yet available online.)

Conducted by researchers from the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at Toronto General Hospital, the study altered the internal biological clocks of rodent (hamster) models using external regulators (such as reversing light and dark periods) and found that the changes resulted in cardiomyopathy (damage and enlargement of the heart) and scarring of the kidney tubules.

Based on findings from this and several other previous studies, the researchers concluded that renewal of organ tissues likely occurs during sleep, suggesting that sleep disruption prevents this process from happening and results in damage to the organs.

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The Salt/Blood Pressure Debate

In response to last week’s canned soup post, reader Dave offered this comment: “I’d just like to point out that just as many Apple readers believe in literature that debunks the lipid hypothesis, there’s a camp that says there is minimal effect on blood pressure from salt. There are two sides to many stories!”

We couldn’t agree more that nutritional (or general health) debates are rarely so simple as they’re made out to be. As long-time readers have probably noticed, we’ll mention salt recommendations now and then and generally try to keep our recipe suggestions fairly low in salt. We do tend to follow general salt recommendations. Blood pressure issue aside, high salt intake (as we mentioned last week) has been associated with osteoporosis, asthma, kidney disease and stomach cancer.

But what about the salt and blood pressure issue? Does it really hold water (pun intended)? We’d say it has enough bearing to figure into our choices, and for some people, research suggests, it’s crucially significant.

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