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Beginning after age 30, men typically experience a gradual decline in the male hormone testosterone. This sometimes causes a gradual decrease in sex drive. Many men mistakenly believe that their loss of interest in sex is simply due to getting older or having low testosterone. But there can be other causes for a loss of sex drive, conditions such as diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, obesity, peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease. Fortunately, there is a simple blood test that will tell you if your testosterone is low. There are also natural ways to boost and support your testosterone level, including:

Lose Weight

Weight loss can have a dramatic, positive effect on your testosterone level, especially if your weight loss results from a combination of eating right (feeding your body what it really needs to function) and exercising regularly. Regular exercise not only improves your appearance (leaner, more muscular, healthier), it improves your blood pressure, circulation, heart rate and lung capacity. Since obesity has a direct link to your loss of sex drive, weight loss can help you bring it back while increasing your testosterone level. The improvements in your circulation will also improve your ability to achieve and maintain an erection. Weight loss reduces the strain on your heart, circulatory system and your internal organs to help them function properly.

Combine High-Intensity Exercise with Intermittent Fasting

Clinical studies have shown that combining a high-intensity exercise program such as interval training with at least one fasting day each week can bring dramatic results for your appearance, weight loss, overall health and ability to remain sexually active as you age. Intermittent fasting has been shown to facilitate weight loss. Intermittent fasting (IF) is not a diet in the conventional sense. It is more accurately described as an eating pattern. For example, during “16/8” fasting, you only eat during a defined 8-hour-period each day and fast for the remaining 16 hours. If you sleep 8 hours per night as recommended, you will have 8 hours remaining during which you will fast. During the fasting portion, you will drink only water or other unsweetened beverages such as tea or black coffee. This supports weight loss and improves your blood sugar, brain function and longevity. Just remember to eat a healthy diet during your eating period.

Consume Plenty of Zinc

Zinc is a critical nutrient. Your body requires lots of zinc every day to function properly. If you are overweight or obese and looking for weight loss, boosting your zinc intake may improve the odds in favor of your weight-loss success. Zinc is an essential mineral for proper immune function, wound healing and maintaining your sense of taste and smell. Zinc is naturally present in meat, dark-meat poultry, dairy foods, legumes, nuts, seafood and zinc-fortified cereal. The recommended daily zinc intake is 11 milligrams for men and pregnant women, 12 milligrams for breast-feeding women and 8 milligrams for other women.

A 2013 study published in Biological Trace Element Research concluded that obese people tend to have low levels of circulating zinc. Boosting dietary zinc may benefit overweight individuals. Another 2013 study published in Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin found that obese individuals who consumed zinc supplements containing 30 milligrams of zinc gluconate daily improved their body mass, weight loss and triglyceride levels.

Including plenty of zinc in your diet may help enhance weight loss if you’re overweight or obese, but it’s your total daily calorie intake and expenditures that will ultimately determine your weight loss. According to a 2008 review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, many zinc-rich foods are also high in protein, which boosts energy expenditure and feeling full, a big help when you’re trying to shed excess pounds. Safe and effective weight loss requires that you reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day, while trying to lose 1 or 2 pounds each week.

Do Strength Training

As we age, we tend to lose some muscle mass with each passing year, which makes weight loss an even greater challenge for older adults. That’s because muscle tissue is better at metabolizing calories than body fat. The more muscle you have the easier it is to control your weight. Strength training, also known as weight training or resistance training, helps you achieve greater muscle mass and increase your metabolic rate to burn calories more efficiently. So if you are doing lots of cardio (e.g. running, swimming, cycling, etc.) and hoping to lose weight, think again. Sure cardio will help you burn calories, but it won’t do much to increase your muscle mass and really optimize your calorie-burning weight loss.

Optimize Vitamin D

Vitamin D is critical to good health. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphate in your body. These bone-building minerals also keep your muscles healthy and prevent bone deformities or bone softening. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain and other health problems. People with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of disease but there is no definitively proof that vitamin D deficiency causes disease or that taking supplemental D will reduce your risk.

There is only one proven benefit of vitamin D. It helps calcium build strong bones. But it also has a few side benefits, like regulating your immune system and neuro-muscular system while playing an important role in the life cycle of your cells.

Your body makes vitamin D by itself after skin exposure to sufficient sunlight. This can be a problem for people in northern climates where sunlight is reduced. In the US, only people living south of Los Angeles, CA and Columbia, SC, get enough sunlight throughout the year for adequate vitamin D production.

Reduce Stress

Stress is a silent killer. If not controlled, ongoing, chronic stress can cause mental health problems including anxiety, depression and personality disorders. It can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, heart arrhythmias, heart attack, obesity and stroke. Stress affects the immune system, leaving your body vulnerable to infection. In males, these infections in the testes, prostate gland and urethra can negatively impact normal male sexual and reproductive functioning.

Stress can kill you by increasing your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Elevated cortisol interferes with learning and memory, lowers immune function and bone density, while increasing hypertension, cholesterol and your risk for heart disease. Stress hormones cause constriction of your blood vessels, which diverts more oxygen to your muscles so you can take action. This also increases hypertension. Frequent or chronic stress makes your heart work too hard for too long.

By reducing stress in your life, you can reduce your risk from numerous health problems, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Problems with digestion
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight gain
  • Memory impairment
  • Problems with concentration

Reduce Or Eliminate Sugar From Your Diet

Having a “sweet tooth” can be deadly, too. The average American consumes over 130 pounds of added sugar each year. That’s over and above the sugar we eat that occurs naturally in fruits such as bananas, oranges or apples. It’s the equivalent of a whopping 22 teaspoons of sugar per day! All that excess sugar is making your organs fat along with the rest of your body. It is setting you up for diabetes, which is closely related to heart disease. Too much sugar causes tense artery walls, leading to hypertension and makes a heart attack or stroke more likely.

Sugar upsets your cholesterol levels and acts like a drug in your brain; a drug that only does one thing: it makes you crave more sugar. It makes you feel hungry even when you just ate and it sucks the energy from your body. It even leads to depression by lowering your levels of the feel-good hormone, dopamine. Sugar also damages the protein fibers in collagen and elastin, two components that keep your facial skin young and healthy. Sugar intake can lead to sagging skin and wrinkles. So if your appearance really matters to you, avoid sugar, sugary snacks and drinks. It usually takes about a week for your taste buds to recover after giving up sugar.

Eat Healthy Fats

All dietary fat is high in calories, yet all fat is not bad for you. The key is learning to distinguish good fats from bad fats and choose the healthiest alternatives. The two worst types of dietary fat are trans fat and saturated fat.

Saturated Fat

This fat comes mainly from animal sources, red meat, poultry and dairy products. Saturated fat raises your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat can also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Trans Fat

This fat occurs naturally in some foods, but most trans fats are made from partially hydrogenated oils. These trans fats can increase your unhealthy LDL cholesterol and reduce your healthy HDL cholesterol, increasing your risk for cardiovascular disease. Saturated and trans fats are solid at room temperature. So they're typically called “solid fats.” They include fats from beef, pork, butter, shortening and stick margarine.

Healthier Fats

Monounsaturated Fat

This is found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol, which can decrease your risk for heart disease. Research also shows that these fatty acids may benefit your insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type-2 diabetes.

Polyunsaturated Fat

This is found mostly in plant-based foods and oils. Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. These fatty acids may also help decrease your risk for type-2 diabetes.

Omega-3 Fat

One type of polyunsaturated fat is made up of mainly omega-3 fatty acids and may be beneficial to your heart. Omega-3, found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, appears to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. There are also plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. To date, it has not yet been determined whether replacements for fish oil have the same health effects as omega-3 fatty acid from real fish.

Foods made up mostly of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Think of olive oil, safflower oil, peanut oil and corn oil. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring. Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids include ground flaxseed, some oils (canola, flaxseed, soybean), nuts and seeds (walnuts, butternuts and sunflower seeds).

Because some dietary fats are potentially helpful and others potentially harmful to your health, it pays to know which ones you're eating and whether you're meeting nutritional recommendations.

Guidelines For Fat Intake

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offers these recommendations for dietary fat intake:

    • Avoid trans fat
    • Limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories a day
    • Replace saturated fat with healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats

Be aware that many foods contain different kinds of fat and varying levels of each type. For example, butter contains unsaturated fats, but a large percentage of the total fat is saturated fat. And canola oil has a high percentage of monounsaturated fat but also contains smaller amounts of polyunsaturated and saturated fat.

Low testosterone is a treatable condition. Ask Dr. Husain about nutrition and other treatments for low testosterone, and avoid supplements that claim to solve low T – they often sound too good to be true. These unregulated products won’t solve your testosterone or erectile dysfunction problem and may even endanger your health.

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Patient Testimonials

"I rate all aspects of my visit as Excellent. Dr. Ali Husain has a great beside manner. He is concerned with my health and my progress goals in treating my condition. He is very personable and thoughtful. He doesn't rush you from the office like some doctors would and he is very thorough in his evaluation. He lets you know what your status is and what options you have as far as continued treatment. I am very thankful and confident in being treated by doctors like Dr. Ali Husain or his father Dr. Aftab Husain."
-Dennis T.

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