Two health stories came to my attention this week and I know it is not just women who are affected by hormone imbalance so I thought I would pass on some very helpful information.
Update 1: Men and ‘Brain Fog’
Women are very aware of this at menopause, but did you realise that men who follow a healthy diet could be protecting their brains?
According to a new study published in the journal Neurology men who eat lots of fruit and vegetables have less memory loss.
What was involved?
Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, analysed data from a study that had followed 27,842 men for 26 years.
The men had all filled in detailed surveys about their food and drink intake at the start of the study in 1986 — when they were aged 51 years, on average — and then every 4 years until 2002.
The follow-up lasted until 2012, by which time their average age was in the mid- to late-70s. During the last few years of the follow-up, they had also completed short subjective cognitive function (SCF) tests. These were to to discern changes in memory and thinking abilities that they had noticed themselves for any decline in their own ability to think and remember things.
The men completed the SCF test twice and typical questions included:
– Do you have more trouble than usual remembering a short list of items, such as a shopping list?”
– Do you have more trouble than usual following a group conversation or a plot in a TV program due to your memory?”
The team split the men into five groups according to their fruit and vegetable intake. The results showed that the group that ate the most vegetables, about 6 servings per day, were 34 percent less likely to report having experienced a reduction in memory function.
The results also showed a 47 percent less chance of having a poor SCF score among the men who drank orange juice every day compared with those who only drank it once per month. The link was most relevant for older men who drank orange juice every day.
What made the difference?
The analysis showed that consuming higher amounts of certain foods and drinks was tied to lower risk of decline in memory and thinking skills.
The foods that most strongly showed this effect were leafy greens, red and dark orange vegetables, berry fruits, and orange juice.
“Our studies,” says first author Dr. Changzheng Yuan, who works in the school’s departments of nutrition and epidemiology, “provide further evidence [that] dietary choices can be important to maintain your brain health.”
Update 2: Diabetes and decreased testosterone link
Material supplied by Labrix Laboratories in the USA confirms that more than two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. As the American waistline increases so does the epidemic of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
The link between decreasing testosterone levels associated with these syndromes is well established in the scientific literature: men with diabetes have significantly lower levels of serum testosterone when compared with men without diabetes; as well men in the lowest tertile of free testosterone have a four-fold increased risk of having diabetes when compared with men in the highest tertile of free testosterone.
The mechanisms as to the link between insulin resistance and low testosterone are still being established: low sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women and is a strong predictor of diabetes.
The impact of sugar on testosterone
A 2013 study suggests that another mechanism may have a direct impact on testosterone levels: sugar consumption.
A cross-sectional study by Caronia et al. on 74 men between the ages of 19-34 examined the physiological impact of a 75g glucose load on serum total and free testosterone levels in men with varying glucose tolerance.
That intake showed a 25% decrease in mean Testosterone levels and remained suppressed for two hours.
What is 75g of glucose equivalent to in real food terms? A can of Coca Cola has 75g, a McDonald’s M&M McFlurry has 84.8g, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt has 46.7g, and a large latte can have 50g of sugar.
It’s easy to see how regular sugar consumption alone can add up to perpetually suppressed testosterone levels in men.
Could fasting help?
Interestingly, while testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, the authors found levels to be at their highest during fasting states, particularly in the morning.
This information suggests that intermittent fasting, or at least limiting food consumption to three meals per day, in combination with dietary sugar reduction, can play an influential role in increasing or maintaining testosterone levels in men.