There is not one kind of ‘good sperm’ — it depends on other qualities in the male

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In a study published in Behavioral Ecology researchers from Uppsala University show that the same type of sperm is not always the best for all male birds. Depending on how attractive or dominant you are you might be more successful with longer or shorter sperm.

Getting a big family can be a difficult business in nature. If you are a male bird, you have to work hard to secure a territory where you will find food for your chicks and convince a lady that you are both good looking enough and also will be a good dad. But getting a mating partner is not the end of the story, you also need to fertilize her eggs, preferably all of them!

For this, you will need good sperm: sperm that is good at fertilizing eggs, but not only, it also has to be BETTER than the sperm of your potential rivals, that is other males your partner might be copulating with before laying all of her eggs. This happens often in nature, because females do not want to put all of their eggs in the same basket and it might be advantageous instead to have some genetic variation among your offspring.

Determining what makes for a good or attractive male is not always easy, and measuring what makes a good sperm is even harder. Now these two important components of fertilization success are often also measured separately, and we do not really understand how they are linked.

The researchers studied this in collared flycatchers (small black and white birds), by catching close to 120 different males over 4 years, measuring their white forehead patch (used to attract females), their sperm morphology (under the microscope), and their paternity success (i.e. how many of the chicks in their nests were theirs, by analyzing the blood of over 400 six-days old nestlings).

The team found that different categories of males have different sperm morphology, depending on if they manage to secure a territory and have a social mating partner, but also on their age and attractiveness. But most interestingly, the researchers found that the type of sperm that allows them to maximize the number of nestlings they father is different for different types of males. For males that have small forehead patches and are thus less dominant and less attractive, having long sperm is beneficial. This could be because they are more exposed to sperm competition and long sperm are likely to swim faster and reach the egg first.

But longer is not always better! For more attractive males, it is quite the opposite, and having smaller sperm allows them to sire more eggs in their nest.

“Many studies have attempted to link attractiveness and sperm quality, trying to figure out if “sexier” males also have better sperm, with very inconsistent results between studies. Our study shows that what makes a good quality sperm might instead depend on how attractive, competitive, and how old a male is, so there is not one single kind of “good sperm”, and we should more often look at the full picture and actually measure which phenotypes result in the highest fertilization success”, says lead author Murielle Ålund, now researcher at Michigan State University.

 

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Low sperm count not just a problem for fertility

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A man’s semen count is a marker of his general health, according to the largest study to date evaluating semen quality, reproductive function and metabolic risk in men referred for fertility evaluation. The study results, in 5,177 male partners of infertile couples from Italy, will be presented Sunday at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

“Our study clearly shows that low sperm count by itself is associated with metabolic alterations, cardiovascular risk and low bone mass,” said the study’s lead investigator, Alberto Ferlin, M.D., Ph.D. He recently moved as associate professor of endocrinology to Italy’s University of Brescia from the University of Padova, where the study took place in collaboration with professor Carlo Foresta, M.D.

“Infertile men are likely to have important co-existing health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives,” said Ferlin, who is also president of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine. “Fertility evaluation gives men the unique opportunity for health assessment and disease prevention.”

Specifically, Ferlin and his colleagues found that about half the men had low sperm counts and were 1.2 times more likely than those with normal sperm counts to have greater body fat (bigger waistline and higher body mass index, or BMI); higher blood pressure (systolic, or top reading), “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides; and lower “good” (HDL) cholesterol. They also had a higher frequency of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of these and other metabolic risk factors that increase the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the investigators reported. A measure of insulin resistance, another problem that can lead to diabetes, also was higher in men with low sperm counts.

Low sperm count was defined as less than 39 million per ejaculate, a value also used in the U.S. All the men in the study had a sperm analysis as part of a comprehensive health evaluation in the university’s fertility clinic, which included measurement of their reproductive hormones and metabolic parameters.

The researchers found a 12-fold increased risk of hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, in men with low sperm counts. Half the men with low testosterone had osteoporosis or low bone mass, a possible precursor to osteoporosis, as found on a bone density scan.

These study findings, according to Ferlin, suggest that low sperm count of itself is associated with poorer measures of cardiometabolic health but that hypogonadism is mainly involved in this association. He cautioned that their study does not prove that low sperm counts cause metabolic derangements, but rather that sperm quality is a mirror of the general male health.

The bottom line, Ferlin stressed, is that treatment of male infertility should not focus only on having a child when diagnostic testing finds other health risks, such as overweight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

“Men of couples having difficulties achieving pregnancy should be correctly diagnosed and followed up by their fertility specialists and primary care doctor because they could have an increased chance of morbidity and mortality,” he said.

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The researchers will discuss the study during a press conference Sunday, March 18 at 9 a.m. Central. Register to view the live webcast at endowebcasting.com.

Endocrinologists are at the core of solving the most pressing health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.

Article Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/tes-lsc031418.php

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Low sperm count not just a problem for fertility

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A man’s semen count is a marker of his general health, according to the largest study to date evaluating semen quality, reproductive function and metabolic risk in men referred for fertility evaluation. The study results, in 5,177 male partners of infertile couples from Italy, will be presented Sunday at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago, Ill.

“Our study clearly shows that low sperm count by itself is associated with metabolic alterations, cardiovascular risk and low bone mass,” said the study’s lead investigator, Alberto Ferlin, M.D., Ph.D. He recently moved as associate professor of endocrinology to Italy’s University of Brescia from the University of Padova, where the study took place in collaboration with professor Carlo Foresta, M.D.

“Infertile men are likely to have important co-existing health problems or risk factors that can impair quality of life and shorten their lives,” said Ferlin, who is also president of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine. “Fertility evaluation gives men the unique opportunity for health assessment and disease prevention.”

Specifically, Ferlin and his colleagues found that about half the men had low sperm counts and were 1.2 times more likely than those with normal sperm counts to have greater body fat (bigger waistline and higher body mass index, or BMI); higher blood pressure (systolic, or top reading), “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides; and lower “good” (HDL) cholesterol. They also had a higher frequency of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of these and other metabolic risk factors that increase the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the investigators reported. A measure of insulin resistance, another problem that can lead to diabetes, also was higher in men with low sperm counts.

Low sperm count was defined as less than 39 million per ejaculate, a value also used in the U.S. All the men in the study had a sperm analysis as part of a comprehensive health evaluation in the university’s fertility clinic, which included measurement of their reproductive hormones and metabolic parameters.

The researchers found a 12-fold increased risk of hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, in men with low sperm counts. Half the men with low testosterone had osteoporosis or low bone mass, a possible precursor to osteoporosis, as found on a bone density scan.

These study findings, according to Ferlin, suggest that low sperm count of itself is associated with poorer measures of cardiometabolic health but that hypogonadism is mainly involved in this association. He cautioned that their study does not prove that low sperm counts cause metabolic derangements, but rather that sperm quality is a mirror of the general male health.

The bottom line, Ferlin stressed, is that treatment of male infertility should not focus only on having a child when diagnostic testing finds other health risks, such as overweight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

“Men of couples having difficulties achieving pregnancy should be correctly diagnosed and followed up by their fertility specialists and primary care doctor because they could have an increased chance of morbidity and mortality,” he said.

Article Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-03/tes-lsc031418.php

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Men’s Sperm Counts Are Dropping, and Scientists Don’t Know Why

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The topic of overpopulation has been much discussed over the past few decades, but what if the real issue is a severe decline in population?

It sounds like something straight out of a dystopian nightmare, but new research shows sperm counts are drastically dropping across the Western world.

Researchers from Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem announced this week that sperm count in men residing in developed countries has dropped by a whopping 50 percent over the past 40 years. They claim this alarming trend could potentially result in a decline in male health, fertility and possibly even extinction if the trend doesn’t turn around.

“This study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count,” explained study co-author Hagai Levine.

After data was collected from 185 studies looking at sperm count and concentration in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand from 1973 to 2011, researchers found that total sperm count declined by 59.3 percent and sperm concentration declined by 52.4 percent.

Data from men in South America, Asia and Africa were also examined, however, no serious decline was detected. Researchers did note that not as many studies have been conducted in these regions.

Researchers didn’t look into reasons why the drop in sperm count occurred, but noted that the phenomenon has been previously linked to factors ranging from exposure to chemicals and pesticides to lifestyle choices, including smoking, obesity and stress. They are worried that if things keep heading in this direction, the human race could be doomed.

Daniel Brison, an embryology and stem cell biology specialist at Manchester University who was asked to comment on the findings, told Reuters the study had “major implications not just for fertility, but for male health and wider public health.”

“An unanswered question is whether the impact of whatever is causing declining sperm counts will be seen in future generations of children via epigenetic (gene modifications) or other mechanisms operating in sperm,” Brison said.

The next step is obviously to pinpoint what is causing the sperm count to decrease so dramatically. “Given that we still do not know what lifestyle, dietary or chemical exposures might have caused this decrease, research efforts to identify (them) need to be redoubled and to be nonpresumptive as to cause,” added Edinburgh University’s Richard Sharpe.

In the meantime, if you are concerned about your own declining sperm count you should consider modifying your diet. Here are some foods that can help make your sperm more active, healthy and abundant.

Article Source: https://www.yahoo.com/amphtml/lifestyle/men-apos-sperm-counts-dropping-074720787.html?__twitter_impression=true

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Study: Long-term testosterone therapy improves urinary, sexual function and quality of life

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A new study shows a significant improvement in both sexual and urinary function as well as quality of life for hypogonadal men who undergo long-term testosterone replacement therapy.

These findings appear in the Journal of Urology.

Testosterone is a steroid hormone involved in the regulation of sexual function, urinary health and metabolism as well as a number of other critical functions. For most men, testosterone concentration declines slowly with age and may not cause immediate major symptoms. However, some men may experience a host of signs and sumptoms constituting a clinical condition called Testosterone Deficiency (TD), or male hypogonadism, which is attributed to insufficient levels of testosterone. As a result, they experience symptoms as varied as erectile dysfunction, low energy, fatique, depressed mood and an increased risk of diabetes.

Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Public Health (BUSPH) collaborated with a group of urologists in Germany to investigate the effects of long-term testosterone replacement therapy on urinary health and sexual function as well as quality of life in men with diagnosed, symptomatic testosterone deficiency. More than 650 men in their 50s and 60s enrolled in the study, some with unexplained testosterone deficiency and others with known genetic and auto-immune causes for their hypogonadism.

“It is thought that testosterone treatment in men may increase prostate size and worsen lower urinary tract symptoms,” said Abdulmaged Traish, PhD, professor of urology at BUSM.

However, he and Gheorghe Doros, PhD, professor of biostatistics at BUSPH, discovered that despite increased prostate size in the group that received testosterone therapy, there were fewer urinary symptoms such as frequent urination, incomplete bladder emptying, weak urinary stream and waking up at night to urinate.

In addition to these subjective improvements, the researchers conducted objective testing that showed that those men treated with testosterone emptied their bladders more fully. Finally, testosterone treatment also increased the scores patients received on assessments of their erectile/sexual health and general quality of life.

The findings of this study are of great significance to men suffering with symptomatic testosterone deficiency. Traish emphasized the value of this treatment option, stating that, “[Testosterone therapy] is well-tolerated with progressive and sustained improvement in urinary and sexual function and overall improvement in quality of life.”

Article Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-08/bumc-slt081517.php

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How to lose weight by having sex

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With more than half of the United States population on a diet, weight loss is clearly on our minds. But should you include sex in your weight management plan? We investigate.

A healthy weight is part and parcel of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping our pounds in check is good for our ticker, our bones, and our lungs. It might even keep cancer at bay, as we found out this week.

But a staggering 73.7 percent of men and 66.9 percent of women in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Perhaps it comes as no surprise, then, that 66 percent of us are currently on a diet.

Whether opting for a tried-and-tested Mediterranean diet or a relative newcomer, like intermittent fasting, as a nation we understand that our diet, our weight, and our health are intricately linked.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “physical activity is an important part of maintaining healthy weight, losing weight, and keeping extra weight off once it has been lost.”

The HSS recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, but less than 25 percent of adults manage to hit this target.

Where does sex fit into this?

Well, sex is good for our health, it burns calories, and it makes us happy. You are, of course, unlikely to burn as many calories between the sheets as during a heavy gym session, but exercise alone may not be the panacea for weight loss we give it credit for, according to a recent study.

So, get ready to look at the obvious and some of the more surprising reasons why sex should be firmly integrated into our plan to reach and maintain a healthy weight, regardless of whether you are a gym buff or not.

Sex is exercise

In 2013, Prof. Antony D. Karelis — along with colleagues from the Université du Québec à Montréal in Canada — studied exactly how many calories we burn when we get our groove on.

Prof. Karelis explains in his article in the journal PLOS ONE that only a handful of studies have attempted to shine the spotlight on the physiological effects during partnered sex with human subjects. All previous studies showed an increase in heart rate.

For his study, Prof. Karelis worked with 21 heterosexual couples, aged between 18 and 35.

The couples were asked to have sex once per week for a period of 4 weeks, while wearing an activity tracker that allowed the research team to calculate how much energy they spent each time.

A sexual encounter included foreplay, intercourse, and at least one orgasm by either partner, then “ended at the couple’s discretion,” as the authors explain.

Here is what the team found.

Men burned on average 101 calories and women 69 calories when they had sex. The average intensity was higher than walking but lower than jogging, Prof. Karelis explains, putting it firmly in the category of moderate-intensity exercise.

This means that each time we have sex, it counts toward our 150 minutes of weekly exercise recommended by the HSS.

If that’s not appealing enough, the data revealed more.

‘More pleasant’ than a gym workout

The range of calories burned during sex varied considerably. At the lower end, men burned 13 calories and women 11.6, while at the top of the range, men shifted 306 calories and women 164.

Let’s look at these numbers into the context of how long each sexual encounter lasted. While the average duration of foreplay, intercourse, and orgasm was 24.7 minutes, the actual time the couples spent having sex ranged from 12.5 to 36.9 minutes.

Whether the top calorie-burners had more vigorous sex or just took their sweet time isn’t clear from the data, but we can draw some conclusions. If we want to increase our calorie loss during sex, we can either get more actively involved, keep at it for longer, or a combination of both.

Prof. Karelis also compared sex with regular gym exercise. He found that men burned between 149 and 390 calories during a 30-minute, moderate-intensity session on the treadmill, while women burned between 120 and 381.

When asked to compare the two activites, all of the men and 95 percent of the women in the study said that sex was more pleasant than pounding the treadmill.

So, we are not only making considerable headway toward reaching our 150-minute weekly exercise goal when we have sex, we also stand to gain more pleasure than from a gym visit.

Exercise may not equal weight loss

While some may argue that a study on healthy, young individuals may not be representative of the general population, the participants included a wide spread of weight categories.

Body mass index (BMI) for men varied between 19.5 and 31, putting at least some of the men in the overweight and obese category. For women, the range was from 16.9 to 26.6, meaning some of the women were underweight and some were overweight.

The study doesn’t reveal anything about the participants’ weight during the 4 weeks they took part. But if you’re looking to shift some pounds, exercise alone may not be the answer to weight loss we once thought it was, as we reported last week.

Researchers from the University of Bangor in the United Kingdom found no discernible weight loss in women who had taken part in three sessions of circuit exercise training per week for either 4 or 8 weeks, despite burning around 3,400 calories in total during this time period.

On the contrary, the team identified changes in hormones that control appetite in overweight and obese study participants after exercise.

“[…] Someone undertaking more physical activity may experience increased appetite as a result,” senior study author Hans-Peter Kubis, Ph.D., explains.

Sex might fill a useful gap here because hormones released during our amorous experiences cause us to eat less.

Sex curbs food intake

The “love hormone” oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus in our brain as well as in our gastrointestinal tract, and it has been accredited with key functions in sex, empathy, relationship-building, childbirth, and breast-feeding.

Oxytocin levels shoot up when we have sex – specifically, when we experience orgasm. But that’s not all the love hormone can do.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Lawson — from the Neuroendocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston — explains in an article in the December edition of Nature Reviews Endocrinology that “experiments in rodents, nonhuman primates and humans consistently show that oxytocin reduces caloric consumption.”

She adds that men ate fewer calories, particularly in the form of fat, after receiving 24 international units (IU) of oxytocin in a nasal spray in one study.

“The authors found that oxytocin reduced consumption of a postprandial snack, particularly chocolate cookies,” Dr. Lawson explains.

It’s important to note that oxytocin doesn’t stick around in our bodies for very long. Within 2–8 minutes of being released, half of hormone will be gone.

The after-effect of a single sexual encounter on our food intake will therefore only ever be transient. Still, every little helps, and a temporary curb on eating after sex is sure to contribute to overall weight loss.

Sex and weight management

Now that we’ve looked at the benefit of sex when it comes to burning calories and temporarily putting a halt on eating, how likely is it that we are going to lose weight by having sex?

That probably depends on how easy it is to incorporate sex into your personal schedule. Finding time to be romantic sounds easy, but the stark reality of busy lives make it less tenable for some.

However, it is worth reminding ourselves that sex has a plethora of health benefits, and, unlike a gym visit, you don’t have to stray far from your bedroom — or other location of personal preference — to make it happen.

So, if you are looking to shed a few pounds in the lead up to the peak holiday season, why not make the time to spend with your partner, enjoy sharing some intimate moments, and bask in the full effect that all that oxytocin and calorie loss will hopefully have on your scales.

You might find that your 2018 diet plan will easily accommodate sex as an indispensable component.

Written 

Article Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320235.php

 

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Men, this specialty massage may improve your health

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Although all men have a prostate—unless it’s been removed—many of them are unaware of its role. First off, the prostate is located between a man’s rectum and bladder. Its main function is to produce fluid that is expelled during ejaculation.

If you’re a male over the age of 50, your doctor has either encouraged you to undergo a prostate exam or maybe you’ve already experienced one. This is because the prostate is a common area for men to develop cancer. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, which is why going for annual exams can help detect problems early on.

Many doctors are now recommending prostate massages because they have been found to help relieve symptoms of various health problems. Although there aren’t too many studies regarding prostate massages, the preliminary findings look promising, and many theories do suggest there are some benefits. Below you will uncover some of these benefits.

Benefits of prostate massages

Erectile dysfunction: Dr.  Joshua R. Gonzalez explained, “The theory behind the potential benefit involves an improvement in blood flow resulting from vigorous milking or massaging of the prostate. Because erections are largely the result of good blood flow, any increase could potentially lead to better boners.”

Urine flow: A swollen prostate can prevent urine from flowing steadily. It’s suggested that a prostate massage can help relieve prostate inflammation, improving urine flow.

Painful ejaculation: If it hurts to ejaculate, it could be a sign of infection or inflammation. A prostate massage can help ease inflammation, which reduces pain while ejaculating. Another cause of painful ejaculation is tight pelvic floor muscles, which a prostate massage can loosen up. Dr. Gonzalez added, “Manual manipulation of those muscles during prostate massage can further alleviate ejaculatory pain. This is definitely something you would want a specialist to work on with you. There are even physical therapists that specialize in treating your pelvic floor muscles.”

Prostatitis: Prostatitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the prostate as a result of a bacterial infection. Symptoms of prostatitis include burning while urinating, painful ejaculation, weak urine stream, and discomfort in the perineum, which is behind the scrotum. Although the studies are limited on how prostate massages can improve prostatitis, some doctors suggest that at least five percent of their patients experience improvements in symptoms as a result.

Article Source: https://www.belmarrahealth.com/men-this-specialty-massage-may-improve-your-health/

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