Frequent consumption of red and processed meat has been shown in population studies to be positively correlated with cardiovascular disease [1-3], cancer and type 2 diabetes. Recent meta-analyses also indicate that it increases total mortality . Hence, a high meat intake (regardless of its fat quantity and quality) is generally perceived to be unhealthy and something that should be avoided. However, although there are many studies documenting these associations, results are not always consistent and there are several methodological issues which weakens the strength of their findings (more on that in a bit). In the same way as the putative health risks of red meat consumption is investigated, its documented health benefits (which I will cover below) are equally as important and must be given a fair chance in the establishment of public health messages in relation to red meat consumption. In this article I will therefore cover both the risks and benefits associated with red meat consumption, and after having taken all the scientific data into consideration, argue that meat has been unfairly blamed…
EDITORS NOTE: I (Will) recently did a video on ARA which discusses a recent study that found ARA had positive effects on strength and muscle mass readers will want to check out. The results of this study will be covered HERE and in a future article by Monica. This excellent article below by Monica discusses the safety of ARA supplements and possible health benefits that set the record straight on this fatty acid…
In part 1 I outlined the background to the “ARA is bad” theory, and presented studies that have refuted this notion. Part 1 also explains the importance of distinguishing the different omega-6 fatty acids, LA and ARA, and describes the bell-shaped relationship between ARA and EPA + DHA in cell membranes.
In this part you will learn about safety aspects and potential health benefits (!) of ARA supplementation…
Safety and Health Effects of ARA supplementation
With the bad reputation that ARA has, let’s start by looking at safety data. On a typical modern diet (that includes meat, eggs and fish) the average intake of ARA is approximately 100–200 mg ARA per day.[1-5] Several studies have investigated safety aspects of ARA supplementation in different populations.
When healthy volunteers were given over 7 times the usual intake of ARA (i.e. 1500 to 1700 g ARA per day, compared to usual intake of 200 mg ARA per day) in a 7 week controlled feeding study, no effects on platelet aggregation, bleeding times, the balance of vasoactive metabolites, serum lipid levels, or immune response were observed.[6-10] Likewise, in a recent study on healthy men aged 26-60 years, supplementation with 840 mg ARA per day for 4 weeks had no effect on any metabolic parameter or platelet function.
A study in healthy Japanese men and women aged 55-70 investigated whether ARA supplementation affects clinical parameters involved in cardiovascular, inflammatory, and allergic diseases. Subjects were supplemented with ARA-enriched oil (240 or 720 mg ARA per day) or placebo for 4 weeks, followed by a 4-week washout period. The fatty acid contents of plasma phospholipids, clinical parameters, and AA metabolites were determined at baseline, 2, 4, and 8 weeks. It was found that ARA content in plasma phospholipids in the ARA supplemented groups increased dose-dependently and was almost the same at 2 weeks and at 4 weeks. The elevated ARA content decreased to nearly baseline during a 4-week washout period. Contrary to expectations, during the supplementation and washout periods, no changes were observed in plasma phospholipid EPA and DHA content. There were no changes in clinical blood parameters related to cardiovascular, inflammatory and allergic diseases.
In a previous post I outlined the U-shaped relationship between IGF-1 and all-cause mortality.
A growing body of research shows that IGF-1 has a U-shaped relationship with other health outcomes as well, including cancer. This may come as a surprise, as IGF-1 is well-known to increase cancer risk…
IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) is a peptide hormone, produced predominantly by the liver in response to pituitary GH (growth hormone). IGF-1 is involved in a wide variety of physiological processes. In adults, IGF-1 has metabolic and anabolic effects, and it mediates many of the effects of GH.[2-4]
GH and IGF-1 levels are reduced with normal aging, a phenomenon called somatopause.[5-7] It has been suggested that somatopause is an age-related GH deficiency state. Somatopause has been considered to contribute to physiological deterioration seen with aging, like reduced muscle mass, reduced exercise tolerance, decreased strength, osteoporosis, increased fat mass, elevated cardiovascular risk, impaired quality of life, cognitive/memory decline and reduced immunity.[7-12] These changes are similar to those seen in classic (non-aging related) GH deficiency (GHD).[13, 14]
EDITORS NOTE: I (Will) recently did a video on ARA which discusses a recent study that found ARA had positive effects on strength and muscle mass readers will want to check out. The results of this study will be covered in a future article by Monica when the study is published. This excellent article below by Monica discusses the long held belief this fatty acid is a negative for health and well being. As usual, the truth turns out to be more complex and a read of this article will cover the studies to demonstrate that. Part II of this article can be found HERE.
It is well known that the typical American diet provides too little omega-3 and too much omega-6, and thus has an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio. In turn, an elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio has been linked to a number of common chronic diseases, notably cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and certain psychiatric diseases such as depression.[1-3] The omega-6 fatty acid that has been vilified and blamed to give rise to these detrimental health outcomes is arachidonic acid (ARA).
However, a deeper look at the research data reveals that the association between omega-6 fats, especially ARA, with detrimental health outcomes isn’t as clear-cut as previously thought. Prominent lipid researchers are even questioning the value of the conceptually entrenched omega-6/omega-3 ratio. And there are indications that ARA, previously thought to be the omega-6 villain, actually may confer health benefits and even increase muscle mass and strength when combined with resistance training…in this 3-part series you will find out about it all…
A long-held belief is that testosterone causes prostate cancer or accelerates its growth. This so called “androgen hypothesis” arose from a small study in the 1940s. Medical students and doctors have been taught ever since that high testosterone levels promote the development of prostate cancer, that low testosterone is protective, and that the administration of testosterone to a man with existing prostate cancer is like ‘‘pouring gasoline on a fire.’’ This fear is also the most common reason for doctor’s reluctance to prescribing testosterone replacement therapy, even in hypogonadal men.[2, 3]
March 6th 2014 FDA approved Aveed for treatment of male hypogonadism, aka testosterone deficiency.1 Aveed is a long-acting form of injectable testosterone called testosterone undecanoate. In Europe, testosterone undecanoate (under the name Nebido) has a long successful TRT track record for treatment of testosterone deficiency and its consequences (especially obesity, the metabolic syndrome and diabetes).2-16
In contrast to shorter acting forms of testosterone (e.g. cypionate), testosterone undecanoate only needs to be injected every 6 to 12 weeks, and thereby offers practical benefits to patients. (Comment: for Nebido (1000 mg per 4 ml), the initial interval is 6 weeks, followed by intervals of 10-14 weeks; for Aveed (750 mg per 3 ml), the initial interval is 4 weeks, followed by 10-week intervals).
Five days after the FDA approval a notable and impressive 6-year long TRT study was published, confirming the health benefits of TRT that have previously been found in shorter term studies…44
Recent evidence strongly suggests that testosterone deficiency is a predisposing factor for various chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.1-3 Testosterone deficiency has also been implicated as a modifiable disease risk factor for various chronic diseases in otherwise well patients.4-7
Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis-related fractures consume a significant portion of the $2.3 trillion in annual U.S. health expenditures. The economic impact of diabetes is estimated at $503 billion, $152 billion for cardiovascular disease, and $6 billion for osteoporosis-related fractures.8-10
Thus, the total burden of these diseases is over $660 billion, representing approximately 29% of all U.S. health care expenditures in 2008. Since testosterone deficiency is a potentially modifiable risk factor for these and other medical conditions, it may be responsible for substantial financial and quality-of-life burden on the U.S. health care system.11
A study was conducted to specifically quantify the U.S. health care (or should I say sick care) cost burden imposed by consequences of testosterone deficiency …12
In part 1 I covered issues related to the effect of TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) on male fertility. Here I will outline options for men to increase endogenous testosterone production by non-TRT means, and ways to speed up spermatogenesis for those who chose to go the TRT route…
The prevalence of testosterone deficiency (aka hypogonadism or Late Onset Hypogonadism), defined as total testosterone (TT) at or below 300 ng/dl is close to 40% in men aged 45 years and older presenting to primary care offices in the US.1 Year 2006 is was estimated that more than 13.8 million men over 45 years of age visiting a primary care doctor in the United States have symptomatic androgen deficiency.1
A large international web survey using the Aging Males’ Symptoms (AMS) questionnaire showed the prevalence of symptomatic testosterone deficiency to be 80% in men aged 16–89 (mean 52 years).2 It is notable that in the survey 40% of respondent were at younger ages when ‘Late Onset Hypogonadism’ is generally not believed to be occurring.2 The surprisingly high prevalence of raised scores indicative of testosterone deficiency in the younger age groups may be due to the increasing prevalence of conditions in these age groups known to reduce testosterone levels, such as obesity 3-7 and chronic work stress. 8-10 Stress-induced cortisol elevation, by increasing SHBG, lowers the free active fraction of testosterone and thereby reduces its action.11
This large and rising prevalence of testosterone deficiency is gaining recognition among doctors and patients alike. However, while testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) confers great benefits to men with sup-optimal testosterone levels, it also comes with some side-effects which are especially relevant for men who wish to have a family…Many testosterone users and even clinicians 12 are unaware that testosterone supplementation suppresses the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis and may result in infertility…