Dr. Richard Maurer, ND
I’m a guy and I appreciate the somber tone of my article title, but I am optimistically pessimistic toward men’s health. Let me explain.
The researchers sober finding was this—men with infertility have more “hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, renal disease, pulmonary disease, liver disease, depression, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, injury, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder.”1
In this type of population study, cause and effect is difficult to hash out, so researchers controlled for smoking and pre-existing diseases and still the association was robust. 13,000 men were assessed for fertility at an average age of 33 then tracked in subsequent years, the longer these men were tracked, the stronger the link to chronic illnesses compared with men without infertility.
So what’s going one here? The researchers used their data and prior research to conclude several mechanisms. One consideration is that a mother’s health affects the reproductive health of her offspring. Not much we can do about this vulnerability except prevention for the next generation—Good maternal nutrition and lifestyle care. And the other major causative mechanism the researchers postulated…
Low testosterone and hypogonadism causes infertility AND links to most of the chronic diseases above. Now all you need to know is which comes first, right? Poor fitness status results in lower testosterone but vice-versa. Insulin resistance and prediabetes triggers low testosterone but vice versa. Fat gain can trigger low testosterone but vice versa.
The study displays the medical shortsightedness that occurs when a man’s infertility is immediately addressed, but with tunnel vision–without appreciating that infertility may be proxy for other conditions. Often, a diagnosis is not a stand alone disease occurrence, but instead is an indicator of a health direction gone wrong. In my life I look at my blood tests carefully, but these tests are not done at a typical annual visit. You will need to get these tests done at a direct national lab if your doctor does not order them for you, check out the link at TheBloodCode.com if you need a lab near you. What tests? Look for insulin resistance with your glucose, insulin and hemoglobin A1c. Look at your metabolic fat storage with the Triglyceride:HDL ratio. And check your testosterone—total testosterone is a good “bang for the buck” test, under $40 at a direct lab.
I see my life as a connected whole. If I have chronic back pain and high blood sugars—a past history I know very well—I address one thing, not two. I will run tests to navigate my progress as I make the right nutritional and fitness changes to improve my health and vitality.
My optimistic message? If you or someone you know is given a diagnosis, like infertility, receive it a message to look in several different health directions for warning signs. Use extra blood tests and fitness assessments to begin. While a diagnosis can be an isolated event, it can also be an encouraging stimulus toward the lifestyle, diet and fitness changes that bring about a whole-body health and vitality.
Dr. Richard Maurer is a licensed naturopathic physician who, after practicing in a primary care setting for twenty years, now provides a unique perspective on metabolic health and recovery. Dr. Maurer puts you in the driver’s seat of your health and wellness, helping you decode blood test results to find the diet and fitness habits that reverse and prevent metabolic conditions, such as pre and type 2 diabetes, weight gain and hypothyroid problems. His recent book, The Blood Code: Unlock the secrets of your metabolism , provides the tools to understand and act on key blood tests and skin fold measurements to define your personalized diet, fitness and nutritional needs to recover health and vitality—disease reversal is only the beginning.
His personal and familial trend toward type 2 diabetes motivates him to empower people to recover their metabolic “sweet spot” through proven self-guided diet, nutritional, and fitness habits.
Dr. Maurer is the past president of the Maine Association of Naturopathic Doctors and regularly presents at health and medical conferences such as Weston Price Foundation, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the popular PaleoF(x). He lives in Maine with his wife Alexandra where they have raised three children.
Eisenberg, M., et al. Increased risk of incident chronic medical conditions in infertile men. Fertility and Sterility. Online Dec 7, 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.11.011