If you are following the anti-aging news, you’ve heard about the supposed benefits of chronic calorie restriction for increasing longevity. These claims are based on research done in various species such as flies, worms and mice.
Here I will explain that chronic calorie restriction makes it impossible to implement and reap the health benefits of an active lifestyle with regular exercise, and causes severe health consequences for humans.
While animal studies can and do shed light on what’s going on at mechanistic level, we have to be very careful and resist the temptation to extrapolate results from animal experiments to humans.
Here I will make the case that chronic calorie restriction actually counteracts the prospects of a healthy vital long life.
A bidirectional relationship exists between excess body fat, and/or belly fat, and testosterone levels in men. That is, excess body (belly) fat decreases testosterone levels and may cause testosterone deficiency, and low testosterone levels increases body (belly) fat.[1-4] I covered this in-depth in a previous article “Testosterone and Fat Loss - the Evidence”.
In “Keep your waist to less than half your height” I introduced the waist-to-height ratio and explained that it is a better tool for predicting health outcomes and mortality than is waist circumference alone. I have also covered the association between a large waist (i.e. belly) and reduced testosterone levels in "Young Men, Waist, Testosterone and Erectile Function: Low-T is not only an old man's issue".
Here I will summarize research showing that the waist-to-height ratio can also be used as a screening tool for testosterone deficiency.
Most people, including traditional doctors, think that testosterone deficiency is an old man’s issue. This is very wrong! Actually, an excess amount of body fat can cause a man’s testosterone levels drop to as much as 10 years of aging.
Several studies have demonstrated that too much body fat is associated with reduced testosterone levels independent of aging.[2-4]
Low levels of testosterone (both total and free testosterone) are a consistent feature among young men below 40 years of age with metabolic syndrome, the hallmark of which is an enlarged belly.
Young men (20–39 years) with the lowest baseline total testosterone levels have the highest risk of developing cholesterol and blood fat abnormalities (dyslipidemia).  Compared to age-matched men with the highest baseline total testosterone levels of 663 ng/dL or higher, those with the lowest baseline total testosterone levels of 418 ng/dL or below had up to a twofold greater risk of developing an adverse lipid profile 5 years later, which in turn could contribute to future risk of cardiovascular disease.
Thus, testosterone deficiency clearly has health implications also for younger men. But how much does your belly actually impact your testosterone levels… and erectile function?
In a previous article “Watch Your Belly – not just to look good!” I summarized research showing that an expanded belly is a ticking health bomb and manifestation of deteriorating vitality, as well as reduced physical attractiveness.
Measuring your waist circumference is a good starting point to see where you stand (i.e. to get your baseline) and monitor your progress with exercise and healthier eating. And esthetically, your waist measure tells a lot.
Nevertheless, accumulating research shows that health outcomes are more strongly associated with the ratio of your waist to your height, i.e. the waist-to-height ratio. The waist-to-height ratio is simply the ratio of your waist circumference to your height (abbreviated WHtR). To stay (or become) healthy, as well as physically attractive, make sure your waist circumference is less than half your height.
In a previous article "Testosterone Deficiency and Treatment - the FACTS" I presented the conclusions from an International Expert Consensus Conference on Testosterone Deficiency and Its Treatment.
Here I summarize the key points, and link to a video summary by Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, an internationally renowned testosterone scientist and clinician.
Over the past two decades it has been established beyond any doubt that the amount of fat around the waist (aka abdominal fat and visceral fat) is at least as important, if not more important, than the total amount of body fat in predicting and /or causing complications that have been traditionally associated with overweight/obesity.
Abdominal obesity is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease independent of BMI (a proxy for obesity) [2, 3] and is thought to affect disease risk through increased insulin resistance.[4, 5] Actually, the common development of insulin resistance with aging is caused by growing bellies, rather than aging per se. Notably, normal-weight abdominal obesity is associated with higher mortality than generalized obesity (as defined by BMI).
An enlarged belly is an especially strong indicator of metabolic risk in men.[8, 9] People with large a waist circumference – i.e. those having a belly - have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, compared to those with smaller waist circumferences, regardless of BMI. [10-14] Your waist also impacts your longevity, which I covered in a previous article "Watch Your Waist - it may shorten your life!"
And your belly can interfere with your sex life...
Testosterone deficiency and treatment is a very misunderstood and controversial topic among scientists, regulatory agencies (such as the FDA and EMA) and doctors, as well as the popular media.
On October 1, 2015, an international expert consensus conference about testosterone deficiency and its treatment was held in Prague, sponsored by King’s College London and the International Society for the Study of the Aging Male (ISSAM). The impetus for this meeting was to address the widespread misinformation and confusion about testosterone deficiency and testosterone therapy.
The ultimate goal of this consensus conference was to document what is true or untrue about testosterone deficiency and testosterone therapy, to the best degree possible based on existing scientific and clinical evidence.
There were 18 experts from 11 countries on 4 continents. Specialties included urology, endocrinology, internal medicine, diabetology, and basic science research. Experts were invited on the basis of extensive clinical experience with testosterone deficiency and its treatment and/or research experience.
The final consensus on several key issues related to testosterone therapy was published in the form of 9 resolutions (i.e. firm decisions), coupled with expert comments. These are summarized in table 1.
Most people don’t do any blood tests until they get ill and are forced to go through a health checkup, or are already diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease or diabetes etc. This is unfortunate, because regular blood testing is the single best strategy to stay healthy thought life. In this article I will explain why you want to get your blood tests and which ones to get.
While it is well documented that testosterone levels decline in aging men, recent studies show that in some cases obesity and impaired general health can be more influential causes of testosterone deficiency than chronological age and aging per se.[1, 2]
Here I present real-life results from a registry study which investigated the effects of continuous long-term testosterone therapy for up to 10 years on anthropometric (body measurements), endocrine and metabolic parameters in obese hypogonadal men.
In a previous article "Blood Cholesterol Testing - don't let the routine standard lipid panel fool you!" I talked about the standard lipid panel that doctors use to check your “bad” cholesterol, aka LDL level. In "Why you need to look beyond your “bad" cholesterol” - level" I’ve also gone into some depth on why a myopic focus on LDL-C can do more harm than good.
In this article I will talk about 2 relatively unknown cholesterol parameters and explain why you want to keep an eye on these…
The routine standard lipid panel checks your levels of:
- Total cholesterol
- LDL-C (or just LDL, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the “bad" cholesterol)
- HDL-C (or just HDL, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the “good" cholesterol)
- VLDL-C (or just VLDL, very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol)
- Triglycerides (a.k.a. blood fats)
If you have read my previous articles you know the limitations of LDL-C and the standard lipid panel. However, while the advanced lipid panel gives you much more accurate information on your health status, the standard lipid panel is not totally worthless if you know what to look for…The caveat is, what to look for - non-HDL-C and remnant cholesterol – are not printed in your standar lipid test results. And your doctor may not even know about non-HDL-C and remnant cholesterol! That’s why I had to write this article…
- Survival and cardiovascular events in men on testosterone treatment
- Everything We Learned About TESTOSTERONE Is WRONG - video presentation by Dr. Morgentaler
- Testosterone levels, testosterone therapy and all-cause mortality in men with type 2 diabetes - impact of PDE5 inhibitors and statins
- Effects of Testosterone Treatment in Older Men