Vitamin T for Sex

during stress

Hot, hot hormones.

Testosterone has been the subject of controversy recently, fueled partly by an April cover story in The New York Times Magazine. Author Andrew Sullivan extolled the effects of the hormone as treatment for his HIV-induced deficiency. Citing bursts in libido, confidence, and energy as a result, he refers to his testosterone injections as “a biweekly encounter with a syringe full of manhood.”

Interest rose even higher when, shortly after Sullivan’s piece appeared, AndroGel was introduced on the market. The injections used in Sullivan’s treatment are painful (he describes the three-inch needle and the resulting trickle of blood) and produce wildly erratic hormone levels (huge burst shortly after the injections, insufficient levels a few days later). But AndroGel, a user-friendly cream containing androgens (the class of steroid hormones to which testosterone belongs), can be absorbed through the skin. AndroGel boasts no-muss, no-fuss easy daily applications that produce far more consistent blood levels of the drug. A cover story in Time Magazine on this development aroused further lively media coverage.

All this buzz about testosterone supplementation evoked a burning question, especially among men of a certain age: Where can guys who are no longer teenagers sign up for this stuff?

The Story Behind the Story

Unfortunately, the optimistic reports about testosterone have omitted some important information, such as the need for painful injections. And they failed to consider the very basic question: Do most men need extra testosterone to reverse some of the typical declines in sexuality as they age?

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Do you want to be happy?: 5 indicators that you are not

happier people

My mother and I disagree about the importance of happiness. She adamantly argues that people in my (possibly, your) generation place too much emphasis on trying to be happy. She says that’s a pragmatic perspective, that life is more about getting done what you have to get done to take care of yourself and the people you love. I think her thoughts on happiness are…well, sad.

Of course, we have to tend to our to-do lists, pay our bills, do some grunt work. But isn’t the point of ticking those things off to create the home, family, and life we want? And isn’t that all about being happy?

I’d rather get paid less to do a job I love than just put in hours to make more cash. My mom says the sacrifice of professional happiness is worth the money. So, when it comes to our own pursuits of happiness, we agree to disagree.

Perhaps this does make me more optimistic than pragmatic. But I really do believe that working to be happy — in a job, in a relationship, internally — will yield good, tangible things. Like bigger paychecks, resolutions to arguments, more sleep. This has actually worked for me, and so I will keep on seeing happiness as the goal.

With all those unavoidable to-do lists, bills, and grunt work, how do we know if we are happy?

It happened for me when I sat at a red light and saw a woman walking down the street. She reminded me of myself several years ago. Back then, I wanted a lot — a bigger and better job, a safer and brighter apartment, more room in my relationships to make my own dreams a reality. I wished for those things out loud one day, pushing my baby boy in a stroller through my neighborhood. As I watched the stranger walking on the street and pushing her own child in a stroller, I remembered that time and those wishes. And then it occurred to me that I had all of those things now. It didn’t come overnight and none of them arrived in a package I expected, but the wishes did come true. I watched her, I took a look at myself in my rear view mirror. It hit me that, not just because of those things I now had but because of the journey toward them, I was happy. I am happy.

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Sex After a Heart Attack: Is It OK?

about sexual

Our expert answers your top six questions about having sex after having a heart attack.

You’ve had a heart attack — and suddenly your outlook on life is very different. Take sexuality, for instance: You used to relish intimacy and pleasure with your partner, but now it seems like a scary proposition. Could sex trigger another heart attack? Will your sex life ever be the same? James Beckerman, MD, a cardiologist in Portland, Ore., and author of The Heart Beat blog on WebMD.com, answers the most common questions about how sex and heart health are intertwined.

Q. What worries heart patients when it comes to sex?

A. After a heart attack, some men and women fear that any type of sexual activity will provoke another one. People feel that if they’ve had a heart attack, it’s not a good idea to stress their bodies with sexual activity. But fewer than 1% of heart attacks are precipitated that way. It makes sense to think of sex as a form of exercise: If your doctor clears you for physical activity, you’re also likely safe for sex.

Q. Do you find patients are embarrassed to ask a doctor about sexual concerns?

A. Yes, and I think doctors are, too. But sexual issues are important to discuss. Doctors have to read their patients well. You have to get a sense of their comfort level with you and how willing they are to talk about personal issues. I think when the doctor does bring it up, it shows it’s OK to talk about sex. Sometimes the patient is surprised — or even relieved — that the doctor raises the subject because it means they don’t have to.

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Keep Testosterone In Balance

high testosterone levels

The positive and negative effects of the male hormone.

When you think of testosterone, you probably think of the rough and rugged. It’s one of the things that make men men. But even this most masculine of hormones requires a delicate balance.

Produced by the testes (though women’s ovaries make some, too), the hormone propels prepubescent boys toward deeper voices and hairy chests. In a grown man, it fuels a healthy libido, builds muscle mass and helps maintain energy levels. But too much of it — or too little — can wreak havoc on a man’s behavior and physique.

Why More Isn’t Always Better

According to a study in the April 1999 Journal of Behavioral Medicine, higher-than-average testosterone levels offer certain benefits but also carry some serious risks. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Penn., reviewed the records of 4,393 men between the ages of 32 and 44 who had served in the military between 1965 and 1971. Their blood had been drawn to determine testosterone levels — which ranged from 53 to 1,500 nanograms per deciliter, with an average of 679. (The normal range in males is 270 to 1,070 nanograms.)

Men whose testosterone levels were slightly above average were 45% less likely to have high blood pressure, 72% less likely to have experienced a heart attack and 75% less likely to be obese than men whose levels were slightly below average. These men were also 45% less likely to rate their own health as fair or poor.

But the results weren’t all rosy. These men were also 24% more likely to report one or more injuries, 32% more likely to consume five or more drinks in a day, 35% more likely to have had a sexually transmitted infection, and 151% more likely to smoke.

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Work it – Go for a dip!

exercises that

emorial Day is fast approaching and you all know what that means! Pool covers are stripped, pool rafts are inflated and poolside snacks and sunscreen are added to the grocery list…Yep, it’s SWIMMING SEASON! Since many of us will be gearing up for a swim, I thought it would be a good idea to share some in-pool exercises that will help you looking (and feeling!) great in that swimsuit.

According to an article from LifeScrpt, “swimming works your whole body, improving cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, endurance, posture, and flexibility all at the same time. Your cardiovascular system in particular benefits because swimming improves your body’s use of oxygen without overworking your heart.” Another benefit? “There is a low risk for swimming injuries because there’s no stress on your bones, joints or connective tissues due to buoyancy and the fact that you weigh 1/10th less in water.”

While swimming laps could be a great way to increase your heart rate and burn some calories, there are other exercises that can be performed to tone and strengthen. Added plus? You can actually carry on a conversation while doing most of these exercises, so grab a friend and jump in!

Water Roman Chair: This exercise is very similar to the Captain’s Chair, which I featured in my ‘rockin abs’ exercises. In deep water, float either on a tube or two kickboards (resting under your arms). Place your feet together and bend your knees up to at least waist-level, pause briefly and return. Repeat 8-10 times.

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Testosterone Ups Home Field Advantage

before after

Primal Urge to Protect Home Turf Might Be a Factor When Athletes Play Home Games

The “home field advantage” might be partly fueled by testosterone and a basic human impulse to guard your territory.

That’s what Canadian researchers report in a new study. If their theory is right, it could bode well for Germany in soccer’s World Cup.

Germany is hosting the World Cup. While the competition is far from over, Germany’s soccer team has been on a roll; it’s undefeated in early rounds.

The new study focused on a different sport: ice hockey.

The researchers included Justin Carré, a psychology graduate student at Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. They reported their findings in Pittsburgh, at the International Neuroendocrine Foundation’s 6th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology.

Sporting Study

Carré and colleagues followed an elite Canadian ice hockey team for a season. The researchers measured the players’ saliva levels of testosterone (a sex hormone) and cortisol (a stress hormone) before and after each game. The findings:

* Testosterone levels were higher before and after winning games.

* Pregame testosterone levels were even higher before home games.

* Pregame cortisol levels were higher before home games than before away games.

“Testosterone changes were directly related to the outcome of the game,” the researchers write.

The testosterone surge before home games “suggests a human territorial phenomenon,” Carré and colleagues note. That is, players may have tapped into a primal instinct to defend their own territory during home games.

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‘Work it’ – How to get rockin’ abs!

working your

One of my favorite exercise days is when the Mister and I focus on abs. I LOVE them! Does that sound insane? It’s funny, because I normally think people who say they like a particular exercise are lying. Well, maybe that’s a little harsh. But I do think they are at the very least TRICKING themselves into thinking they like it. Because who likes exercise? You like how it makes you feel, you like the results it provides, you like how it adds to you health and well-being bottom line. But if you could get the exact same results by going shopping or relaxing in the sun or eating a 5-course meal, how many of you would still choose to run in a sweaty gym? OK, maybe a few of you hard-core folks out there! Kudos to you, I’d be ‘poolsiding’ it, sipping an iced tea, ordering the pool boy to fetch me some chocolate chip cookies (note – I don’t have a pool), while reading a book.

But with ab exercises…I seriously love them.

I’ve been asked what ab exercises I prefer and which ones I choose to utilize in my own workouts. Quite frankly, as long as you are working out your abdominal muscles correctly (which many people are not!), you are on the right track. For the most part, each exercise should yield fairly similar results. There are a few however, that stand out in my mind as the best. These have also been noted in various studies as being some of the most effective.

The exercises I never leave out of my work out (sorry about the cheesy websites, but I wanted to make sure I provided diagrams and how-tos):

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Natural Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction

erectile dysfunction

Experts give their take on remedies such as ginseng, acupuncture, and pomegranate juice.

From acupuncture to arginine, from ginseng to pomegranate juice, men have tried all sorts of natural remedies for erectile dysfunction (ED) — which doctors define as the repeated inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. But are these alternative remedies safe? Do they really work?

The scientific evidence to support the use of natural remedies for impotence is sketchy; many of the studies that seem to give the remedies a thumbs-up were so poorly designed that their findings are suspect.

“Just because there is evidence doesn’t mean it’s good evidence,” says Andrew McCullough, MD, associate professor of clinical urology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, and one of the original clinical investigators for the ED drug Viagra (sildenafil). “And before men with ED start down the naturopathic route, it’s smart to make sure that there isn’t some underlying medical condition that needs to be corrected.”

That’s good advice. An estimated 30 million American men have erectile dysfunction, and seven out of 10 cases are caused by a potentially deadly condition like atherosclerosis, kidney disease, vascular disease, neurological disease, or diabetes. ED can also be caused by certain medications, surgical injury, and psychological problems.

Experts who spoke with WebMD agree that treating erectile dysfunction on your own, without consulting a doctor, is a dangerous game. “If you have ED, the first thing you need is a diagnosis,” says impotence expert Steven Lamm, MD, a New York City internist and the author of The Hardness Factor (Harper Collins) and other books on male sexual health. He says men with severe erectile dysfunction probably need one of the prescription ED drugs, which include Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) as well as Viagra. But, he says, mild ED — including the feeling that “you’re not as hard as you could be” — often responds to natural remedies. But which remedies? Here’s a look at the evidence for and against six of the most popular ones:

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Work it – How to fit in fitness on any schedule

over lunch

Are there times when you simply just don’t WANT to work out? Or maybe you really don’t have time…(worst excuse ever, by the way!)

Today I’m here to show you how you could fit a tiny workout in your work day. While this won’t help you run a marathon or give you guns of steel, you can do stretching, muscle strengthening and even short bursts of aerobic exercise right at your very own desk.

Read “Exercise at Your Desk” from WebMD to get started.

Now, I don’t know about all of you, but I’m pretty sure I’d get a few strange looks if I were to start jogging in place at my desk. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get moving during my lunch break! For example, yesterday I called the Mister over my lunch and walked up and down the stairs for about 20 minutes while talking about our days. It got my heart rate going and loosened up my muscles. Plus, I burned about 150 calories doing it! Not bad for an afternoon pick-me-up…

Need a discreet abdominal exercise you can do while sitting down? Check out the seated ab exercise from fitsugar.

I’ve also found that the seated knee lift can be done at work quite easily. This exercise not only tones your abs, but it’s skirt and heel-friendly.

moving during

Simply sit up straight in a firm, armless chair. Grab the chair’s edges just in front of your hips. While supporting yourself with your hands, slowly draw your knees up toward your chest while breathing out, keeping your lower back pressed against the chair. Hold, then slowly lower.

Have a work friend who also cares about health and fitness? Bring your tennis shoes and walk over lunch. It’s a great way to break up the day and get some fresh air.

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How To Get Fit On Vacation

active vacation

The best way to get healthy while on holiday is to book one that requires you to get in shape ahead of time.

This summer the Berkeley, Calif., travel company Backroads will send about 100 cycling enthusiasts on a 260-mile trek through southern Oregon’s wilderness. Over five days, they’ll slowly climb high-desert mountains for a cumulative elevation gain of 19,000 feet.

The participants aren’t extreme or professional athletes; this is a vacation itinerary for the moderately to vigorously active, and the mileage and elevation gain can be adjusted for those who want a less ambitious trip. They’ll pay more than $2,000 for the experience, meals and lodging included.

It may not sound like the ideal way to enjoy a hard-earned break from the office, but Rich Snodsmith, sales and guest services manager for Backroads, says that several different types of people–with a wide range of fitness and ability–seek out active vacations like this one because of the long-term challenge involved.

“They book a trip in September for March,” he says, “and it becomes a goal for them to get in shape.”

That stick-and-carrot strategy of building on and improving one’s fitness not only provides regular motivation for staying active, it also prevents the diet-and-exercise backsliding that often happens when a vacation consists of lounging at the beach and dining on hotel, restaurant and airport food.

In other words, the trick to using vacation time to get in shape is in planning a trip that requires an already-established level of fitness.

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