Category Archives for "Diet"

10 Things I Noticed on the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet was originally developed in the 1920s to help epilepsy patients and stabilize their seizures. Unfortunately, its use declined with the advent of antiepileptic drugs.

Ketogenic dieting used to be a bit of a fringe movement. People who did it were a bit ‘out there.’ However, in recent times it has enjoyed a resurgence, and ‘keto’ has entered into the mainstream lexicon.

In fact, it seems everyone is doing it. From your sister to your cousin’s cat. However, I had never considered doing it myself. I figured lack of carbohydrates would negatively impact both my day-to-day energy levels, and training performance. I was under the impression that I needed carbs to train hard and recover.

At least this is how I thought until I did the ketogenic diet…Last year I was at crossroads.. My diet had become a bit routine and stale and my performance in the gym had plateaued. So I decided I wanted to try something new. I said to ‘hell with it’ and decided to go “keto.”

I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

It appears the applications of the ketogenic diet is far reaching, and goes way beyond symptom management for specific conditions. Indeed, it appears using fat as a primary fuel source is beneficial to your overall health.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

Before we get into it, I thought it would be necessary to clarify what keto is all about. The ketogenic diet or ‘keto’ is characterized by a low carb and high dietary fat intake. And when the body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, it uses fat energy. These fat stores are broken down in the liver and converted into molecules known as ketones. In the absence of glucose, the body then uses these ketones for fuel.

Ketosis refers to a metabolic state where your body uses ketones (fat) as its primary energy source. Being in ketosis mean your body taps into its own fat stores to use as energy. This is obviously great news for weight loss, because you can become a fat-burning machine!

Many people mistakenly believe our bodies only produce ketones once we’re in ketosis. However, mild ketosis can also occur during fasting and lactation (breastfeeding) [1]. Even when we eat a lot of carbohydrates, ketones are present in our blood at low levels, and they increase in response to a decrease in carbohydrates.

The main reason the ketogenic diet works so well for weight loss is due to the lack of insulin. Insulin inhibits fat breakdown; and the principal nutrient that stimulates its release is carbohydrate [2].

Most people’s diets are rich in carbohydrates, hence they are unable to turn their bodies in to efficient fat-burning machines because of the constant presence of insulin.

And let’s just clarify one thing. You don’t starve your body while on a ketogenic diet. However, you do starve your body of carbohydrates.

There are actually four different types of ketogenic diets:

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD) – this is the most well-known version of the ketogenic diet. The aim here is to stay within 20-50g of net carbohydrates per day. You have a moderate protein and high fat intake. This typically consists of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrate.
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) – this involves eating 30-50g of carbohydrates 30 minutes or so prior to workouts.
  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) – as the name suggests, this is where you cycle your carbohydrate intake. For instance, you may go low carb for several days, followed by a high carbohydrate intake, and cycle back to a low carb approach again.
  • High-Protein Ketogenic Diet – in this variation you drop your fat intake and increase your protein intake substantially. In this case, the fat content is a more moderate 60%, protein 35%, while carbohydrates remain 5%.

To meet the demands of exercise and ensure muscle growth and repair, you need an adequate protein intake. Therefore, I decided to go on a high-protein ketogenic diet.

Below I share with you some of my main observations while I was on keto.

#1 Cognition is pretty damn good

My diet has been on point for several years, albeit with minor tweaks here and there. Testosterone replacement therapy has also helped with my mental clarity.

However, I have to say my overall concentration and thinking was very clear on the ketogenic diet. Whereas when I eat a lot of carbohydrates, I tend to feel sluggish.

When I eat lots of carbs carbs, I want to go take a nap and find it hard to concentrate. I never felt this way on keto.

#2 Easier to follow the diet than I thought

My biggest reservation about doing the ketogenic diet was that it would be hard to follow.

“It’s so hard to avoid carbohydrates these days!” I thought.

But honestly, it was much easier than I had anticipated.

Previously, carbohydrates such as sweet potato and oatmeal were mainstays in my diet. I couldn’t imagine life without them.

In reality however, the adjustment without carbs was quite straightforward.

I still ate plenty of protein, so that aspect didn’t change much. For the most part, I simply replaced the carbohydrates with green vegetables and added more fats in the form of avocados, nuts, etc.

Not that difficult.

Nor did this make me a social recluse unable to eat at restaurants.. It’s actually pretty simple to stay keto when you eat out. For example, a chicken salad with a moderate amount of fat is good from a keto standpoint.

#3 Fat based meals are pretty tasty

I’m not going to lie to you. One of the most enjoyable aspects of going keto was eating lots of foods that taste good –

And NOT feeling guilty for it!

A HUGE reason people fail their diets is down to guilt and shame:

“Oh no, I just had a cheat meal! I’ve fallen off the wagon and completely wrecked my diet!”

You simply don’t feel this way on a ketogenic diet, because most of the food tastes good. Therefore, there’s less compulsion to cheat and binge on crappy food.

Unless you’re a vegan, who doesn’t enjoy eating bacon, eggs, steak and cheese? Indeed, it makes a nice change to follow a diet where you look forward to every single meal.

eggs and avocado

#4 It’s easy to go overboard with dietary fat

Going keto comes with a BIG caveat:

It’s EXTREMELY easy to go overboard with the fat content. You can convince yourself that eating anything with fat in it is “good” for you. As a result, you end up splurging on things like cheese and nut butter.

Because they’re healthy fats right?

You convince yourself it’s good. Then when you punch in your calories into My Fitness pal, you realize you’ve ate wayyy too much.

It’s like those people who take two tablespoons of cream and butter in their coffee. It’s keto!! No, that’s called being fat.

On keto, I can eat two large meals and I’ve already hit my fat target for the day. The amount of calories in fat is quite deceptive – nine calories per gram to be precise. Whereas there are only four calories per gram of protein and carbohydrate.

#5 You have to eat plenty of vegetables

The fiber and nutrient content from the carbohydrates I ate used to help me feel satiated. When I removed them on the ketogenic diet, I noticed I get hungrier quicker. Eating fibrous vegetable can help you feel fuller and stop you snacking.

Snacking and grazing is like kryptonite to your diet.

If you follow keto to the letter, it’s not necessary to eat vegetables. You can eat a high fat meal such as bacon and eggs without them.

However, it’s important not to miss out vegetables on the ketogenic diet. Otherwise, you can become deficient in specific micronutrients. Vegetables are crucial for their vitamin and mineral content. Particularly for ones that your body cannot manufacture itself.

#6 Eating this way made me even more vigilant

I’ve long had the habit of looking at nutritional labels on all food. However, when I went keto, I became extra vigilant. To remain in ketosis, as a rule you cannot exceed 25-40g (at most) in a day of carbohydrates.

I wouldn’t even bat an eyelid at eating an avocado in the past. On keto though, I had to take it into consideration due to its carbohydrate content. You start to become hyper-conscious of carbohydrate content in foods.

You start to find them in places you would have never expected. Trying a ketogenic diet is great just for this lesson alone.

#7 Training performance was as good, if not better

As mentioned, one of my reservations about going keto was my performance in the gym. I always assumed that I needed plenty of carbohydrates to train hard at the gym and for strength and size.

Not for the first time, I was wrong.

While I could perhaps train more intensely with carbohydrates, I certainly had more stamina on keto. I could do six or seven intense exercises in a row and still feel energized.

By comparison,  I would normally be  tapped out by the end of a training session on a diet with complex carbohydrates. And because I train hard, doing creative tasks after training was OUT OF THE QUESTION. But after going keto, for the first time I was able to go home and write after training.

deadlift

#8 Recovery was slower

I still reserve judgement on this one because I only did keto for four months. Subjectively however, I noticed I did feel sorer for after training.

Where when eating plenty of carbohydrates, I would be sore for barely a day. This could be a mental thing. To make it more quantifiable, I’d have to track my heart rate every morning when I woke up.

Nonetheless, I don’t care much for tracking every single aspect of diet and training. What matters most to me on a diet is how you feel. And for the most part, I felt pretty damn good on keto.

#9 My body composition was even better

Another concern I had about going on keto was that I was going to lose muscle. I thought that the lack of carbohydrates would make me look flat.

Bodybuilding lore states that you need carbohydrates to gain muscle. So I never expected to gain muscle while on the ketogenic diet.

But take a look at my before and after pics. I look bigger and fuller. And I actually weighed less! The picture on the left is me three months I started keto, and the one on the right is four months later.

According to most gurus, you need a ton of carbs to grow muscle. On the weekend I would allow myself to have a meal with carbohydrates. Because guess what? I wanted a life! If it’s not keto adapted, who gives a shit. But one thing’s for sure – I gained a ton of size withourt the need for carbohydrates.

It goes to show – we take so many ideas for granted, particularly when it comes to health and fitness.

#10 You don’t need carbohydrates to function

I got a bodpod done when I finished with the diet. I was surprised with the results. It was the leanest I’ve ever been – 7.7% body fat in total.

daniel kelly bodpod

I felt better and looked much leaner on the ketogenic diet. However, I don’t think that’s because keto is some magic bullet. It’s simply a question of calories in, calories out. Eating more fat made me feel satiated for longer, so I didn’t need the additional calories.

When I started the ketogenic diet, I was worried eating less carbs would impair not only my training, but my focus in general. The truth is, I felt absolutely fine without them.

In fact, I felt better than ever before. I’ve since reverted back to eating carbohydrates. But as a result of going keto, I’ve dramatically lowered my intake. I simply don’t need them in the way I thought.

You do have to be a bit more picky and methodical in your planning – especially when you eat out. You also have to be assertive when friends and family on plying you with carbs!

It’s important to remember why you chose this lifestyle in the first place. Yes, it’s harder to do this, but what’s the alternative – feel and look like shit? No thanks!

I followed the ketogenic diet for around four months. It wasn’t difficult at all. In fact, I quite enjoyed it and I learned a SHIT TON about nutrition in general.

There is no better way to learn than to roll your sleeves up and get in the trenches. 

To find out more about the ketogenic diet or whether following it could be right for you, get in contact with me about my 1on1 coaching.

P.S. 

My book Optimized Under 35 is out on Amazon now, and has already received RAVE REVIEWS. Grab your copy today!

 

depression man

The Cause of Your Low Testosterone Symptoms

Back in late 2018, a young man in his early 20s contacted me because he felt stressed, depressed, anxious, lacked motivation and suffered regular panic attacks. His libido was low, and he had to take cialis to feel any sexual desire at all.

In short, he was not in a good place. And he was convinced this was due to low testosterone:

He was desperate in a desperate state, so we did a consultation to see how best I could help him.

Before the consultation I asked him to send me any previous blood tests along with detailed breakdown of his current lifestyle.

Context is everything. You can’t truly help someone until you can see the full picture.

A Verdict of Low Testosterone?

His prior blood tests revealed that he had low testosterone. I don’t put a lot of stock in the total testosterone number alone. This is because symptoms are the most important factor when it comes to hormonal balance.

However, his total testosterone ranged from 400-500 ng/dL (13.9 nmol/L – 17.3 nmol/L). This is very low for a man in his early 20s.

He also had low gonadotropin levels – luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Gonadotropins are hormones sent by the pituitary gland to the testes to produce testosterone.

This indicated that he likely had secondary hypogonadism. In secondary hypogonadism, the signal sent from the brain to the testes (via gonadotropin hormones) is weak. So because the testes don’t receive a strong signal, they fail to produce sufficient levels of testosterone.

In addition, he had low estradiol (a form of estrogen), which you would expect because his testosterone was so low. In men, estradiol is made predominantly from the conversion of testosterone. This process is known as aromatization. Essentially, the less testosterone you have, the less estrogen you produce.

Contrary to what many believe, estrogen is not a “female hormone.” Estrogen is crucial to male health and contributes to memory, mood, and libido among other things.

But that wasn’t all.

He also had elevated prolactin > 20 ng/mL (450 miu/L). Prolactin is another hormone produced in the pituitary gland. Elevated levels of prolactin can indicate a tumor in the pituitary gland, leads to the hypersecretion of prolactin.

High prolactin levels in men can also lead to erectile dysfunction, mood swings, low libido and even vision disturbances in some cases. However, his prolactin levels weren’t high enough to indicate a pituitary tumor (adenoma).

The Sickcare Solution

This young man was very exasperated. He had seen leading doctors, taken multiple blood tests, and even took an MRI scan.

His blood tests mostly “normal” (i.e. within range) and the MRI scans showed nothing wrong.

Yet he still felt like crap.

So due to his low testosterone symptoms and high prolactin levels, his doctor prescribed him clomid (a drug to elevate testosterone and maintain fertility) and cabergoline (a dopamine agonist) to bring prolactin down.

I’ve written extensively about clomid in my book Optimized Under 35. Research suggests clomid is a relatively safe and effective treatment option for hypogonadal men who want to elevate testosterone and maintain fertility.

One study looked at the effect of clomid treatment in young obese men with low testosterone aged 18-21. Eleven subjects were given 25mg of clomid every other day for three months.

Testosterone and gonadotropin hormones were measured before and after treatment. The average baseline testosterone levels were 233 ng/dL (8.1 nmol/L) and increased to 581 ng/dL (20.1 nmol/L) post treatment. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone levels (FSH) also increased.

Studies also show that cabergoline is effective at reducing high prolactin levels. One study gave a single dose of 300 mcg of cabergoline to 15 patients with hyperprolactinoma (i.e. a pituitary tumor). Prolactin levels were taken several hours before treatment and up to seven days after.

cabergoline

The authors of the study noted a significant reduction in serum prolactin levels; ranging from 49.2-55.2%. This occurred quickly – within two-five days of treatment.

These medications are clearly effective at treating low testosterone and high prolactin in men. Nevertheless, this young man wasn’t sure whether taking medication was the right thing for him.

Now, it’s not my place to advise on medications or give medical advise because I am not a doctor. However, I am a firm advocate of improving your health through diet and lifestyle changes.

The modern medical system is preoccupied with treating symptoms. I call this the Sickcare Solution. I believe we should aim to fix root causes instead.

I told him to be truly healthy and avoid long-term medication, he needed to find out what led to the low testosterone, high prolactin, and other symptoms.

So to investigate further, I needed to understand more about his lifestyle:

Sleep, diet, exercise, supplements – the whole shebang.

Living a Clean Lifestyle?

His symptoms of anxiety, depression, low motivation, low libido and lethargy are all linked with low testosterone. And his blood work showed that his testosterone was on the low end.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t necessarily mean he needed to undergo testosterone replacement therapy.

As a mentor of mine once told me:

“When you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail.”

This man was under a lot of stress running his business. He was under extreme pressure every day, and this was clearly taking its toll on his health.

stressed man

That’s not really extraordinary, because who among us doesn’t deal with stress?

Now apart from this, he lifted weights 2-3 times a week, meditated daily, drank minimal alcohol, and slept at least eight hours a night. Although in spite of sleeping a lot, he never felt well rested and frequently woke up in the night to urinate.

I also asked him to record everything he ate. It looked something like this:

Breakfast: Eggs, fresh green juice, and an espresso.

Snacks: Nuts, fruit, or a fresh juice.

Lunch: Vegetables, a form of protein such as chicken, and some cheese.
Mid-afternoon: Same as before or a protein shake.
Dinner: Salmon and salad or a healthy takeaway
He also typically drank a breakfast smoothie consisting of spinach, kale, MCT oil, protein powder, greek yoghurt, and coconut water.

On the surface, it appears as though he led a healthy lifestyle. His diet was low-carb, and included good protein sources and green vegetables.

But something was not adding up. And as we’ll see in a moment, his diet isn’t as great as it appears.

After he filled me in on his lifestyle, I asked him to get a comprehensive blood panel done. At first, he was reluctant, as he’d done so many tests already.

I understood his reticence. However, here’s what I told him:

The tests I do for my 1on1 coaching clients are NOTHING like a normal doctor’s test. Let’s take a closer look…

A Normal Range For Normal Health

Taking a blood test is great for one main reason:

It gives you a clear and objective assessment of your current state of health.

A typical blood test will have a reference range for each marker of health. So if you’re within that range,  then as far as modern medicine is concerned you’re normal!

Normal health

However nowadays, “normal” is a byword for mediocre or failing health. And for the most part, blood tests in this format are deeply flawed.

Reference ranges are often arbitrary, or conjured up based on population averages. They’re rarely, if ever age-adjusted, so everyone gets lumped into the same range.

For example, the reference range for total testosterone is taken from the entire population. That means a 25 year old man is comparing his testosterone levels to an 80 year old man.

Subsequently, if a 25 year old man has 300 ng/dL (10.4 nmol/L) of total testosterone (comparable to an 80 year old); he is considered normal. This is simply because his testosterone is within the “normal” reference range.

Furthermore, no distinction is made between normal and optimal levels of testosterone. Yet surely, we should all be striving for optimal when it comes to health? Nope!

When it comes to hormones, and health in general, average doesn’t come into it. We are all biochemically unique, and this requires a more tailored approach.

Sadly, it appears modern medicine is utterly obsessed with averages.

Optimal is the Only Option

The blood tests my clients take have multiple reference ranges. This includes:

  • Below standard
  • Below optimal
  • Optimal
  • Above optimal
  • Above standardVitamin D optimal range

The aim for my clients is to get the majority of their markers into the “optimal” range.

For context, the doctor’s range is from below standard to above standard. So, he’ll only be concerned if your result comes back outside of those.

That leaves a whole lot in between!

Moreover, many lab tests don’t test enough markers. As a result, they fail to give you a comprehensive and accurate picture of your overall health.

Seldom do I see tests for folic acid (vitamin B9), zinc, free T3 (a thyroid hormone), progesterone (a precursor to testosterone), or even inflammatory markers like homocysteine.

These markers such as these are critical to your health, yet they’re completely overlooked.

Finally, even though blood tests have reference ranges, the data is only useful when interpreted properly.  Typical lab tests offer no interpretation of the data, i.e. the trends and what it could mean in the future if you don’t address them.

For example, if your blood tests show a trend toward cardiovascular disease, you can take preemptive action to prevent it. Modern medicine is extremely reactive and has no interest in preventative care.

Not Just Low Testosterone…

When this young man’s blood test came back, it was immediately clear there was more to it than just low testosterone.

This is why I always want to know about a client’s lifestyle factors, such as sleep, diet, exercise, and stress levels. They can have a dramatic impact, not only on your testosterone levels, but the rest of your health.

The trends on his blood test showed not only sex hormone dysfunction (which we knew), but also immune, cardiovascular, and blood sugar issues.

Today, there is a lot on the internet about low testosterone. More and more men are starting to understand its critical role to their health. Indeed, part of what I do is to educate and bring awareness to this topic.

However, there is also a tendency to compartmentalize things. As a result, people jump to the conclusion that low testosterone automatically means you need to undergo testosterone replacement therapy.

The body does not compartmentalize though. Everything in your body is linked. So if one area of your health isn’t optimal, this has a knock on effect elsewhere.

In this man’s case, there’s no doubt his low testosterone was partly explained by his blood sugar regulation, thyroid and immune system issues.

The Hormone Panel

First, let’s take a look at his hormone panel. As with previous tests, his testosterone was on the low side. Most doctors would likely say his testosterone was “OK,” simply because he was within the reference range.

However, if you’re in your early 20s then you are in the prime of life. You should not have 542 ng/dL (18.8 nmol/L) of total testosterone. Even for an older man, this is still pretty average.

His progesterone was very low. Low progesterone is often a sign of underlying inflammation. We’ll see more of this trend shortly.

In addition, his DHEA-S levels were slightly low – suggesting adrenal stress. He didn’t drink that much coffee, but his day to day life business work was highly stressful. Decreased DHEA-S levels are associated with low sex drive and low mood.

low testosterone

 

All Roads Lead to Insulin Resistance

One major thing that stood on his test was his elevated glucose (blood sugar) and fasted insulin levels.

His levels are high given the test was done fasted first thing in the morning. This indicates he has poor blood sugar regulation. And for some reason, he’s not metabolizing carbohydrates effectively.

These are the first signs of insulin resistance and the road to type 2 diabetes. Indeed, studies indicate that low testosterone is associated with insulin resistance and an adverse lipid profile.

We’ll see later that his lipid profile (i.e. cholesterol markers) is not great. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that he had low testosterone, as cholesterol is a necessary precursor for testosterone production.

fasted glucose levels

fasted insulin

High blood sugar and insulin resistance is the genesis of many disease states. In addition to low testosterone and diabetes; it’s also associated with obesity and heart disease. Evidence even suggests that high blood glucose levels correlate with tumor malignancy in cancer patients.

Dehydration and Low Stomach Acid

The blood test also indicated his kidneys were under stress. Specifically, he had elevated urea levels.

When the body breaks down proteins, they turn into carbon dioxide, water, and ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to the body, so the body converts it into urea. This urea is then transported to the kidneys and excreted through urine.

This young man’s urea was on the high side. Urea can be elevated in the presence of high dietary protein intake. However, his protein intake was not dramatically high.

High urea can also be due to dehydration and low stomach acid. And given he had immune system issues; low stomach could have been a possibility

Stomach acid is vital to kill pathogens in foods. This stops you from getting bacterial infections and viruses. So if you have low stomach acid, this can compromise your immune system. Evidence suggests that up to 70% of our immune system is found in our gut – so this makes total sense.

He also had elevated hemoglobin, further demonstrating that he was likely dehydrated.

elevated hemoglobin

I also had reason to believe that he had digestive tract issues due to decreased globulin levels. Globulin are proteins in the blood that serve as the body’s antibody system.

Decreased globulin levels are associated with digestive system inflammation and immune deficiency.

total globulin

As part of his diet, he mentioned that he was taking protein shakes every day. Protein shakes can work well – but they aren’t for everyone. In some individuals it can lead to inflammation in the digestive tract. This is especially true if you’re lactose intolerant. This can cause bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

Vitamin Deficiencies

The report indicated he had low alkaline phosphatase (ALP). ALP is a group of enzymes found in bone, liver and the intestines. Decreased levels are associate with zinc deficiency.

zinc deficiency

Zinc contributes to numerous vital functions in the body. Zinc deficiency is associated with low testosterone, low sperm count and immune system dysfunction.

Low zinc levels can also lead to sugar cravings. This means more you’re more likely to binge on sugar and junk food. Therefore, zinc’s importance cannot be overstated.

As part of his metabolic panel, we also did a test known as the “anion gap.” Basically, the anion gap checks the level of acid in your blood. Elevated levels are associated with metabolic acidosis and thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency.

Vitamin B1 is essential for glucose metabolism. Remember his glucose and fasting insulin levels? Among other things, thiamine deficiency may help explain why his glucose was high.

anion gap thiamine deficiency

We also discovered he was low in folic acid (vitamin B9). Folic acid deficiency can lead to fatigue, lethargy, and irritability. And guess what? He suffered from all these symptoms.

Now that’s not to say folic acid deficiency was solely responsible for how he was feeling. Nonetheless, it’s important to note it’s not just low testosterone that could contribute to the way he was feeling.

low folic acid

 

Cholesterol and Inflammatory Markers

Chronic inflammation is the underpinning of all disease. Although not all inflammation is bad. Acute inflammation is key to muscle growth, because it helps them grow back bigger and stronger.

This man’s lipid panel (cholesterol markers) and inflammatory markers pointed once again to high inflammation. Low testosterone is associated with high levels of inflammation.

When you’re inflamed, the last thing your body wants to do is produce testosterone.

His inflammatory markers showed elevated levels of c-reactive protein (CRP). Increased levels of CRP are associated with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

In addition, he also had high homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood. Elevated levels can increase the risk of heart disease, as it can damage the endothelial lining of the arteries.

High homocysteine is associated with vitamin B deficiency. And as we know in this case, he has multiple vitamin B deficiencies. Therefore, it’s no surprise that homocysteine is elevated.

high sensitivity c-reactive protein test

elevated homocysteine

The blood test showed he had low cholesterol. Low cholesterol is a strong indicator of inflammation and oxidative stress.

lipid panel

Decreased levels of HDL cholesterol are considered to be atherogenic, leading to the accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries. This is the prelude to heart attack and stroke.

For most people, the elevation of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, is the issue. In this case however, LDL cholesterol is on the low side.Low LDL cholesterol is associated with anxiety and depression; two symptoms he also struggled with.

Due to a high saturated fat western style diet, many people have high levels of triglycerides. Interestingly, his triglycerides were on the low side. Triglycerides are a storage molecule for fat.

This points to a few possibilities. It could be the result of liver dysfunction, however his liver markers were good. It may also be the result of not enough dietary fat.

it appears he gets adequate levels of fat through his diet. The remaining alternative is guess what? Excess inflammation.

Inflammation is a recurrent theme with this gentleman. And if he doesn’t get it under control, it will lead to serious health problems.

Arguably, you could say he already has serious problems. But I contend this is just the tip of the iceberg. Remember, this guy is only in his early 20s!

Immune System Issues

The blood test pointed to issues with his immune system function. His monocytes and eosinophil levels were both elevated.

monocytes

eosinophils

Monocytes are a type of white blood cell. They act as the body’s second line of defense against infection. They also facilitate healing and repair. High levels of monocytes can point to the recovery phase of an infection.

For example, if you have the flu a few days prior to taking the blood test, then this may elevate monocytes. Alternatively, this could mean you have a chronic infection.

Eosinophils are another type of white blood cell. They fight disease and are typically elevated in the presence of a parasitic infection, allergies, or cancer.

It’s possible something in his diet is aggravating his gastrointestinal tract. He may have an allergy or sensitivity to the food he’s causing, which may require further testing.

But given he has elevated monocytes, eosinophils AND low white blood cells, it’s possible he has a parasitic infection.

Many people suffer from parasitic infections without knowing it. H.pylori is the most common type of bacterial infection, and can be tested for via a stool test.

In my book Optimized Under 35, I wrote about how parasites and infections can actually disrupt hormone production:

Research suggests that, in addition to fungal infections, parasites such as roundworm and tapeworm can cause endocrine disorders. Multiple animal studies have shown parasitic infection to affect sex hormone production (i.e., lower testosterone) and dramatically affect sexual behavior. Anecdotally, in humans it can cause fatigue, joint pain, and anxiety.

This individual would require further testing to determine whether he had a parasitic infection.

Most stool tests check for h.pylori only. However, there are a whole host of parasitic infections out there. So it’s better to spend money on getting a thorough test done to rule out other possibilities.

Oxalates Are No Bueno

Remember how I said earlier that his diet looked great but it really wasn’t? Well, he was taking in raw spinach every day from a green smoothie. Most people think this is a great idea, because green veggies right?

Actually, eating raw spinach is a bad idea because it’s full of oxalates. These are natural pesticides produced by plants to ward off pests. However, research suggests that oxalates can have a very negative effect on your health, which include:

  • Neurological issues, leading to sleep disruption and memory loss
  • Increased calcium excretion

To find out more on the hidden dangers of oxalates, I recommend you read this excellent article: Health Dangers of Oxalates.

According to nutrition and functional health expert Paul Burgess, eating spinach every day with its oxalate content could do considerable systemic damage. This is potentially what’s happening here.

Research suggests oxalates can also impair mitochondrial and monocyte function. As we saw above, he had elevated monocyte levels. It could be a parasitic infection, or it could be due to his oxalate intake.

Final Thoughts

We didn’t cover every single blood test marker here. Many of this man’s results were very good. However, he had multiple underlying issues.

He had low testosterone, but as you an see, low testosterone was the least of his problems. And it was likely a result of everything else going on in his body.

Taking a medication like clomid or testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) would not have fixed things for him. It would have only masked the underlying problems he had.

This is why I say TRT is only for those who need it.

Time and again, I’ve seen guys go on TRT, only to still struggle with fatigue and other symptoms that they had before it.

Instead of worrying about TRT, this man needed to spend time on reducing the inflammation in his body. His stress levels need to be managed better, because that’s clearly having a profound impact on his health.

Similarly, we would have to look into what causing his immune system issues.

He would also need to address his probable low stomach acid, which would lead to malabsorption of nutrients. Even if your diet is immaculate – ultimately you aren’t what you eat, but you are what you absorb.

Getting this man into a good place could take anywhere from 6-12 months – possibly more. We’d have to overhaul many aspects of his lifestyle, including his nutrition, exercise regime, and improve his sleep.

But 6-12 months of getting this right is far better than the alternative:

Lifelong medication.

Taking medication isn’t going to fix you if you don’t address what got you into that state in the first place.

In the end, he chose not to work together with me. I understand he was very busy at work – and that’s fine. Although I dread to think how his health is going to be in the near future unless he changes something.

If you can relate to this story and recognize many of the symptoms, get in contact with me about my 1on1 coaching. We can take you through a comprehensive blood test and find out what’s really going on inside your body.

References

Ferrari C, Barbieri C, Caldara R, Mucci M, Codecasa F, Paracchi A, Romano C, Boghen M, Dubini A.”Long-lasting prolactin-lowering effect of cabergoline, a new dopamine agonist, in hyperprolactinemic patients.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1986 Oct;63(4):941-5.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3745407

Sachin V. Bendre, Pamela J. Murray, and Shehzad Basaria. “Clomiphene Citrate Effectively Increases Testosterone in Obese, Young, Hypogonadal Men.Reprod Syst Sex Disord. 2015 Dec; 4(4): 155. Published online 2015 Nov 13. doi: 10.4172/2161-038X.1000155.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734653/

Vakkat Muraleedharan and T. Hugh Jones. “Testosterone and the metabolic syndrome.” Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct; 1(5): 207–223. doi: 10.1177/2042018810390258.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3474619/

Ge Cui, Ting Zhang, Fan Ren, Wen-Ming Feng, Yunliang Yao, Jie Cui,Guo-Liang Zhu, and Qi-Lin Shi. “High Blood Glucose Levels Correlate with Tumor Malignancy in Colorectal Cancer Patients.Med Sci Monit. 2015; 21: 3825–3833. Published online 2015 Dec 8. doi: 10.12659/MSM.894783.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677694/

Patel M, Yarlagadda V, Adedoyin O, Saini V, Assimos DG, Holmes RP, Mitchell T. “Oxalate induces mitochondrial dysfunction and disrupts redox homeostasis in a human monocyte derived cell line.Redox Biol. 2018 May;15:207-215. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2017.12.003. Epub 2017 Dec 15.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29272854

 

 

 

 

 

The Anti-Aging Blueprint: How to Beat Aging [Review]

It’s a sad indictment of our society that as many people enter their later years, they end up in care homes. That doesn’t mean I have anything against care homes. Because for some people, that’s the right option.

However, growing old doesn’t mean you need to retire to a care home and lose your health and your mind.

Far from it, in fact. Yet because so many people end up like this, we think it’s the norm.

There are several anti-aging strategies that you can follow to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. And in this article, I’ll share some of the strategies I learned from PD Mangan’s Anti-Aging Blueprint.

Man vs Machine

A machine can’t repair itself.

At the beginning of his course, PD Mangan poses the following question:

What’s the difference between a machine and a person?

It’s a great analogy and one that makes you think about the traditional view we have of aging. Many people think the human body is like a car that gets rusty and eventually gets worn out. A

However, what people fail to recognize is this:

Human beings get worn out too. But we can repair ourselves through mechanisms such as autophagy.

Although the key point Mangan emphasizes is that you must allow yourself to do so. And living an atypical couch potato, Netflix-binge lifestyle actually ages you faster.

Whereas the opposite (and you’d do well to do EXACTLY the opposite of mainstream health advice); i.e leading a fit and active lifestyle, protects against aging.

Indeed, the aging process can be likened to a computer that needs servicing. The components are faulty, and may need repairing or replacing. If nothing is done, eventually the system ceases to function entirely. In your case – that means death.

Mangan refers to this as the “Garbage Catastrophe of Aging.” That is, the detrimental effects has on the body if left unchecked.

Keep this idea at the forefront of your mind whenever you think about not taking care of your body. Because the less you do about it, the worse it gets.

Inflammation is necessary mechanism for the body to be able to repair itself. However, chronic low-level inflammation is terrible for your health.

What do most diseases have in common? Inflammation. And it’s also a characteristic of aging.

Mangan says that chronic Inflammation is: “like driving down the road with your feet on the accelerator and the brakes simultaneously.”

To reduce your chances of age-related disease, it’s important to reduce inflammation. And in a moment, we’ll see some of things you can do to reduce inflammation.

According to Mangan, in addition to inflammation, to fight aging, we must also stop oxidative stress. That means damage induced by free radicals.

There is no doubt about it that oxidative stress leads to the many of the diseases we find in aging.

In my book, Optimized Under 35, I wrote about the effect of oxidative stress on the testes. It appears that oxidative stress can be induced by poor lifestyles – not merely the result of “aging.”

And I believe this is why we have an untold epidemic of young men with low testosterone. Because their poor lifestyles (among other things) result in oxidative stress and damage to their sexual organ function.

Our bodies have their own protection to oxidative stress in the form of antioxidant. And among these antioxidants, one of the most noteworthy being glutathione, which declines with age.

The Big 5 of Long Life

In the Anti-Aging Blueprint course, there is a segment called, “The Big 5 of Long Life.” These are 5 basic anti-aging principles you should follow to ensure a long and healthy life.

  • No smoking
  • Lean and not overweight
  • Moderate alcohol consumption
  • Regular exercise (and being strong)
  • Eat a healthy diet

And by following these basic rules; both men and women can several years to their life span.

You might be thinking: “These 5 anti-aging measures are obvious!” But ask yourself this – how many people actually apply them?

Very few.

And that’s exactly why so few people remain in good health as they age.

Instead, the vast majority of people (in the west at least) age horribly. Walk around any shopping center and you’ll see elderly people struggling to walk. Many are keeled over their zimmer frames and don’t even know their own name.

Now, is it simply because of their age? Or perhaps it has something to do with how they took care of themselves?

Want proof? Check out PD Mangan’s physique below. He’s in his 60s, an age when most people are retiring, ready to go quietly into the night. Yet he has a better physique than most men in their 20s.

How many people do you know in their 60s that are in that kind of shape? Likely none.

pd mangan physique

It comes as no surprise then that most people are in terrible condition when they enter their twilight years.

Make no mistake, following these principles will put you into the top 1% of people. This way, you’ll avoid the disastrous fate many find themselves in during old age.

As I’ve always said; maintaining good health is not difficult. It simply requires consistent, applied discipline.

We all grow old – that’s a fact of life. But it’s up to you whether you do it gracefully or in sickness.

And as Mangan says:

Average people have average lifespans.

They also have average health. And today, “average health” means sickness and dependence on multiple medications.

That’s no way to age gracefully.

So if you want to age well and avoid the disease of average; follow the Big 5 of Long Life.

Does Alcohol Age You?

Another interesting part of the course concerns alcohol and aging. This is a big topic for most people, particularly because our culture glorifies alcohol.

Drinking alcohol in our society is so widespread, that it has become a religion unto itself. Alcohol is so ingrained into our culture that expressing a desire to abstain is almost akin to heresy. I call this: “The Cult of Alcohol.”

alcohol and aging

I’ve written in the past about my own experience of quitting alcohol. Suffice to say, I gave up drinking alcohol altogether and this had a positive on both my health and quality of life.

However, many are simply not ready to give up alcohol. Now, we know that excessive alcohol consumption is bad news for your health.

But the question here is – does alcohol age you?

According to Mangan, low to moderate alcohol intake is associated with longer life. He cites numerous studies that show that those who drink 1-2 drinks a day have a lower death rate than those who don’t drink at all.

And if you didn’t know already, excessive drinking is bad news for your health and is associated with:

  • Higher death rates
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Low testosterone
  • Low sperm count
  • Depression

Mangan says that moderate alcohol drinkers is have up to an 18% lower death rate. That’s pretty big. Although he is quick to point out here that association doesn’t necessarily mean causation.

He goes on to say that maybe health causes drinking, not the other way round. In other words, healthy and intelligent people choose to drink alcohol in moderation.

What’s more, there is a broad definition as to what constitutes “non-drinkers.” Indeed, non-drinkers may be less health conscious and simply don’t drink. A non-drinker may also be a former alcoholic that damaged their health through excessive drinking.

However, in the studies once former alcoholics were removed the category of non-drinkers, there was still a positive association with alcohol intake and good health.

It appears that moderate alcohol consumption can improve a number of health markers. These include; lower cholesterol, increased insulin sensitivity

This all comes back to hormesis – fascinating concept that PD Mangan discusses at length in the course. Hormesis basically means toxins in small amounts can actually be good for you. And in this case alcohol.

Another example is broccoli. It contains a substance called sulforaphane, which in large enough amounts can lead to cancer. In small amounts, however, it can be very beneficial to your health.

Alcohol and Aging: My Grandfather’s Story

My grandfather Bill was born in the 1930s before the outbreak of WW2. Like many of his generation, the events of those times became etched deep into his psyche. I fondly remember him telling stories of those times, such as the Battle of Britain.

He was definitely a child of his time. And at that time in post-war Britain, regular alcohol consumption was the norm.

My grandfather had a lifelong career in large British firm (imagine that today!). Eventually, he worked his way up to management, and was fortunate enough to retire in his 50s.

This was great in many ways, because it meant that he could travel and enjoy life to the fullest. But that also meant he had a lot of time on his hands.

And what did people from his generation do to pass the time? Drink alcohol.

does alcohol age you?

Now, my grandfather was by no means an alcoholic, but he drank daily. As I recall, he drank 2-3 drinks – maybe more. And doing this over the course of several decades did serious damage to his body.

By the time he reached his 70s, Bill already had type 2 diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver. I’m convinced that his daily alcohol habit made him age significantly and played a big part in his poor health

Indeed, alcohol does age you, but as PD Mangan points out in the course; the type of alcohol you drink matters. My grandfather drank beer and whiskey. Whereas from the scientific literature, it appears the protective effects of alcohol derive mainly from red wine.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t just alcohol that contributed to the demise of his health. In his younger years, my grandfather was a fit and active man and often went cycling.

While he didn’t smoke, as he grew older he exercised little and paid scant attention to his diet. In short, he failed to follow the Big 5 of Long Life.

As a result, in 80s and in his final year of life Bill admitted himself to a care home. Mentally, he was still sharp, but at this point he had sarcopenia (muscle waste) and was very frail.

He was also on a laundry list of medication that he needed to manage his diabetes and other conditions. And I’m positive he had low testosterone, which contributed to his low muscle mass and sombre moods.

It was sad to see a proud, kind and intelligent man reduced to such a poor state of health. And he passed away in 2015. Yet his health had nothing to do with his age and everything to do with his lifestyle.

I am convinced that had he followed the Anti-Aging Blueprint, he would still be here today.

Aging: A Modern Phenomenon?

There is no doubt that today, if you want to avoid the Garbage Catastrophe of Aging, you MUST follow some sort of anti-aging strategy.

There are no two ways about it.

Our environment is full of toxic chemicals and endocrine disruptors (EDCs) that conspire to lower your testosterone, lower sperm count and keep you in a poor state of health.

Poor nutrition choices – such as the western diet – and lack of exercise have led to an obesity epidemic. Yet this is in spite of all the information and technological advances we have made.

So what went wrong? We forgot how to take care of ourselves.

If you’re not convinced that aging in its current form is an entirely modern phenomenon, check out the pictures below.

These images are of veterans from the Napoleonic wars in the 1800s. When the photos were taken, these men were in their 70s and 80s. Yet they still manage to fit into their original uniforms. And they look as fierce as when they marched with Napoleon.

Does it look like “age” was a problem for these men?

Final Thoughts

There are two things that I enjoyed above all in both about this course.

Mangan backs up his assertions with scientific evidence. However, he like many “evidence-based” people today, he doesn’t simply take the studies at face value. He interprets them in an intelligent manner, tells you how they may be flawed and crucially; how they apply to you.

In addition, he breaks down complex scientific subjects and makes them easy to understand. And even as someone who had good understanding of anti-aging prior to the course, I got plenty of new insights.

The best thing about the Anti-Aging Blueprint is that it makes anti-aging interventions available to you from the comfort of your own home.

And that’s the incredible thing about the time we live in. Knowledge that was once only accessible to the rich and famous is now available for all.

No longer do you have to go to an expensive anti-aging clinic in Beverley Hills or Harley Street, and pay thousands of dollars for the privilege.

The quality of information contained in the Anti-Aging Blueprint is well worth the admission price alone. And what’s more, the bonuses in the course are fantastic. They include three of his best selling books, as well as a fascinating interview with physician Leo Zacharski.

This makes it an offer, you simply can’t refuse.

Remember, if you want to remain in average health, do what average people do. I believe in paying it forward when it comes to your health. Either way, you’re going to pay.

You can either do it now by paying for a gym membership, expert coaching, eating organic food or education.

Or you can pay for it later with care home fees and medication.

Invest in your health today by signing up for the Anti-Aging Blueprint here.