Study says typical Western diet’s poor nutritional quality kills sperm count and lowers testosterone levels in men

sperm count

The sperm in Western nations can be likened to endangered animals where science might worry that it’s heading toward extinction.

In 38 years between 1973 and 2011, total sperm count in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and North America decreased by up to 60 percent, the research found. The statistic is an acceleration of a trend that started in the 1940s. The trend is continuing according to more recent studies.

At the same time, studies show a simultaneous drop in testosterone levels, the hormone required to build a man’s muscle and bone mass, and also needed to boost sex drive.

Why do these things continue to happen?

No one knows. Debate rages about the role of air pollution, radiation, and chemicals in our food, water, and clothes. Obesity, alcohol consumption, and smoking likely all play a part.

So could the typical Western diet’s lower nutritional quality, according to a new study in JAMA Urology.

Study author Feiby Nassan, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s research fellow, said this study is the largest one to date to examine the diet pattern with the testicular function of men.

The result of the study shows that, on average, Westernized diet of processed foods, sweets, snacks, pizza in men produced approximately 68 million fewer sperm upon ejaculation than those who ate a healthier, balanced diet.

If a man has fewer than 39 million sperm per ejaculation or less than 15 million sperm per litter, he is considered having low sperm count. A low sperm count can make it difficult for a man to get a partner pregnant and can be a crucial marker for men’s overall health.

Nassan said that fertility isn’t just vital in making babies but also related to a man’s life expectancy and general health.

A big difference

The study looked at 2,935 Danish men with a median age of 19 and of average weight. The participants were undergoing physical to measure their fitness for military service – something all men in their country have to do after turning 18.

The men were taken blood and semen samples and completed a questionnaire asking them how often they had eaten 136 food items in the past three months.

The study examined four food patterns:

  • The “prudent,” healthy pattern, in which fruit, vegetables, fish, chicken, and water were mostly consumed.
  • The “open-sandwich pattern,” a more typical Danish diet with higher consumption of cold, whole-grain pieces of bread, processed meats, mayonnaise, cold fish, dairy, and condiments.
  • The “vegetarian-like pattern,” in which vegetables, soy milk, and eggs were highly consumed with little to no red meat or chicken.
  • The “unhealthy” Western pattern, with more sweets, sugar-sweetened drinks, pizza, snacks, french fries, red meat, and processed grains.

Men who were on the prudent pattern of eating got the highest sperm counts. In the second place were men who closely followed the semi-vegetarian and then followed by the Danish eating style.

Nassan said that men who closely followed the ‘prudent’ pattern had a median sperm count of 68 million higher than who closely followed the ‘Western’ pattern with 95 percent confidence intervals of 43 and 93.

Additionally, the median sperm count of men who strictly followed the vegetarian-like pattern was almost 33 million higher than those who ate the less nutritious Western diet.

Non-participant of the study Charles Lindemann, a researcher and professor emeritus at Michigan’s Oakland University, commented on the study’s preliminary results last year, saying that the study’s findings could be a vital clue if it holds up to scrutiny. He noted that a diet high in processed foods could be the culprit of a continuing decrease in sperm counts over the recent past.

Nassan said her findings show consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, nuts, and seafood provides the body the antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for proper sperm production.

According to Nassan, protecting a man’s testicular function may only need changing simple and inexpensive diet pattern.

“I believe that it is not only ‘you are what you eat,’ but it is also ‘your sperm is what you eat,” Nassan said.

Strongman Bodybuilding Techniques


As we reached to an intermediate and advanced stage of our strongman journey, we want to improve our maximum speed, strength, and set volume. While proper form and recovery practices in doing exercises work in the beginning, intermediate and advanced athletes need to overcome the limitations of linear progress. With this in mind, they need to introduce certain variables into their programs. When hitting inevitable plateaus, it’s time to incorporate techniques that are usually limited to the bodybuilding world. If you want to kickstart some new growth, try the following set modifiers.


The technique for building mass and can be applied to lengthen the concentric portion of an exercise to help build endurance and stability on an event. It works very well on modified deadlifts and presses to enhance weak spots. On the log, I will have strongmen use 75% of a maximum, press the weight dynamically and then lower it back to the start slowly under complete control. It has an outstanding effect on power, size, and stability. Do sets of 5 to 8.

Remember the following:

  • Maintain control throughout
  • Have at least a 1 to 3 ratio of speed on the movement, then quickly explosive on the left, and then very slowly to the starting point.
  • They will consume much of your power, so do these last in your training session.

Strip sets

Perform a set or two where you drop the weight and do more reps to wring out a muscle group. It may consist of one or two drops to improve the muscular endurance fibers. Strip sets can also help an anaerobic capacity of a strongman because of the nature of the beast. Squeeze an extra rep or four in when you believe you’re entirely beat, especially when close to a contest. As an example, using a plate loaded car deadlift would do a work set at contest weight for the max reps they can get or until time runs out. Then the training partners would take off at least 10% of the weight, and the athlete would immediately go for more reps.

Remember the following:

  • Listen to your body before applying this technique to avoid easy injury
  • Don’t overuse this technique. It is best to use it sparingly before a contest to maximize your capacity for repetitions.

Forced Reps

These have been a staple of heavy or hardcore duty training styles. Have a partner help you get reps when your body is incapable of more. Use these on pull-ups and other basic exercises that improve your events. Have a partner help spot you in the back for a few more reps than your usual pull-ups. The extra two or three pull-ups can fire up the central nervous system and provide you some additional strength.

Remember the following:

  • Combine forced reps with negatives. Often, you can’t handle the eccentric alone but the other way around on the concentric in a slow controlled fashion.
  • Do not do forced reps on overhead movements, deadlifts, and squats.

Physician Says Physical and Mental Health Are Keys to Prevent Cancer

Body, spirit, mind Balance prevent cancer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, with an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Naturopathic physician Michelle Hamilton cited the data when she discussed the topic of cancer prevention on day three of the Inter-American Division (IAD) Health Summit in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. About one in six deaths is caused by cancer around the world.

Hamilton, who is also managing director of Hope Lifestyle Center in Kingston, Jamaica, believes the statistics could have been lower if we would focus not only on exercise and food but also on other factors that affect our bodies.

Hamilton said that most people focus on exercise and food and fail to see the connection in terms of our environment, our families, our emotions, our organs, and our minds. She posited that life that we have is very complicated as most people failed to understand the connections between the mind and the body.

Hamilton stressed that one has to understand that we need to be whole to prevent cancer.

cancer prevention

She explained that we need to be whole in spirit, body, and mind. To do so, we need balance in our lives. Things are connected. Our emotions to others, our friendships that we have, and among others have a consequence. If someone has hurt you, you will feel or produce an adverse reaction, but our bodies also have a memory of that, affecting how we live our lives daily and how we process the things in our environment and even the things that we take into our bodies.

WHO data reveals that a third of deaths from cancer are due to high body mass index (overweight), low vegetable and fruit intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.

Hamilton said that we have to understand cancer from a wholistic standpoint to prevent it. We need to realize that each organ function is essential, and our relationship, our emotions, our very thoughts, all play a role in our body function.

There are a hundred types of cancers known today, with around 70 percent of deaths in cancer happening in low-and middle-income countries.

Hamilton said that cancer in itself requires an environment, which is one of chronic inflammation. The inflammation comes about through multiple different pathways. It comes about through the thought process. If you are sad and lonely, if you are always angry, if you feel emotions, you aren’t able to express, all of that affects your immune system in some way, she added. It also affects your hormones and digestive system, but people don’t put a lot of importance on that because they don’t make connections.

Hamilton argued that we need to understand how certain foods produce inflammation or cancer that, in turn, may make the environment that cancer thrives in, as well as other lifestyle diseases.

Hamilton concluded that a healthy mind would provide you a healthy body. So, she hopes that people can make the connections to realize that it’s all connected, and nothing is separate.

3 of the Most Popular Herbal Medicines

traditional Chinese medicine

Cultures in different parts of the globe have relied on traditional medicine to meet healthcare needs for centuries.

The demand for herbal remedies is on the rise despite the technological and medical advancements of modern times. Herbal medicine industry is in fact estimated to have grossed approximately $60 billion annually.

Some of these natural remedies are more accessible and affordable than conventional ones. Many people prefer using traditional herbal medicines because they align with their personal health ideologies.

Here are 3 of the most popular herbal medicines in the world, along with their main benefits, uses and relevant safety information.

1. Echinacea or coneflower. It is a flowering plant originated in North America. It has long been used in Native American practices to treat a variety of ailments, including upset stomach, sore throat, toothaches, burns, wounds.

Herbal Medicines

Most parts of the plant, including roots, petals, leaves, can be used medicinally but many people believe the roots have the strongest effect.

Echinacea is usually taken as a supplement or a tea but can also be applied topically.

Today, the herbal plant is primarily used to prevent or treat the common cold but the science behind this is not particularly strong.

Short-term use is generally considered safe but its long-term effects don’t have sufficient data. Occasionally reported side effects to include skin rash, stomach pain, and nausea.

Echinacea can be bought in most supermarkets and health food stores.

2. Ginseng. Its roots are usually dried to make a powder or steeped to make a tea. It is popular in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce inflammation and boost energy levels, brain function, and immunity.

herbal options

There are several varieties of ginseng but the most popular ones are the Asian Panax ginseng and American Panax quinquefolius. Asian ginseng is considered more stimulating while the American ginseng is believed to cultivate relaxation.

Ginseng has been used for centuries but modern research supporting its efficacy is lacking.

Several animal and test-tube studies suggest that ginsenosides, its unique compounds, boast immune-supporting, antidiabetes, anticancer, and neuroprotective properties.

Ginseng is considered relatively safe for short-term use but its long-term safety remains undetermined. Potential side effects include digestive issues, poor sleep, and headaches.

3. Ginkgo biloba. Also known as ginkgo, it is an herbal medicine from the maidenhair tree. Ginkgo is native to China and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It has been a top-selling herbal supplement in modern times. Its antioxidants are believed to offer several benefits.

health food

Traditionally, the seeds and leaves are used to make tinctures and teas, but most modern applications use leaf extract.

Some individuals do enjoy eating toasted seeds and raw fruit. However, seeds should only be eaten in small quantities as they are mildly toxic.

Ginkgo is thought to treat heart disease, mental difficulties, dementia, and sexual dysfunction, though no studies have proven its effectiveness for any of these conditions.

You can get the ginkgo at supplement shops or online.

Lessons That Go Beyond the 2019-nCoV Outbreak

2019 nCoV

Many people are getting panic with the news of coronavirus infections.

It is not clear how deadly or widespread this illness is going to be, but instead of suggesting you not to worry, I am going to suggest riding that wave. You should channel that fear into useful action and get the lessons that go beyond this outbreak.

The novel respiratory virus has caused hundreds of deaths in Wuhan, China, and has spread to other parts of the world. However, there are things we can do to protect people from infection by this virus. Some need a societal response, but others are straightforward.

Washing your hands is the most important. Wash them often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Don’t forget to wash them thoroughly if you’re about to eat. Wash them after you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose. Make it routine that all people in the household wash their hands when they get home.

It may be hard to do this yourself and harder to get others to do it. But you can make it a game or offer incentives. And stress to all members of the household that these safety measures can help protect you all from infections.

While washing your hands for at least 20 seconds seems like a long time and no big randomized controlled trials to prove this is the optimal duration, research does exist to say that shorter times are not as good at removing germs, and much longer times can be counterproductive and can damage the skin.

If, for some reason, you can’t wash your hands, then use a sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. A pinch of sanitizer will do but may not be as good as washing your hands.

In general, don’t touch your face, especially with unwashed hands. When meeting people who are sick, don’t shake hands. If you’re sick, stay away from other people.

Clean the surfaces and objects that you touch a lot very well. Use cleaning sprays or wipes that will kill germs.

Face masks are not recommended for everyone. They may help prevent you from spreading the virus if you are sick, but they don’t do as much to help keep healthy people from getting infected with viruses.

2019 wuhan china corona virus

Likeliest Scenarios For Uncontained Outbreak

The 2019-novel Coronavirus is thought to be more infectious than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2002, which both originated from this same type of virus. But the 2019-nCoV is less likely to cause death.

Containment is the best-case scenario for this latest outbreak. It is possible to eradicate 2019-nCov in humans just like we accomplished with SARS. However, eradication becomes more difficult as international travel becomes more accessible. If China cannot pull off containment and other countries cannot keep those who are infected to a minimum, it’s still not necessarily cause for panic.

It would be the 5th coronavirus that’s endemic in humans. SARS and MERS didn’t become endemic.

Sharon Begley recently published an article in STAT News laying out the two most likely scenarios for the uncontained outbreak. The first one is that the n-CoV becomes endemic, which will make us worry for a few years as we track the rate of infections and ensure that it isn’t more severe than we think. However, eventually, we will not worry about it any more than we worry about what virus is causing our latest cold. Over a third of people infected with the other coronaviruses do not even notice they are ill.

It does not mean that some people do not become sicker after contracting these coronaviruses, with pneumonia, for example. However, the rates of adverse outcomes are not usually high enough to make the news.

The other outcome, more worrisome, would be that 2019-nCoV becomes a seasonal virus, like influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, the flu has caused up to 310,000 hospitalizations this year alone and 10,000 to 25,000 deaths.

Where to worry

Only time will tell if the new coronavirus ends up being more or less dangerous than the flu. Usually, the diseases that stick around tend to become less lethal. If 2019-nCov is not able to mutate that evade immune system detection just like influenza, people’s immunity to it could gradually improve.

But the 2019-nCoV could turn into something like a disease that public health officials have a hard time making you worry about right now. Physicians and public health officials try to get you to immunize ourselves against the flu every year, and far too many of you don’t. They beg you to practice proper hygiene and precautions, but still, tens of thousands of people die, and too few worry enough.

You should be worried about getting infected with viruses, but have you gotten a flu shot yet?

Channel your fears into productive behaviors to reduce your risk from being infected with 2019-nCoV. It will also help you from being infected with the flu and even help protect you from getting a cold.

Boost Your Gut Health and Prevent Heart Disease With This Afternoon Snack

benefits of walnuts

Are you looking for a snack between mealtimes or postworkout? You are not alone, as it is something we all do. Sometimes the only available snacks you can get are those you can find at the gas station or something packaged and tasty from the vending machine. However, everything we eat can positively affect our gut health and risk of heart disease. It is in utmost importance that we be more strategic about our snacking.

Journal of Nutrition published new research that says swapping out your sweet or salty afternoon pick-me-up for walnuts can have some significant heart health benefits.

Researchers looked at 42 overweight or obese participants who were between the ages of 30 and 65. Prior to the start of the study, everyone was placed on an average American diet (where 12 percent of daily calories came from saturated fat) for 2 weeks. They then switched to a lower saturated fat diet (where 7 percent of daily calories came from saturated fat) and incorporated walnuts. In place of snacks like crackers or chips, all participants were munching on two handfuls of walnuts daily for 6 weeks. Researchers saw lower cholesterol levels and gut bacteria that lower their risk of heart disease. It is important to note that one ounce of walnuts is about one handful.

nutritional snack

According to study authors, the result is likely due to eating whole walnuts daily, which lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. While the researchers noted that this study showed correlation and not causation, previous research also found adding walnuts to a diet of a person can help lower blood pressure, especially when they’re replacing high saturated fat foods.

So, how gut health affects the risk of heart disease? It may be partly because walnuts contain fiber, which can favorably affect gut bacteria. Furthermore, the omega-3s and unsaturated fats in walnut can positively contribute to gut microbiomes, which may help in lowering blood pressure, resulting in a lower risk for heart disease, according to the study authors.

Study authors said that swapping out unhealthy snacks for a servicing of walnuts or other nuts will have significant health benefits and is more natural than doing a radical exercise or diet overhaul.

healthy heart

The study authors explained that it’s not just people at risk for heart disease as nuts are recommended in several heart-healthy diets, including the Mediterranean diet. It’s an excellent method to encourage healthy people to stay healthy, the study said.

In full disclosure, The California Walnut Commission supported this one study. However, there has been much independent research on all the heart-healthy components of nuts, such as fiber, unsaturated fats, omega-3s. Previous research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that adding nuts to your diet can help prevent the risk of chronic disease and promotes healthy aging. Study authors explained that blood pressure and cholesterol levels increase as you age even if you are fit in your20s or 30s, which is one of the reasons eating a heart-healthy diet is essential regardless of your age or activity level.

The bottom line: choosing nuts in your snacks is something you can do now to maintain health, rather than waiting until later in life. Researchers pointed out that while they looked at walnuts specifically, adding a variety of nuts can help you keep up this healthy diet habit to prevent from being bored of eating just walnuts. Study authors said that it is much harder to reverse disease once it comes about, so prevention is key.