We had a fascinating discussion today during our weekly leadership gathering. Our topics meandered through such things as “swallowing the sovereignty pill” (dealing with God’s right to do as He pleases with His creatures) to my future plans (return to graduate school to finish my Master’s degree, including a move) and we finally ended at a fascinating point of discussion.
This is not wholly unexpected in a gathering of three or four men. Testosterone and its maintenance is a subject you—and I’m primarily addressing guys—cannot afford to treat lightly.
Recently, I heard statistics that said, essentially, that males in their twenties today have 60% less testosterone than their twenty-something counterparts from eighty to a hundred years ago. Remember, males in their twenties are generally at their most active. Why is this?
Some of it is lifestyle and vocational changes. We are far more sedentary than our counterparts working in the early twentieth century. The lack of exertion equals more flab and diminished testosterone.
A lot of it is our diet. We eat way too many carbohydrates and too much high fructose corn syrup (which is in a lot of processed foods, even some you might not suspect). Why? Because carbs are cheap and easy. And it’s killing us. Dr. Mehmet Oz explains that too much of this locks belly fat in guys (hip/buttocks fat in the gals) because it requires a lot of insulin to be secreted to process it. I’m not a doctor but Dr. Oz says high insulin secretion precludes a lot of fat burning.
Some other things that emerged during our discussion:
- Soy apparently is the cause of lots of estrogen. Estrogen and inactivity produces, among other things, the unsightly moobs (man boobs) in guys. I’ve yet to meet a male who’s excited about growing male breasts.
- Ministers—personal caveat for me—have lower than normal testosterone levels. Some of this may well be due to the sedentary nature of the ministerial enterprise. But some of it is probably linked to a feminized view of Jesus Christ and Christianity, a la “gentle Jesus meek and mild” which, when wrongly applied, causes Christian men in general to be less aggressive and assertive when meeting the challenges and confrontations of life. Ideas have consequences. Some of this is reflected in some worship music where God is treated as a girlfriend or boyfriend. Can you imagine John Wayne singing certain worship songs that have captured our imaginations? Yeah, me either.
- Diminished testosterone is linked to depression and erectile dysfunction, the latter not a particularly pleasant topic but relevant in our day. Why all the ED meds, Viagra and the like? I seriously doubt Frank Sinatra or Steve McQueen would’ve needed Viagra or Cialis.
What to do? [Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist.]
- Get active. Regular exercise, especially if your work involves sitting for a long time, is a must. Your overall health, including testosterone levels, will improve.
- Eat well. Keep sweets and cheap carbs to a minimum and eat more proteins and the proper fats.
- Have a healthy view of maleness. Jesus Christ, while gentle at times, also cleared the Temple of moneychangers and their livestock with a whip. There is a time to be gentle and a time to get tough. The key is knowing the difference and choosing your responses and attitudes carefully.
Guys, this is important. Take care of yourselves. Your loved ones, especially your ladies, need this.