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Friday, February 25, 2011


Speaker, survivor, and author Nelson Vergel gives OutSmart the no-longer-skinny on ‘Testosterone: A Man’s Guide,’ his first book in over a decade
by Steven Foster
Steven Foster: It’s been 11 years since your first book Built to Survive hit the shelves and became an almost de facto manual for living with HIV. Why this book for your follow-up?Nelson Vergel: After my first book, I began to get a lot of e-mails from men—healthy men, not just men with HIV—who wanted to know if they needed to have HIV to get some help with hormone therapy. And that really struck me that we needed to begin providing this information.
The book is incredibly comprehensive.
It is time to package all of this information. But the information in here is practical—it’s not a textbook. This book basically has all the facts on how to manage side effects and maximize benefits, choose the right options, know if testosterone is for you. Not everyone should be using testosterone.

What made these men write?
The first thing people notice is not being very interested in sex. But it goes beyond that. You’re not connecting, you’re kind of lackadaisical about life. You’re not really depressed, but you’re in a funk. You don’t go out like you used to, you don’t enjoy hobbies like you used to. There’s no zest for life. The mood, the connection, the way you relate to others, the way you deal with stress.

But doesn’t a loss of sexual drive occur naturally with age?
As we age, testosterone goes down. Illnesses make testosterone go down. Sometimes there’s not a real reason why. I’m not saying that low testosterone is the only reason people have those symptoms. We all go through ups and downs. But if it’s a trend downward and you’re not that  old, then it’s a good thing to go to your doctor and have your testosterone checked.

It seems like there’s such a stigma about that—men and low testosterone.
The first step is to recognize you have a problem, and that’s very difficult for men. To admit they’re not at their best, that sexually they’re not interested in performing? Those subjects are moot to most men.

Do most doctors just say, “Oh, here’s some Viagra”?
Yes, a lot of doctors do that. Viagra is so easily prescribed. And people can find it online from other countries without a prescription. But it’s not the solution to the problem—it’s just a Band-Aid, using Viagra. And studies have shown that people with low testosterone respond very well to Viagra. But it doesn’t work as well or as long. And your drive and your hunger for sex is not enhanced by Viagra. With Viagra you need stimulation. You actually have to be driven to have the sex. Testosterone lights that fire. Viagra might just provide oxygen to that fire.

What has testosterone replacement therapy [TRT] done for you?
Saved my life. I’ve been HIV-positive for 27 years. In 1993 I was losing a lot of weight through the wasting syndrome before the protease inhibitors arrived. I was in Los Angeles and guys were using testosterone underground and they looked great. They had HIV like me, but they looked great. But I was all, I’m not gonna get on that, it’s gonna kill my liver and my immune system.

TRT had bad press?It still does. But I’d lost 30 pounds already and I needed to do something because back then we didn’t have any meds. If I hadn’t gone to testosterone I would not have survived to ’96 or ’97 when the protease inhibitors came in and saved some of us. But a lot of my friends didn’t make it.

What about the current view?
Testosterone is not the answer to everything. It can create problems if you don’t know what you’re doing. But it’s like anything in life. If you’re taking a medication, you need to know what you’re doing. I’m very confident that anyone who has any questions about testosterone can find the answers in this book.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New Book Makes it Easier for Men to Boost Sexual Function and Vitality

Release: Immediate
Contact: Milestone Publishing
                Phone (713) 539-1978                       

A New Book Provides Innovative Insight for Men Needing To Boost Sexual Function and Vitality

HOUSTON February 22, 2011     “Testosterone: A Man’s Guide – Practical Tips for Boosting Physical, Mental and Sexual Vitality” (Milestones Publishing, available on is a recent publication that educates sexually active men about testosterone deficiency. The book discusses the symptoms, proper diagnosis, and treatment options, along with practical “how-to” information created by an advocate and patient for 20 years regarding testosterone therapy.

 Results from one of the largest studies ever done on testosterone deficiency, the Hypogonadism in Males (HIM) published in 2006, showed overall 39 percent of testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism) in the U.S. is apparent in men aged 45 or older. Current data estimates that 13 million men in the U.S. may experience testosterone deficiency. However, less than 10 percent receive treatment.  Many of these men are suffering needlessly with hypogonadism symptoms of sexual dysfunction, fatigue, low mood and mental focus.

 So why are so many men not receiving treatment for hypogonadism? Men are known for not normally reacting by reaching out to inform their doctors about their erectile and stamina problems.  For many, being unable to have an erection or desire for sex is a private and frequently shameful problem.  How many men and their partners are suffering in silence, hoping that their dysfunction will pass? What they may not know may extend their problem unnecessarily. But now there is hope.

 “Testosterone: A Man’s Guide – Practical Tips for Boosting Physical, Mental and Sexual Vitality,” educates men struggling with mood and sexual performance on increasing testosterone, while minimizing known side effects. This book guides them on applying for free access to testosterone via patient assistance programs, finding physicians that are educated in testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), reviews of the significance regarding food and supplements that may affect testosterone; it weighs the pros and cons of TRT options (i.e. gels, injections, pellets, and oral products), how to obtain customized TRT products from specialized pharmacies, a listing of testosterone studies, reliable websites and online discussion groups regarding TRT.

Nelson Vergel is the co-author of “Built to Survive: A Comprehensive Guide on the Medical Use of Anabolic Therapies, Nutrition and Exercise for HIV+ Women and Men,” and the founder of Body Positive Wellness Clinic in Houston. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from McGill University and his MBA from the University of Houston. His advocacy regarding testosterone therapy for over 20 years is seen in this patient-friendly book. His first-hand experience, followed by trial-and-error episodes attests to Vergel’s desire in assisting men struggling with these symptoms.

 Physicians and patients are already boasting about the insight that is prevalent once the page turns. Dr. Michael Scally, a prominent expert on men’s health said, “This is the first and only book that approaches testosterone in a friendly and informative manner for men. Nelson deeply cares about men’s health. It is more than a passing interest. For him, it is a matter of life and living.”

 “As a physician,” Dr. Paul Bellman, well known in New York City, “who treats testosterone deficient male patients I have found Nelson’s book so informatively and clearly written that I have recommended his book to medical colleagues. I hope Nelson’s book gains the wide readership it deserves because of its power to improve the health and quality of life of countless individuals.”

 Regarding his book Vergel said, “Testosterone therapy saved my life, so I wanted to share this information with all men. Besides researching data on different options, I have purposely tried most of the products that I discuss in this book to provide practical tips on each one. I have also been lucky enough to learn from experiences of many people using these products via my online groups and lectures in the past 20 years. It is my hope that this book will save readers time and trouble by preventing costly mistakes, wasted time, and needless suffering.”

 For more information about the book and how to reach Nelson Vergel visit


Monday, February 21, 2011

Estradiol, NOT testosterone, was linked to coronary artery disease in men


  • Oestradiol;
  • testosterone;
  • men;
  • coronary artery disease


Objectives:  Men die of coronary artery disease more often (CAD) than women. There is evidence that testosterone is either neutral or has a beneficial effect on male cardiovascular disease. The role of oestrogens in male CAD has been less studied. This study was carried out with the purpose of evaluating the relationship between sex hormones levels and coronary artery disease.
Designer:  Case-control study.
Participants:  Men (aged 40-70) submitted to coronary angiography. A 70% occlusion of at least one major coronary artery defined the cases; subjects with ≤ 50% occlusion constituted the control group.
Measurements:  Blood samples were collected for total testosterone, oestradiol, LH, FSH, SHBG, lipid profile and albumin measurements. Bioavailable and free testosterone, FAI and FEI were calculated. Oestradiol and total testosterone levels were examined as terciles, based on the whole study population.
Results:  Of the 140 patients included, 72 were cases and 68 were controls. The baseline characteristics of the two groups were similar, except for the older age and lower LDL-C in the cases. Oestradiol and free estrogen index (FEI )but not total, bioavailable and free testosterone and free androgen index (FAI ) correlated positively with CAD. After adjustments for potential confounders oestradiol remained statistically significant. The prevalence of CAD was significantly higher in the 3rd than in the 1st tercile of oestradiol.
Conclusion:  In this study, men with CAD had higher oestradiol and FEI levels. Additional studies are needed to clarify the direction of causality and possible underlying mechanisms.


Artery Disease in Men- Sex hormones and coronary artery disease

  1. Emmanuela Quental Callou de Sá1,
  2. Francisco Carleial Feijó de Sá2
  3. Rebeca de Souza e Silva3
  4. Kelly Cristina de Oliveira1,
  5. Alexis Dourado Guedes1
  6. Fausto Feres2
  7. Ieda Therezinha do Nascimento Verreschi1
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2011.04017.x

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Antioxidants may boost fertility in men

I wrote about these supplements in "Testosterone: A Man's Guide"

Showell MG. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;1:CD007411.
Antioxidants helped subfertile men and their partners experience more live births and higher pregnancy rates when compared with those who received placebo or no antioxidants, according to recent data.
Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that examined use of antioxidants for male subfertility in couples undergoing assisted reproduction techniques. Thirty-four studies involving 2,876 couples were included in the review.
Pooled results from trials comparing antioxidant treatment with placebo, using live births as an outcome, favored the antioxidant group, with 18 live births occurring among 116 couples in the antioxidant groups vs. two births among 98 couples in the placebo groups (OR=4.85; 95% CI, 1.92-12.24). These findings were consistent with pooled data from studies specifically comparing vitamin E with placebo (OR=6.44; 95% CI, 1.72-24.04) and in those comparing zinc with no treatment (OR=3.67; 95% CI, 1-13.51).

Pregnancy rate also appeared higher among those receiving antioxidants in trials using this as an outcome. Of 515 couples in the antioxidant groups, 82 became pregnant vs. 14 in the placebo groups, with the pooled OR reaching 4.18 (95% CI, 2.65-6.59).
Further, data from several trials, including those comparing coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine plus L-acetyl carnitine with placebo, demonstrated that antioxidants positively affected sperm fragmentation, sperm motility and sperm concentration when compared with placebo, the researchers said.
Several head-to-head comparison trials involving various outcomes foundselenium superior to N-acetyl-cysteine and selenium plus N-acetyl-cysteine superior to either antioxidant alone. No statistically significant differences were noted, however, when a combination L-acetyl carnitine and L-carnitine was compared with either antioxidant alone.
Harmful adverse events associated with the antioxidants studied were not noted in any trials.
The researchers concluded that having men take oral antioxidants may improve chance of conception, although further studies are required to verify these data.

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