Testosterone and sexual functions

Testosterone is a hormone

Is particularly popular among athletes as well as people practicing recreationally (mainly male), primarily due to the impact it has on body weight and composition, the course of regenerative processes and exercise parameters. However, it should not be forgotten that testosterone also affects a number of other important aspects related to the functioning of the male body, such as sexual health. It is worth devoting a bit of attention to this issue, because in the light of new scientific data it turns out to be quite intriguing. 


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Fact about testosterone

The fact that testosterone levels have a significant impact on the sexual condition of men has been known for a long time. For a long time, however, it was thought that this hormone determines only the level of libido, without significantly affecting the function of the genital organs. Thanks to intensive research, it was possible to discover that testosterone not only increases sexual desire, but also stimulates the excitability of genital organs, regulating the activity of endothelial enzymes in the corpora cavernosa and conditioning the possibility of achieving and maintaining an erection. Simply put, this hormone not only increases the appetite, but also raises the possibilities. 

What is particularly interesting, however, fluctuations in the testosterone level may have not only short-term but also long-term consequences for the male sexual condition. This information should be of interest primarily to people using hormonal doping. 

The deficiency of androgens

It means that a man not only becomes insensitive to signals sent by the opposite sex and shows no interest in sex, but also loses the ability to obtain a satisfying relationship. The worst of all is that some changes, or rather their consequences, may turn out to be long-term. Cavernous bodies are extremely sensitive to testosterone deficiency – when the level of this hormone decreases, they are rebuilt. The number of smooth muscle fibers in the corpus cavernosum, which are replaced by collagen fibers, decreases. There is also an increased accumulation of fat cells within the corpora cavernosa. The result is less ability to get and maintain an erection. Testosterone deficiency affects the condition of anatomical structures involved in the control of the erection mechanism. 

Funding on your own periods of testosterone deficiency associated with the irresponsible use of anabolic and androgenic steroids and blocking the same pituitary-hypothalamic-testis axis is an action to the detriment of one’s sexual condition not only in short-term but also long-term perspective.


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We know how alcohol accelerates muscle breakdown!


Muscle atrophy is observed in trauma patients, especially after immobilization of the limb in a cast, and in people who abuse alcohol the risk of injury increases and injuries are more serious.


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In this study, it was checked whether alcohol is associated with muscle atrophy or whether it in some way affects the growth of muscle proteins during regeneration after immobilization of the limb. 


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First, atrophy was induced in rats by immobilizing one limb and the other leg was used as a control. Rats were given ethyl alcohol or physiological saline (placebo). In the next trial, the proteasome inhibitor (Velcade) was administered. Finally, one limb was immobilized for 5 days, gypsum was removed and ethyl alcohol or physiological saline (placebo) was administered over 5 consecutive days. Muscle protein synthesis was measured e.g. 4E-BP1 phosphorylation, S6K1 kinase and muscle breakdown markers (eg, mRNA content of MuRF1 ubiquitin ligases and atrogin-1). 


The heart is also a muscle

Which neuromuscular disorders affect the heart?

The heart is the muscle controlled by the nervous system, so it is not surprising that in many neuromuscular diseases there are disorders in it. Heart disease has been observed in the majority of neuromuscular diseases, but in some cases it is much more common.

Most muscular dystrophies affect the heart, but one type of heart disease is particularly common in Duchenne and Becker dystrophy, while other types of dysfunction are common in myotonic dystrophy and Emery-Dreyfuss dystrophy.

Complications with the heart are not often found in limb-rim dystrophy, face and shoulder and scleral dystrophy, although they may occur in these types of diseases.

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Diseases that mainly affect the nervous system or the neuromuscular interface are not likely to affect the heart. Cardiac disorders are therefore rare in spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and in myasthenia gravis. The exception is Friedrich’s ataxia, a disease that primarily affects the peripheral nerves, in which heart disease is frequent and can be serious.

Complications with the heart also occur in other types of neuromuscular disorders, such as muscle disorders on the metabolic background and are sometimes found in polymyositis and dermatomyositis. What exactly happens with the heart in neuromuscular disorders?

Most heart diseases that are read in the newspapers or heard on television are coronary heart disease. This disease is the result of a diet rich in fats and calories, overweight, sedentary lifestyle and smoking (so-called high-risk factors).

People with neuromuscular disorders are in no way immune to coronary heart disease and, unfortunately, to any other disease in modern society. However, coronary heart disease is not a problem too often associated with neuromuscular disorders.

There are two types of heart disease associated with neuromuscular disorders. These are cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia.

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Cardiomyopathy – the problem with myocardium is most often found in Duchenne and Becker dystrophy. Arrhythmia – arrhythmia – is more commonly found in Emery-Dreyfuss’s myotonia and dystrophy.

Both cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia are often found in metabolic muscle diseases. In Friedrich’s ataxia, both kinds of problems are commonplace.

Cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia are common disorders in people (although not as common as coronary heart disease) and cardiologists know them well. If the reason is muscular disease, they do not require different treatment. However, the cardiologist must take into account the following factors: the ability of the patient to exercise, his respiratory efficiency and the possible effect of cardiac drugs on other muscles (especially respiratory).

What exactly causes cardiomyopathy in muscular dystrophy?

The primary cause of cardiomyopathy in Duchenne and Becker dystrophy is probably the lack of dystrophin protein – the same protein that occurs in skeletal muscle and the lack of which leads to general weakness and respiratory problems. Dystrophin is also needed for cardiac muscle.

The heart muscle differs from skeletal muscle. The cardiac muscle has a slightly different structure and its proteins often have a slightly different form from their cousins ​​in skeletal muscles. These slightly different proteins, known as isoforms, are derived from the same gene. (Each gene is a recipe for protein.) Some genetic mutations, such as in Duchenne, Becker and limb-rim dystrophy, probably prefer the skeletal or cardiac form of the protein, leading to minor or major heart problems.

Protein dystrophin deficiency is probably not the most important factor in heart dysfunction in neuromuscular diseases. For example, the flow of blood through tissues and the return of blood to the heart are difficult for a person who can not exercise. Thus, the degree of fitness to exercise can be one of the factors affecting the condition of the heart.

How are heart diseases detected and monitored?

Currently, there are many different ways to detect and monitor heart disease. The most popular is the electrocardiogram (ECG). Electrodes placed on the chest and on the limbs measure the current that flows through the heart. The ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart, not the functioning of its muscle, so it does not detect cardiomyopathy. ECG sometimes shows abnormalities in the functioning of the heart muscle, and sometimes not.

A little more complicated, but more accurate, method of diagnosing cardiomyopathy is an echocardiogram, an ultrasound image of a beating heart. The echocardiogram can be recorded on a cassette so that later the cardiologist can see the changes that have taken place between subsequent tests.

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Cardiomyopathy can occur, but it can be hidden, completely without any symptoms, in people who do not exercise or do not exercise at all. Many physicians now recommend frequent ECGs, and some recommend relatively regular, eg once a year, echocardiograms in patients at risk for this disease, even if there are no symptoms of cardiomyopathy.

The symptoms you need to pay attention to while exercising are fatigue and shortness of breath. In people with neuromuscular diseases, fatigue and shortness of breath may be caused by both weakened respiratory muscles and heart problems. Then the physician should determine the cause of the ailment.

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Curcumin – “superhero” in your diet!

By reading the title of the entry, you certainly do not hide your surprise. Why has it been found that curcumin (a tumeric active compound) is a supplement that is called a superhero? Has anabolic powers or protects significantly muscle tissue? If so, why have not you heard about it yet?

Scientific research has determined that curcumin has strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it should be in the first line of defense of your health when an injury or an infection develops in your body. What’s more, curcumin increases the production capacity of testosterone in the body, while ensuring that the aromatase enzyme does not show significant activity and does not convert testosterone into a less-favorable hormone – estrogen. In addition, curcumin is a compound that affects health aspects such as strengthening the cardiovascular system and limits the development of the prostate gland. Scientific sources also confirm its action supporting slimming, as well as the fight against some viruses.

However, all these aspects concerned health rather than strict support in building a sports form. As it turns out, the addition of curcumin in the diet may contribute to the more efficient work of the muscle by increasing its ability to generate energy as well as accelerated regeneration.

The only limitation of the study is the fact that it was made to order by a company located in India, besides, the test was done on rats. It should be noted that curcumin currently is not protected by any patent, i.e. performing tests that state vaguely that a given substance is simply active and useful in sports, it seems to be trustworthy. Nevertheless, common sense tells us that some goal in this type of research had to exist. Perhaps in the future, researchers will seek to patent this type of extract.

What’s more, there are a lot of scientific publications that testify to the pro-health activity of curcumin, so duplication of this type of publication would rather go against the goal, so maybe this time the scientists just wanted to explore its operation from a different angle?

How did the test work?
Researchers chose a group of 28 rats, divided into four groups:

-the control rats did not make any additional efforts, they were fed with the standard diet
-rats that did not train, receiving curcumin
-training rats, without the addition of curcumin in the diet
-rats training, receiving curcumin.

The dose that rats received per human equivalent was about 1000-1250 mg. After the endurance test, which consisted in keeping the rats as long as possible on the pool surface, the authors of the study drew the following conclusions:

Rats that trained and consumed curcumin had much better strength. The conclusion is not surprising, however, the way in which this type of change has taken place is interesting. Turmeric caused a lower concentration of glucose and lactic acid. What’s more, insulin sensitivity increased, which made the rats use sugar more effectively in the group where curcumin was used and less tired. All markers associated with fatigue and muscle damage were reduced.

How to use supplementation with curcumin?

As suggested by the study, the optimal dose, which acted on rats, was within 1250 mg of regular turmeric, which should be taken in the morning. Due to the fact that turmeric is poorly absorbed, it is recommended to use it in the presence of piperine, which improves the use of the supplement.

If we buy a standardized preparation for the amount of curcuminoids, we have to look at it to be around 95%, then 600 mg of the preparation should be taken daily because this amount will translate into effective biological activity.

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How to deal with muscle soreness?

Injuries, muscular pains, overloads and injuries are inseparable companions of sports. Regardless of what discipline we cultivate or at what level of advancement, such situations like tissue failure or “wear” occur. Rather, they need to be put into a sporting life, rather than trying to avoid knowledge about them. Early diagnosis, treatment, allows you to deal with problems relatively quickly, allowing you to quickly get back to workouts.

One of the most common ailments is knee pain, which is located in the back, the popliteal region. Below you will find the 4 most common causes of knee pain in this place, as well as ways to solve them.

  1. Tendinopathy of the sciatic muscles

The affliction mainly affects long-distance runners and usually disappears when we start the run. It manifests itself as stiffness and mild pain in the back area of ​​the knee. The reason is the inadequate running technique, which is maintained for a considerable distance (and hence – time of effort), working on the wrong hip bend, which should be restored to the proper length. Accumulated “muscle fatigue” causes its shortening and pain.

How to deal with? First of all, your figure requires an analysis of the gait method as well as the technique of running. Eliminating posture defects or correcting running technique will help prevent future problems. A person dealing professionally with the technique of running will quickly catch, which muscles work incorrectly and at what level of movement there is a problem necessary for correction. Simply subjecting the area to the pain of mobilization and tissue mobilization is not enough. What’s more, the muscles that stabilize the pelvis as well as the hip flexors should also be strengthened.

  1. Baker’s cyst

The occurrence of Baker cyst is usually manifested by swelling and the occurrence of a tumor behind the knee. Usually you can feel the occurrence of a cyst during the bending and straightening movement of the knee. Palpation is like a small balloon with water, and is formed of tissues that are irritated as a result of repeated movements of the same movements in the running cycle.

How to deal with? Unfortunately, it is necessary to visit a specialist who will assess the scale of the problem and propose treatment. Usually, it is necessary to puncture and suck up the accumulated liquid. The next step is to recommend appropriate manual techniques that are designed to alleviate the friction between tissues and to reduce inflammation.

  1. Damaged meniscus

The meniscus is the cartilage that is located between the femoral and tibial bone as a form of stabilization of the joint and its compression. Damage usually occurs when there is a rapid, uncontrolled torsional movement or fall. Slight damage to the meniscus usually manifests itself in a small swelling that occurs even after 2-3 weeks of damage. Damage to heavy caliber usually prevents running, walking, and sometimes even blocks the pond.

How to deal with? First of all, the knee should be subjected to a professional diagnosis, which usually requires MRI imaging. The use of ice cooling as well as rest from movement can bring relief during damage. When the meniscus problem is small, usually the implementation of rest and rehabilitation exercises should help. However, if the damage is severe, surgical intervention and meniscus sewing are required.

  1. Inflammation of the calf tendon

Inflammation usually includes tendons and the upper calf muscle. Tendons tend to catch fire when the knee is straight and the toes curled dorsally (up). The problem mainly concerns cyclists who have an unmatched distance of the seat to the rotational movement of the bicycle driving mechanism. This causes the hamstring tendons to “get tired”, which is associated with the onset of inflammation.

How to deal with? Take rest as the main method of fighting ailment. In addition, use ice cooling, which should accelerate the extinction of inflammation. What’s more, massage the place of edema towards the heart to accelerate the healing process of tissues.