Ask a Naturopathic Physician

Our Naturopathic Medical Expert is Neil Tessler. Neil has been practicing naturopathic medicine, specializing in classical homeopathy since 1983. He also has written and lectured extensively on the subject and his practice is based out of White Rock, BC. His website is

Neil Tessler, Naturopathic Physician

Neil Tessler, Naturopathic Physician

Medical Questions

Question #1.  “Please explain Andropause (Reduction of Testosterone in Men) as we age and how we can best compensate for it?”

Answer: Do you have a decrease in sex drive or your erections less strong?  Do you have a decrease in energy, strength, endurance?  Are you losing height? Changes in mood or work performance?  If you have a loss of sex drive and weaker erections, along with several of the others factors mentioned, the answer is likely a yes to “andropause”.  These are all indications of male andropause, which is to say, a loss of testosterone levels to a clinically significant extent.

Changes in hormone levels begin quite early in life.  There is a gradual decline in the hormone DHEA after age 35.  As DHEA is one of the precursors of the sex hormones, Testosterone, Progesterone and Estrogen, as well as having wide ranging metabolic benefits, the decline of DHEA is a definite marker in the aging process.

It is a good idea to test DHEA sulphate after age 45 and in cases of chronic fatigue.  DHEA is given in average levels for a given age.  Since levels decline, you will want to maintain peak average or above average for your age.

Low levels of supplementation likely have a range of benefits, including improved libido, a degree of cardiovascular protection, bone integrity, memory maintenance, etc.

While available anywhere and cheaply in the US, it is strictly a prescription drug in Canada.

The issue of hormone supplementation is complex as hormone levels are quite variable between individuals and correct dosing is similarly best individualized.  However, the findings of all naturopathic and medical practitioners who have worked with hormone replacement is that it can have remarkable benefits in maintaining youthful functioning for men.

Testosterone levels peak sometime in the twenties and then begin their decline, which runs downward like a mountain slope…a fairly steep one.

This is a very important subject and so I’m going to bring in a very well experienced expert, Dr. Jonathan Wright, a nutritionally oriented physician who often speaks at our naturopathic conferences.

He writes, “A normal level of testosterone, sustained for a lifetime, is one of the most important anti-aging and staying-healthy tools a man can have. It just depends on what type of testosterone. And, again, synthetic–and patentable– just doesn’t cut it.

For over 30 years, I’ve worked with men ages 45 and up whose symptoms and tests indicated a need for bio-identical testosterone. The results have been gratifying for everyone involved. Most notably, bio-identical testosterone therapy helps improve mood, attitude, cognitive ability, and general outlook on life. Many wives and families have observed that “Grandpa is a lot less grumpy,” remembers things better, and laughs and smiles a lot more often.

Plus, bio-identical testosterone improves muscle mass and strength, rebuilds bone, strengthens the heart and blood vessels, lowers total cholesterol and blood sugar, raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, lessens the chances of blood clots, improves tissue oxygenation, improves the health of a non-cancerous prostate gland-and that’s all before we get to testosterone’s positive effects on libido and your sex life.”

Oral Andriol (tesosterone undecanoate) is safe an effective for oral dosing.  Speak to your naturopathic physician or a receptive medical doctor.  There are also herbs that can raise testosterone levels without taking medication, such as Tribulus terrestris, Epimedium sagitarrium (Horny Goat Weed), Fenugreek and Tongkat ali.  Maca root seems to have remarkable values as a hormone balancer for both men and women.

 Question #2.    “Recently, we have heard much talk about vitamin and mineral supplements not being properly absorbed by the body. Studies are being quoted which state that these supplements have no positive effect on the body. Are you aware of the studies and/or research which counters these arguments?”

 Answer: There are many hundreds and thousands of studies globally supporting the therapeutic value of vitamins, minerals and an array of other nutritional factors.  This is also supported by the wide ranging experience of practitioners and individuals who have discovered the benefits of supplementation.  Here is an excellent link criticizing the study to which you are referring:

There are various forms of vitamins and minerals and a range of therapeutic dosages.  Both these factors are critical as, for instance, artificial beta-carotene or are artificial Vitamin E, are in an altogether different form than the biologically active ones and can be expected to have much less effect and potentially deleterious ones.  Research studies that are negative, often turn out to have relied on these inferior materials.  However, these issues are never addressed in these weak meta-analyses.  In general, sound bites from studies that you read about in a paper are to be taken with a grain of salt, to say the least.  One has to be able to dig much deeper into the data to understand what is really going on.

Question #3.    “How can we best prevent cardiovascular / heart disease?”

1. A diet primarily composed of plant food supplemented with vegetarian or non-vegetarian high DHA/EPA omega three supplements.

2. Regular exercise
3. A minimum of sugar and refined carbohydrates.  High blood sugar accelerates vascular damage.
4. DHEA and or testosterone supplementation for men over fifty.

Beyond these few critical points, it depends on individual factors. Various specific supplements such as Magnesium, Taurine, CoQ10, Resveratrol, bamboo extract, and other herbs such as Hawthorn leaf, flower and berry, or specialized combination products can be used according to the circumstances of the individual.

 Question #4.   “Is there a herbal remedy for Erectile Dysfunction?”

Answer: There are herbs that can raise testosterone levels without taking medication, such as Tribulus terrestris, Epimedium sagitarrium (Horny Goat Weed), Fenugreek and Tongkat ali.  Maca root seems to have remarkable values as a hormone balancer for both men and women.

Cordyceps sinensis enhances cellular oxygenation and has been shown to have beneficial effects in enhancing libido for both men and women.   The Indian herb Ashwagandha has also been shown to enhance libido.

The classic herbs used for sexual energy and stamina were Damiana and Yohimbe, and both do aid sexual performance and libido through different mechanisms.

So to maintain healthy sexual performance, the first thing is to

1) improve cardiovascular health.  No flow, no mojo.
2) Second thing to make sure there is emotional vitality – same equation: no flow, no mojo.
3) Another helping factor is to periodically avoid ejaculation, best accomplished through breath awareness.  Having sex without ejaculation has incredibly vitalizing benefits that maintains peak energy and performance.  This is, of course, a rather tricky matter and an involved subject in itself.
4)Finally, there are hormonal and herbal supplements as described above.

 Question #5.  ” Are there particular things that we as men should be aware of nutritionally as we age?”

Answer: Absorption of nutrients is the main thing.  So the first principle is to absolutely avoid this truly crazy medical fad of prescribing stomach acid suppressing medications.  The evidence tells us that anyone over 45 is far and away more likely to be suffering from low stomach acid, which can also cause heartburn, indigestion, flatulence and malabsorption.

See my article Five Principles for Better Health and Healthy Living, available after mid-June when my new website launches.  I go into this issue at depth.

With age, reduction in nutrient absorption can be a very significant factor, and this is made all the worse by proton pump inhibitors (those acid suppressing drugs) that  are being prescribed right, left and centre, while there is really no research worth the name that evidences widespread excess acid production.  Isn’t it interesting that the millions are being prescribed expensive pharmaceutical drugs to reduce stomach acid but almost no one is being suggested inexpensive aids to enhance stomach acid?  Does it make sense that millions are suffering the one and no one the other.

A major share of immunity is involved with your digestive function.  Therefore:

1) A high fibre, plant-food centred diet, as plant fibre, both soluble and insoluble, play very important roles in both digestive health and immune function.
2) Supplementation with probiotics, which are very valuable for the aging digestive tract.
3) The use of digestion-stimulating herbs and/or supplementation with hydrochloric acid including pepsin for higher protein meals to ensure proper protein digestion.
4) High quality Aloe vera juice soothes the intestinal tract and increases nutrient absorption, while helping maintain healthy blood sugar and lipid levels and enhancing overall immunity.  A few ounces daily.
5) Chewable DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root Extract) is excellent for healing the stomach lining and maintaining gastric health.   Two tablets before meals daily.


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