November, or Brovember as we like to call it, is all about our men's health at SuperFeast. Today we're thrilled to have our good friend Dan Sipple back on the podcast. Dan is absolute gem and wealth of information in his field of natural medicine. In today's chat Mason and Dan discuss the importance of men's hormonal health and outline the diet and lifestyle factors men can embody to keep their hormones primed and rocking.
Dan and Mason break down:
- The male hormonal cascades.
- The importance of brain and cognitive health in regards to male fertility.
- The influence of diet and lifestyle on healthy hormonal function.
- The two simple pillars of hormone health; Sleep and Breath.
- Testosterone; the amazing hormone.
- Detoxification and reproductive health.
- Genetic testing.
- The connection between abnormally high iron (ferritin) and male infertility.
- The role zinc plays in the conversion of androgens.
- The damaging effects of chronic inflammation in regards to hormonal health.
- Naked sunbathing and vitamin D3.
- The herbs that stimulate and antagonise androgens.
Who is Dan Sipple?
Dan is a also known as The Functional Naturopath who uses cutting-edge evidence-based medicine. Experienced in modalities such as herbal nutritional medicine, with a strong focus on environmental health and longevity, Dan has a wealth of knowledge in root-dysfunction health.
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Check Out The Transcript Here:
Mason: Hello everybody, we're welcoming back our good mate Dan, Dan Sipple, functional naturopath, how are you going man?
Dan Sipple: Mate, I am fantastic today, how about you?
Mason: Yeah, I'm really good. It's a nice sunny day down there, nice sunny day up here, we'll get into why that's significant and important if you're a man, you're going to be very happy at those points when the sun comes out. Thanks for joining me for Brovember here at SuperFeast focusing especially on this pod, going through some very important aspects and elements for men's health, men's physiology, things that, it's just going to be great. As they say, "They should teach this in schools," because it would actually be useful for us to understand about our hormonal cascades and our physiology going forth.
Dan Sipple: Absolutely, and it's exciting. It's an exciting time to be alive and loving all the information that is just coming through right now in our amazing little world of natural health and how that can affect hormones and we'll dive obviously deep into all that stuff today I'm sure.
Mason: Yeah, I think it's great as well. I really like this time of being alive as well, because we've gone through the extreme deconstruction of what's going on with health, and including lifestyle and dietary kind of fads that have been reduced to their parts. Likewise, of course we've learned a lot about the body through a reductionist western model, which can even sometimes cross over into naturopathic thought, but then it's synthesising and emerging, and just a real blossoming time where it's kind of coming together and being able to come into harmony in a lifestyle long term that doesn't make you feel like you as a person, in working on these things, need to reduce aspects of your lifestyle to work on them necessarily.
Mason: Of course there's going to be areas where we put our focus upon, it's a very important thing for men to be able to do and then the aspect of men to able to have laser-like focus on something we're working on. That's when men can quite often in health scene loose themselves and we see that in many areas of dietary faddiness and going, that focus takes us right down the barrel of dogma or down the barrel of something like the more of the extreme bio-hacking kind of scenes, where we remain compartmentalised in our day, or our supplementation, or our diet.
Mason: I think now we're seeing that the emergence of us being very aware that we have a foundational personal culture, lifestyle that mingles in with our family and our community and how can we sculpt an integrative lifestyle that's going to lead to these various markers, these various hormonal cascades and processes to be naturally nourished and able to function and regulate themselves, just through us living our lives, right?
Dan Sipple: Absolutely, and I think people, men and women are just.. It's A time in the human existence where it's like we're feeling it now. People just know that there's something not quite right, and obviously being a naturopath, I'm a little bit biased because I'm seeing a lot of those people, naturally. But I think I read a study a couple of weeks ago that was saying something like men in even the 60s and 70s had just such a higher grade of production across the board of testosterone compared to men now. And it's a scary thought. I think I read in the same study something like by 2035, the rates of infertility in males is just going to absolutely sky rocket should all the factors, which disrupt that sort of cascade continue to be at work.
Mason: Boys, let's learn how to not become just another statistic, take control of your sovereign health and hopefully end up with nice healthy levels of testosterone. Of course we'll have a little bit of, I guess that will be a little bit of a pillar. Where we go is you take us through the entire hormonal cascade from upstream, right through the middle of the stream, to downstream and then I feel like, you will of course go into this physiologically, but lifestyle wise, how that downstream is then ... We talked a little bit about it if we are a microcosm, in the macrocosm here where, and we have the reflection of nature within us, of course it isn't just upstream to downstream and then you get your results. What's going on downstream is very much going to evaporate and emerge and go right up to the top of the stream and affect our ability that, you know those kingpin aspects of our health.
Mason: So, with that lets start jumping in. Was it the hormonal cascade in general and just the nature of that and the process of that do you want to take us through primarily?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, I think it would be good just to do a little refresher on the actual physiological side of it, just to give focus on a bit of a mental picture. And if there's anything the guys take away from this today, and girls, it's that, just not to focus on male hormone production at the area of the downstream like you said, the testes and the adrenals. And to really factor in how important brain health is, and cognitive health, because that organ itself is the master commander, it's commanding that communication down to those organs to say, hey make testosterone mate, make DHEA et cetera.
Dan Sipple: And that all starts from two hormonal chemicals, I guess you call them. Follicle Stimulating Hormone FSH, and Luteinizing Hormone LH. So they're speaking down to the leydic cells in the testicles to say make hormones, make testosterone and they operate like many hormones do on a bit of a feedback mechanism, a negative feedback mechanism. So for example, if testosterone down at the testicular level is adequate, FSH and LH back off in men and in women respectively with testis and ovaries.
Dan Sipple: Likewise, if the production is low, those at the higher end in the pituitary LH and FSH will spark up and start screaming down at those organs to say, make more hormones, make more hormones. And there's a lot of things that we'll get into that can disrupt the communication between those two vital organs. So I've got that going on and then in terms of the steroid pathways, that's another kind of area that you weigh into the equation with regards to how cholesterol from the diet then gets transferred down into hormones like Pregnenolone and Progesterone, and across to precursors to testosterone and oestrogen like androstenedion. And again, things can go a little bit haywire during that conversion if there are other factors that play such as things like stress, acute infection, illness, a plethora of things, different herbs as well will affect the destination. Ultimately those signals.
Dan Sipple: But essentially, we're starting at cholesterol and we're wanting to get down to progesterone in men and females. What can happen as a bit of something in between those two, an interruption if you like, is we call this the pregnenolone steal, and there's still a little bit of controversy around that in our field on whether it's actually a thing. You'll read a lot about that online and whatnot. The theory is that cholesterol starts and if it doesn't reach progesterone, pregnenolone comes in and diverts that signal down to cortisol, which is the stress pathway, and away from testosterone and away from oestrogen and away from DHEA, which for men and females are all the hormones responsible for making you feel strong, resilient, able to recover, confident, et cetera.
Dan Sipple: With today's level of chronic stress and inflammation, a lot of hormonal panels when we look at them in folks with different stuff going on, will show that they've got a lot of production going down that cortisol pathway. It's being stolen if you like, hence the phrase the pregnenolone steal.
Mason: And so, let me know whether you want to just go through the full range first to give us an insight, or whether you want to just start diving in there, because that seems like one of those critical physiological points. And when you're talking about stress, we've kind of gone through the stress model before in a podcast, but clinically, was it the pregnenolone steal? Is that what you said?
Dan Sipple: Yep.
Mason: So at that point, when you say chronic stress, you're talking about a diet that's going to be causing high amounts of inflammation and you're generally going to talk about a lifestyle that's going to keep you within the variations of a sympathetic nervous system, rather than being able to get into that deep parasympathetic.
Mason: This is something interesting because clinically we see it a lot of the time and we hear it again and again and again, being banged on about getting out of the stress response and making sure you don't have stress in your lifestyle. But then, of course that's kind of a reductionist view in itself in terms of it's like a light switch and when it's on, you're in sympathetic and you're stressed and you're running away from the tiger. And we are boom, we turn it off and now you just happen to be relaxed.
Mason: I feel like there's more and more, the conversation in men's health and women's health as well is coming to the various nuances and the personal relationship that you have with the reality of what a parasympathetic state is and what being able to approach the world in a way where you're nervous system isn't running a rye, your amygdala isn't throwing up past fears and memories that are then affecting your HPA axis and therefore taxing your adrenals. There's so many different nuances and because men are so focused and love to hanging on to things especially in processing mentally things, it's like all right, now I need practices that switch it off, turn it off and get me into this static thing that is a parasympathetic system.
Mason: So, I'm just interested in some of, just clinically of course you're bridging people to try and get some protocols going, where they're maybe meditating, maybe doing something like a yin yoga or generally just coming back to their breath daily in order to really approach life in kind of more a balance between that yin and yang. But have you got any kind of tips or insights in terms of how we're going to deal with that stress without it being a reductionist conversation?
Dan Sipple: That's a big question, I like it. I'll say first of all, the first two things that I always try and dial in, sleep and breath. Sleep and breath. It's that simple. If you can get a male, take a tradie for example. I see a lot of tradies down here. High pressure, they have to be able to exert authority on the job side, they have to be able to cope in that environment, and the ones that can't, usually leave the trade, from what I hear.
Dan Sipple: But getting them to dial down from that, that sort of level of activity once the day is over, and just getting them doing this simple stuff like I say, if you can just do one minute, if you can do 60 seconds, where you can take literally eight to 10 breaths only, to get down to that level. That done daily as soon as you get home. So go outside, strip off your clothes, get you bare feet on the grass, sit down, let the sun hit you, have a chamomile tea or something like that, that's just going to take that edge off, probably the worst thing to do, which a lot do, is just go and smash four or five beers, and that's [crosstalk 00:11:30], because they want that [inaudible 00:11:31]. It's understandable, they want to come down. But we'll get into why that's not a great idea down the line.
Dan Sipple: Breath and sleep, just dialling those two in. And sleep is something that so many people, I know I've banged on about this in the past, but I find people get it right and then they drift away from it and they forget that they got it right, and they slip back into old habits and they become really hyper-focused on the supplements and the weights and the diet and all that, but they forget the sleep. And I'm guilty of it 100%, I put my hand up. It's always something that I'm constantly trying to reel back in. I don't know about you, but it's something that I just find, if it's out of whack, there's no point even trying with the other stuff. That has to be first and foremost.
Mason: I mean it's an interesting thing because you're right. And men are quite often, and then generally going to be those kinds of people that you give them an inch and they'll take a mile. And so, if you treat sleep and having somewhat of a subtle breath practice or even throughout your day where you can come into noticing your breath and allow that noticing without agenda to be the precursor for your actions, so in that awareness of the breath, you are leaving space for a non-stuck in the mental state, or non-stuck in an over identification with the physical to take place. In that space when you're just observing the breath. You then have an ability to have a noticing of what's going on with the mind and what's going on with the body and therefore there's less division and there's less as you said, that focusing on the thing which the mind tries to do. I'm going to do these weights to heal this problem, I'm going to do this ...
Mason: So when it comes down to, there is, although that stuff is fun, you're never going to be able to go past the chop wood, carry water practice. Now if you really think about that, rather than it being just another thing, great, I'll take on that practice of chopping wood, carrying water and just doing that mundane for the rest of my life ... I was talking to my acupuncturist about it the other day and he was just like, and I was like, "Yeah man, that chop wood, carry water, I'm really working on it, but it can be really fleeting at times." And he was just like, "Listen mate ..." And my interpretation is we have such a privileged world, where we don't actually have to do the chopping of wood and carrying of water, but we do have to go to work every day, we need to be working on our homes and our cars and things that keep us going so that we can have the wood in the warmth and the material for us to live in this house and the water.
Mason: Normally we're thing like actually chopping wood and actually getting up and carrying water and bringing that so we have something to drink, but now we're doing it in different ways, but it's the same thing. Keep ourselves warm and sheltered with chopping that wood and ensuring that you always have water to sustain life and cook with and prepare everything that we rely on water to do.
Mason: That, because those practices are as methodical and slow and Yin in their repetitiveness as they were, they're very dynamic, naturally we need to lean a little bit more into the intentional nature of there are things like chopping wood, carry water, if you think about doing that for the next 40 years, this is what my acupuncturist was talking about, classically trained, worth mentioning, not modern TCM style. Is that, you're doing that for 40 years, of course along the way you are going to have some big pops and big insights and it's going to be moments of enlightenment, which of course the whole nature of chop wood, carry water is to release that enlightenment, otherwise you will be stuck in that place. And then, if you look at the majority of it, it's going to be very mundane, very boring, and very repetitive.
Mason: But the nature of that is so beautiful in what it's going to do if you're going to accept that, and realize it's not always going to be bells and whistles. All of a sudden, the simple act of chopping wood and carrying water and coming consistently back to the breath and back to your practice daily, if that's one minute or if it's back to that practice of that discipline of screens down, creating that beautiful sleep environment, absolutely prioritizing bedtime, and if I can't prioritise, be able to get to stay up and stay asleep the next morning.
Mason: We all have kids, a lot of us have kids, a lot of us have hectic jobs and social lives. But that chop wood and carry water, I think at the essence of this men's health message, that needs to be respected and honored, even if you're standing solid in your Yang. If you look at the Yin and Yang symbol, there is always going to be that place where you can stand with the Yin, within the Yang to ensure that, that is there and present so you don't have these hormonal stealings, which are going to lead us, this generation being dramatically lower in testosterone, and basically emasculated, right?
Dan Sipple: Totally, and that's the thing too. How many males do we know that over train and spend too much time if you like in TCM terms, in the Yang, and just burning that furnace, I've got to lift weights and I've got to smash it and I've got to do this and do that. And I've got to make so much testosterone jacked up, and this and that. And it's like yeah, do all those things and that's cool, but fuck, regenerate man, get that sleep, get that breath dialed in. You have to regenerate, you have to dial in to regenerating, otherwise, let's face it, it's when you sleep that you build your testosterone and your growth hormone.
Mason: In your blood, right?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, and your blood.
Mason: It's in your blood. That's kind of what I think, women are so, women are more sensitive to it because women are way more prone to running low on blood. Women are running on blood. We're running on Qi generally, and so it's a little bit, because we're not bleeding every month, it's a little bit harder for us to become deficient in blood, but it comes up and bites men in the arse, it's a gradual thing, but when you're over-training, over-ejaculation, overworking, in your mind excessively, you can go for so long. But then eventually bit by bit, you're chipping away at that blood and that Jing and ultimately when you look at what's going on hormonally, you're chipping away at the efficacy of these pathways and so you're going to end up in a place where you are deficient and it's not going to be a supplement, and it's not going to be a training session that's going to be able to turn that back on, build that blood back and actually restore the ability of these pathways.
Dan Sipple: Mm-hmm (affirmative), 100%. And I want to make it clear too to the men listening. I'm not saying don't do all these things, we're not saying don't go and lift weights, and don't try and optimize testosterone, because I still think there's a lot of shame politically around that today, which I really want to see dispel. I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way, but I feel like, especially in naturopathy especially, there's a lot of focus on female hormonal health and it's totally acceptable and it's not even thought of twice for a female to want to optimize her estrogen and her progesterone and regulate her cycle and yadi, yadi, yada.
Dan Sipple: As soon as a male wants to build up his testosterone, I feel like there's a bit of a stigma there still in some circles.
Mason: You know who kind of cracks that with Stephen Harrod Buhner. He was totally in those herbal scenes going, "Hang on, we've got this huge apothecary full of phytoestrogenic herbs that are absolutely incredible for women's hormonal health." And we've got really nothing driving androgen, no herbs driving androgen, basically androgenic herbs. And then when he brought pine pollen, and that book on pine pollen that I think he supported or wrote, but he just championed it.
Mason: Because he's such a gentle man, I feel like it was accepted, and he begun the process. But you are right, if you are taking pine pollen even to an extent ashwagandha, deer antler is probably the biggest one where people associate it with, of course maybe not in this community as much, but very much generalising. But you're right, the stigma is there, you're a boof head for wanting to, "You want to jack up your testosterone do you? Yeah, Good on you." In order to develop Shen, far out. In order to continue to grow our personality, emotionally, spiritually going deep into the ether of ourselves in order to become better humans, better men, you absolutely require that baseline testosterone optimisation.
Mason: I'm with you, and it also comes down to the way that men approach it. There's no other context rather than, all right, you know we're going to like get, I just want to jack up my testosterone, I don't know how that connects to everything else. The only association with it is to become "more manly" and therefore that has a glass ceiling on its usefulness, right?
Dan Sipple: Totally, yep. You nailed it, and that's another thing I really want to highlight too in that context is that don't just think of testosterone as my testosterone is up because I'm horny, because I feel like I'm keen and I'm good to go. Na man, bone health, you need to [crosstalk] testosterone, and immune function you need testosterone. Cognitive health, brain health, sleeping well, recovering, all that sort of stuff as well comes into that amazing hormone, which is testosterone.
Dan Sipple: And I say to a lot of patients too, our physiology and our genetic demands and our DNA is, it sounds really harsh, but it does not give a shit about what's going on today societally. It doesn't care that we've got food problems and government problems and this problem and that problem. It's demands are exactly the same as they were seventy years ago, and you have to serve that. I'm sorry, you have to recognise that, and the sooner you do and start getting things back to simplicity like it's referring to, chopping your wood and your carrying your water. They're metaphors, but the audience, and I know exactly what you mean by that. Stripping things back to that simplicity just so that as a man you are serving your physiology and you're not putting things into your body and putting practices around your environment which affect that.
Mason: So, just to kind of finish up on that, that stress conversation. I feel like it's a good point. If any guys, they feel like they're really rocking their physical practice in terms of, in that aspect of men's health, whether you feel like it's, whether you're lifting weights or you're running or whether it's MMA or whatever. If you've got that kind of side rocking and you're really loving it, you want to make, then you want to have like a more integrative practice in a way of training and practicing, approaching life from that parasympathetic place so that you can widen your cup, so that cup can hold more of these androgenic hormones and testosterone.
Mason: My man Benny Ferguson has that really, really great programs, you can get in touch with him to see what might be ideal, but whether it's the tension release programs or in body flexibility or whatever it is, there's some really beautiful practices and you can hopefully find something there for yourself and as well, connect to the breath outside of dogmatic or, not that they're all dogmatic, but sometimes you don't want to enter into another clique. You don't want to go into a different style of yoga, you don't want to go into a different style of soft martial art. You want to just be working on your pure physiology and connecting to your breath and there's many people doing that in a way that's not just based on cues and rules of what it should look like to get good output. Many people are doing that, but Benny happens to be the one that I work with and I think he can be a really great resource for a lot of people, he's a beautiful man.
Mason: So that stress, I think we've kind of really hit somewhat of a core of that ability to not maintain a life that's not philosophically stressful in the way that you approach it. Is there any other aspects of the pathways you want to go into before you jump into cholesterol? Otherwise, I want to really hear your two sense on it.
Dan Sipple: Just touching back on that cascade we got kind of from cholesterol to progesterone, if all things are going well, then across to Androstenedione and then again if all things are still going well, across the testosterone ultimately.
Dan Sipple: An important thing to look at there is, and it gets a little bit tricky, but I'll try and break it down, aromatase, which is an enzyme which influences or encourages the conversion of testosterone down to estradiol or E2 in men and female. And the really neat thing is when you do a DUTCH test by the Precision Analytical Company-
Mason: That's not [Carrie] is it?
Dan Sipple: That's Carrie.
Mason: Dr. Carrie Jones, so that's for men as well, did you say?
Dan Sipple: Totally, yep.
Mason: That's cool. That was a great podcast that Tahnee had Dr Jones on. All right, great. We will put that in the show notes, so-
Dan Sipple: She is a weapon. If anyone hasn't followed her yet on Instagram Dr. Carrie Jones, she's amazing.
Dan Sipple: There's certain compounds that are going to influence that conversion, but ultimately if you're a man, obviously you want to keep it dialled in at testosterone, you don't want to lose that to a conversion process down to oestrogen, which inflammation, excess body fat, high insulin. So if you're getting too much carbohydrate and refined sugars, you'll influence that. Alcohol is a classic one that's going to encourage testosterone to convert down to oestrogen. And-
Mason: A man's drink.
Dan Sipple: That's right, exactly.
Mason: Beer made with the most oestrogenic herb on the planet-
Dan Sipple: Can't be-
Mason: [crosstalk 00:25:47].
Dan Sipple: What do you mean? That's right. Guys, beer, we have alcohol and we've got hops in there, double whammy, not so good for your testosterone.
Mason: Yeah, but it's so delicious.
Dan Sipple: I know.
Mason: I think that's a nice thing, we'll bring it home in the end. We'll talk about, really, I can't stand having a rule based approach, not allowed this, not allowed that, so it's like ... My gosh, I can't wait until natural androgenic beers starts actually hitting the market. It's going to be the most incredible revelation and this is going to pop it for men that, Hops is literally, I think literally the most oestrogen forming herb that we have on the planet, and the man's drink not only you have like a shit load of beer, you're going to have excessive alcohol in the system, which is going to help, it's going to ... Is it an antagonist for aromatase?
Dan Sipple: It encourages aromatase. So aromatase, you want to inhibit it ideally. So I think like zinc, grape seed extracts-
Mason: Nettle root.
Dan Sipple: Nettle, you've got damiana, [inaudible] and those sort of things, will inhibit that conversion, that enzyme. But yeah, androgenic beer, man.
Mason: Yeah, pine pollen beer with no Hops, no grain, it's going to be the best thing. Everyone can go and get, and then start making their own with Pascal [Boudet 00:27:12], I think I've got my French-
Dan Sipple: Have you done it before? Have you experimented with-
Mason: We don't have that kind of crazy time, we try every now and then, [Tahnee] and I try to, we're kind of working our way back into being in the kitchen where we can get really fermenty again. We've gone and done the workshop with Pascal, where we went and foraged everything we made. We made a beer with few different types of sages and reishi's and fermented limes and a shit load of mugwort in order to bring out that bitterness. I've had a lot of natural beers and it's just like, it's watery, it doesn't have that oomph and punch that a beer normally does. But Pascal, I think he's the wild brewer, anyway ...
Mason: Pascal is, we'll put the notes for the book down there. He's got a wild crafting brewer, or something like that, and he can teach you how to make these natural beers and you can just go and put pine pollen in there. You can either use SuperFeast like Deer Antler or we'll go to China Town and get deer antler slices and throw that in there to the fermentation process. Then you're kind of working with something, and you're working with an androgenic beer, but the way he makes them, he gets the flavour profile and he gets that meatiness that you need to hit the spot.
Mason: So we started with aromatase and we went off to beer, but that's natural.
Dan Sipple: That's all good. And then additionally into aromatase, there's another enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which can also push testosterone down to its more potent form, 5-alpha DHT, which is also known as dihydrotestosterone. I think there's still a little bit of debate on whether you want to limit that conversion or whether no, You actually do want some healthy degree of DHT, which is the more potent androgen form of testosterone. I think there was a bit of a stigma because of the association and literature around BPH, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, and that being associated so they say, with higher DHT, dihydrotestosterone.
Dan Sipple: We'll get into further, but that's essentially what I wanted to kind of just bring to light, the cholesterol conversion, and then once you arrive at testosterone, if all is going well down that cascade and that chain, keeping it there, rather than letting it go to those other hormones which we don't really want too much of as males.
Mason: In terms of like the estriol or the estradiol.
Dan Sipple: Yeah.
Dan Sipple: And cortisol too. Yeah.
Mason: Where does the cortisol come into it? Is that in the pregnenolone steal?
Dan Sipple: That's right, so that's backup the chain. So that's before it gone across to testosterone, so it starts at cholesterol. You want it to get down to progesterone and then skate across from progesterone to the androgen pathways, but between cholesterol and progesterone, pregnenolone is kind of in the middle there and that can divert it if you like, down to the stress pathway...cortisol.
Mason: Okay, cool. Well, let's go up and let's start breaking it down a little bit. So cholesterol, I think by now most people should know, but if you don't know, is the primary ingredient for the creation of hormones. Backbone of creation of hormones, so that's why you see a lot of people getting very passionate about having the inclusion of cholesterol in saturated fats in the diet, especially back probably a decade ago. It was like a massive kickback on a wider scale from those low fat diets and the 80-10-10 diets. 80% carbohydrates and sugars, 10% fats, 10% protein.
Mason: And even in a lot of vegan and raw circles, as that kind of got to it's height, you saw a lot of endocrine disruption occurring and it kind of, a lot of it came down to the fact that no one actually had the backbone for the creation of hormones and then naturally that affected the nervous system as well. So, now it seems more of a normal conversation and there isn't that, even on a cultural level in Australia at least, there's not as much of championing of low fat diet.
Dan Sipple: There was.
Mason: Yeah, I don't even know whether the Healthy Heart Tick, I don't know whether that institution of dieticians is ever going to budge. But I don't know where you're at with your knowledge, [crosstalk 00:31:26].
Dan Sipple: I don't even look at what they're doing anymore Mason, to be totally honest with you. It sometimes comes up in a conversation with a dietician or around the traps, but I try and shy away to be totally honest.
Mason: But this study from Sanatorium told me-
Dan Sipple: You've got it. We digress.
Mason: All right, so what have you got to say on the cholesterol front?
Dan Sipple: Well look, I see a lot of people on plant based diets and a lot of people on the flip side, that are doing close to carnivore diets. So I see them both. I think it's important to highlight that the body is a machine and a weapon and it will do its best to serve you no matter what diet you're doing for a time. In the plant based realms, I can hear people going, "But I get plenty of cholesterol, I have coconut oil for this, and I put coconut oil on that, and this and that."
Dan Sipple: There's going to be a time where that supply, that kind of constitution and life force will start to dry up, eventually, that's just inevitable. And that can be argued til the cows come home, but I see it, I see it, I see it. And I've felt it before too, where you lean more towards those plant based diets and then you feel what it's like when you return back to a diet where you're getting lots of different saturated fats and mono unsaturated fats from different types of sources, plant based and animal sources, and you feel that return, you feel that gene come back and that neuroplasticity and whatnot.
Dan Sipple: But look, I just encourage people to not over do it either, there's a big ... I feel like there was the plant based movement but then even now with all the carnivore madness going on at the moment, there's a big kickback to people and ketogenic diet, just going crazy on fats and ending up with all these bile issues and digestive issues, which we've gone into in the past as well. So it's a sweet spot. It's like anything, you have to hit the sweet spot. So long as you're doing things like macadamia nuts, avocados, a bit of coconut oil, grass fed beef, if you can get it, venison and deer, especially the men, trust me the next day your body will thank you for it, you know what I'm talking about, when you first wake up in the morning.
Dan Sipple: But yeah, did you have anything that you would like to add there mate, with your take on that?
Mason: I agree, just get out of the labels, if you can challenge yourself, it's one thing because I did want to talk a little bit about the fact if throughout this conversation, if there is someone that is really feeling like they've broken out of the dogma of like a vegan or raw kind of style of things, but they're still walking that lifestyle, just make sure we're hitting little points to enable them to maintain as best as they can a healthy cascade. In that sense, the best you're going to be able to do is just continue to hit those plant based fats, especially making sure you're getting an array of macadamias, avos, coconuts, any others that come to mind there?
Dan Sipple: I probably wouldn't do any more than that. I think in that scenario, you then want to look to your herbs because as long as you're getting the backbone there, which is cholesterol, it's the rest of the process that you have to worry about on a plant based diet, and that's where the herbs can really help influence, maca is fantastic, maca is one of my favourite herbs. Couldn't speak more highly of that for men and female. That's always going to help men and female detoxify those more toxic types of oestrogens. Any oestrogenic kind of reabsorption that you're going to get through the enterohepatic recirculation, which sounds really complicated, but it's just essentially oestrogen getting broken down on its way out for excretion, but then due to certain gut bacteria, getting recirculated and popped back into the system. And ultimately, that can keep you in an oestrogen dominant state.
Mason: All right, let's quickly hit that for a second, because we're looking at, I talk a lot about liver support and liver supporting herbs ongoingly, being present for women to ensure that their endocrine system remains healthy. Somewhat the liver, somewhat this is an analogy, but being like a conductor in terms of this gets broken down, this gets recycled, that's out, this is going to be reused, nope we want to keep that in circulation, and also just keeping those phases of detoxification open and present, so that then you don't get that bleed over of toxins and to an extent, I think even to the extent like toxic hormones bleeding over into the sex organs. There's a lot to do, from what I understand with women sexual organ issues, but for men as well, really, really key core to ensure that you're not getting these bleed overs of especially oestrogen [inaudible] into the rest of your system.
Dan Sipple: Well that's right, because even if you've got good detoxification, even if your liver and gall bladder and your bile is all doing a fantastic job at getting that stuff broken down and packaged up in a nice little package ready for excretion, but then it gets down the large colon and then it hits disbiosis and you've got certain overgrowth of species known to basically unpackage that oestrogen, break it all back down and then guess what, it gets reabsorbed through the gut wall, then suddenly, it's back into the blood stream and back into the liver.
Mason: So we've got a couple of things. We've got like a huge amount of time, but just in terms of what you like seeing included in the diet, we've got a couple of things in helping that through the intestines, we're going to make sure that we don't have disbiosis occurring in that area, so men maintaining a thorough awareness of their gut health. And then on the liver health in just ensuring that those detox pathways through the liver as well as the bile flow is going. Some basic recommendations.
Dan Sipple: Totally, so I've got things like Schisandra, we've got globe artichoke, we've got-
Mason: We're looking at the liver right now?
Dan Sipple: We're looking at the liver right now, from the top-down. Those things are going to be usually as well as helping the liver, helping you stimulate bile. Bile is so, so important there, that's like washing crap through your liver and getting it down into the bowel for excretion.
Dan Sipple: To your point though, just to hit that off on the head, binders are the important thing to prevent that recirculation. So we're hitting the charcoal, we're hitting Chlorella, zeolite if you like, I'm not such a fan of zeolite, but those first two are my faves.
Mason: Why aren't you so much of a fan of zeolite?
Dan Sipple: Zeolite, from certain studies I have looked at, can potentially bind up good minerals as well, and for that reason, and I've seen that happen too. I've seen people do it for too long and end up really depleted across the board, in terms of their micronutrients and trace minerals.
Dan Sipple: It does do a good job of getting rid of the crap, but it can take out some of the good too. So something like, I tell people, always do your binders right before you go to bed, away from food, away from supplements. Do it as the last thing. So, a tall glass of water with some charcoal or some Chlorella thrown in there, make sure they are good quality.
Mason: What about the clay side of things? As I said I generally sit, not like one back from the intensity of zeolite, even charcoal, I can't really handle every day because it's just too dehydrating for me, and I kind of feel like it has that same approach. Whereas clay's seem a little bit more gentle.
Dan Sipple: Clay is something I have had less experience with, so you're probably going to be a little bit more vast in its ability to do that. But it does definitely fall into that same category. I definitely consider that before I hit zeolite.
Mason: Yeah, okay. Cool. And then maintaining that liver health is something I feel like those staples. MSM is something that I'm still absolute thorough fan of, is that something you're still comfortable with men having?
Dan Sipple: I do like it. It is very sulfuric, so people on a high protein diet that are already getting too much sulfur, all that have certain snips or SNPs or genetic variations on certain enzymes that predispose them to accumulating sulfur, have to be careful with that one. That's why it's always good to test them and check that stuff out before you just go gnarly on detoxing and those sorts of things.
Mason: Do a genetic testing?
Dan Sipple: Genetic testing is good, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Good old 23 and me run it through a genetic converter, find out if you've got enzymes like the CBS enzyme, that's to do with the transsulfuration pathway. But look, generally speaking, I see it do good things, it's excellent for joint mobility, I know I'm preaching to the choir here anyway, but, yeah. Back to you.
Mason: Keep the inflammation down as well.
Dan Sipple: Totally.
Mason: And then with these things, the reason I like having these conversations because we get into the nuances of particular herbs, nuances of particular mineral supplements like MSM, and if something doesn't have a nuance, and it's just like a broad statement and it doesn't actually have room to move and breathe with all the different constitutions and genetics and tensions we have. Then it's marketing, you're not looking at it deep enough.
Mason: Okay, so great. Keep up the Schisandra, globe artichoke probably milk thistle falls in there as well, it's like a here and there kind of like ... Helping herbal aid. And then getting down into the digestive system, like binders is just something I'm going to ... You know binders and clays, are in the Shen Nong original Materia Medica, as one of the original tonic herbs. And so we have the reishi's and the eucommia's and the schisandra's and the shatavari's there, within these ... Over 2000 years ago and thousands of years of pouring in, humans, men and women, herbalist and shamans like looking into what's going to be the most life enhancing, life procuring tonics from minerals, animals and plants and mushrooms, that you're going to be able to include in our diet longterm, and there's four different clays in there, that fit into that tonic herbal system as a mineral herb.
Mason: So, it's something that I don't see as a treatment of myself daily, I see it in that kind of, the way that you see indigenous humans, birds, primates, going and sorting out the clay deposits or finding like here in Australia, the those termite mounds that are high clay, and every now and then, just popping a little bit of that through your tract in order to bind, to not just toxins in the environment, but metabolic waste that occurs just in general.
Dan Sipple: Which includes hormones, yeah, totally.
Mason: Which includes hormones. All right, beautiful. Now-
Dan Sipple: Can I just chime in there Mase.
Dan Sipple: You've brought up a good point. While we're talking about detoxing the liver, and inflammation and whatnot, oxidative stress, iron is such a big, big factor that I never look past when I'm treating males. Obviously men don't menstruate, so we don't have a natural means of losing iron. And a lot of men, particularly those with low testosterone will have elevated ferritin or even elevated serum iron.
Dan Sipple: Now, there's a genetic condition called hemochromatosis, which some of the listeners might be familiar with. That affects males and females. So, if iron is really high, guys when you've done blood checks in the past and your doctors just gone, "Oh well, we don't really know what to do about that, it's all good. Just check it out in a year." Pay attention because iron, if it's high, it's going to spell a lot of issues when it comes to your hormones. It creates a lot of inflammation, a lot of oxidative stress and just like it does in the environment, it's going to rust out your body and your organs.
Dan Sipple: So ferritin scores, this could be reference range, western diagnostic range between 30 and 300. You don't really as a male want to be over say 100, 120. The sweet spot I find tends to be around 90 or 100 for ferritin. That's a deep reservoir sources of stored iron. But look, iron, even iron rich foods funnily enough, in a lot of the androgenic foods, beef, chicken, eggs and that sort of thing, naturally are going to contain large amounts of iron. So if you fall into that category where iron toxicity is a thing for you and you work that out and you link that back to why you haven't been able to reach your androgenic potential, that's something that you'll need to individually curve and look at. And again that's going to come back to how well your liver is detoxifying, because of all that iron creating a lot of oxidative stress, you have to be hammering the antioxidants. That's your blueberries, your green tea's and all those liver herbs which Mason and I just rattled off, so your milk thistle, globe artichoke, schisandra berries, rosemary, so forth.
Dan Sipple: I just want to throw that in there because the dance and the balance between those metals and micronutrients like zinc and iron, you have to get that dialed in, you have to make sure that your zinc isn't being lost to iron, because all those metals are going to compete. Copper, iron, zinc. And zinc, we'll do a little section on that soon, but that is, they call it the male mineral for that reason, it's the one that always is associated with proper formation of your androgens and getting that testosterone converted from progesterone.
Dan Sipple: So in a nutshell, to cap off from that, check your iron out, it's always good to do a full serum iron panel, iron studies and look at your ferritin scores, if it's a problem for you, make sure you're not taking any iron supplements. Definitely get all iron out of your supplements-
Mason: You probably shouldn't be taking iron supplements to begin with.
Dan Sipple: That's right. They do tend to work their way into a lot of the multi-mineral formulas, unfortunately. But there are some companies like Thorn for example, that will do iron free multi-mineral formulas.
Mason: Okay. You recommend, I know this is like you get down the route of blood letting, which we know maybe it's not happening as much. Or even just going and donating blood in order to alleviate that. I know it's always like a real easy way to, if you're prone to those high iron levels, getting in there and doing something like that, right?
Dan Sipple: 100%, and you'll know it too, because there will be the sort of people that you'll do a consult with, and they'll be like, yeah I went and got my blood test and I don't know what it was, I don't know if it was just because I was fasting that morning, but man, I felt light that day and the next day. And you'll be like, okay. It's going to be interesting to see what your iron scores come back with, and sure enough, a lot of the times they're high.
Mason: Okay, leading on from that, do you want to talk a little bit more on zinc while we're at it?
Dan Sipple: I'd love to. So zinc and copper, zinc, the male mineral, copper the female mineral. Little bit sort of, it's not that straight forward but they do have that sort of reputation. We do see in today's society usually a lot of panels where zinc will come back low and copper will come back high. And copper dominance for females and males is an issue, because it definitely will cause a lot of hormonal disruption, brain fog, immune system problems. Any issue where zinc cannot accumulate and build up to a healthy decent level is going to affect immunity, constitution and hormones.
Dan Sipple: So, zinc as a supplement is always a good idea I think for men, as soils these days are just as fact depleted in zinc. It is hard to get zinc. So a good sort of 30 milligram supplement, but it's also good to test as well. Test and check where you're at. But I just rarely see when we run a zinc panel a mans zinc is like prime and in good shape, it's always like, it could be better.
Mason: It's always nice, you can, just that connection that it's like, took Tahnee out for dinner last night and of course started with a couple of Sydney rock oysters, like always good to keep the oysters in a high rotation if possible. Don't know where pumpkin seeds sit anymore in terms of actually affecting zinc levels, but-
Dan Sipple: Yeah, I'm on the same kind of band wagon there. That really got pumped, so I remember when I was at uni, pepita seed, pumpkin seeds for zinc.
Mason: It used to be on the pepita seed butter.
Dan Sipple: Yeah, me too.
Mason: And it's very delicious. But like I don't think there's any drawback, I don't see as many drawbacks. I definitely don't have as many seeds these days in my diet as I used to, but a little bit of that there. But then in terms of supplementation, I think we were talking yesterday, I got a little bit of citrate sitting up there, zinc citrate in that form, which is quite effective. But you like the-
Dan Sipple: I like picolinate. Picolinate is, I won't talk too much to it because I'm not a chemist, but it's a form of zinc, which the body is going to be able to yield more from essentially. There are studies that actually conflict that too, however. So it's something where you do need to do a bit of personal trial. I do well on picolinate, I don't do well on citrate. Others, they do well on citrate.
Dan Sipple: Generally avoid the over the counter versions though. I find like zinc gluconate, zinc oxide, some of the cheaper forms of zinc, just you'll probably absorb 10 to 20% of them. You're wasting your money really. But before you supplement, like you touched on Mason, definitely try and stack your diet if you're a man, in zinc rich foods. So we're talking oysters, deer venison, eggs, beef, funnily enough, zinc is found in a lot of the animal foods, it's just a fact. I find that even, and I can hear the plant based community in my head going, but there's zinc in this and there's zinc in that. Yeah, there is zinc in like pepita seeds for example, but there's also phytoestrogens in that same food. And there's also copper in that same food, which is going to make it hard for you to use that zinc.
Dan Sipple: Whereas, something like good old grass fed beef, it's just bioavailable. Your body will just know what to do with it, and will suck it up.
Mason: Or even better, like a venison, like wild non-vaccinated venison.
Dan Sipple: Yes, exactly, yeah. And anything, as I think Sylvester Stallone said it in the 80s, "I'll eat anything that runs, walks, crawls, or flies".
Mason: Okay. Deep.
Dan Sipple: Yeah.
Mason: Can you just, so I can get my head around a little bit of more of the importance of zinc. It's definitely something I haven't really, I'm not doing too may isolated supplements these days, but zinc and iodine was always one that I kind of like had hanging around at least. So can you just talk in terms of the pathway of where zinc is supporting that process of maintenance of health testosterone.
Dan Sipple: Definitely. So like we touched on before, preventing testosterone from aromatising down to oestrogen. That's the main association there with zinc. If you have poor zinc levels, you can be pretty sure that that's going to be what's happening.
Dan Sipple: That's essentially in a nutshell. But I find zinc isn't just testosterone fuel, it's all the other stuff too, like its bone health, its immune function, which is super important for much as male all around health and female too. But specifically the hormones, yeah, it's preventing that aromatisation.
Mason: And the association between copper and oestrogen?
Dan Sipple: Yeah, so copper is going to act like a shield for zinc to get on its receptor. So zinc and copper are always, excuse me. Trying to compete for the same receptors. It's a constant battle, and the ideal ratio, no matter what the scores are when you look at them on blood, as long as they're one to one, that's what you're aiming for. So I usually look at plasma zinc and serum copper. But most of the time, I'd say 90% of the time in males and females, we're seeing too much copper and not enough zinc.
Dan Sipple: The way you remedy that is essentially just by pushing more zinc into the body to help push copper off the receptor sites, but you then have to get it out. So same thing applies what we were talking about before. You have to have good liver health, you have to be sweating, you have to be moving, and you have to be binding.
Mason: And you've got to be pooing well with the binder.
Dan Sipple: And pooing.
Mason: So, that's kind of like a similar conversation, I guess there's always competition and ratios going on in the body. It's a similar thing with taking iodine to get those toxic halogens out of those receptors, right.
Dan Sipple: It is, it is man. You have to look at selenium, you have to never just blindly take iodine and never look at selenium. You can see that become problematic and you can see, it can be flip side too. I have experienced that where I was on supplements that, and a diet that's naturally high in selenium and all of a sudden, I was creeping into selenium toxicity and my iodine was falling really short.
Dan Sipple: So, it's always about that dance, you have to, don't just look at one mineral, you have to look at the full array.
Mason: Okay. What's next down the chain?
Dan Sipple: Let's have a look. We talked a little bit about soy-boys as they're sort of referred to.
Mason: The precursor to the conversation guys, just in case you were like, hang on, I didn't hear the words soy-boy, I would have remembered that.
Dan Sipple: Yeah, that's right. The precursor conversation. I mean, just highlighting that phytoestrogen sources can be anything really in the diet, that does have oestrogen mimicking or oestrogen like qualities, it can be problematic for men. So naturally when men do a plant based diet and they do it for too long, inadvertently, they're going to end up on, not all of them, but some, on foods that do have a high soy intake. Especially if they're not doing it properly and that, we don't need to go down it too detailed, but that's an obvious disrupter to testosterone. It's always going to be an issue there.
Dan Sipple: And so that's where it pays to do, if you're an honest vegetarian or vegan and you want to do things properly, check out your hormones. Get the data, see what's going on and be honest with yourself and call it into check if things feel out of whack and if you're not feeling good. Because as I said earlier, your genetics are the same as they were all those thousands of years ago. Things have not changed genetically.
Mason: That's the best thing, we can just all take our way of a charge. I think a lot of people are really emotional in the meat eating community, because they've had their own experiences of being vegan, vegetarian, and done something to themselves and then they feel like they've got to wave the banner. Otherwise, you've got people in the vegan community consistently only following vegan advocates and therefore justifying their diet and going further down that rabbit hole. But if you can take the charge away, get your panels done, don't do it in a sense that's defensive, don't do it trying to prove that one diet is right or wrong, no one is rocking it.
Mason: There might be a few like indigenous communities that are really kind of making it really work still, but despite, yes we've got that, medical systems they're supporting us at the moment, but we're still everyone is experimenting at the moment in terms of what's going to be ideal in this post industrial world. For health, we're all trying to, we're picking and choosing and scraping things from different traditions and different countries and trying to make that work. So, in that sense, everyone can really get off their high horse-
Dan Sipple: Yes, on both sides.
Mason: Yeah, well from carnivore, to vegan. Veganism and everything in between. And if you can take away that charge and just get these panels and not be waving a flag for an agenda, or a justification of what you are doing currently. One of the best things I ever did when I was basically vegan, raw food, was reading Weston Price Natural Degeneration. I looked into the reality of why the China study was pretty horrible. Not horrible science, just horrible correlations that were results that they pulled out of that study.
Mason: And just because I wanted to take away the charge of trying to justify myself and what I was doing, rather than actually having natural curiosity. Reading those books and reading about all the benefits of animal fats and all those kinds of things when I was vego, that was years before I made the transition. They weren't causative things that made me flip over, they just made me, they just kind of helped balance me out. It's nice to know other points of view, so you don't feel like you have to get defensive with your diet, because that's when you really dig yourself a hole, it's something, I don't exactly, I haven't got my head completely around the physiology of this particular susceptibility, but again, our acupuncturist talks a lot about the fact that when you have excessiveness in your lifestyle and in your diet, excessiveness is generally going to lead towards a deficiency of Jing at some point.
Mason: And that is going to lead to a deficiency of your neurology and especially when you get to the point when you are deficient in blood, that is when you become susceptible to dogmatic ideas because it's so much harder for you to find your own center, your own Shen, your own mental consciousness, that you need to lean out and rely upon external systems. And because you can't establish the blood, which carries the Shen through your body, then you can't restore your Jing because you put on the blinders for your dogmatic diet or lifestyle factors or whatever it is, and you can't get out of it. And so, it's going to be a slow build out of that, and if you can work, even if you're in a nice balanced place now, consistently having little challenges for yourself to make sure that you are actually living dietarily supplement wise, belief system wise, based on something that is still relevant and innately coming from your center and your family center, rather than an idea that you feel like you've put your chips on and so you've got to make sure that you have all the data to justify.
Mason: I think that's a huge part of it here, and I think that's all I have to say on that conversation because I really have a lot of friends who are vegan, I really respect the fact that they do that. And they're like, I'm going down this route, and there doesn't need to be any justification of it. But then they're doing the panels, right. They're taking the herbs and they're trying to ensure as much as possible that they're not degenerating their genetics.
Dan Sipple: Totally, and that's the thing. I work with vegan's, carnivore's, paleo's, keto's, all of them, right. And I have respect for anyone that walks through the door no matter what they're doing, as long as they're being conscious about it, and which feeds into what you're saying. So getting your panels done, being conscious and honest with how you're feeling. If you're honest with your body and it's not working for you, it's okay, you tried it, you gave it a crack and you cleaned out your body, and you're going to revolve it from there. Don't get stuck into the dogma where, that's right, you've just got the blinders on and you can't hear anything. And that's on both sides of the equation too.
Dan Sipple: If you've gone down that path and you are feeling signs of degeneration and you're skipping meals and you're eating chips and you're drinking beer, but you're plant based. It's like, come on, that's not cool.
Mason: Or even not that, even if it's not like that kind of like faux health, even if there's no beers and chips and it's all that. There's always obvious signs of degeneration and you want to get to them before, not that it's about other people, but you want to get onto them before it becomes evident to everyone else.
Dan Sipple: Totally.
Mason: Because that's what happens a lot. Thanks for going down that little rabbit hole with me. We haven't got too much longer, so I want to hear a couple of other things. We've looked at cholesterol and how important it is, having a reasonable amount of and varied fats, plant and animal. Ensuring not to go excessive as to put taxation on our gull bladder and as well I think we've talked about too much fat is going to lead to an overgrowth of particular bacteria and off gassing, and that's why you see a lot of people who aren't designed for keto or just tend to stay there too excessively, are going to see this dibiosis in their gut. Runny poos and all those kinds of things. That general queasiness-
Dan Sipple: Yeah, nausea, queasiness-
Mason: Or it's that little queasiness when you have too much fats [crosstalk 00:59:22]. It's good to be on to that.
Mason: Now tell me, we've gone down the nature of stress and ensuring that inflammation and stress isn't present, so that we can have that pregnenolone steal, which happens up above and inevitably goes down to forming more cortisol, right? So it's not even that directly cortisol being caused, it's the fact that we've got potentially these shenanigans going on in that hormonal cascade.
Mason: I want to quickly talk about the formation of vitamin D3. It being a hormone in itself, it's one of the other things that always came up in terms of vitamin D3 levels being very low in people who don't have adequate cholesterol, and that's something that came out of that same conversation about 10 years ago for me, that I was talking about. So, can we quickly touch on the role that vitamin D3 is playing on all of this as well as our testosterone?
Dan Sipple: Sure. So vitamin D3 isn't actually a vitamin, that's the first thing. It's a hormone. It's a steroid hormone with a cholesterol backbone. So straight away, we get out on the mindset of oh, it's just a vitamin and its good for you. It's like no, it's a hormone and you need it in big quantities. And if you want happy hormones and you want low inflammation, you'd better damn sure be looking at your vitamin D3, and that includes the active and non-active forms when you do blood panels.
Dan Sipple: Typically, when you go to a doctor, they're just going to look at the non-active form, which is called 25-hydroxy vitamin D. Looking at the activated form is 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D. And that's the one that the kidneys I believe converts from the sunlight and using sunlight and cholesterol hits your body, boom, goes into the organs, the liver and the kidneys and gets converted. And making sure that you've got a healthy, good level of both ultimately. That's kind of the long and the short of it.
Dan Sipple: But, I'll say in addition to that, that hormone D, I don't call it a vitamin, I call it hormone D, is the ultimate antiinflammatory hormone in the body. So if you have high cortisol and low hormone D, guarantee you're in trouble. Guaranteed.
Dan Sipple: Inflammation, we hear a lot about inflammation and it's kind of like people, yeah, yeah, yeah, I get inflammation. But it goes so, so deep in terms of what stimulates inflammation and just how catastrophic that can be to your hormonal cascade. So, inflammation can come from yes, diet, it can come because you're not sleeping, but an often overlooked area is infections. If you have stealth infections in your body, and your poor adrenal glands are just trying to put out fires all day long with cortisol, they don't give a crap about your testosterone. They don't care about your oestrogen or your progesterone if you're a female. The body is under that stress, it's not doing that, it's an evolutionary thing I always say. If you're running away from the tiger, as the saying goes, your body is not thinking about procreating.
Dan Sipple: The same thing today, if you're putting out fires from stealth viruses, stealth bacteria, disbiosis, fungal overgrowth, mold, all that sort of stuff, then you're not going to have good hormonal health, and that's where I see a lot of folks spending too much time just trying to stimulate hormones with herbs, and not going upstream and checking into those things. You have to get that stuff out of the body before your hormonal cascade can naturally start to bloom again.
Mason: What stuff? In general what we've been talking about, or did you say something specific that I missed of you wanting to get out?
Dan Sipple: Stealth infections.
Mason: The stealth infections, yeah.
Dan Sipple: Getting them out of the body, yeah. So that your adrenals can focus then on, because the adrenals make testosterone too, that's another thing guys. If you want good testosterone, it doesn't all come from your testes, it comes from your adrenals too. So you have to be dialing those lifestyle factors which Mason and I talked about earlier.
Mason: And even on the sunlight D3, just the nature of sun bathing all year round, naked if possible, I think it was five years ago I started talking about the campaign of getting Ds on your Bs. And it was kind of something that's like trendy, it's like oh yeah, I'm getting sunlight on my balls and everyone kind of made it like a thing. It doesn't need to be a thing, it needs to be normalized.
Dan Sipple: Yeah, do it on your back yard, you don't have to go down the beach.
Mason: I think you should do that as well because it's rad. That was mine and Tahnee's day yesterday. I kept finding our little nook and getting up there and getting some serious heliotherapy, sunbathing on everything, every little in and out. It's something, to be honest, I haven't been doing nearly as much as I would like to, as something normalized like hydration. Getting that full sun exposure. Even if it's just first thing in the morning, getting up and exposing yourself, that always used to be one of these trippy things I'd bring up at talks when I was doing these kinds of talks of people going, imagine there's parts of your body that maybe have never seen sun, never seen the light of day and that's something that we can all have. It is fun doing. But if you can normalize that in your lifestyle somehow, if there can be whether it's somewhere you can find a nook at a beach or a nudist beach or your backyard, even if it has to be a balcony or something like that, it's really worth it even if it's just a little bit ...
Mason: And building up and accumulating that exposure and especially getting exposure of sunlight on the testes because I think it's pretty well known now that, that's going to very thoroughly affect vitamin D levels.
Dan Sipple: Mm-hmm (affirmative), it's important man, yap, big time. And another thing I'll add to that, sorry to interrupt. But another thing that is huge right now in the bio-hacking circles, that's another fun little hack, is to basically ice your balls at night.
Mason: Oh really?
Dan Sipple: Not directly with ice cubes. People sometimes do and find out the hard way, but no, just using like a cold pack. Your testicles are outside your body for a reason, they don't like heat. They prefer cold. And cold contact around that area is known to be a potent testosterone stimulating therapy. So even if it's 10 or 15 minutes, say after you've wound down, you've eaten, you've showered, whatever and you're lying down at night before you go to bed, that's an ideal time to do it. Just 10 or 15 minutes, little ice pack, you might want to layer it once with a tea towel or something. But just to get cold in that area, has a very, very potent testosterone stimulating action.
Dan Sipple: Fellas, there's also a Facebook group you can join called Subzero, all about that, check it out.
Mason: All right, cool. So now, let's start talking a little bit about the nuance of those downstream hormonal cascades. What we can do to support it lifestyle wise, as well as, I think that this is obviously an important time to bring up herbs. If you can mention some specific herbs for regulating these different pathways.
Dan Sipple: Yeah, definitely. I was going to break into that anyway like we've done on the previous podcast, so let's do it.
Dan Sipple: Essentially, I'm just going to rattle some of for and against. It's not that simple, but it will just help to kind of go through them. So essentially, the ones that are going to be more androgen stimulating. You're looking at herbs like Tongkat Ali, mucuna, cistanche, a Chinese herb in which Mason I'm sure you're very aware of.
Mason: Yeah, and sustent is in the Jing now. Jing 2.0.
Dan Sipple: Beautiful, love it.
Mason: Cistanche in your pants is, they call it.
Dan Sipple: That's the one. Antler, fenugreek, panax ginseng, good old panax ginseng, cordyceps, ashwagandha a.k.a withania, nettle root, a Brazilian herb called muira puama, and maca, which we touched on, and tribulus. They tend to be my sort of favorites. There are others damiana and a few others, but they tend to be the ones that I work most with. And then opposingly, the ones that do find their ways into the herbal apothecaries these days, which can have an androgen antagonist type effect if you like, things like liquorice, lemon balm, hops as we touched on, gotu kola, tulsi, holy basil, peony and anything in the mint family. So your peppermints and your spearmints.
Mason: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. And even, it's important as well to remember that even though, there are herbs in that list which I like as sometimes herbs. Even herbs in the SuperFeast apothecary like Rehmannia or He Shou Wu can be slightly oestrogen mimicking, even Reishi can have a little bit of effect on that downstream testosterone conversion. And it's important to know because if you're like doing, because I've gone through two years of doing heap tablespoons of Reishi, yet seem to be young and robust enough and also be having other lifestyle factors that I didn't actually feel a dip in testosterone.
Mason: But then it was a very solid stop, no more, it was like instinctually, and I still include Reishi and I want Rehmannia or to an extent He Shou Wu in my diet as well as I do. There's a particular bupleurum and peony, dang gui, kind of blends that have liquoirice just as like that absolute driving force. You are getting in there and clearing out the bile and clearing out the liver. For me, they're just not permanent ones in my diet, but they serve a particular focus. But I think what we're looking at here, is we've got particular staples, lifestyle staples, we've talked about generally approaching life and having a practice where you can come to your breath and you can come to your sleep and you can approach them like chop wood, carry water sort of stress isn't excessive.
Mason: You have a weight bearing, androgen forming exercises. For me, that's kettle bells or swinging my mace, or generally just like many other things, just even getting on the rings, whether it's martial art practice, there are those practices that are there supporting that, but balanced out to ensure that I can still find that Yin within the Yang. We've talked about just the nature of it being, generally including a good array of these plant and animal based fats, ensuring that we're getting that good solid exposure of sunlight and then we have androgenic herbs fall into that. The eucommia barks, the ashwagandha's, the maca'a, the cordyceps, those Tongkat Ali, the tribuluses on rotation, being these herbs that doesn't mean that you have to have them every single day, it doesn't mean you have to be having a shit load of them every day. See where they fit in, but then for me, the reishi is very ...
Mason: We've had conversations about how the reishi can help you kind of move beyond feeling that aggressive, possibly overbearing aggressive nature of testosterone and get deep into that spiritual essence. But you want to generally be layering that upon a very, already very healthy lifestyle that's generating a very good amount of testosterone. And that is where ... So that's, herbs like deer antler as well you've kind of mentioned and cistanche. These are really beautiful androgenic herbs that boys, nice for you to just kind of keep in your staple apothecary.
Dan Sipple: Totally.
Mason: Do you want to go into anything and specifically with these herbs, like any particular favorite actions specifically in the minutia that they're having. I know that nettle root as an aromatase inhibitor is one of my absolute favorite herbs, especially for men when they get over 40. I think panax ginseng somewhat works in that same way, I don't know if it's true?
Dan Sipple: Well, you're going to get a lot of the herbs that work on the whole endocrine networks like panax for example. Then you're going to get ones that work more specifically, just on testosterone like the nettle root via the aromatase inhibition.
Dan Sipple: I think a good healthy blend of both is where you want to be. And to your point, I think it's important not to rush out and just start going hell for leather on these herbs because that is just not going to end up well. It's going to be too much of a shock to the system if your body hasn't seen these types of herbs before. Pick one and start with it, like cordyceps for example, or like ashwagandha if you're a guy, or combine a couple, do astragalus and withania at night, or whatever. And then build it up as time goes and feel into your body, listen to what your body is telling you. You'll know if it's helping you or hindering you, because these rules aren't black and white. There's going to be some males which naturally have too high testosterone, but they also might have high oestrogen at the same time. So there's always individual circumstances and that's where again good to work with a practitioner and get your panels done.
Dan Sipple: So guys, reach out to me. I'm happy to help reach out to Mason and we're always happy to advise and work with you guys on this sort of stuff, because it's not black and white.
Mason: Definitely I'm with you, I agree. It's something that I've just been banging on for a long time, it's just getting onto my panels more and more. But I will say for, although I'm sure there's things that can be revealed to help me tweak. The other thing is if you don't have the ability to get all your panels right now, then it is just that nice and slow and steady. Watch how you're reacting to particular herbs and then make sure you have those slight pauses just to check in with yourself and allow your instincts to kick in at times, you might need to experiment, but in terms of going off a particular herb for a while and going onto another. That very much needs to be respected and all it takes is a little bit of slow and steady and you can tune in to which herb is very appropriate at a particular time and which isn't.
Dan Sipple: You can definitely, and I've been there before with panax ginseng, I've been there a few times actually when I think back to uni years and doing it daily just to give it a crack. I remember just going, let's just go hell for leather and try and see what happens. Let's just do that. I won't take anything else, I will just have my panax ginseng and see what happens, and you'll feel amazing for the first week, second week you feel great, third week you feel great. And it gets, because it's an adaptogen, it's not like coffee, it's not going to tell you straight away. It will just get in there and help you adapt to what's going on and keep everything prime and primed up. Because it does that, you'll do more as well, you'll end up too Yang and you'll end up burning out, and that's what happens, people fall flat on their face.
Dan Sipple: I remember a uni lecturer telling me years ago that did the same thing and it carried into months, that he was just hammering panax ginseng, taking on way too many clients, but getting through it, and he's recovering and everything, got to a point where he walked into a clinic one day and just threw up everywhere and went into full on fever. Just too much heat, too much stimulation at the end of the day. And then just had to have like two weeks of solid Yin, just nothing. Completely wiped.
Dan Sipple: So just because herbs are natural it doesn't mean they're necessarily safe people, always work with your practitioner, start slow with these things and get your panels done.
Mason: Well that's, and you can just, that pattern there, that was months and months and months of hitting, not stimulating to an extent, but very much Qi tonic, hitting Qi, warming the body up. And then his need to come down for two weeks and balance out with that stillness, that Yin, non agenda, spaciousness, non-action. Now that little pattern is something that you can bring into your day, and your week in terms of your herbal protocol, in terms of feeling when it gets to a particular point and let yourself weave in naturally to a more of a Yin state to give yourself that little bit of a check to like, where am I at? How am I feeling, how is my nervous system, how are these herbs hitting my androgens?
Mason: It might just mean that you need to have a bit more of a stillness practice. It's one of those things with deer antler. Everyone is just like, yeah, deer antler testosterone, and to an extent, if you are just smashing weights and living a very Yang red meat lifestyle, it could potentially, you can be felt in the building up of aggression and testosterone. However, if you have a stillness practice, this is where you can realise the nature of deer antler one of the most incredible Qi and Shen tonics in terms of really helping it to hone, still your heart, still your inner vision and maintain a very strong stillness within yourself when you're sitting, or even in standing meditations or in meditative movements as well. You can very much learn via whatever it's microcosmic orbit that you want to think of it as or just the energy moving up and down your spine and the mobilisation of that fluid within the spine.
Mason: Actually allowing that transition and transformation of Qi to occur, which is resonating of all that beautiful Jing and all those sex hormones and all that Yang. That can be used and transmuted into creativity and to help to strengthen your meditative practice. And so, just stay in tuned into that, it's very important.
Dan Sipple: Mm-hmm (affirmative), absolutely.
Mason: We've got a couple of minutes left. Anything you want to take us out on, just even speaking to the sedative nature that a lot of men have taken on due to this lifestyle. And I know that was something you were very passionate about, and you see a lot of in the clinic. Just to take us out, is there anything you want to speak of there?
Dan Sipple: I think I just want to highlight to guys. Like I said earlier in the podcast, don't feel ashamed to want to optimise your hormones, that's the take home message that I really wanted to push out there today. Do not feel ashamed, don't feel like you're going have that stigma and demeanor of a bone head and a fool. You need it just for so many important roles in the body, just as females need their progesterone and their oestrogen and whatnot.
Dan Sipple: So, to kind of leave people with that, and again as we said, if you want to reach out, if you haven't done any of this stuff before, get in contact with Mason and myself, we're always happy to help. And just start simple and the more you can get out as a male, I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but I think the more you can get out of your head and back into your body, back into that ancestral practices, using your body more, getting out of your head, getting out of that vata space, as we say in Ayurvedic terms. That will always, always serve you well and ground you.
Mason: I love it man. Hey everyone, as usual, you can find Dan functionalnaturopath.com .au or .com?
Dan Sipple: Just .com, yeah. And then on Instagram it's d.functional.naturopath.
Mason: Guys, I think the other thing that you can really be proud of is maintaining your virality and your fertility. The quality of your sperm is something that really hasn't been mentioned, everything that we're talking about is the volume of sperm that you're going to be able to continue to build. It's kind of like our version of for women needing to build back blood. We're needing to build back sperm.
Mason: One thing from the Taoist thought is looking at not overusing your sperm, because it takes a lot to rebuild, but at least we want to ensure that we have a lifestyle, everything we've talked about, there's a lifestyle that's going to help you go back and build back that essence and herbs, we're looking at herbs like ashwagandha and other Yang tonics that are actually having somewhat of direct effect on that sperm count. I think men should be very, very proud of that.
Dan Sipple: Mm-hmm (affirmative), definitely, well said mate. And antioxidant, boom. They're huge there in addition to what Mason said. So any dietary antioxidants, things like tumeric, green tea, rosemary-
Dan Sipple: Pineapple, resveratrol, all those. Is going to help clean out those sperm cells and improve motility.
Mason: Beautiful. All right guys, you happy little swimmers, get out there, get healthy, build that testosterone. Dan, thanks so much for coming on man.
Dan Sipple: Pleasure bro. Loved it.