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Hi All,

 

I'm trying to decide if CR is really a good fit for me.  Without revealing too much, here is what I can say.  I've been following a WFPB for nearly 5 years.  By default a plant-based diet (vegan) diet is a form of CR, but not quite all the way to what many people here practice.  I seem to oscillate right of the cusp of authentic CR.  Many biomarkers are close, but may sway back and forth.

 

Here is some of my info:

-31, male, BMI = 20.7, (always between 20-21)

-5"11, 143-150 pounds, depending on time of year, fitness, etc.

-Low body temperature (usually 35.8ish)

-BP fluctuates between being super good, and just good (i.e.. 100/60 up to 120/80).  This seems to tell me I'm right on the cusp of CR.

-I exercise a decent amount.  Covering 15000-20000 footsteps daily, along with weight training 2x weekly, daily meditation and yoga.  

-Extremely low or immeasurable markers of inflammation (PSA, CRP, homocysteine, low-ish WBC)

-Cortisol sometimes creeps up, sometimes not

-I recently had my IGF-1 tested and was really surprised it came back at 280!  But I may have messed up the test results by binging on some dates the night before. 

-The reason for WFPB/CR is that I was experiencing some major health crisis at the time, which had been ongoing for a long, long time. 

 

Here is a sample of what I ate yesterday, for about 2500 calories: (anything less for calories, and my weight has been dropping)

a.  Oats, chia, cocoa, spinach/chard/kale, banana, cherries

b. Lentils, spring mix, banana, 1/2 avocado

c. Barley, bell pepper, onion, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, blackberries, 1/2 avocado

 

My biggest conundrum is the issue of testosterone.  I had it tested pre-WFPB and it came back at 9  (range 10-28 and my weight at that time was about 175 pounds).  Since then it's been all over the place.  It's been as low as 2 and as high as 15, and I've had it tested maybe 6 times.  

 

My concern is that if I really get serious about CR, I will decimate my already 'iffy' levels of testosterone.  Now, I'm married, have kids, and don't need to be chasing around anyone, but it seems like I might not be the best fit for CR.  Or maybe I'm right in the range of CR/not CR'd given that my T levels and some other tests have varied so much. 

 

Thoughts? Am I a good candidate for CR?

 

 

 

 

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Hi Drew! (It is Drew, right?)

 

Welcome to the CR Forums!

 

You look to be in very good shape, and have a terrific diet and exercise routine. I'd say you're mildly CRed already, given all those biomarkers, your BMI and your active lifestyle. I'd definitely get the IGF-1 retested as part of your next blood panel. 

 

My biggest conundrum is the issue of testosterone.  I had it tested pre-WFPB and it came back at 9  (range 10-28 and my weight at that time was about 175 pounds).  Since then it's been all over the place.  It's been as low as 2 and as high as 15, and I've had it tested maybe 6 times. 


My concern is that if I really get serious about CR, I will decimate my already 'iffy' levels of testosterone.  Now, I'm married, have kids, and don't need to be chasing around anyone, but it seems like I might not be the best fit for CR.  Or maybe I'm right in the range of CR/not CR'd given that my T levels and some other tests have varied so much.

 

Hmmm... Good question. Many of us are living happily with testosterone (T) levels well below the standard reference range. While there is some concern about maintaining long-term muscle mass and cognitive health, several recent studies (discussed here and here) seem to suggest that from a mortality perspective, have low testosterone but not the other characteristics that typically accompany male hypogonadism (basically metabolic syndrome - obesity, high cholesterol, high BP, impaired insulin sensitivity or Type 2 diabetes), puts men from the general public at no higher risk of death than men with relatively higher levels of testosterone. And there is evidence Michael points to (see below) that reduced T levels may be an important pathway by which CR increases longevity.

 

Now if you're concern is more about that other potential side-effect of low T, namely reduced libido, there you may have reason for reservations. While there are some exceptions, I think it is pretty commonly acknowledged that significant CR does indeed reduce a man's libido, likely through reduced T. Some folks (including me) appreciate this and other psychological side-effects of CR, as discussed here. But it can definitely put strain on a marriage and relationships, particularly at the beginning of one's CR journey, so it's something you'll want to consider, and ideally talk over with your wife. This thread has more discussions about living with reduced T, and the options for dealing with it. Michael's post on the topic is particularly interesting. Note: neither of the 'Deans' on this thread is me! - although reading it now I think Paul may have though one of them was...

 

The good thing is, CR-induced low T and attenuated libido are reversible - just eat more calories. So it's not like you'd be making a permanent commitment. Plus, given how variable your T appears to be, you might not even notice.

 

Hope this helps. Please don't hesitate to follow up or ask other questions!

 

--Dean

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Drew, welcome! ("Drew"? Or "Dr. Ewab"? :) )

 

Dean covered the T issue perfectly. There's a lot we don't know, but I think low T via CR shouldn't be regarded as a health problem; if anything, it's more likely the opposite.

 

It's hard to know whether, or how, you can take BP as an index of your degree of CR. I have massively high familial risk for BP, so on really extreme CR my BP was only sort of nyah-ish: the best numbers were around 110/55 or 60 or so. Extreme CR for most people usually yields 90/50. Yet I couldn't push it further because other biomarkers were getting too low (leukocytes) -- what we call "discordant biomarkers". Pisses me off, because I have to choose between a CR that is good for me in some ways (safe BP), and normo-ism that is good in other ways, but would require BP meds (like my parents and siblings).

 

If I could go back in time twenty years to be your age, I'd go on extreme CR, being prepared to edge slowly towards less extreme CR once I got into my mid-40s, when the pancytopenia started to kick in more.

 

See Dean's and Michael's thoughts in the couple of threads about BMI, and CR via fasting.

 

Zeta

Edited by Zeta

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Yup - it is Drew.  :)xyz

 

I'm glad to know that low-T does not seem to be correlated with a higher mortality rate.  Low-T in the context of metabolic syndrome, marijuana use, obesity, diabetes, etc., may be cause for concern, but perhaps not in someone with an otherwise healthy lifestyle.  

 

You are correct that my concern is mainly reduced libido.  Thankfully my wife and I are mostly on the same page.  It is interesting that low-T seems to pave a path for more productivity in other areas of your life.  In my experience, this has been true.  I've been able to focus on achieving certain professional goals while not getting sidetracked in other testosterone related diversions. 

 

Sort of related - but I recently read a paper about sexual activity and happiness, and it indicated that couples with sexual frequency of once per week to once per month were the happiest.  Having more sex did not increase happiness, but less did bring on the blues. 

 

Thanks for sharing all of those links Dean.  Paul McGlothin seems to be an exception when it comes to CR and T-levels.  He has reported again and again how his have slowly risen over many years of CR.  It seems low T and CR is the norm.  

Edited by drewab

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Drew,

 

 

I'm glad to know that low-T does not seem to be correlated with a higher mortality rate.  Low-T in the context of metabolic syndrome, marijuana use, obesity, diabetes, etc., may be cause for concern, but perhaps not in someone with an otherwise healthy lifestyle.  

 

Well from my perspective we're not entirely out of the woods yet - there is still the potential issue of long-term brain and cognitive health with low T, as discussed here. I'm not an alarmist, but I'd say the jury is still out on that one, so do what you can to keep your brain alive!

 

--Dean

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Despite seeing an endo for a year and getting lots of bloodwork, I never had bioavailible T pulled until today, by my family doc go figure. I'll be curious to see what the results are.

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