Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
It’s Men’s Health Week as I write this which brings to mind an interesting topic, MEN and COVID-19.
There have been some interesting studies that I want to unpack and share with you.
From a health perspective, it’s somewhat of a disadvantage to be a man these days.
Out of the TOP 10 causes of death, 9 out of 10 are men dying over women. This includes heart disease, cancer, and diabetes among others.
More men are obese. More men are alcoholics. Men commit suicide, homicide, as well as have drug overdoses more frequently than women.
Men are more at risk for most everything except dementia. That’s the only one that women die of more frequently than men.
In short, men need to start taking care of themselves!!!
Women go to the doctor more than men. They are more preventative in their lifestyle, generally eating better.
The majority of what we deal with at Performance Medicine is obesity, hormone evaluation and preventative medicine.
This is a big deal because all of these diseases are related to inflammation.
Even COVID-19 gives you that cytokine storm, which is what ends up killing people with Covid. It’s not the virus, it’s your own immune response to it. And women seem to have a better immune response than men do, especially when it comes to Covid-19.
Men die twice as frequently as women of Covid-19.
To me, that’s very alarming.
So I started looking into it and in my research found a new study from Washington University out of St. Louis, which is one of the premier medical schools in the country.
Why are men dying twice as frequently with Covid than women?
Believe it or not, it has a lot to do with LOW TESTOSTERONE.
We’ve always preached about the risks of low testosterone. It’s not just low libido and less muscle.
It’s your general health from your brain and bones to your gut, to everything! Testosterone is very protective against all illnesses. As you age your hormones decline, and when your hormones decline, you decline.
COVID-19 and Low T
They found that 89% of men with COVID-19 (mild and severe disease) had Low T.
That’s almost 90% of men admitted into the hospital with Covid had Low T, and their definition of Low T is a lot lower than my definition of it!
The lower your testosterone level, the worse you did with Covid.
The reason for this is that COVID-19 goes in through the ACE-2 Receptors (which has a lot to do with your lungs) and testosterone slightly modulates your immune response to that ACE receptor in your lungs.
What they found was that if you have Low T, it’s more likely that the virus is going to go into your lungs because of Low T upregulation of that ACE-2 Receptor.
The virus goes straight to your lungs where it produces an inflammatory response (the cytokine storm).
Here’s why women do better than men: The initial response to Covid-19 is inflammation. You try to fight that off, but the second phase is T-cell and B-cell response (especially T-cell response).
It turns out that women have a much better T-cell response than men do. This means that when men get that cytokine storm, they get more inflammation. It’s turned on more and then they lack the second phase. Which means they have a double whammy that’s going to hit them.
It turns out that having a normal or high testosterone level is very protective against COVID-19, and to me that’s just an amazing finding. Maybe it’s why obese men and elderly men are much more likely to die of COVID than lean people, and certainly women.
They get a much worse disease. That’s really what we’re talking about: Low T and case mortality.
When they looked at the units in the ICU of overall sick patients, what they found was low testosterone.
They had a much worse outcome, and they found out that when you get COVID-19 it further lowers your testosterone level.
So to all the men out there, CHECK YOUR TESTOSTERONE LEVELS! It’s not just for your muscles and your libido and ED (Erectile Dysfunction). It’s also VERY protective for your immune system and your brain.
You need to get your testosterone levels checked and get it replaced by someone who knows what they’re doing.
You have to know what you’re doing because you could also get your T-level too high. This could cause your blood to get too thick. And you don’t want too much estrogen either. You have to check your estrogen levels as a man. That’s also very important.
Bottom line – Start checking your levels now, even if you don’t have symptoms.