11 Ways Zinc Controls Your Health And Sex Life

Did you know that there is 5mg of zinc expended with each ejaculation?

Did you also know that the highest concentration of zinc is found in your prostate cells?

That’s because zinc plays a critical role in sexual health. It’s a building block for sperm quality, prostate health, and testosterone levels.

Zinc is one of the most vital nutrients for libido, fertility, and sexual prowess.

It is also important for overall wellness, impacting immunity, protein synthesis, and cellular function.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the importance of zinc for overall health and sexual wellbeing.

What is zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in your health. Your body needs it just as much as Mother earth needs it.

In fact, your body can’t function properly without zinc because it is found in every cell in your body. It’s also found in your major organs, fluids, and tissues. It’s found in especially high concentrations in semen and within the prostate gland.

What are the benefits of zinc?

Zinc is a key component in over 300 enzymes and it facilitates natural enzyme activity, including the production of protein. “Protein” is what your body is made of. Your skin, hair, and nails are all made of protein. Zinc is a vital and necessary component of the protein synthesis process, which makes it essential for healing wounds because your body needs zinc to produce the skin (protein) that will cover the wound.

Zinc also plays an important role in the cell. Since Zinc is an antioxidant, it helps protect your cells from oxidative stress. These harmful free radicals, aka “oxidative stress,” can cause disease, aging, and cancer. This antioxidant property also makes zinc a great boost for immune health.

Zinc is also highly linked to sexual health, including testosterone levels, prostate vigor, sperm motility and count, and fertility. We’ll dive into this more below.

Zinc is even necessary for adequate smell and taste reception! That’s right. You need zinc if you want to taste a lemon or stop to smell a rose.

Unfortunately, your body can’t make zinc on its own as it can with other vitamins, so you need to intake zinc through food and supplements.

What is zinc deficiency?

An estimated 17% of the global population suffers from a zinc deficiency. However, this deficiency is much more common in the developing world as it’s associated with an imbalanced or poor diet. Most Americans get enough zinc in their diet to maintain at least moderate levels of zinc in their body.

However, even if you aren’t fully “deficient” in zinc, low levels can cause serious health concerns, especially with regards to sexual health.

Vegetarians and vegans are most at risk for low zinc, as a majority of our daily intake of zinc comes from meat or fish.

Men over 65 can also have low zinc levels. This is because, with age, the body has more trouble absorbing nutrients. It’s also possible that some men eat less meat as they age because they are trying to minimize their cholesterol or high blood pressure. A minimized diet can create nutrient deficiencies, like low zinc levels.

Certain conditions can also interfere with the absorption of zinc and other nutrients:

  • Chron’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ulcers
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Eating disorders

Certain medications, like diuretics, can impact the body’s ability to properly absorb essential nutrients.

What are the symptoms of zinc deficiency?

Symptoms (and effects) of low zinc include:

  • Frequent illness or colds
  • Chronic respiratory issues or pneumonia
  • Skin rashes
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Mental tiredness
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Acne/dermatitis/psoriasis
  • Sensory impairment, especially taste and smell

Most importantly, low zinc can cause low testosterone, low libido, and drastically diminished sexual health.

Why is zinc important for health?

Zinc plays a number of critical roles in the body. Below, I’ll go through some of the proven ways zinc can impact your health—starting with the ones you care about the most – its impact on your sex life.

1. Balances testosterone levels

A number of studies have shown a proportional link between zinc and testosterone. More zinc = more testosterone. Low zinc = low testosterone.

A study in 1996 looked at young men with normal testosterone levels. They were put on a zinc-deficient diet for five months. Researchers found that these participants’ total testosterone levels dropped by nearly 50%.

Simultaneously, they looked at a second population. Researchers gave zinc gluconate to older men with low testosterone levels. After five months of zinc supplementation, their total testosterone levels had doubled.

This proved that zinc affects the amount of testosterone in the body.

Basically, no zinc means no testosterone and high zinc means high testosterone.

Another study of elite wrestlers found that total and free testosterone was higher following zinc supplementation than without supplementation. This was true both at rest and after exercise.

This concluded that zinc supplementation has a direct effect on testosterone regardless of diet and exercise.

We aren’t exactly sure why zinc plays a role in maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Experts believe that zinc inhibits the aromatase enzyme. This enzyme transforms testosterone into estrogen. If zinc can intercept this enzyme, it can prevent this conversion, thus preserving the body’s free testosterone.

In reverse, low zinc levels may increase the rate of transformation of testosterone to estrogen, like the low levels of vitamin D does.

One study found that zinc could be a useful erectile dysfunction treatment for those with long-term kidney disease. It does this by boosting testosterone levels.

So why does the zinc-testosterone link matter?

Because testosterone is the foundation of your manliness. Low testosterone is linked to low libido, fatigue, low muscle mass, brain fog, and even erectile dysfunction.

If you want high sexual function and overall health, you need strong testosterone levels and avoiding low testosterone levels may be as simple as ensuring you have adequate zinc intake.

2. Promotes a healthy prostate

Normal prostate tissue has 10x more zinc than other tissue cells in the body. Research has shown that zinc is found in healthful prostatic fluid and semen.

However, studies have also shown that cancerous or diseased prostate tissue has significantly less zinc than healthy organ tissue.

There is a direct relationship here. A healthy prostate has high levels of zinc. An unhealthy prostate has low zinc.  

Additionally, research has shown that zinc isn’t just a result of a healthy prostate—it’s a critical component that keeps the prostate healthy. For example, studies show that high levels of zinc can reduce the risk of BPH (an enlarged prostate) and prostatitis. This is likely due to zinc’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Zinc abundance may also help fight the risk of prostate cancer. One study found that taking 15mg of zinc showed a 66% reduction in the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. Another study found that a higher intake of zinc was linked to a 36% reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer.

It’s not proven that zinc deficiency causes prostate cancer or that zinc intake conclusively prevents it… but there is definitely a correlation.

Read: Can You Prevent Prostate Cancer Through Diet?

3. Boosts sperm count, quality, and motility

If you are looking to be a father, you need healthy sperm. This means you need a high sperm count with strong motility.

Zinc plays a direct role in the health and quality of your sperm (and thus your fertility). Your testes need enough zinc in order to produce sperm. Zinc deficiency is linked to decreased sperm motility. Generally, men with lower levels of zinc have lower sperm counts and an increased rate of abnormal sperm morphology.

But high levels of zinc are linked to strengthened sperm and fertility. One study found that 66mg of zinc was actually able to increase sperm counts in sub-fertile men. (Don’t try this at home, though. Over 40mg of zinc daily can be toxic if not monitored by a physician.)  

Another study found that a combined supplement of zinc, folic acid, and golden root improved ejaculatory control of men with previous premature ejaculation concerns.  

4. Improves endurance and energy

Zinc facilitates the conversion of energy. Your body uses zinc to turn food into usable energy. If you don’t have enough zinc, your body starts to lose energy. This leads to low endurance, reduced muscle strength, and even minimized organ function.

Studies have shown that zinc supplementation may be able to increase endurance and performance.

This energy boost keeps you motivated throughout the day… and throughout the night when it’s time to get sexy. Who doesn’t want greater endurance in the bedroom?

5. Enhances immunity

Zinc is a strong antioxidant that can help neutralize free radicals to keep your immune system strong and thriving. It also increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection.

Zinc creates more white blood cells and more aggressive white blood cells. This means your cells can release a greater number of antibodies to fight off illness faster and more forcefully. 

Because of this, zinc is often used as an infection fighter—especially for the common cold. 

The Cleveland Clinic published a report in 1996 that made a huge splash in the medical world. They found that zinc reduced the severity and duration of a cold by nearly 58%. (However, some have speculated this was slightly exaggerated to sell a new product.)

Still, literature has come to conclude that zinc can help attack cold viruses and boost the immune system.  

You’ll even find zinc lozenges and nose sprays for over-the-counter cold and flu relief.

An enhanced immune system is especially important as we age and as our bodies naturally start to slow down. Thus, zinc could be a potential solution to slow this decline and maintain one’s immunity against disease and infection.

6. Thickens hair

As discussed earlier, zinc plays an important role in protein synthesis. Your hair is made of keratin, which is a type of protein. Zinc is a building block of hair.

Low levels of zinc can cause weak, brittle hair. This can often result in thinning hair or balding.

However, high levels of zinc lead to thick, luscious locks that won’t stop growing.

Thus, zinc may help slow down and even reverse the process of growing bald. There are even some topical products that have zinc as an active ingredient to help hair regrow!

7. Heals cells

Your body is subjected to free radicals on a daily basis. From pollution to fatty foods, your cells are constantly bombarded with oxidative damage (which is what causes disease and illness).

Even exercising causes damage. You stress out your body, breaking down your muscles on a cellular level. During the recovery period, your cells have to rebuild.

Your cells use zinc to synthesize the protein needed to rebuild your muscles. With available zinc, your body can make more protein, which makes your muscles grow back bigger and stronger.

So zinc plays a dynamic role. It helps prevent oxidative damage that hurts cells and it helps cells to rebuild after receiving damage.  

(It’s important to note that working out causes heavy sweating and low-calorie intake, both of which can cause insufficient zinc levels. Thus, it’s especially important to intake more zinc on heavy workout days, like HIIT lifting.)

8. Improves brain health

There are high concentrations of zinc found in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

A study at MIT and Duke University found that zinc doesn’t just hang out in the hippocampus; it plays a role in long-term memory and learning. You need sufficient levels of zinc to keep your brain cells working properly.

Another study found that zinc may help protect the brain from viruses and toxins. Healthy zinc levels may actually help defend against brain diseases like schizophrenia, seizures, and even addiction.

9. Improves heart health

Like your muscles and brain, zinc plays a role in cellular restoration and healing the heart. This can help prevent heart concerns and maintain heart health after any damage has occurred (like after a heart attack).

Because zinc is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant, it helps minimize plaque buildup and cardiovascular disease. One study gave 40 healthy older adults 45mg of zinc gluconate daily for six months. They found that it had a positive impact on minimizing factors of atherosclerosis (cardiovascular disease). A second study found that zinc helped protect the myocardium (heart muscle) from damage.

Zinc protects your cells from damage, which in turn can protect your heart from damage.

10. Improves liver and gut health

The antioxidant powers of zinc may help detox the liver and rebalance the gut.

Research has shown that zinc boosts metallothionein (MT), which is a detoxifying compound. Low MT levels make the liver sensitive to potential damage, especially alcohol damage. High MT levels help stabilize the gastrointestinal tract to minimize inflammation.

Thus, zinc supplementation may help boost detoxifying effects, stabilize the GI tract, and reduce inflammation, which in turn, boosts immunity by clearing the major organs of extra “gunk!”

Learn about the dangers of chronic inflammation in the gut here.

11. Fights adult acne

If you’re suffering from adult acne, it’s likely that your hormones are unbalanced.

Zinc can help overcome unsightly (and annoying) acne in three ways.

  1. Zinc helps rebalance your hormones by boosting testosterone levels.
  2. It’s an anti-inflammatory agent, which means it can be applied as an ointment to help blemishes heal faster.
  3. Zinc is involved in protein synthesis, which helps wounds (like acne) heal faster to be replaced with new, healthy skin.

How can I get the zinc I need?

The daily recommended intake of zinc is 11mg. Most people consume 13mg of zinc daily.

If you’re eating a balanced diet, you’re probably getting the zinc you need.
You’ll find zinc in:

  • Lean red meat
  • Dark meat chicken
  • Liver
  • Seafood
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Whole grains

Oysters have the highest levels of zinc. There is about 74mg of zinc in a 3-oz serving of oysters. This high level of zinc is what makes oysters such an aphrodisiac. The zinc helps your testosterone levels skyrocket, which makes your libido off the charts!

Protein diets also have zinc. Beef, pork, lamb, and chicken will give you the most zinc for the smallest amount. Four ounces of lean beef will give you 5-6mg of zinc, which is half the daily recommendation.

Don’t overeat your meat, though. A high-protein diet can be just as damaging as a low-protein one; Everything in moderation!

Yes, you can have a small cut of steak to boost your zinc when you go out with your friends. Just be mindful of how much meat versus veggies, carbs, and fat that you’re consuming to avoid damaging your system.

Did you know that what you eat can even impact your genes?

If you’re not getting the zinc you need from your diet, there are zinc supplemental options as well. Most multivitamins will include small doses of zinc in them. Other zinc options include zinc+:

  • Gluconate
  • Sulfate
  • Acetate
  • Orotate (most accessible for the body)

You should not get more than 40mg of zinc daily. This can put you in toxic levels that may damage your health. High levels of supplemented zinc can also cause a harmful copper deficiency. If taking zinc vitamins, you might want to add copper to your supplemental regimen as well.

If you’re using zinc as a means of therapy, work with your doctor to create a plan that will boost your health without harmful side effects.

Should I supplement zinc for sexual health?

Zinc is not a proven treatment for sexual health concerns. However, it’s worth discussing zinc supplementation with your doctor.

Zinc therapy is different than other treatments because it helps raise your testosterone levels naturally. You’re not using synthetic hormones, like with testosterone replacement therapy. Your body uses zinc to prevent the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This helps preserve testosterone, thus boosting free-floating and overall T levels.

Zinc supplementation also has a number of other benefits inside and outside the bedroom.

Work with your doctor to make sure you have sufficient zinc levels for optimal health.

Want to start improving your sexual and overall wellness in a few short weeks?  Sign up for our newsletter and schedule a consult.


Happy Men’s Health Month!

Happy Men’s Health Month! June is our favorite month because it’s a period dedicated to education and awareness about men’s wellness. This is a great opportunity for the media, healthcare providers, and public policy creators to bring men’s sexual health to the forefront of the healthcare conversation.

Did you know that the life expectancy for males is 76.1 years, while the life expectancy for females is 81.2 years?

Although it’s possible that there are genetic factors, most experts believe that behavior plays a larger role in the shortened life expectancy of the American male.  

This June, it’s time to commit to your health. With awareness and understanding of common men’s health concerns, you can reduce your risk of serious health concerns.

What are common male health concerns?

Not every man will have the same lifestyle, behaviors, and health risks. However, there are a number of diseases that affect a large percentage of men, especially with age.  

Below are the most common male health concerns and their typical causes or risk factors.

Heart disease

The most prominent male health threat is heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S., accounting for nearly 1 in 4 male deaths. It’s much more common in men than women, with over 3/4 of sudden cardiac events occurring in men.

One of the most frightening statistics about heart disease is that half of the men who die suddenly from heart disease have no previous symptoms.

Though not showing symptoms, research has proven that heart disease can be preventable. The key factors for high risk of heart disease are all controllable:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

Other significant risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. Unfortunately, though, half of American men have at least one of these three risk factors—even though these are entirely dependent upon lifestyle choices.

Heart disease isn’t something to mess with. At the very least, it can cause erectile dysfunction and reduced quality of life. At the worst, it can be fatal. 

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (except for skin cancer). It is often treatable, but it’s the second leading cause of cancer death behind lung cancer. In America, 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, and 1 in 41 will die of it.

Prostate cancer is rare before age 40 and becomes much more frequent after age 65. Nearly 6 of 10 diagnosed cases occur in men over the age of 65, and the average age of diagnosis is 66. 

Early detection is key to treating prostate cancer. It is completely curable if caught early enough. In fact, with early detection, the 5-year relative survival rate of prostate cancer is 99%, the 10-year survival rate is 98%, and the 15-year survival rate is 96%. Thus, it’s recommended that prostate cancer screening start at age 50 and occur at least every five years. For some men, doctors may recommend yearly screenings.

Risks for prostate cancer include age, family history, race, nationality, sedentary lifestyle, diet, calcium, obesity, beer, smoking, height, and Agent Orange.

Learn more about prostate cancer here.

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common concern for men, affecting about 40% of men in their 40s, 50% of men in their 50s, 60% of men in their 60s, and 70% of men in their 70s. ED also called impotence, is when a man cannot get or sustain an erection long enough to have satisfying sexual intercourse. It becomes a long-term concern that can impact sexual health, relationships, and even mental health.

Although it’s more common for men of older age, studies suggest that 1 in 4 men seeking treatment for ED are under the age of 40. Those under age 40 also often have more severe symptoms of erectile dysfunction.  

Erectile dysfunction is often not a disease in and of itself. It is usually a symptom or side effect of another serious health concern like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity. ED is often one of the first warning signs that something serious is going on in the body.

Thus, if you’ve been experiencing ongoing erectile dysfunction, you want to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will usually consider ED as a symptom, so they will screen you for other potential concerns as well.  

There are a number of potential causes of erectile dysfunction including:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Performance anxiety
  • Smoking
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Neurological diseases
  • Hormonal disorders
  • BPH
  • Low testosterone
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • Prostate cancer treatment
  • Porn addiction

ED can also be a side effect of certain medications you’re taking—including the medications that could be causing your ED in the first place. Work with your doctor to understand where your ED is coming from and what you can do about it.

Check out more erectile dysfunction resources here!

Low testosterone

Testosterone is the “man” hormone. It’s the most important hormone in maintaining male health including muscle mass, hair growth, bone density, red blood cell development, and sex drive. It also plays a role in cognitive function, mood stability, exercise endurance, and energy.  

Testosterone levels naturally decline with age. But this decline can create serious health problems for men. Low testosterone can cause:

  • Lower libido
  • Fatigue
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Mood changes
  • Reduced cognitive function
  • Poor memory
  • Arthritis
  • Increased risk of heart disease

Men with low testosterone often present a general feeling of “un-wellness.” If you’ve been feeling “off” recently, you may be dealing with low testosterone.

There are natural ways to boost testosterone, and there is the possibility of replacement therapies if lifestyle changes aren’t showing fast results. You can quickly overcome low testosterone if you commit to your health and wellness! 


A stroke is caused by a clot or ruptured blood vessel that cuts off blood flow to the brain. This can cause lasting brain damage that can have serious and fatal implications.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., numbering about 800,000 deaths yearly with an additional 130,000 from stroke-related complications. Men are at a higher risk of stroke than women.

There is an increased risk of stroke in those who smoke, have high blood pressure, have diabetes, abuse drugs or alcohol, are overweight or obese, or live a sedentary lifestyle. Don’t put yourself at unnecessary risk for something that could permanently damage your brain.


Diabetes is when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin (type 1) and/or can’t use its insulin properly (type 2). This causes sugar levels to rise, which can create serious health concerns. It increases the risk of heart disease and impacts eyes, kidneys, and nervous system. It’s also directly linked to increased prevalence of erectile dysfunction.

The risks for type 2 diabetes and complications from diabetes include smoking, being overweight, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It’s also more common in men over age 40.

See if you may be at risk for type 2 diabetes with this 60-second online test.


After age 40, the prostate can start to grow. This is called benign prostate enlargement, and it’s “mostly” benign. Although it isn’t dangerous, it can create a number of sexual health concerns for men. It mostly impacts the urinary tract, creating a number of “bathroom” problems like a sudden urge to go to the bathroom or a slow urine stream.

BPH has also been linked to erectile dysfunction and other metabolic diseases. This is because the prostate typically grows when there’s a change in the prostate cells. This can be due to infection, prostate cancer, prostate cancer treatment, age, or other factors.

Although BPH is itself not harmful, it’s often the first sign of another underlying factor. Enlargement is a signal that something in your body is changing your prostate cell makeup—and it’s not a sign to be ignored.


Mental health is equally—if not more—important than physical health. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America, and almost 45,000 people die by suicide yearly. Men die by suicide 3.53x more than women, and the rate is higher in middle age.

Too many men feel like they’re drowning with no route for escape. Men’s health month is the perfect time to open up the conversation about men’s mental health.

If you are struggling or feeling lost, it’s important that you realize you’re not alone—and you won’t feel this way forever. Find a local professional or support system to take the first steps towards regaining your life.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the term used to describe a collection of conditions that increase the risk for diseases, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Conditions of metabolic syndrome include:

  •     Insulin resistance (pre-diabetes)
  •     Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  •     High cholesterol
  •     High blood sugar
  •     Obesity 

Metabolic syndrome is a direct cause of lifestyle choices like diet and exercise.

Did you know…

Chronic inflammation may be the link between all of the above diseases including heart disease, cancer, stroke, depression, and Alzheimer’s. Preventing chronic inflammation may help minimize the risk of disease. Learn more about chronic inflammation here.

How can you protect your health?

Handsome businessman with eyeglasses working from home

I didn’t present you with all the major male health problems to scare you. I’m not here to spook you. Rather, I’m here to remind you of your own mortality—as well as your CONTROL over your mortality.

All of these diseases are preventable with the right lifestyle changes and behaviors. So what can you do to make sure you’re maintaining your health and wellness this June—and the rest of the year?

  1. Get yearly screenings.

When was the last time you went for an annual checkup? If it was more than a year ago, it’s time to go get screened.

Yearly screenings are the top prevention method for all of the above diseases. It allows you to “catch” diseases or conditions early, so they can be treated and monitored.

You should get an annual liver, kidney, sugar, and cholesterol screenings at the very minimum. Also, talk to your doctor about a PSA test as a preliminary prostate cancer checkup.

Kill the monster while it’s a baby before it turns into an unstoppable force. If you catch diseases when they’re early on, they’re more treatable. 

  1. Eat a healthy diet. 

Diet is one of the key lifestyle factors to overall health and wellness. Diet impacts your genetic expression and epigenetics,  meaning it plays a role in just about every disease.

Studies show that you can prevent prostate cancer with a healthy diet

Learn more about eating a healthy diet with the following resources: 

  1. Exercise.

Exercise is one of the simplest ways to fix nearly all of your health problems. Working out 4-5 hours per week can:

  • Help lose fat and maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve metabolism
  • De-methylate genes
  • Improve sleep
  • Minimize stress
  • Elevate mood and happiness
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Reduce bad cholesterol
  • Get rid of inflammation

Exercise is one of the easiest ways to control your health—without even thinking about it. Whether you swim, walk, lift weights, or play Frisbee, your body needs movement to be healthy and strong. I especially recommend a low-pressure exercise that won’t damage your joints, like yoga, stretching, and swimming.

Learn more about the importance of working out here.

Running man in forest woods training and exercising for trail run marathon endurance race. Fitness healthy lifestyle concept with male athlete trail runner.

  1. Know your supplements.

Most American men don’t get the micronutrients they need to maintain their health and vitality. Thus, I recommend most men take the following supplements to boost their wellness:

But make sure you know what’s in your supplements. A lot of one-a-day vitamins actually contain inactive ingredients that can do more harm than good. Always take a look at the ingredients label.

You should also talk to your doctor about the medications you’re on. If you’re experiencing any side effects, don’t be afraid to open the floor for conversation.

  1. Stress less.

Stress is the number one killer of men today. It’s an epidemic that seems to only be getting worse in America. In fact, more and more research is proving that stress is at the root of a number of serious, fatal diseases. Stress even influences your genes and epigenetic expression, “turning off” the protective genes and “turning on” those that cause serious disease.  

Make sure you’re taking time for yourself. Whether that means spending time with family, taking up yoga, or finding a less stressful career path, it’s critical that you put your health first. Learn more about how to address stress here.

  1. Sleep more.

Sleeping 7 to 8 hours every night has proven health benefits. Sleep is when your body’s hormones reset, which helps lower cortisol (stress) and boost testosterone. Without this period of rest, your body starts to go into “overdrive” and its normal functioning starts to slow down. Sleep (and a lack of sleep) can even impact your genes.

Learn how to sleep better right now.

  1. Use sunscreen.

Put on your SPF. Skin cancer is the most common cancer, and it’s frequently caused by exposure to UV rays. Daily sunscreen can help prevent the free radical damage that causes both cancer and wrinkles.

Sunscreen should become a daily habit to show the full effect. Check out these other five habits that will boost your health overnight!

  1. Drink water.

Health and wellness all come down to water. Water makes up the majority of your body. Without it, your body can’t function properly. That’s why just a couple of days of dehydration can kill you.

Drink more water and you’ll find improvements in energy, weight, sleep, mood, diet, exercise, sex, and more. Water is the building block of life—so make sure you’re getting enough.

Pro-tip: Drink pH balanced water. This helps keep your body’s pH aligned, which helps keep your body in balance to fight disease and infection.

Celebrate Men’s Health

How are you going to celebrate men’s health month? By FINALLY going in for that yearly screening? Or using these summer months to get outside and exercise?

How about changing your diet? Or by signing up for a N1 Performance Health consultation?

The G1 Performance Health Consult is a private consultation that takes you through every aspect of your health. We discuss everything about diet, exercise, psychology, and sexual health to reinvigorate your health and wellness. With high performance wellness & anti-aging medicine, Dr. Gapin provides Fortune 500 executives and entrepreneurs a personalized path to lose weight, maximize energy, & restore vitality.

And yes, I prescribe having more sex…

Schedule a consultation to learn more about N1 Performance Health.

Ready to take the next steps?

Schedule a Call


Epigenetics Series: Can Working Out Change Your Genes?

Professional athletes seem to have a special “something” that no one else has.

“It must be in his genes,” we say when we see Michael Phelps swimming or Michael Jordan shooting a three-pointer.

But is it actually in their genes? Is there a gene for athleticism?

Epigenetics says “maybe.” It’s not necessarily that professional athletes have a certain DNA sequence that no one else has. It’s that they have a unique DNA expression that the rest of us haven’t yet activated.

For example, elite Kenyan runners have dominated distance running events for the last two decades. Research is working to prove that a mixture of training regiments, high altitude, and diet create a certain type of genetic expression. If researchers can understand the unique interactions of these lifestyle factors, it could theoretically be replicated in any population.

So yes, I’m telling you that you can change your genes and finally be a pro baseball player or soccer player.

But epigenetics isn’t just relevant to professional athletes.

Your genes can impact your athletic ability…

But the reverse is true as well.

Your exercise routine can also impact your genes.

In fact, working out may change your genetic expression so drastically that it can deactivate the genes of disease and illness.

You’re shedding more than just pounds when you exercise. You’re shedding off methyl groups that impact the expression of your DNA.

Let me explain.

What is epigenetics?

Epigenetics looks at the expression of DNA genetic makeup. The DNA you’re born with is the DNA you’ll have until you die. It stays the same throughout your life.

However, the expression of those genes can change.

For example, your hair might change colors or textures based on how your genes are expressed—even though the gene for your hair hasn’t changed. This is because a certain gene is turned “on” or “off.”

In the same way, you can actually activate or deactivate your risk for disease and illness based on how these genes are expressed.

Science has proven that genetic expression has a direct impact on your risk of disease and illness.

Epigenetics looks at two key modifications that impact DNA expression: methylation and histone acetylation.

In this article, we’ll focus on the specific link between DNA methylation and exercise.

What is DNA methylation?

DNA methylation occurs when a methyl (CH3) group is added to a DNA strand. A reaction occurs on the DNA chain, likely between the methyl and the fifth carbon atom of a cytosine (which is one of the four nucleotides of DNA).

Basically, when a methyl group attaches to DNA, it changes the way that DNA is expressed.

Think of it like a light switch. When the methyl group is added to the strand, the light switch is turned into the “off” position. When the methyl group is removed, the light switch flips back to the “on” position.

Methylation usually slows down the expression of genes (although not always).

In some cases, this slowing of genetic expression is a good thing. For example, if you have a gene for Alzheimer’s, DNA methylation may help slow the onset.

In other cases, you don’t want DNA methylation to impact your genetic expression. For example, it could “turn off” the genes that help regulate your body weight. You could be putting on the pounds—even when dieting—simply because your metabolism genes are slowed down due to methylation.

How does exercise impact DNA methylation?

There hasn’t been a lot of conclusive research about the impact of exercise on overall epigenetics just yet. But there has been one significant finding that is completely changing the way researchers are looking at both exercise and epigenetics as a whole.

Yup, this finding is that important.

A Swedish study looked at muscle biopsies of 14 healthy men and women before and after physical exertion. They put them on an incremental treadmill test to exhaustion.

They found significant changes in the DNA in their muscles after an intense workout. The genes that were involved in metabolizing energy actually de-methylated after exercise.

This tells us three really important things:

  1. Working out changes our genes.
  2. The intensity of the workout matters.
  3. Working out even once can impact your epigenetics almost immediately.
  1. Working out changes our genes.

The most important takeaway? Overall, exercise impacts our genes.

The fact that working out can change our genetics is an incredible finding. This says that we are not victims of our DNA. We have control over our genetic expression based on certain lifestyle factors, like working out, diet, or even sleeping.

  1. The intensity of the workout matters.

Researchers pushed participants to the point of exhaustion. They have not yet studied what happens after a mild to moderate workout.

The researchers concluded, though, that methylation is dependent upon intensity. A leisurely walk likely isn’t changing your genetic expression like a sprinted marathon.

  1. Working out even once can impact your epigenetics.

Probably the most surprising result of this study was how quickly the genetic expression changed. The participants had de-methylated genes after just one exhausting workout.

This completely alters the former notion that genetic changes happen slowly (if at all).

This test showed that genetic changes don’t happen overnight… they can happen faster than that.

However, there’s a caveat to this. The researchers know that genetic expression changed after one workout. But we don’t know how long these changes lasted for.

We don’t know if methyl groups were added back to the genetic sequence immediately afterwards—when the participants went back home and started living their normal lives again.

So, change is fast… but we’re not sure if it’s lasting.

What does this mean for your workout?

  1. You need to workout.

If you want to avoid disease and illness, you need to exercise. Of course, working out is the best way to keep your muscles strong, your body fat low, and your arteries clean and clear. Beyond that, working out will help remove harmful methyl groups that could be slowing down your healthy genes.

Your genes can help prevent disease—but only if they’re healthy and clear themselves.

  1. You need intense workouts.

Harder exercise produces more de-methylation. This means that you need to boost the intensity of your workouts on a consistent basis.

I recommend high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of training exhausts your body with intense intervals, followed by periods of rest. These cycles of intensity and recovery may have the most influential impact on DNA methylation.

Plus, HIIT is the best way to burn fat, improve muscle mass, and raise your testosterone levels. Learn more about HIIT here.  

  1. You need both cardio and lifting.

In the study, researchers looked at the effects of cardio. This means that you need to get your heart pumping if you want to impact your genetics.

But this doesn’t mean cardio is the only exercise you should be doing. Lifting can also produce an intense exercise that could influence DNA.

In fact, researchers concluded that the reason for the de-methylation was due to muscle contraction. The muscle cells were contracting and releasing at high intensity during the cardio, which was likely what removed the methyl group.

I like to think of it that your muscle flexes “shook loose” the methyl groups from the DNA.

Thus, both cardio and lifting are important. Cardio contracts muscles throughout your body, while lifting concentrates the muscle contractions. These contracts lead to intense de-methylation in your genes.

Pairing cardio and lifting in an intense, sweaty workout may be able to improve your genes in just one session!

  1. You need to workout frequently.

We don’t yet know how or why DNA methylation occurs.

We know from this study that genetic expression can change quickly. This means that it’s possible that even one fatty, fried meal could add a methyl group back to your genes after an intense workout.

Just as quickly as exercise can de-methylate your genes, other lifestyle factors can reapply methyl groups to your genes.

We don’t yet have a clear understanding of what does and doesn’t impact methylation. All we know is that exercise can help de-methylate important genes. Thus, if you want to prevent harmful methylation, you need to workout often.

The more frequently you workout, the more opportunities you have to remove methyl groups from your genes—no matter where those methyl groups are coming from.

This frequent de-methylation can help speed up healthy, disease-preventing genetic expressions.

A note about caffeine…

If you read the study, you’ll find that the researchers found that caffeine has a similar effect as exercise.

They gave a culture of muscle cells a dose of caffeine. Caffeine releases calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, which mimics a muscle contraction.

This is how they realized that muscle contraction are the basis for de-methylation.

They were then able to conclude that calcium might create a cellular trigger that activates de-methylation.

But hold on for a second. Don’t start glugging coffee in place of your workout. You’d need about 50 cups a day to have the same de-methylation effect that one intense workout would have. (Yes, 50 cups of caffeine could be lethal. Don’t try that at home.)

However, you may want to try drinking a cup of black coffee before you workout.

Caffeine is a stimulant that can give your muscles a jolt of energy, pushing you further in your workout. With this added energy, you can lift more at a higher intensity—which encourages de-methylation.

Caffeine hits its peak stimulation between 30 and 75 minutes of consumption. So try drinking a cup about one hour before your workout.

Plus, research found that drinking caffeine before a workout can help keep cravings in check while reducing caloric intake for the day. This can help boost your weight loss efforts. Two-for-one!

Why black coffee? Milk and sugar create a temporary sugar high. When your body starts falling from this high, it will lose all its energy and start to crash. This creates low energy that can kill your workout.

If you need to cut the bitterness of your coffee, try almond or cashew milk. This helps you avoid dairy while giving you healthy fats that can help improve your workout.

Other benefits of working out:

Exercise makes you healthier, stronger, and trimmer.

I think it’s time to start working out.


You know that exercising is important for your health. But it goes beyond just body fat, calories, muscle, and even organ health. Working out has a direct impact on the health of your genes—which is the foundation of your overall wellbeing.

You could be a professional athlete if you wanted to—as long as you altered your genes appropriately.

But even if you have no interest in a Super Bowl ring, exercise can improve your genetic makeup to help resist disease and illness.

Healthy genes make a healthy person. And exercise makes for healthy genes.

Not sure how to workout for optimal health? Or how to impact your genes towards overall wellness?

No worries.

That’s why I’m here.

Check out our Male 90X programa genetic-based report and analysis that will help you unlock and achieve your maximum potential.

You can change your health, your genes, and your life right now.

Learn How To Leverage Your Genetics with the MALE 90X program.

In this eBook, Dr. Tracy Gapin unlocks the secrets to naturally increase testosterone and how to optimize your performance in the bedroom, the boardroom and beyond – by leveraging YOUR unique genetic blueprint.

What’s The Deal With Weight Gain And Low Testosterone?

If you’re struggling to see the results you want in your weight loss program, you may be dealing with a testosterone imbalance.

Have you been noticing that the number on the scale keeps increasing recently?

Is your midsection growing at a faster rate than the rest of your body?

Are you struggling to lose those pesky pounds?

Are you dieting and exercising but still not seeing the results you want?

Weight gain is a primary symptom of low testosterone.

If you have low testosterone, you’re more likely to have increased body fat.

And if you have increased body fat, you’re more likely to suffer from low testosterone.

This becomes a vicious cycle that can cause weight gain and prevent weight loss—no matter how hard you diet and exercise. This cycle can also impact other areas of your health, including stress, libido, fertility, energy, and risk for disease.

Let’s go through the basics of testosterone, how T is related to weight, and what you can do about breaking the cycle this week.

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is the “male sex hormone.” It’s the primary hormone that makes a male “manly.” Testosterone is necessary for the initial development of the testes and prostate as well as the ongoing production of sperm and semen.

Along with its sexual function, testosterone has other important purposes in the body as well. It plays a role in everything from libido to muscle development and brain health. Check out these 10 crazy and surprising effects of testosterone here.

A number of factors can cause low testosterone. This includes lifestyle, diet, and exercise. Age also plays a role, as testosterone levels naturally decline with age especially after age 50.

Because testosterone is so critical for sexual and overall health, low levels of testosterone can cause serious health concerns. Symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Weight gain
  • Minimized libido (sex drive)
  • Low fertility
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Weak bones
  • Lowered energy
  • Brain fog
  • Moodiness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Less body hair

In this post, we’re going to focus on the first symptom: weight gain.

Testosterone has a direct impact on your weight. Higher testosterone means less fat and more muscle. Lower testosterone means more fat and less muscle.

That means that testosterone not only impacts the way we look and feel, but it’s also an important aspect of overall health. Testosterone affects our weight, and weight is a proven indicator of future wellness. Being overweight is directly linked to a number of health problems, including high cholesterol, high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and more.

So how does this work?

What is the relationship between weight gain and low testosterone?

A number of studies have proven that weight and testosterone are intimately linked.

Research has shown that low testosterone can cause weight gain. Thus, improving testosterone levels can help with weight loss. A 2013 study found that men taking testosterone supplements saw weight loss as a side effect. Over five years, they each lost an average of 36 pounds and 3.5 inches off the waist. Similar results were iterated in a 2016 study as well.The reverse is also true. Obesity or holding extra weight can actually reduce testosterone levels. One study found that 75% of men who qualified as obese also had hypogonadism, which is when the body produces lower amounts of testosterone.

Losing weight, then, actually shows an increase in testosterone levels—even without testosterone replacement therapy.  

So where does this link between weight gain and testosterone come from?

Below are the five primary ways testosterone impacts your weight.

  1. Testosterone plays a role in metabolism.

Testosterone plays a key role in your metabolism, which is the process that turns your carbs, fats, and proteins into energy and fuel.

This is likely because testosterone interacts with insulin and glucose. High levels of testosterone can “eat up” extra glucose. Otherwise, that glucose would be stored as fat cells in the body.

Higher levels of testosterone eat up more of your free-floating sugar to prevent weight gain.

In fact, one study found that men undergoing testosterone treatment showed a significant increase in basal metabolic rate, which is associated with a decrease in lean body mass.

In opposition, fat cells actually metabolize testosterone at a fast rate. The more fat you carry around, the faster you burn through your free testosterone.

So low testosterone causes weight gain… and then that extra fat actually minimizes your free testosterone even more.

  1. Testosterone builds muscle.

Muscle is an important part of weight loss. Your body has to burn up its fat stores in order to build the muscle that you’re creating. Plus, muscle actually burns more calories throughout the day than fatty tissue does.

Having more muscle on your body puts you in a positive cycle of maintained weight.

And testosterone is a key hormone in the process of muscle construction and protein synthesis.

Studies show that testosterone levels increase muscle mass by boosting the body’s ability to produce protein.

This means that higher testosterone can help increase muscle, which minimizes fat storage.

Testosterone also boosts HGH, the human growth hormone. This hormone is used to build or “grow” your muscle.

Studies have shown that men with low testosterone are more likely to have less muscle mass than men with normal T levels. Similarly, men with less muscle mass are at a greater risk for low testosterone levels.

If you want healthy and attractive muscles, you need testosterone.

  1. Testosterone regulates fat-storing estrogen.

Body fat contains an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase converts testosterone to estradiol, which is a type of estrogen. Aromatase turns T into estrogen, which increases estrogen levels. This then signals the endocrine system to slow the production of testosterone.

Basically, fat tissue creates estrogen. Estrogen stops the production of testosterone.

Thus, reducing fat tissue helps minimize the extra estrogen caused by stored belly fat.

The reverse is also true. When testosterone is low, it increases the production of estrogen.

Estrogen then signals your body to store fat. That’s why women tend to have “softer” features and extra weight, especially around their midsection. The goal of this in females is to store fat so women have extra reserves in case they need to care for a fetus or baby.

Estrogen works the same way in a male. It tells your body to hold on to your fat “in case of emergency.” But in most cases, you’re not all that interested in holding on to extra fat tissue in case the apocalypse hits.

Body fat increases estrogen and lowers T.

And low T increases body fat storage.

Talk about a cycle of weight gain!

Thus, boosting testosterone levels can help minimize fat-storing estrogen. And losing weight can help reduce estradiol, allowing for more free-floating testosterone.

Find out more about the relationship between testosterone and estrogen, especially with regards to the estrogen in your food.

  1. Testosterone reduces cortisol levels.

Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is proven to increase weight gain. You’ve likely found that during stressful periods of your life, you hold on to a little more poundage than you typically would.

This is because cortisol is released in response to stress and low blood sugar. The goal of cortisol is to suppress inflammation and raise blood sugar levels. This increase in blood sugar actually promotes fat storage, especially around the abdomen.

Cortisol also causes gluconeogenesis, which is when your body transforms its protein reserves into glucose. This basically transforms the protein within your muscles into fatty tissue. You’ll start losing muscle mass and gaining fat—which links back to #2 on this list.  

Testosterone and cortisol have an inverse relationship. High cortisol levels cause low levels of testosterone, and high testosterone levels cause low levels of cortisol. Low testosterone allows cortisol to run free, causing an increase in fat storage and gluconeogenesis.

Raising your testosterone levels reduces cortisol, which then minimizes the risk of extra fat storage.

You want high T and low cortisol for optimal health.

  1. Testosterone impacts energy and stamina.

Low energy is a symptom of low testosterone. Fatigue and sluggishness are common indicators of a hormonal imbalance.

Energy is an important part of losing weight. Men with low testosterone often find they don’t have the energy or motivation to workout. When they do exercise, their stamina is so low that the workout isn’t as productive or effective as it could be.

Plus, low energy tends to lead to a more stagnant lifestyle. This means fewer calories burned throughout the day—often accompanied by an increase in the consumption of calories.

This creates a discouraging effect for men looking to lose weight. They can’t bring themselves to the gym no matter how much they want to lose the weight.

Stagnation causes a quick uptick in poundage.

How can you lose weight and increase testosterone?

Because the relationship between weight and testosterone goes both ways, it can be challenging to answer the chicken or the egg question:

Am I gaining weight because of low testosterone or do I have low testosterone because I’m gaining weight?

But the answer to this question ultimately doesn’t matter.

You don’t want weight gain or low testosterone.

So how can you break the cycle?

You have to start by boosting your testosterone.

Whether your weight gain was the cause or effect of low testosterone, losing weight starts by increasing testosterone.

Click here to discover the 13 ways to increase testosterone naturally. You’ll also want to learn about the 7 testosterone boosting myths, so you can make sure your training regimen is on the right track.

Testosterone replacement therapy might be a solution for some men, but it can also have a number of associated risks. There are other healthier ways to try increasing testosterone while losing fat.

Below are a few of the best ways to increase testosterone while losing weight—kill two birds with one stone!

  1. Lift weights. Resistance exercise builds muscle faster than cardio. As discussed, lean muscle burns fat faster and triggers testosterone production.
  2. Use high-intensity interval training. Studies show that interval training boosts testosterone better than steady endurance exercise. Interval workouts also tap into fat reserves to eat away at the pounds you’re struggling to lose.
  3. Stress less. The more you stress, the more cortisol you have in your body. More cortisol means less testosterone. Minimizing your stress is crucial to maintaining a healthy hormone balance. I recommend yoga, because it helps reduce stress while growing muscle mass.
  4. Maintain a consistent routine. You need to be exercising regularly in order to have a long-term impact on your testosterone levels. The most effective routines include both cardio and weightlifting to boost muscle mass and burn fat simultaneously.
  5. Don’t shy away from fats. Healthy fats are actually an important part of testosterone production. Study after study shows that low-fat, high-protein diets kill testosterone, minimize muscle mass, and increase fat storage. A balance of fats, carbs, and protein is critical for hormonal health and balance.


Learn more about the Carnivore Diet and Fat Loss here

Learn other testosterone boosting methods here.


If you’re struggling to get rid of those pesky pounds, low testosterone may have something to do with it. The intimate relationship between testosterone and weight gain can create a vicious cycle that can be hard to break.

But if you boost your testosterone, you’ll increase muscle mass and strength, encourage weight loss, improve energy and stamina… and enrich your overall health and vitality!

I have the ultimate solution to breaking the cycle.

Because I’ve done it myself.

During a routine physical exam, I found out I was 25 pounds overweight. My cholesterol was 245. My doctor showed me my life expectancy chart based on my medical history and health… and it scared the crap out of me.

So I decided to make a change.

I decided to break the cycle.

And I’ve been helping men lose weight and boost testosterone ever since.

Now it’s your turn.

Ready to take the next steps?

Schedule a Call


In Male 2.0™, Dr. Tracy Gapin has turned everything we once thought we knew about men’s health and performance upside down. The old model of how to be “a man” is broken. A man who works himself to death.  Unfortunately, a man who tries to NOT get sick but isn’t really healthy either.  And a man who takes a pill for every ill but is never really cured. That was Male 1.0. Now, imagine being THE MAN ─ owning your performance in the bedroom, the weight room, and the boardroom. Living a fully optimized life. Becoming limitless. This is Male 2.0!

Tracy Gapin, MD, FACS  is a board-certified Urologist,  world renowned Men’s Health & Performance Expert, Author, and Professional Speaker. Using state-of-the-art biometric monitoring, nutrition and lifestyle intervention, Dr. Gapin coaches Fortune 500 executives and evolutionary leaders of business, sports medicine, and high performance. He specializes in cutting-edge precision medicine with an emphasis on epigenetics, providing men with a personalized path to optimizing health & performance. www.GapinInstitute.com

Want more tips to optimize your health?  Listen to the latest podcasts. Click HERE

Epigenetics Series – Is Cancer Related To Your DNA?

Are we predisposed to cancer, based on our DNA?

Or do our lifestyles and choices primarily determine our health?

For years, doctors debated this question in a “black or white” fashion: either disease is predetermined in DNA or disease is determined by lifestyle.

Recently, though, doctors determined that the answer falls somewhere in the gray area between both sides.

Our risk of disease, especially cancer, is defined by the expression of our genes.  And the expression of our genes is defined by our lifestyle and environment.

This is where epigenetics has stepped in to answer questions about disease and illness that have stumped scientists for decades.

There is an intimate link between disease, genetics, and lifestyle that can’t be ignored.

These epigenetics findings declare resoundingly: you are not a slave to your genes.

You can take control of your own health and wellness, which can enable you to fight off disease and cancer at its root.

Let’s explore how epigenetics plays a role in cancer—and what you can do about it.

What is epigenetics?

In order to understand how epigenetics impacts cancer, we need to first understand the basics of epigenetics.

Epigenetics is the expression of your genetic sequence. You’re born with a certain DNA sequence, and that’s the same DNA you’ll have for life. However, the expression of those genes can change throughout the course of your life. This expression depends on which of your genes are active or inactive.

There are two primary epigenetic factors that impact the expression of your DNA sequence: DNA methylation and histone modifications. (There’s also RNA-associated silencing, which we won’t get into today.)


DNA methylation occurs when a methyl group is added to DNA. Usually, it’s added to a specific part of the DNA sequence: on a cytosine nucleotide next to a guanine nucleotide linked to a phosphate.

This is called the CpG site. Keep this in mind, as we’ll be discussing the impact of methyl groups at the CpG site in our discussions of cancer and disease below.

Generally, methylation “turns off” or deactivates genes. More methylation equals greater silencing of the gene.

In some cases, this can be positive. For example, if you have a gene that puts you at high risk for disease, you would want it to be silenced with a methyl group.

However, you don’t want to silence genes that fight off disease or tumors. Silencing certain tumor-fighting genes is one of the key causes of cancer.

Histone modification

Histones are proteins that make up chromatin, which is the foundational component of DNA chromosomes. DNA wraps around histones, like thread around a spool. When these histones are modified, then the chromatin arrangement can be altered and misread.

There are two types of histone modification: acetylation and methylation.

When an acetyl is added to the histone (acetylation), it typically activates chromatin. Deacetylation, then, is associated with heterochromatin, which is a deactivated or suppressed expression of the gene.

Histone methylation also impacts the active and inactive regions of chromatin. For example, a methylation on lysine K9 with histone H3 is responsible for the inactivated X chromosome of females.

Any of these epigenetic factors, especially methylation, create abnormal activation or silencing of genes. This can put you at greater risk for cancer, disease, syndromes (especially chromosomal instabilities), and other serious illnesses.

So how do these epigenetic changes occur? What causes methylation or acetylation?

Environment and lifestyle dynamics have a direct impact on these epigenetic factors, which I’ll discuss further below.

How does epigenetics affect cancer?

One of the most forceful diseases of our time is cancer. While there’s still so much we don’t know about the growth and treatment of cancer, there is one thing we know for sure: genetics and epigenetics play a significant role in the development and progression of cancer.

In fact, study after study has proven that there are links between certain types of cancers and certain epigenetic modifications.

Epigenetic factors can suppress cancer-fighting genes.

All humans are programmed with certain genes. These genes are meant to keep us healthy and functioning.

For example, there’s a gene that helps fight off diseased cells (aka cancer cells). There’s another gene that suppresses tumor growth.

You want these healthy “fighter” genes to be active, so they can minimize your risk for cancer.

But if methylation or acetylation impacts these genes, then they can be deactivated. So if cancer strikes, your body is unable to fight off the diseased cells or spread of cancer. This then would leave you susceptible to cancer, which you may have otherwise been able to fight off had your healthy genes been activated.

Studies have even shown a proportional link between methylation levels and severity and prognosis of cancer.

For example, the GSTP1 gene is methylated in over 90% of prostate cancers.

An early study found that diseased tissue affected by colorectal cancer had less DNA methylation than normal tissue. This is because the methylated genes “turned off” or deactivated the tumor suppressor genes.

Methylation deactivates genes that are necessary to fight off cancer.

Methylation impacts cancer cell growth.

Moreover, methylation itself plays a role in how cancer develops. Methylation is involved in cell divisions, DNA repair, apoptosis (cell death), metastasis, cell detox, and more.

High levels of methylation (hypermethylation) indicate that diseased cells aren’t dying off and healthy cells aren’t generating fast enough. Thus, high methylation is a predictor—and potentially a cause—of cancer.

For example, hypermethylation in APC and RASSF1A genes are used as epigenetic markers for early detection of cancer, especially breast cancer.

Methylation causes microsatellite instability.

Microsatellite instability is linked to a number of cancers, including colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, and gastric cancers.

Microsatellites are repetitive DNA, they have certain strands of DNA  that are repeated within the genome. They’re common in normal individuals without disease.

Instability of microsatellites, though, is linked to chromosomal instability. This upsets the genetic function, creating a dangerous mutation.

Microsatellite instability is a direct cause of DNA methylation, especially methylation of the gene MLH1, which is the gene that repairs DNA. If the gene is methylated, then it is unable to properly repair your DNA when it becomes damaged by disease and cancer.

Researchers have seen microsatellite instability in a number of cancers, even occurring in 15% of colorectal cancers.

How can I prevent cancer with epigenetics? 

Genes are inherited. This means that your risk for cancer could come from your ancestors—just like your genes that suppress tumor growth and cell division come from your ancestors. 

But just because you inherit certain genes does not direct the course of your fate.

In fact, nearly half of all inherited genes related to cancer can be impacted by methylation.

And methylation is not inherited. Methylation and other epigenetic factors are proven responses to environmental stimuli including diet, toxins, pollutants, and other stressors.

This means you can take control of your risk for cancer by directing your epigenetic expression.

In fact, some doctors have even started building cancer-fighting programs—like my EDGE Blueprint Consultbased on epigenetics as potential chemopreventative measures.

You can change your health with certain lifestyle and diet choices, many of which I go through below.

  1. Get your folic acid.

Folate or folic acid is a B vitamin (B-9) that plays an important role in cell growth and function. It’s actually the foundation of a number of prenatal vitamins as a means of reducing the risk of birth defects.

Folate can play an important role in gene expression and DNA integrity and stability. Studies have shown that folate can help modulate DNA methylation. On the other hand, a folate deficiency may cause DNA methylation.

Learn more about folate’s role in epigenetics in section 3.1 here.

You can get folate through both diet and supplementation. You can find folate in:

  • Garbanzo beans (100% of the required daily dose)
  • Liver (55% DV)
  • Lentils (45% DV)
  • Pinto beans (37% DV)
  • Asparagus (33% DV)
  • Black-eyed peas (28% DV)
  • Beets (17% DV)
  • Avocado (15% DV)
  • Spinach (14% DV)
  • Broccoli (14% DV)

You’ll also receive folate in oranges, lemons, bananas, melons, and strawberries.

You can also take folic acid vitamins. The recommended daily amount of folate is 400 micrograms (mcg).

  1. Consume polyphenols.

Polyphenols are antioxidants, which help reduce the damage of cancer-causing free radicals. They help minimize cell damage and regulate methylation. There are four types of polyphenols: flavonoids, phenolic acids, benzoic acids, and stilbenes.

Green tea polyphenols have been shown to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and oesophageal cancer. It’s been shown to suppress methylation or demethylate TSG promoters, which helps protect against the spread of cancer.

Resveratrol has been shown to modify histone acetylation, as it works as a Silent Information Regulator 1 (SIRT1). It helps fight off cancer while maintaining the structural integrity of DNA. You can find resveratrol in blueberries, dark chocolate, red wine, peanuts, cranberries, and pistachios.


  1. Drink coffee. 

Caffeic acid is a type of polyphenol. It affects the bioavailability of SAM, which is a methyl donor (and required for methylation).

Some studies have shown that coffee consumption may be able to reduce the risk of cancer, especially progressive prostate cancer. In fact, one study found that coffee was a better regulator of methylation than even tea.

As with anything, though, you want to regulate your caffeine intake. A cup or two a day may help with methylation, but too much can have the opposite effect.

  1. Get sleep.

Sleep has a direct impact on epigenetic factors of methylation and histone acetylation. Learn more about the link between sleep and epigenetics here.

Sleep can literally help your body fight cancer. Tonight’s “all-nighter” could put you at risk for serious disease down the line. Get your Zs for optimal health.

  1. Cut the alcohol.

Alcohol consumption is directly linked to DNA methylation.

Over 20 studies have found that heavy alcohol consumption creates epigenetic modifications that can lead to disease and cancer.

One study, in particular, found that low folate intake and high alcohol intake had a significantly greater prevalence of hypermethylation, which was especially linked to colorectal cancer.

This doesn’t mean you need to cut out alcohol altogether necessarily. A glass of red wine can give you a boost of resveratrol and heart-healthy benefits. As with coffee, it’s the excess of alcohol that can cause genetic concerns. Stick to one glass daily at maximum.

  1. Eat a balanced diet.

Like sleep, nutrition has a direct impact on your genetics. What you put into your body can be the strongest predictor of future health—especially in regards to cancer.

Eating phytonutrients and vitamins is the only way to fight against inflammation, oxidative damage, imbalanced hormones, and more.

Learn about the importance of a rainbow diet for your epigenetic health.

  1. Minimize your stress.

Stress is a proven cause of DNA methylation. The more stress you have, the more it impacts your genetic expression.

In fact, stress has even been linked to cancer—but until recently, the cause of this link was always fuzzy. Epigenetics might be the “missing link” in the DNA.

Stress creates harmful free radicals while also causing methylation that suppresses cancer-fighting genes. This creates a double whammy that can cause progression of cancer.

Find out about the link between stress, epigenetics, and cancer here.

  1. Get more vitamin D.

Studies show that Vitamin D can reverse abnormal epigenetic modifications. Vitamin D has especially been linked to the development of breast cancer due to the role that vitamin D plays with estrogen.

Vitamin D is also linked to the development of prostate cancer.

  1. Workout.

Working out directly impacts your genes. Studies have shown that intense workouts can eliminate methyl groups in just one session. Daily exercise regulates ongoing methylation at a greater rate than even diet or sleep.

This means that you may be able to reduce your risk of cancer with intense, frequent exercises.

If you want to have improved overall health and optimal epigenetic expression, you need an exercise routine. 


Cancer is directly related to epigenetic expressions of your genes. But you can control this expression with lifestyle changes that minimize methylation and acetylation.

It’s time to sign up for our G1 Performance Health program to start experiencing the health and vitality you’ve always dreamed of.

Disease doesn’t wait—so why are you?

Sign up now to start living.

How to Treat Peyronie’s Disease

If you have a bent or curved penis, you may be dealing with Peyronie’s disease.

Between 1 and 23% of men over age 40 deal with Peyronie’s disease at some point. Although it’s a benign condition, it can be painful and make sexual intercourse unbearable.

And I’m a firm believer in the importance of sex for a happy and healthy life.

To ensure you are living to full sexual vitality, let’s take a look at the basics of Peyronie’s: what it is, what causes it, and how you can treat it to regain your sexual prowess.

What is Peyronie’s disease?

Peyronie’s is an inflammatory condition that causes the curvature or deforming of the penis. With the disease, the penis can be bent at an angle ranging from 10 to 90 degrees, and it can bend up, down, or to either side.

It’s normal for a man’s penis to curve slightly. If you have a bend in your penis, don’t panic, especially if you’ve had that bend your entire life. 

Peyronie’s is when the penis bends due to an accumulation of fibrous scar tissue. So, in most cases, this is a new or unexpected bend in the penis.

But Peyronie’s is more than just a cosmetic concern. It can impact sexual performance and cause debilitating pain. A lot of men with Peyronie’s have so much pain that they can’t have sex.

(But not always. You can have Peyronie’s and still have a satisfactory sex life.)

Peyronie’s disease may also lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. That makes sense. It’s easy to get stressed if you look down and see your penis is bent…

But don’t stress yet. Peyronie’s is treatable—and it may even go away on its own!

What are the symptoms of Peyronie’s disease?

Peyronie’s onset can be sudden or gradual. You might wake up one day (with a morning erection) and see a bent, painful penis. Or you might find that over the course of a few months, your penis slowly stops straightening or functioning like it used to.

The top symptoms of Peyronie’s include:

  • Bent or curved penis
  • Penis pain during erection and orgasm (sometimes when flaccid as well)
  • Lumps in the penis (cased by scar tissue)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of penis length (sometimes)

Peyronie’s can sometimes cause erectile dysfunction as well. The bend in the penis can be so painful that it can make getting or maintaining an erection nearly impossible. It can also create performance anxiety due to self-image concerns. Learn more about the causes of erectile dysfunction here.

What causes Peyronie’s disease?

Peyronie’s occurs from a formation of scar tissue in the penis. Scar tissue forms as a healing response to some sort of injury. Thus, in most cases, Peyronie’s is caused by some sort of injury or trauma to the penis.

This “injury” can be a sporting accident, car accident, or even a sex incident.

The injury causes damage to the capillaries (small blood vessels) in the penis. The penis has two sponge-like tubes on either side called the corpus cavernosum. These are filled with capillaries that engorge with blood in order to have an erection. If the vessels are damaged, blood can’t flow to the penis for an erection.

Some scar tissue may form in order to heal these capillaries. If this scar tissue sticks around, it could lead to Peyronie’s disease.

The penis is surrounded in a casing of skin that’s elastic and flexible. This skin stretches when the penis is erect. However, if there’s scar tissue in the penis, the casing can’t stretch as far.

When the penis becomes erect, the skin has to stretch out to accommodate the erection. But the scarred part can’t stretch. Thus, the scarred part pulls down that side of the penis to keep it bent.

Scarring on the top of the penis will bend it upwards, scarring below will bend it downwards, and scarring on the side will bend it in that direction.

You’ll sometimes see scar tissue referred to as “plaque.” This simply means there’s a buildup of gunk in the penis, which is what’s causing it to bend.

However, there can be other cases of men with Peyronie’s who did not suffer trauma to the penis.

Risk Factors

There are other risk factors for Peyronie’s as well. For example, men with Dupuytren’s contracture, which is a connective tissue disorder, may often have concerns with Peyronie’s.

Age may also play a role, as it becomes harder for our bodies to heal as we age. (Even though most men with Peyronie’s are over age 40, about 8-10% of men with the disease are under age 40.)

Another potential risk factor for Peyronie’s is the treatment for prostate cancer, like a radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy. This is likely because treatment can obstruct the penile blood vessels. These incite the body to go through the healing process, which can include scarring—and scarring can cause Peyronie’s.

How do I know if I have Peyronie’s?

If you have any of the above symptoms, like a bent penis or pain with erection, or you recently had a trauma to the penis, it might be time to visit your doctor.

He will do a physical exam to measure the curvature of the penis. He will be able to identify the location and amount of scar tissue with the examination as well.

In some cases, you may need an ultrasound or X-ray to pinpoint how much and where the scar tissue is exactly located. This is especially important if you’ve elected to have surgery (which I’ll discuss below).

If you’re diagnosed with Peyronie’s disease, you have several options for treatment. This can help reduce pain and make sex possible—and enjoyable—once again.

Keep in mind that the first six months of Peyronie’s symptoms are the most painful. Usually, though, the pain will start to go away without treatment. Because of this, a lot of doctors will wait for 6 to 12 months before attempting to treat Peyronie’s. It’s preferable to wait and see if your body will heal the plaque on its own.

If not, you’ll then have a discussion about treatment options.

How is Peyronie’s treated?

  1. Medication

Most medications for Peyronie’s are injected directly into the penis, not ingested.

There is only one FDA approved medication for Peyronies. Xiaflex, clostridium hystolyticum, is a series of penile injections that help breakdown the buildup of collagen. This can “loosen the gunk” in your penis to return it to its natural elasticity. It’s typically only recommended or prescribed for men with a curvature of more than 30 degrees.

Some doctors will prescribe interferon, which helps break down the fibrous tissue. It may also help reduce swelling and pain.

Verapamil is another possible option. This is a hypertension therapy medication that stimulates the activity of collagens, which plays a role in wound healing.

Keep in mind that these injection medications put a new incision in the penis. This perforation itself requires healing—which could further cause the growth of scar tissue. And scar tissue can lead to Peyronie’s.

  1. Anti-inflammatories

Anti-inflammatories are a type of medication usually taken orally. Some are prescription but many are over-the-counter. The goal of anti-inflammatory medication is to reduce pain and discomfort associated with Peyronie’s. These usually can’t reduce scarring or fix the curve, though.

If you have only a slight curve, your doctor might prescribe anti-inflammatories to temporarily relieve discomfort. When the pain goes away, you may not need treatment if the curve isn’t that severe.

  1. Shockwave therapy

Doctors have started to use shockwave therapy as a means of breaking up scar tissue. This hasn’t been proven as a continuous success, but it works for some patients.

How does shockwave therapy work? Imagine the Hulk just pounded his fist on the ground near a building. The building shakes a bit but stays intact. However, some of the coffee cups fell off the desks, some of the chairs fell over, and some of the ceiling tiles broke loose.

This is how shockwave therapy works (sort of). It uses waves to break up the scar tissue inside to help rid the body of backup and plaque.

  1. Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis uses a weak electrical current to deliver medication through the skin. This allows the medication to be delivered in a targeted area of the penis without an incision. This is only in the trial phases and hasn’t proven successful yet.

  1. Vacuum Devices

Some doctors will use a vacuum device to pull the penis outwards. This helps break up the tissue and straighten the penis. Vacuum devices are sometimes used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction as well.

However, it’s important to note that vacuum devices have a high rate of injury, meaning you could actually worsen your Peyronie’s if the vacuuming doesn’t go well.

  1. Penile therapy

You may need to put your penis through therapy to help rehabilitate it back to life. Therapy is especially recommended for patients taking medication like Xiaflex.

There are two penis exercises that can help get rid of pain and scarring.

When not erect, stretch the penis by gently pulling on it. Do this three times daily for thirty seconds each. This can help break up scar tissue in a temperate way.

You can also gently straighten your penis when experiencing a spontaneous erection. If your penis is curving to the left, pull it gently to the right during erection and vice versa. Do this for 30 seconds once daily.

  1. Nesbit procedure

The Nesbit procedure is the most recommended surgery for Peyronie’s. The doctor will remove or pinch the tissue where there’s scarring or plaque. This gets rid of the tissue, which frees the penis to bend and flex as it used to.

Although it’s the most successful reconstructive procedure, it also causes a shortening of the penis. Thus, it’s usually reserved for men who have adequate length, don’t suffer from erectile dysfunction, and don’t have any other nonsurgical options.

  1. Vein graft

Some doctors will do a plaque incision with a vein graft. This is especially common for shorter penises, those with a more severe curve, or those with an hourglass shape. This procedure puts an incision in the plaque and then grafts a vein in that area.

In this procedure, the surgeon may actually change the size of your penis. They might shorten the unaffected side, which pulls the penis back to be even on both sides. But this will shorten the length of the penis.

They may also lengthen the affected side where there’s scar tissue; they do this by creating cuts and grafts in the tissue. But this has a higher risk of impotence.

I don’t usually recommend these for my patients. There is a high risk for loss of sensation and erectile function, and it may cause an irreversible shortening of the penis. Plus, the body may again create more scar tissue around that incision, causing the Peyronie’s problem again.

  1. Prosthetic implant

You can put an implant in your penis, like those used for erectile dysfunction. This can help strengthen the curve of the penis while increasing the hardness of erections.

The implant is put in the spongy tissue that gets filled with blood during sexual arousal.

There are two types of implants. The permanent implant creates a semi-rigid penis; this can be cumbersome in daily life, but it’s enough for sexual intercourse. The inflatable implant is activated by a pump and creates a more natural erection, but you have to pump it in your penis right before having sex. This isn’t always the sexiest foreplay.

Nevertheless, implants can help improve rigidity and curvature without impacting the length of the penis or creating new incisions that require healing.

  1. Lifestyle changes

It’s also important to note that lifestyle changes have a positive impact on Peyronie’s disease. There is a link between lifestyle changes that are used to treat erectile dysfunction and treatment of Peyronie’s. For example, quitting smoking and exercising more frequently may be able to help the body better heal.

Learn more about treating your ED and Peyronie’s with lifestyle changes here.

Other treatments

Researchers are looking at other treatment methods as well, but these aren’t proven yet. For example, one study found that coenzyme Q10 can reduce penile curvature and another study found that acetyl-l-carnitine could help treat early Peyronie’s disease.

Vitamin E is another natural potential solution for Peyronie’s. It’s somewhat controversial, but I’ve seen success with a number of my patients using vitamin E as it helps to minimize pain and reduce plaque buildup. I will often recommend it to my patients because it’s cheap and easy–and it’s a necessary vitamin that everyone needs!

Is Peyronie’s curable?

Peyronie’s can be curable, but not always. Medication and surgery can show great results, but for some men, there is no permanent cure. Nevertheless, treatments can reduce pain and improve quality of life.

With certain treatments, you can have a more satisfying sexual performance and improved self-esteem, once again.

Bottom line

Peyronie’s disease is treatable. There are a number of options to help manage your pain and restore your sexual function.

You can and should have a healthy, happy sex life.

You deserve it.

If you want to restore your sex life to its youthful vigor, sign up for our G1 Performance Health program.

With an G1 Performance Health Consult, I’ll give you lifestyle changes that can help rejuvenate your sex life and health in weeks.

Don’t wait to have the healthy, sexy life you’ve dreamed of.

Epigenetics Series: How does stress affect your genes?

Could your genes and stress be related? Is stress passed down from generation to generation?

Recent research shows that stress may alter our genes in a way that’s linked to mental and physical illnesses. These stress-induced illnesses may even be hereditary, meaning the trauma of our ancestors impacts our contemporary genetic expression. 

How is stress related to your genes? Why is stress such a problem for health?

And what can you do about it to take control of your health?   

What is stress?

What’s the first thing you think of when you think of “stress?”

Maybe you instantly think of a project you’re working on at your job or a loan you’re trying to pay off. You may even think of public speaking or skydiving.

Interestingly, when we think of “stress,” we automatically think of situations. We think of instances where our bodies are stressed. These are uncomfortable or challenging situations that push our bodies and brains to new places.

These situations cause us “stress.”

In reality, though, stress itself is a response to these situations.

When these situations occur, our bodies release stress hormones called glucocorticoids. The principal glucocorticoid is cortisol, otherwise called “the stress hormone.”

There are two types of stress: acute and chronic.

Acute stress

Acute stress occurs in the short-term. This is when you’re met with a challenging situation that you have to respond to in some way. To overcome this stressor, your body releases a burst of glucocorticoids.

Glucocorticoids prepare your body to tackle the stressor. For example, your heart might start pumping blood faster to give your body more oxygen; your eyes might dilate to see more around you, and your hands and feet might tingle because they’re receiving more blood (in case you need to fight or flee).  

These stress responses are often dubbed as symptoms of “anxiety.” But in the short-term, these hormones can actually give us a biological advantage. For example, they would allow us to fight or flee a bear we come in contact with. In more practical terms today, this response could also make us more alert and energized to give a speech or take a test.

In short spurts, glucocorticoids are manageable and healthy. They can help you tackle a situation with confidence and determination.

It’s when glucocorticoids flood our bloodstream for an extended period of time that they become an issue.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress is long-term. This is caused generally by ongoing stressful situations, like a career you hate, a debt you can’t pay, or an ongoing divorce. Chronic stress can also be the result of PTSD. Even if you aren’t currently going through the stressor, memories of that trauma can continue releasing glucocorticoids for months or years.

Chronic stress causes high levels of stress hormones for an extended period of time. This damages the endocrine system by unbalancing hormones, tiring the body, and fatiguing organ function.

In fact, chronic stress can even negatively impact your genetic expression.

Moreover, this altered gene expression can be passed down from generation-to-generation.

Before we get into how chronic stress alters epigenetic expression, let’s first take a look at why stress is bad for us.

Why is stress harmful?

Stress kills. Stress has been linked to:

Chronic stress can literally burn out your body. Your adrenal glands, which produce cortisol, get fatigued and don’t function properly. The oxidative stress caused by these stressors creates harmful free radicals that severely damage your cells. This accelerates the aging process, damages the immune system, and impacts cognitive function.

Stress is linked to just about every disease—big or small. You’re even more likely to catch a common cold if you’re stressed.

Cortisol and testosterone

Stress also has a direct impact on your sexual health.

If you’re suffering from low libido and low testosterone, it may be because you’re stressed.

Numerous studies have shown that high levels of cortisol are directly linked to low levels of testosterone. There is especially a link between stress and severe trauma with PTSD. Higher cortisol in stressful situations drastically lowers testosterone.

When your cortisol goes up, your testosterone goes down.

Why does higher cortisol mean lower testosterone?

There are likely a number of hormonal pathways that create this hormonal relationship. To simplify it, we can look at the building blocks of cortisol and testosterone synthesis.

The body uses cholesterol to produce cortisol. Cholesterol is also a necessary part of testosterone synthesis. When stress levels increase, all of your body’s cholesterol goes to produce cortisol. This leaves no cholesterol left to produce testosterone.

Testosterone is a critical hormone in healthy adult males. Low testosterone is associated with decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depression, anxiety, weight gain, reduced muscle mass, cognitive impairment, arthritis, increased risk of heart disease, and more.

Low levels of testosterone kill your energy, productivity, enjoyment, and health. And low levels of T are a direct result of high cortisol and high stress.

Chronic stress not only impacts our hormones but also our genes. High levels of cortisol and low levels of testosterone can alter the way our DNA is expressed, putting us at risk for disease and illness.

How does stress alter your epigenetic expression?

Epigenetics involves two key genetic alterations: DNA methylation and histone acetylation. DNA methylation adds a methyl group to the end of a DNA structure, and histone acetylation adds an acetyl to the end of the histone binding. These additions can either activate or deactivate certain genes.

Research has shown that stress causes both methylation and acetylation on a variety of genes, especially neurological genes (those in the brain).  

DNA methylation and stress

One study found that certain psychological stressors can cause DNA methylation of certain genes. For example, war trauma and physical abuse caused DNA methylation to occur on genes that activate damaging psychiatric disorders.

A study of Cushing’s Syndrome, which is caused by excess cortisol production, found genome-wide changes with regards to DNA methylation. They discovered that individuals with high cortisol levels had less DNA methylation compared to healthy individuals.

DNA methylation suppresses the expression of genes. In this way, certain harmful genetic expressions need DNA methylation in order to be suppressed. For example, in the study, the gene for psychiatric issues remained active because stress kept those genes “turned on;” this caused a number of CS patients to suffer from mental illness at a higher rate.

Research at Johns Hopkins found that mice given corticosterone appeared more anxious during a maze test. When testing their gene methylation levels, they found altered expressions in three of the five HPA axis genes.

They especially found higher levels of Fkbp5, which is the molecular complex that interacts with the glucocorticoid receptor. Genetic variations in Fkbp5 have previously been associated with PTSD and mood disorders.


Overall stress and genes

Basically, stress boosts cortisol and other glucocorticoids. These hormones impact histone coding and DNA methylation, activating genes of illness while deactivating healthy-suppressive genes.

Stress also plays an important role in those genes that control memory and cognitive function. Too much cortisol and these genes “turn off,” causing serious psychological and behavioral concerns.

Glucocorticoids, like the stress hormone cortisol, alter the genetic expression in the brain. Thus, any cortisol-boosting situation—like anxiety, PTSD, depression, and stress—can impact epigenetic chemical tags.

Thus, prolonged stress causes significant epigenetic changes that can drastically impact mental and physical wellbeing.

Stress doesn’t just alter your own genes. These epigenetic expressions and psychological concerns can be passed on for generations as well…

How does stress impact your children’s genes?

That’s right. You can pass your stress on to your children.

Studies have shown that environmental conditions of previous generations impact the expression of our current genes as well.

For example, one study found that daughters of women who experienced the Dutch famine were twice as likely to develop schizophrenia. The daughters did not go through the famine themselves, but their mother’s trauma was genetically passed down, increasing the offspring’s risk of mental illness.

Other studies have shown that extreme stress during pregnancy, like living through the 9/11 attacks, can pass the experience on to the child. These children report depression, anxiety, and poor coping mechanisms at a much higher rate than parents who did not live through extreme stress.

This is true even when the children are well cared for. A study of rats found that parents who experienced epigenetic-altering stress passed this genetic structure on to their pups and grand pups—even if they’re pups were cared for and loved in early life.

Although these altered genetic expressions are hereditary, they’re not permanent.

In fact, you can reverse stress-related DNA changes with environmental and lifestyle factors.  

A study of identical twins looked at how environment and trauma impacted epigenetic flags. Although the siblings were genetically identical, their epigenetics changed over time. One twin had depression, anxiety, and obesity while the other did not. This is likely because the latter twin was able to change his epigenetics in a way that suppressed the genes for those diseases.

We have power over our epigenetics.

You can deactivate the stress-related genetic expression that you may have inherited from your family.

And you can prevent the activation of your own stress-induced DNA methylation.

How can you reverse stress-induced genetic risk factors?

  1. Meditate.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to combat high stress is through meditation. Relaxation practices have been shown to reduce cortisol and increase testosterone. In fact, even just four months of meditation practice can help reset hormone levels and improve stress response.

I recommend taking a yoga class and learning deep breathing exercises. You should also get outside to meditate and relax. Studies show that taking a walk in nature is linked to lower cortisol levels. Fresh air helps calm the mind and body—and gets you to exercise as well.  

  1. Workout.

Working out has a direct impact on mood and cortisol. Working out releases endorphins, which makes you happier and less stressed.

High-intensity interval training boosts testosterone and decreases cortisol. Learn more about using HIIT to lower cortisol and increase T here.

This decrease in cortisol has actually been shown to boost cognitive function and improve behavior and mood.  

However, if you have high levels of stress, an intense workout might worsen the problem by boosting cortisol in the short-term. This cortisol increase isn’t harmful to your genes, but it can increase levels of anxiety and tension in individuals already experiencing high levels of stress.

Plus, losing weight and fat can help reduce stress. Moreover, body fat increases estrogen, which decreases T levels. This causes lower testosterone, and low T, in turn, leads to increased body fat and reduced muscle mass—which further impacts stress. It becomes an unhealthy cycle of weight gain, low T, and stress!

  1. Eat more carbs.

People tend to shy away from carbs because they “make you gain weight.” However, a diet that’s too low in carbs can actually make you gain weight by increasing cortisol levels.

Carbohydrates actually help reduce cortisol levels, especially post-workout.

However, don’t go guzzling carbs when you’re stressed, as too many carbs will cause weight gain and this can further increase cortisol and lower testosterone.

It simply means you want to maintain a balance of macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbs. Studies have shown that higher protein diets lead to high cortisol levels, while a strong ratio of protein to carbs creates the most balanced hormones.

Click to learn more about the dangers of an all-protein diet—and why you need carbs.

  1. Get more vitamin C.

Vitamin C has been linked to reduced cortisol production, especially after an intense workout. Vitamin C is also a great testosterone booster.

One study found that vitamin C actually regenerated 58% of damaged testosterone molecules. It also helps with sperm quality, motility, and volume for improved sexual health. Boost your testosterone and you can help reduce your cortisol and stress.  

You can find vitamin C in a number of healthy foods, like citrus, guava, red peppers, strawberries, and papaya.

  1. Sleep more.

Sleep helps reset your hormone levels, reducing cortisol and increasing testosterone.

In fact, if you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise astronomically.

Cortisol levels naturally rise slightly in the morning to help us wake up and prepare for the day. In reverse, cortisol drops at night to help us sleep.

However, if your body doesn’t drop cortisol at night, you’ll deal with insomnia and late-night anxiety. You’ll also have increased levels of cortisol in the morning that can cause severe, chronic stress whenever you’re awake.  

Sleep is critical to balance hormones, reduce stress, and restore your body’s natural health.

Learn more about how sleep impacts your epigenetics here.

  1. Stand in power poses.

Studies have shown that you can increase testosterone by 20% and reduce cortisol by 25% simply by standing in a “power pose” for two minutes. The researchers concluded that you can change your brain and hormonal chemistry through body language and behavior.

Simply pretending to be powerful and stress-free will make you powerful and stress-free!  


Stress impacts our behavioral epigenetics. Traumatic experiences in our past—and in our ancestors’ past—can scar our DNA. Although we can inherit stress-induced genetic expressions, we can also reverse this process as well. With certain lifestyle and environmental changes, you can reduce your stress and reset your genetics for a healthier expression.

Are you ready to change your genes?

Work With Me

You’ll learn how to change your environment and lifestyle to reduce your risk of major diseases… and finally, have the energy and health you crave!

Upgrade to Male™ 2.0 – Schedule a Consult!

You’ll get access to a genetic-based report and analysis, along with a private consultation that will put you on track to your ultimate health.

With the Male 2.0 Method, I test your DNA, interpret the results, and create a customized strategy just for you. This plan is specific to YOUR individual genes and lifestyle.  It will improve every area of your life, from your health and professional productivity to your overall longevity and total wellbeing. Male 2.0 gives you the actionable tools you need right now.  It reveals what you need to customize and design your future limitless self.

Click here to learn more about the lifelong benefits of a personalized genetics consultation and epigenetic coaching program.

Want more tips to optimize your health?  Listen to the latest podcasts. Click HERE 

I look forward to working with you to take your health goals to the next level.


In Male 2.0, Dr. Tracy Gapin has turned everything we once thought we knew about men’s health and performance upside down. The old model of how to be “a man” is broken. A man who works himself to death. A man who tries to NOT get sick but isn’t really healthy either. A man who takes a pill for every ill but is never really cured. That was Male 1.0. Now, imagine being THE MAN ─ owning your performance in the bedroom, the weight room, and the boardroom. Living a fully optimized life. Becoming limitless. This is Male 2.0!

Tracy Gapin, MD, FACS  is a board-certified Urologist, Men’s Health Expert, Author, and Professional Speaker. Using state-of-the-art biometric monitoring, nutrition and lifestyle intervention, Dr. Gapin coaches Fortune 500 executives and evolutionary leaders of business, sports medicine, and high performance. He specializes in cutting-edge precision medicine with an emphasis on epigenetics, providing men with a personalized path to optimizing health & performance. www.SmartMensHealth.com 

Testosterone: 10 Crazy And Surprising Effects

Testosterone is a necessary hormone involved in health, reproduction, and behavior. Men and women both require testosterone (T) for sex drive, bone strength, muscle maintenance, and more. T levels drastically impact physical, emotional, and mental health.

So what are the effects of testosterone?

Below you’ll find the 10 ways the big T impacts your health, wellness, and even your psychology and behavior.

1. Testosterone increases sex drive

The most common effect of T is sex drive. Testosterone is the key hormone in controlling libido in both men and women. Men produce nearly ten times as much testosterone as women, which is why men generally have a stronger sex drive than women.

That’s also why low libido and low levels T often go hand-in-hand. If you aren’t interested in having sex like you used to, low testosterone levels could be to blame.

But having a strong sex drive and high T levels is actually a predictor of good health.

Our bodies are programmed to have sex. Our evolutionary biology tells us to have sex in order to procreate (to keep the human race alive). You’ve likely heard of the biological theory that men must “spread their seed.”

High levels of testosterone create that hormonal urge to “sow your wild seeds.”

So sex drive is an essential part of our biological processes.

But it’s not the most essential part. Your body first needs to survive in order for you to procreate. Thus, your body will take care of survival before focusing on sex.

Thus, if you don’t have a strong sex drive, it could be because your body is in a state of “survival mode.” Your body is focused on other, more essential processes before it can think about sex.

If you have a disease or illness, your body will shut down the baby-making process to first fend off the sickness. For example, think about the last time you had the flu. You likely had a lowered sex drive because your body was preoccupied with getting healthy.

So what does this all mean?

A low sex drive could be an indicator of low testosterone or another underlying health problem.

To raise your sex drive, you need to boost your testosterone. If you increase your T levels, you’ll feel more sexual and last longer in bed.

Keep in mind that “sex drive” is relative. Your low sex drive may be someone else’s high sex drive. If you feel you are less interested in sex than usual, you should get your levels checked.

2. Testosterone helps you attract women

Testosterone may actually make you more attractive to women (which can help quench that extensive sex drive).

This is partially because of the masculine-feminine dynamic. Estrogen gives women their feminine qualities, while testosterone causes more masculine qualities. An estrogenic woman is often attracted to a man with high T levels and vice versa. This makes for prime reproduction. In this case, opposites do attract.

However, the reason for this attraction actually goes beyond the masculine-feminine relationship. Researchers at Wayne State University studied two groups of men competing for the attention of an attractive woman. They found that men with higher levels of testosterone were more likely to “win the girl.” This was because men with higher T levels were more assertive, controlled the conversation, had more confidence and demonstrated a stronger self-image.

Basically, it can give you the confidence and suaveness you need to talk to a woman in a bar. Low T leads to low confidence and less luck with the ladies.

3. Testosterone makes you more competitive

Studies show that testosterone levels rise when partaking in any sort of competition. This isn’t just a slight rise in T levels. Competition causes such a spike in testosterone that it can actually result in aggressive and antisocial behaviors.

Have you ever met a guy who gets too intense about boys’ night poker? He may just have higher levels of competition-related testosterone!

Testosterone levels also increase after winning and decrease after losing. That may be an explanation for the gloating winner and a sore loser.

Interestingly, one study found that even watching competition impacts testosterone levels. Researchers compared men watching the Brazil-Italy World Cup match. After Brazil won, they found that Brazil fans’ testosterone levels increased and Italy fans’ levels fell.

4. Testosterone makes you more honest.

A 2012 study looked at how T impacts competition and honesty. They found something surprising—testosterone actually makes you more honest, even when in a competitive atmosphere.

They gave 46 men a testosterone gel and 45 a placebo. All participants rolled a dice in private and reported their numbers. They were told they would receive money based on their roll, with a higher roll paying out more cash.

The researchers found that men who received a testosterone gel actually self-reported the numbers more honestly.

They attributed this honesty to self-image. Testosterone increases one’s personal sense of pride. Cheating or lying could damage that self-image. Participants with higher testosterone were less willing to risk damaging their pride or to appear as a liar or cheat.

5. Testosterone makes you less fiscally responsible

In the previous study, men were more likely to value their pride over money. But the two may be linked.

Testosterone also makes men more interested in financial gain. It’s possible that testosterone makes men more interested in money because money contributes to a greater sense of pride.

In fact, this financial desire actually makes those with high testosterone levels more willing to take financial risks. One study found that men with higher levels had a greater willingness to invest more money and make riskier investment decisions. This might be a source of jealousy for those who have never quite managed to pluck up the courage to make their investment dreams come true, but there are plenty of resources available to help you trust in your own judgement, such as this Facebook page for Perpetual Assets which offers advice to those who lack confidence in investment.

6. Testosterone can make you more money

The reverse is true as well. Financial gain can actually increase your T levels.

One study looked at stock traders’ testosterone levels. Researchers found that the traders’ T levels increased on days where they made an above-average profit on their trades.

This implies that financial gain raises T levels. This may have something to do with a financial gain equating to a competitive win and a boost in self-image, as discussed above.

Interestingly, though, the reverse may be true as well. Higher testosterone may also make you more money.

The study also found that men with higher T levels in the morning had above average profits in the afternoon. They were more likely to make more money on days they had higher testosterone levels.

The reason for this isn’t completely clear. It’s likely because testosterone makes you more competitive and willing to take risks, both of which are important traits for stock traders.

Nevertheless, this can be risky business. After making a good trade, testosterone levels rise. But this testosterone can cause men to make riskier financial decisions. These hormones create a “gambling feedback”: a good trade occurs, testosterone rises, and testosterone creates poorer decision-making skills.

Basically, testosterone is more likely to make you willing to “risk it all”—which can make you lose it all or win it all.

7. Testosterone makes you think you’re right

“No honey, I’m right because I have more testosterone than you.”

That’s not necessarily the best way to win an argument—but it’s how testosterone affects the brain. A study of 243 men found that higher levels lead to greater confidence in answers—even when incorrect.

The men were either given a testosterone gel or placebo and then they were instructed to do a cognitive reflection test. Researchers found that those men given testosterone answered 20% fewer questions correctly—but were more likely to be convinced they were right. These men also gave their incorrect answers quicker and their correct answers slower than the placebo group.

This implies that T has two effects. It slows down cognitive processing and increases confidence levels.

If you have high testosterone, you’re more likely to think you’re right. If you have low T, you may have greater uncertainty and anxiety with decision-making skills.

8. Testosterone makes you less emotional

Women are generally more emotional and empathetic than men—and that may be because of their high levels of estrogen. Testosterone, on the other hand, may reduce emotional behaviors and processing.

Research at Utrecht University looked at how testosterone impacted the brain. They showed female participants a series of photographs of eyes, and they were asked to identify the emotion. Researchers found that women given testosterone took longer to identify emotions and made more mistakes than those not given the hormone.

In fact, they found that even just one dose of the hormone was enough to alter the connections between the “emotion processing” parts of the brain.

Elevated levels minimized the ability of the brain to process and relate to emotional cues.

9. Testosterone makes you immortal

No, it doesn’t actually make you immortal. But it may help you live longer. Strong T levels improve health to help avoid serious health concerns and early death. For example, testosterone can help you lose weight, which minimizes obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Low testosterone, on the other hand, is linked to weight gain, loss of muscle mass, loss of bone density, heart disease, and even early death.

Testosterone is especially necessary to regulate insulin and glucose. Low T levels create an imbalance in glucose and insulin, which can lead to the accumulation of fat tissue. This fat increases estrogen and decreases testosterone, creating a negative cycle of low T and weight gain. Testosterone also plays an important role in combating metabolic syndrome.

Low T is also linked to chronic inflammation. This body-wide inflammation weakens the immune system and may be linked to asthma, allergies, diabetes, respiratory disease, Parkinson’s, ADD, Lupus, MS, migraines, and more. Raising testosterone can help minimize harmful inflammation.

Healthy levels of testosterone may:

Plus, testosterone boosts libido and sexual function. And more sex is linked to a longer lifespan! (This is likely because sex is a great form of physical exercise while helping to minimize stress and cortisol levels.)

10. Testosterone isn’t just a male hormone

Men have ten times more testosterone than women, but it’s an important hormone for females as well. Testosterone has the same health benefits for women as it does for men, like weight loss, improved bone density, and greater sex life.

In fact, women with higher T levels have more positive sexual experiences and are more likely to achieve orgasm. Too much testosterone, though, can become a health concern for women. It can lead to “manly” features like deeper voice, hair growth on body and face, and hair loss from the head.

Did you know that kissing actually transfers small amounts of T from the man to the woman? This helps excite the woman in preparation for sex. So, yes, kissing is an important part of foreplay, helping to increase your partner’s sex drive!

Bottom Line

Testosterone plays an important role in overall health and wellness—both inside and outside the bedroom. It’s linked to libido, muscle mass, mental clarity, cognitive ability, energy levels, and more.

Do you want to boost your testosterone andimprove your health? Check out our Male 90X program.

Click below to get started on boosting your T levels for ULTIMATE health and MAXIMUM potential!

Epigenetics Series: What Should You Eat For Your Body Type?

Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  In other words, eat for your body type.

Do you have trouble losing weight?

Are your blood tests consistently coming back with high cholesterol, adrenal concerns, low testosterone, and other risk factors?

Do you have an increased risk of disease?

Are you currently suffering from an illness?

All of these concerns may be a result of an incorrect or poor diet or failing to eat for your body type.  

What you eat has a direct impact on your genetic expression, which proportionally influences your health and wellness.

This intimate relationship between nutrition and epigenetics has a direct result on your body’s health, energy, and immunity.

Healthy, nutrient-rich foods strengthen your DNA expression to minimize illness, pains, and risk of disease. In reverse, the wrong foods can activate DNA markers that make you susceptible to obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other ailments.

Food is so much more than calories and energy. The vitamins and nutrients you put in your body have a direct impact on your health at a molecular and genetic level.

Let’s take a quick look at what epigenetics is and how it’s related to your diet. Then I’ll give you a list of the best foods you should eat for your body type to activate strong genes and deactivate harmful ones.

What is epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the means of “controlling” your genes. Your DNA pattern will always remain the same. The DNA you were born with will be the DNA structure you die with.

Though your genes don’t change, the expression of those genes can alter over time. For example, you could have blonde hair as a child and now you naturally have brown hair. Your gene didn’t change, but the expression of that hair color gene changed.

This change in genetic expression occurs through activation or deactivation of epigenetic factors. “Epigenetics” looks at those processes that “turn off” or “turn on” certain genes.

Read: What Is Epigenetics & Why Do You Care?

The two most common types of activators are DNA methylation and histone acetylation.

DNA methylation occurs when methyl molecules attach to the end of genetic sequences to tighten or loosen the DNA’s double helix. This process plays a significant role in aging, cancer, and other inflammatory diseases. Methylation has been especially linked to cancer production by silencing those genes that repair cells and fight against tumors.

Histone acetylation occurs when acetyl enzymes alter the body’s histone proteins. This has been shown to control the repression of certain chromatin domains in the DNA process.

Both DNA methylation and histone acetylation impact the way your genes are expressed. If an environmental or lifestyle trigger causes either process, your genes can be silenced or activated.

Just as easily as high-risk genes can be flipped “on,” they can be reversed into the “off” position as well.

The easiest way to reverse or prevent the process of negative genetic expression is with healthy lifestyle influencers—like nutrition and diet.

How are epigenetics and diet linked?

DNA methylation and histone acetylation occur as a result of certain lifestyle and environmental triggers. These triggers can include physical exercise, stress, sleep, addiction, pollution, and diet.

Every day, our body handles oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs naturally whenever we metabolize oxygen in our bodies. When we exercise, move, or even breathe, we metabolize oxygen to create more energy. This is a natural, low-impact oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress also occurs from our environment, like pollution, radiation, pesticides, and chemicals. It can also be a result of high stress or lack of sleep.

Although we deal with oxidative stress daily, high stress can create a serious health problem. This stress, also called “uncontrolled free-radical production,” alters your genetic expression. It minimizes the body’s immunity and damages your body’s natural self-healing properties.

This leads to disease and cancer because the body doesn’t have the immune strength to prevent or fight against illness. Oxidative stress also promotes inflammation, which progresses conditions like cancer, premature aging, and heart disease.

We can’t prevent our bodies from dealing with oxidative stress. However, we can minimize the impact of oxidative stress on our genes and health—through a healthy diet and by ensuring you eat for your body type.

Eating certain vitamins and nutrients actually helps defend against oxidative stress in the body. In fact, diet is the number one way to fight against cancer and disease caused by oxidative stress.

What are phytonutrients?

Certain nutrients and compounds, like phytonutrients, are proven defense mechanisms against free radicals. These nutrients promote the gene expression of protective immunity genes while silencing those genes that initiate high-risk disease.

Phytonutrients are plant-based compounds that impact our bodies at the genetic level. They’re antioxidants, meaning that they fight against (“anti”) oxidative stress (“oxidants”). They’re also anti-inflammatory, meaning they defend against inflammatory triggers. These phytonutrients have healing qualities that are proven to activate healthy genes while silencing adverse ones.

There are nearly 25,000 known phytonutrients. Each plant has its own makeup of phytonutrients, which are usually found in the pigment of the plant. For example, red plants like tomatoes and watermelon contain lycopene, while yellow plants like pineapple and lemon contain flavonoids. Both lycopene and flavonoids are phytonutrients, but they impact genetic expression in unique ways.

Thus, you want to have a “rainbow diet.” A variety of plant colors helps ensure you get an array of phytonutrients in your system. For optimal body function, you need a diversity of nutrients and vitamins.

What should I eat for healthy genes?

You want to incorporate more phytonutrients into your diet in order to eat for your body type and activate immune-boosting genes and deactivate disease-risk ones. This is a process that everyone should add to eat right for his/her body type.

But what specific phytonutrients should you eat for ultimate gene health?

Below I’ll go through some of the most impactful phytonutrients that will boost your overall health—and your sexual health.

Ultimately, though, you want to focus on choosing healthy, whole foods that come in a variety of colors. Whether on this list or not, most fruits and veggies contain nutrients that can assist your body’s healthy genetic expression.

  1. Lycopene

Phytonutrient: lycopene

Foods: tomatoes, watermelon, red cabbage, grapefruit, papaya

Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that gives a reddish color to fruit. It’s a powerful antioxidant that may help decrease the risk of chronic diseases and cancers.

Some researchers have looked at a link between lycopene and prostate cancer prevention and treatment. The general consensus is that lycopene may have an impact on prostate cancer due to its strong antioxidant effect. Lycopene is found in high concentrations in prostate cells, so it may be the fastest acting antioxidant due to proximity. Lycopene has also been linked to slower tumor growth and reduced levels of an insulin growth factor.

The lycopene antioxidant is especially related to the deactivation of “aging” genes. Basically, lycopene may help minimize the natural effects of aging!

  1. Beta-carotene

Phytonutrient: beta-carotene

Foods: carrots, mangos, oranges, sweet potato, winter squash, cantaloupe, spinach, lettuce

Beta-carotene (BC) is most often found in orange fruits and vegetables. It may be proangiogenic, meaning it promotes angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the creation of new blood vessels from pre-existing blood vessels. One study found that BC decreased DNA methylation and promoted vascular endothelial growth.

Strong blood vessels are critical to a healthy body. Your blood vessels transport oxygen throughout your body, delivering energy to your muscles and organs. Without a strong process of angiogenesis, you’re at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. This vascular process also plays an important role in erectile dysfunction, which is often the result of weak blood vessels or other vascular disorders.

  1. Flavonoids

Phytonutrient: flavonoids

Foods: lemons, citrus, pineapple, berries, apples, legumes, red wine

Flavonoids are linked to anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and anti-thrombogenic mechanisms. They seem to be able to module cell-signaling cascades.

Flavonoids are associated with a significantly reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular events. This is likely because of their anti-inflammatory effects on markers of oxidative stress.

Learn more about flavonoids here.

  1. Glucosinolate  

Phytonutrient: glucosinolate

Foods: kale, arugula, watercress

Glucosinolate is a phytonutrient that suppresses cancer cell growth. These cruciferous vegetables tend to be bitter due to the high levels of glucosinolate. For years, this bitter taste was associated with plant “toxins.” In fact, the reverse has been proven true. That bitterness actually plays an important role in genetic biosynthetic pathways.

Cruciferous vegetables also contain isothiocyanates, which increase histone acetylation and activate immune-boosting genes.

Want to get the most out of your vegetables? Cut your cruciferous veggies and let them sit for five to ten minutes before cooking. This helps activate the glucosinolate enzyme to release the nutrients for digestion and absorption.

  1. Anthocyanins

Phytonutrient: anthocyanins

Foods: pomegranates, blueberries, plums, raspberry, black rice, corn

Anthocyanins are one of the greatest phytonutrient powerhouses. In fact, the flavonoid anthocyanin plays a significant role in minimizing free radicals, decreasing inflammation, minimizing blood sugar concentrations, and preventing age-related neural declines. There are endless proven benefits of anthocyanins that your DNA expression loves.  

This compound gives foods a reddish-purple pigment, so be on the lookout for dark-colored fruits like pomegranates and blueberries.

In fact, pomegranates are proven to be one of the best foods for your sexual and overall health!

  1. Quercetin

Phytonutrient: quercetin

Foods: apples, peppers, blueberries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, cocoa, red onion, black and green tea

Quercetin is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. It’s a type of polyphenolic antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress and free-radical genetic changes. Quercetin has been shown to fight inflammatory conditions like high cholesterol, heart disease, ulcers, diabetes, allergies, cognitive impairment, prostate inflammation (BPH), cancer, and skin disorders.

This anti-inflammatory effect helps activate a strong expression of your immune genes.

Apples are especially chock full of quercetin and other necessary phytonutrients. If you learn only one thing from this article, let it be this: An apple a day keeps the healthy genes at play!  

  1. Butyrate

Phytonutrient: butyrate

Foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, pickled beets

Butyrate blocks inflammation in the body, especially in the digestive system. It plays an important role in the fermentation of dietary fibers in the gut. This gut-brain link is critical to overall health—as well as genetic health. If you have a strong gut, you are less likely to be susceptible to adverse DNA methylation.

Learn more about butyrate and probiotic microbiome health here.

Have you noticed that some of the strongest phytonutrients reduce both oxidative stress and inflammation?

Find out more about the concerns of chronic inflammation and its impact on genetic expression.

What should you avoid?

All of the above phytonutrients come from fruits and vegetables.

But does this mean to eat for your body type, you have to avoid all non-plant products?

Not necessarily. You can still eat animal products in moderation. Animal products themselves have not yet been linked to epigenetic methylation concerns. However, animal products and packaged, processed foods do have higher levels of chemicals and additives. These antibiotics and preservatives are proven environmental triggers for epigenetic changes.

Moreover, certain foods drastically impact your health at a genetic and cellular level. Take a look at our list of 7 foods that cause erectile dysfunction as an example.

You don’t need to drastically change your diet and lifestyle in order to be healthy.

But you need a diverse diet to maintain genetic health. Eating the same foods day after day make it challenging for your genes to function properly. You need a variety of nutrients and vitamins to maintain all processes in the body, including those that regulate gene expression.

Remember: when you eat for your body type by eating a salad, you won’t instantly change your genes. But healthy, strong choices on a consistent basis can impact your weight, energy, and genetic expression. With the right vitamins, you can reduce your risk of disease—while having the most energy you’ve ever had in your life!  

Bottom Line

Your health is in your hands—and on your plate! It’s imperative for your wellness to eat for your body type. The food you eat has a direct impact on your genetic expression and risk for disease.

Do you know how to incorporate a variety of phytonutrients into your diet?

Do you know how to minimize oxidative stress and control your genetic expression?

No? Then you need an easy, step-by-step plan to get you on the path to ULTIMATE health.

Schedule a consultation to learn how to personalized health advice so you can live your life to the fullest.

Ready to take the next steps?

Schedule a Call


In Male 2.0™, Dr. Tracy Gapin has turned everything we once thought we knew about men’s health and performance upside down. The old model of how to be “a man” is broken. A man who works himself to death.  Unfortunately, a man who tries to NOT get sick but isn’t really healthy either.  And a man who takes a pill for every ill but is never really cured. That was Male 1.0. Now, imagine being THE MAN ─ owning your performance in the bedroom, the weight room, and the boardroom. Living a fully optimized life. Becoming limitless. This is Male 2.0!

Tracy Gapin, MD, FACS  is a board-certified Urologist,  world renowned Men’s Health & Performance Expert, Author, and Professional Speaker. Using state-of-the-art biometric monitoring, nutrition and lifestyle intervention, Dr. Gapin coaches Fortune 500 executives and evolutionary leaders of business, sports medicine, and high performance. He specializes in cutting-edge precision medicine with an emphasis on epigenetics, providing men with a personalized path to optimizing health & performance. www.GapinInstitute.com

Want more tips to optimize your health?  Listen to the latest podcasts. Click HERE


Epigenetics Series: Is Porn Addiction Genetic?

Nearly 23 million Americans suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction. It is estimated that between 7.4 and 14.7 million American adults are addicted to porn or sex. Porn addiction is a serious epidemic. 

“Addiction” is a broad term with an even broader population. Despite the prevalence, understanding, and treatment of addiction, it remains far behind where it should be, with only 1 in 10 individuals getting appropriate and lasting treatment.

Now, research in epigenetics is stepping in to help treat addiction on a deeper and broader scale.

Why are only some people addicted to activities, behaviors, and substances while others are not?

The answer may lie in the expression of your genes.

Recent studies show that epigenetic mechanisms could play a significant role in addiction. In fact, the risk of addiction may not necessarily come from an inherited genetic sequence but from how those genes are expressed.

Understanding the link between addiction and genetics may help create new advances in prevention and rehabilitation moving forward.

So what is the addiction? What is its link to epigenetics? And how can you alter your genes for a healthier life?

What is addiction?

“Addiction” is a psychiatric disorder where a person compulsively engages in or with some stimuli, like drugs, alcohol, or sex.

A person becomes addicted to the “feel good” aspects of this stimulus. This stems from the excitement of the brain’s reward regions. These “reward” regions include the nucleus accumbens (NAc), prefrontal cortex (PFC), and ventral tegmental area (VTA).

Drugs and alcohol are the most common associations of addiction. However, people can become addicted to nearly anything that ignites the reward centers of the brain. For example, other addictions can include gambling, shopping, sex, video games, television, overeating, exercise, and more.

Sex addiction is an especially prevalent concern in America, with the open accessibility of porn. In fact, an estimated 3-8% of U.S. adults suffer from a sex addiction that causes significant distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, or occupational areas of functioning.

We know that addiction creates changes in the brain. An ongoing surge of dopamine actually alters the prefrontal regions of the brain. In fact, this dopamine “high” starts to decrease sensitivity. The more you activate this part of your brain, the less it works. This impacts reward, motivation, memory, and cognitive control.

Thus, a progressive “high” can actually make it harder to feel that same sort of pleasure over time. This is why addicts tend to progress deeper into their addiction; addicted individuals seek that same pleasure but their brains become desensitized to it.

Science has proven that this dopamine desensitization alters the structure of the brain. Does that mean addiction could alter DNA and genetic structure as well?

Is porn addiction or any addiction linked to epigenetics?

Addiction is a disease just like any other, like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Epigenetics impacts these types of diseases.

So does addiction.

A number of studies have looked at the relationship between genes and addiction.

It’s widely accepted that addiction is a “hereditary” disease. Recent studies have found a panel of 11 genes linked to a genetic predisposition for addiction, especially alcoholism. Of these, there are 66 associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP variations) that are correlated with addiction.

Studies have shown that a child has an 8x greater risk of developing an addiction if one parent has a drug or alcohol addiction. This insinuates that there is some sort of genetic predisposition to addiction and can also play a role in porn addiction, and this doesn’t mean one type of porn, this can range to every sexual aspect from real taboo kinks, to simply viewing sites.

In fact, studies show that 50-60% of addiction can be contributed to genetics. (The other half comes from poor coping skills when dealing with stress or emotions.)

So, for decades, children of addicts have been taught to avoid drugs and alcohol completely to prevent the development of their own addiction.

Genes themselves are irreversible. The genes you’re given are the genes you keep for life.

But what if there was a way to “deactivate” or turn off those inherited genes of addiction?

Can we treat addiction with epigenetics?

Epigenetics looks at the expression of genes as opposed to the genetic sequence itself. We can’t change our DNA sequence. But we can change which of our genes are expressed and activated—even those genes of addiction.

Research has found that certain factors can alter this genetic expression of addiction. There are a number of ways addiction can change your epigenetics, but the two most prevalent are DNA methylation and dopamine reception.

DNA methylation

Just like with other epigenetic marks, DNA methylation can activate or deactivate the genes that carry addiction-related risks.

A study at McGill University and Bar Ilan University found that the genes in the brain—especially those in the NAc reward center—can be reprogrammed during drug withdrawal.

They found that you may be able to prevent a relapse of cocaine use by adjusting epigenetic marks during the withdrawal period. This means that an individual going through rehabilitation would be less likely to return to drugs with an epigenetic treatment.

They especially looked at RG108 as a potential rehabilitative treatment. RG108 is a DNA methylation inhibitor. This means it stops the genetic switch that turns a gene on or off. In the study, researchers found that cocaine-addicted rats stopped seeking out the drug once they were injected with the RG108.

This, in essence, could turn off the genes of addiction to stop an individual from experiencing the need or desire to return to the use of the drug or activity.

Researchers also found that this RG108 inhibition was most successful during withdrawal as opposed to while still exposed to the drug. During withdrawal, the genes are already undergoing changes because they don’t have access to the chemicals in the drug. Inhibiting DNA methylation in the brain during a period of withdrawal enhances this change to avoid addiction relapse.

Dopamine receptors

Other research has found a link between dopamine release and genetic changes. A study at Columbia University Medical Center discovered that individuals with greater dopamine release and higher concentrations of D2 (dopamine receptor) were less likely to relapse into addiction.

They found that the brain regions that handle self-control are linked to the genetics of addiction.

This tells us that even self-control is genetic—and it can be altered appropriately.

The scientists found that targeted therapy could increase the odds of extinguishing addiction. These therapies focus on changing certain behaviors to improve the activity in the prefrontal cortex and dopamine receptors.

Another study found a similar finding with sex specifically. The gene, which is also linked to dopamine, influences sexual drive and arousal. Researchers found that individuals with a particular variation of this D4 gene were more likely to develop sexual addiction than those with a typical D4. This proves that sexual activity, including porn addiction, could be a treatable disease based on genetic makeup.

Can knowing your genes prevent porn addiction?

The above examples both look at preventing a relapse of addiction by deactivating certain epigenetic markers. But can you prevent addiction even before it happens?

One group of researchers has been providing a number of studies about epigenetics and addiction. One of their greatest findings was the potential of early-onset prevention of addiction through epigenetics. Meaning if you are genetically predisposed to porn addiction, there may be a way of preventing it from ever taking hold.

They first researched HDAC5 as the suppressor of addiction-risk genes. They found that this inhibitor didn’t prevent addiction-like behaviors from forming, but it did prevent relapse. However, they then looked at all of the genes that HDAC5 inhibits.

They found that HDAC5 also suppresses the gene NPAS4. This gene is the early-onset gene of addiction. Rodents with less NPAS4 still developed addiction behaviors—but it took them a lot longer than their counterparts that had more NPAS4. Researchers found that HDAC5 lessened the effect of NPAS4, which lengthened the onset time of addiction.

Basically, HDAC5 may be able to both prevent relapse and help prevent initiation of addiction behaviors altogether.

Further research still required in order to learn how to prevent addiction… but many researchers think that deactivating certain genes is possible.

What does this mean for YOU?

If you have an increased risk of addiction due to a parent, you don’t have to be scared of your genes. If you’re suffering from addiction now, you can get help and prevent it from coming back.

Epigenetics tells us that there are ways to deactivate the genes of addiction so you can live your life without worry, and potentially be free of your porn addiction.

So how do you “turn off” these genes?

The solution isn’t necessarily to avoid complete avoid porn, sex, drugs, and rock and roll at all costs. (I do not advise taking part in any sort of abuse.)

Nevertheless, avoiding porn doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cured of your porn addiction. It just means you’re abstaining as best you can. If you stop abstaining at some point, though, you could still be at risk for serious addiction.

But you can control your genes and change the way addiction genes are expressed to evade porn addiction altogether.


Lifestyle changes.

Studies have suggested that environmental factors drastically impact the activation or deactivation of the addiction genes.

One study found that addiction was highly related to social environment. Interestingly, some research has shown that genes play a role in how an individual responds to the environment around them.

This means that two individuals in the same cultural environment with the same gene for addiction could have different experiences. If one has an activated gene and another has a deactivated one, the first could have addiction problems while the other doesn’t.

This means you need to surround yourself with healthy habits and healthy people. But this isn’t always easy, especially when stress and other emotional stimuli step in.

Stress can actually activate the addiction gene. One study found repressive histone methylation with repeated stress. Basically, stress caused methylation, which caused the “addiction” genes to turn on.

Stress can activate some of the unhealthiest genes in your body, including the gene for addiction. If you want to reduce your risk and intensity of addiction, you need to first and foremost reduce your acute and chronic stressors.
The doctor’s orders:

  • This week, keep a stress journal with you. Every moment you feel slightly stressed or anxious, write down the time, place, and trigger that caused that feeling. Write down the exact emotions and tenseness you feel.
  • At the end of the week, review your journal for patterns of stressful behaviors. Is there a certain activity or time of day that creates your stress?
  • Find ways to remove these stressors from your life.
  • Next week, do one activity that de-stresses you daily.
  • Do a different activity each day. Switch between meditation, yoga, physical exercise, hobbies, family time, deep breathing, and sex (yes, sex!). Try a variety of activities to see which best relieve your stress.

Create an ongoing stress journal that records when you feel most stressed and relaxed. This will help you find a calming balance to reduce the daily and ongoing stresses in your life. If you have a serious, long-term stressor, talk to a professional for strong coping methods.

Read 5 Healthy, Productive Habits You Can Start This Week

Bottom line

Epigenetics influences a variety of diseases, disorders, and addictions, including porn addiction. Environmental and lifestyle factors like sex abuse can alter brain genes to create serious and long-lasting concerns.

But epigenetics adds something new to our understanding of addiction: we can deactivate the risk of addiction inherited by our parents. We can even activate those genes that handle self-control and reward response. Effectively relieving addictions of all kinds, including porn addictions.

This is promising for the future treatment of addiction and rehabilitation. This is especially useful for the understanding and treatment of sexual and porn addiction.

Although there are some current limitations, epigenetics will play a much larger role in recovery and relapse-prevention moving forward.

You don’t need to fear your genes.

You need to control them—before they control you!

If you’re ready to take control of your health and wellness, there’s no better time than right now.

Sign up for the G1 Performance Health Consult to own your genes, your vigor, and your life!