Article by Alicia Doyle as published in Conejo Valley Lifestyle Magazine June 2019
Time to Man Up: Own Your Health
If you are burdened with complicated health problems, you have probably been referred to Dr. G. In practice for over 30 years, Dr. Miguel Gonzalez is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Diseases. For many years, he was busy managing hospital patients in the Los Robles Hospital ICU/CCU as well as a thriving primary and pulmonary care practice. In the early 2000s, Dr. Gonzalez transitioned from a heavy hospital presence to focus on treating the patient from a functional and integrative perspective. During this time, he became known for treating the sickest of the sick, including Lyme and mold toxic patients. Over the years, he has evolved his practice into providing longevity medicine, which seeks to help patients live a life of vitality and wellness as opposed to an inevitable life of degeneration and disease.
At his practice in Thousand Oaks, Dr. Gonzalez specializes in integrative and functional medicine, which seeks to get to the root cause of the problem by looking at the entirety of the patient’s mind, body and spirit. This includes a deep examination of their genetics, environment, diet, lifestyle, stressors, family and medical history. He crafts a multi-pronged approach to heal or treat the underlying issues as opposed to simply managing symptoms.
With June designated as National Men’s Health Month, we asked Dr. Gonzalez for his insight into the predominate issues surrounding men’s health today.
What are the major health concerns for men over 50?
The Big 3 issues for men are cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer, with prostate cancer being a particular concern. The good news is that all of that is primarily due to lifestyle imbalances, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, etc., which means it is primarily in your control. Even if you have the genetic predisposition to disease, your choices in life have the ability to turn off that gene expression, thereby avoiding the disease. Unfortunately, many lifestyle choices men make lead to significantly diminished natural testosterone production. Having low testosterone impacts men in several immediate ways, such as erectile and sexual dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, hair loss, etc. The bigger issue around low testosterone is that it is associated with increased risk of the Big 3. We have, what I consider, an epidemic of low testosterone. It is critical that men get their testosterone levels checked regularly starting in their 20s. Know your genetics and make lifestyle choices that minimize your risk of the Big 3.
Why is there such an epidemic of low testosterone?
There are many factors but primarily it’s our over-processed, contaminated GMO-laden diets, poor lifestyle and environmental toxins that are the most prevalent. Additionally, many men are also exposed to worksite solvents and chemicals which add to their toxic body burden. A big contributor to low testosterone is hormones in our food. Meat and chicken, for example, is infused with hormones to make the animals bigger. These estrogenic hormones lower men’s testosterone and make it near impossible to lose weight. Always eat organic meat and chicken to avoid excess estrogens.
Why does ignoring low testosterone for too long cause permanent health damage?
Over an extended period of time having low testosterone, men develop thin bones and lose muscle mass. This loss of strength and bone mass leads to accidents. If you don’t have enough muscle mass in your legs, for example, a little stumble will result in a fall resulting in a fracture. By the time you get that far down that road, you’re in a lot of trouble. Many see a significant decline in their health following a fracture in their later years.
Why is inflammation the root of all disease, particularly for men?
We all understand acute inflammation, such as when an ankle swells after twisting it. Chronic inflammation is the cause of clogged arteries, which is cardiovascular disease. It’s the same logic for inflammation of the joints, which leads to arthritis and so on. Men are also particularly at risk for cardiovascular disease because they don’t have as much of the protective hormone, estrogen, as women do. Because men lack estrogen, inflammation now becomes a sharper tipped sword for them. Women’s risk for cardiovascular disease does catch up to men post-menopause, so they aren’t out of the woods either.
Why is longevity, anti-aging and precision medicine becoming the new paradigm in medicine rather than “sick care?”
We are in the midst of an epidemic of illnesses, and people are realizing mainstream medicine, aka the pharmaceutical approach, is not working and they’re getting frustrated. They’re seeking alternative options and realizing there’s a whole other world that leads to longevity and anti-aging. Part of that is precision medicine, a look at genetics, for example, and attention to epigenetics and the amazing solutions, treatments and therapies that are now available.
What is epigenetics?
Imagine our genetics are a piano. The music we play on that piano is the epigenetics. There’s essentially an infinite degree of music that can be played on that piano, harmonious and healthy or dysfunctional and chaotic. Epigenetics is something that we superimpose on our genetics throughout our lifetimes that turn our DNA switches on and off. Turn the wrong DNA switches on and your risk for developing disease and degeneration is very high.
What is the role of peptides and exosomes for the typical 50-year-old male and their concerns, such as hair loss, libido, body composition, etc.?
Peptides are essentially cell-signaling amino acid sequences that initiate and support cell regulation and rejuvenation actions. They stimulate the body to do specific things, depending on the peptide. As an example, insulin is a peptide. Insulin stimulates and directs the body to lower sugar. There are over 7,000 peptides that tell the body to do things like heal, repair, regenerate. Exosomes are molecular packets that, like peptides, signal the body to heal, repair and regenerate. The combination can be very powerful for things such as remediating hair loss, improving libido, testosterone energy and muscle loss.
What proactive steps should men in their early 30s take now?
It’s really important to take an overall look at where you are currently and what you need to do to get where you want to be. It’s not just one thing—it’s diet, fasting, exercise, stress reduction, nutrients. We call that lifestyle management, which is foundational. When you superimpose things like peptides, exosomes, IV therapy and additional nutrient supplements on that foundation, you start getting a lot of forward progress and create incredible results.
Concerned about your testosterone level? Take our short quiz and find out now.
Miguel Gonzalez, MD, FACP, FCCP, is located at 303 South Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks. His business hours are Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 805.497.7508, or visit DrGonzalezMD.com.