Friday, March 08, 2024

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Testosterone Truths

The sex hormone testosterone plays important roles in health and disease. We talked to experts and studied recent research findings to dispel some common misconceptions about the hormone that is vital in reproductive activity. 
Only men make testosterone
No. Both men and women do.
Testosterone is an androgen hormone, which means it stimulates the development of male characteristics. Women with small breasts and narrow hips are often called “androgenous”.
The hormone is made in the testes of men and the ovaries of women, and in the adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, in small quantities in both men and women. Normal levels for women are 5 to 7 per cent of those for men.
Total testosterone levels vary throughout the day. They are highest in the morning and lower towards the end of the day. In healthy adult men, levels would be around 240 to 950 nanograms per decilitre, and 8 to 60 ng/dl in women.

Women whose levels are too high may develop facial hair, some balding and acne.

Taking testosterone supplements makes men more virile
No. It may make their muscles pop, but it also makes their testes shrivel – called “testicular atrophy” – which makes them less fertile.
“Taking testosterone is almost male contraception,” says Dr Brian Levine, a director at CCRM New York Fertility Clinic.
High doses of testosterone decrease a man’s sperm count significantly, he explains. This is because the more the brain senses testosterone in the blood, the less it signals for the testes to produce more on their own.
Testosterone promotes fertility in women
Yes – oddly, and in a roundabout way, because it affects egg development, according to 
  by the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York.
It is believed that testosterone prevents the premature “death” of the egg at an early stage of development. That’s because testosterone in the ovaries may help make follicles more sensitive to the hormone FSH – follicle-stimulating hormone – that helps to mature ovulated eggs. Clever huh?
Testosterone develops muscle mass in women
Yes. If it does in men, of course it’s going to in women, too.
Men produce more testosterone, so their muscle mass is going to be greater. But one of the reasons muscle mass in women begins to decline with the menopause is because of declining testosterone.
More testosterone helps both men and women build more muscle mass. Photo: AFP
More testosterone helps both men and women build more muscle mass. Photo: AFP
And while we’re on testosterone and muscle mass in men – many body builders shave their heads to replicate the baldness associated with high testosterone counts.
Very high testosterone levels in men lead to baldness, ergo bald men are more virile
Yes, this is true – but only in part. Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is a derivative of testosterone and is found in skin, hair follicles and the prostate. It’s the actions of DHT and the sensitivity of hair follicles to it that leads to hair loss.
Oddly, a man can have low levels of testosterone in his system but too much DHT. So the adage that a bald man is a virile one because of high levels of testosterone is potentially both true and false.
Keeping fit is one way for men to delay the male menopause. Photo: Shutterstock
Keeping fit is one way for men to delay the male menopause. Photo: Shutterstock
Is there really a male menopause?
Yes – the “manopause” really is a thing, though it is technically an “andropause” rather than a menopause and may be experienced by men starting around the age of 40.
Just as in women, it’s all about hormone decline; for men, it’s due to a slow drop in testosterone levels. And just as with menopause in women, there may be physiological manifestations: loss of bone mass, loss of muscle mass, tendency to expanding waistlines, plummeting libidos, anxiety, depression and insomnia. But not the hot flushes.

Keeping fit and not smoking may help delay andropause, or make it less acutely felt. Most men manage perfectly well – it’s a natural part of human ageing after all – even if women dismiss grumpy partners as having a midlife crisis and “manopausal”.

But men who suffer with very low moods or erectile dysfunction should see their doctors; there are good treatment options available just as there is HRT for women.
Testosterone turns us all on
Yes. It does. Even women.
The link between testosterone and our sex drive is well known. Although there is some research to suggest extra testosterone may improve sexual function in some women – especially post-menopause when women may be prescribed testosterone creams or gels to apply to the skin – the jury is still out on this.
“Having less testosterone can have three effects that women notice,” says Hong Kong-based Dr Sue Jamieson. “This may be less sex drive, generally low energy levels, and also muscle mass. Some women notice that even though they exercise to the same extent, the muscles become more flabby and less firm.”
Testosterone helps turn on both men and women. Photo: Alamy
Testosterone helps turn on both men and women.
Testosterone can boost a woman’s libido because it targets receptors in the brain responsible for sexual activity. But there are risks associated with synthetically adding testosterone post-menopause, and it won’t make any difference if there aren’t other positive things going on – good relationships and good health, for a start.
Women in love have more testosterone, which is handy when kick-starting a new relationship. Strangely, the opposite is true for men; single men or those with a long-term partner have more than the recently hooked-up.
Men have a higher pain threshold because of testosterone
Apparently they do. 
  suggest that the female hormone oestrogen may lower a person’s pain threshold whereas testosterone appears to make people more pain tolerant. This does not explain, however, how women manage to endure childbirth while attendant fathers faint...
Some other effects of testosterone for men. Photo; Shutterstock
Some other effects of testosterone for men. Photo; Shutterstock
Testosterone is why men can read maps and women can read moods
It’s true. Testosterone is 
good for the memory
  and particularly associated with spatial intelligence. Empathy, though, is all about being able to read people well (and then, often, being able to react sensitively). Higher testosterone levels make for interpreting body language 
less fluently
Fat can lower testosterone and testosterone can lower fat
Fat men tend to have lower testosterone levels than leaner ones, possibly because obesity promotes a state of widespread inflammation in the body and the 
downing of tools
  in the testosterone factory.
Upping a man’s testosterone levels may help men 
drop the spare tyre
  – not that it’s advocated as a dietary technique.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: More than just the essence of a man

Friday, October 13, 2023

Johor/Forest City/SG Theme Play

 I have written quite a bit on the said theme. Once you are convinced of a thematic play... it is best to use the "channel tunnel trading range" or swing trade. Pick the ones with the most beta and liquidity that suits your risk profile.

Today is Friday 13th .... look at Catalyst#6 ... on October 17th is a critical coupon payment of USD15 million that Country Gardens need to pay. That sum has already been given a 30 day grace period. So take that information to your trading strategy and act accordingly.

On the other hand, the upcoming Budget by PM may offer further positive newsflow to the theme. There should be sufficient volatility over the next 7 trading days.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Best Omakase In Town - Sushi Foo


Have been following Chef Foo for some time now. Used to operate next to Pavillion Bukit Jalil but that shop opened at the same time when Covid started, so his business partner did not manage to hold on to the business. Now he has come full circle, with more equity, his own personal place.

For omakase, it is an overused term and concept. You are only getting produce the chef has ordered, so his links to suppliers (esp from Japan) is critical. Good Japanese food is not cheap.

That is why I don't get hung up with celebrity Japanese chefs. Next time you have an omakase or go to a famous sushi place, ask yourself, what are you paying for. Your RM400-1,000 has to pay for the expat chef's salaries, location, rental, service staff, etc. and after that produce.

(the salmon roe aged 5 days)

Chef Foo has garnered enough fans and followers to open at a 'dislocated' location because he is not going after walk in traffic. People will search for his place ... save a lot on rental. 

(early appetiser, ebiko, fresh prawns, uni, topped with lavender petals)

You go to a 800-1,200 pp place with a famous name and famous Japanese chef, you are probably getting 200-300 in produce value. Here omakase ranges from 300-800 and you getting closer to half of it in produce value.

(shima aji luxury roll with Japanese spring onions, ginger)

He is knowledgeable but is tied to the history of Japanese cuisine strictures. His selection is not tied to Edo (the old name for Tokyo) style sushi or Kansai-style sushi. Still, he has a deep respect for the cuisine and does not step much into the crazy Western style where fusion and almost anything goes. 

(huge hotate, grilled lightly)

I can't post all the things I had ... maybe 75%.

(the under-rated sardine)


(this starter was superb, a chawanmushi with crab meat and lightly cooked cod sperm duct, easily the best way to eat the cod duct)

(the proverbial sake... served cold of course)

(Kyushu oysters, small but deep tasting)

(the XXXXXX, otoro aged 20 days ... like eating 3 otoros but no jelak feel)

(okagai with sea grapes)

(I think it is monkfish liver with crab meat, sumptuous)

(the sashimi pair ... kinki fish, great oils... but its the smoked Spanish mackeral that takes the centerstage, we all immediately tasted the best of peatiness/smokiness of Lagavulin and Laphraiog enveloping the fish... gawd, would have been sublime to chase this with a shot of Laga)

(we kept asking for his home made pickled ginger and cucumber to be topped up)

(we liked the previous uni/prawns/ebiko so much ... he gave us another, this time with sushi rice at the bottom)

(the subtle chutoro)

(he dragged his prized possession to show us, the 20 day aged toro and otoro)

(the silkiest cut of kampachi served with bamboo salt)

(the aged otoro)

It is silly to try and call it the best, what I am trying to get at is the selection is often top notch and the cuts are generally premium cuts. There's enough interesting and hard-to-get stuff that serves as a greater charm to the whole meal.

They also do lunch sets, glorious ones too. Seating is limited to less than 15. Book before coming.