Does Ibuprofen Cause Male Infertility?

picture created by Wide-Body

The headlines on January 9th were essentially screaming, “Ibuprofen Linked to Male Infertility!”. When I see headlines read like that, then I know is the time to look for the devil in the details.

The study in question was published January 8th in the journal “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, and the key highlights from the study are:

  • In a small sample group of men (n=31, ages 18-35)
  • The men ingested 1200mg of ibuprofen every day for 6 weeks
  • At the end of six weeks, the men had a 23% increase in the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). The rise in LH was noticed after just two weeks.
  • An increase in LH is indicative of problems within the testes.

It is important to note that the study did not measure sperm production and that testosterone levels of the men in the study remained normal.

Let’s also talk about the details that are important to not overlook:

  1. A sample of 31 men is very small. In medical research, it is not unusual to start with a small sample. If there are interesting results from the small sample, the researchers can then publish their results and make a case for why they need a larger budget. Once they have funding for a larger budget, the researchers can test a large sample and prove or dismiss the results of the small sample.
  2. 1200mg of ibuprofen a day, for two weeks or more. That is a lot of ibuprofen! 1200mg is the daily recommended limit, and if an ordinary citizen is taking that much ibuprofen everyday for two weeks straight, then that person really needs to be in the care of a pain doctor.

The lesson here is that more research needs to be completed on this topic, and that unless you need to be ingesting 1200mg of ibuprofen everyday for at two weeks, you should be safe to take ibuprofen as needed.

If you would like to read more about this study, the web site Live Science has done a nice job discussing the details, here.


Texas BBQ Can Be Healthy? YES! EAT MORE BRISKET!

photo from Kreuz Market. Get there. Now!

I’ve seen a lot of crazy health and food plans (Ever heard of the “ice cream diet”? Yes, there is such a thing) so when the latest “This is healthy!” trend comes across my desk, I’m more than a little skeptical. I’m sure you can imagine my thoughts when I saw the news headlines say “Texas BBQ Brisket is healthy!”. Yep, my first reaction was, “What are you talking about, Bubba?”

It turns out that Bubba may know a thing or two about brisket eating healthy. Research conducted by the good folks at Texas A&M University has identified brisket as having high levels of oleic acid, a fatty acid sometimes known as Omega 9. What is the big deal about oleic acid? That is the same fatty acid which is helpful in boosting your HDL (good) cholesterol and lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also turns out that brisket is one of the preferred trims of beef used in ground beef, and that means your next hamburger patty may not be all that bad for you. According to Dr. Stephen Smith, Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, “Americans consume over 50 percent of their beef as ground beef…. Ground beef is not going to kill you. When you take the beef out of fat, it reduces LDL, but also reduces HDL. Our studies have shown that fat is a very important component of beef.”

This is where I need to temper expectations and say, “all things in moderation”. If you are having a problem with your cholesterol and you want to increase your oleic acid, there are other foods, and those healthy choices (olives, avocados) are probably what your doctor would prefer you eat. There are saturated fats in beef that are not good for you in excess, hence you shouldn’t overconsume beef daily. But please, do enjoy your next Texas style BBQ brisket. I know I will, and likely at Louie Mueller’s in Taylor. Or Style Switch in Austin. Maybe at Kreuz in Lockhart. Possibly Cooper’s in Llano. Oh wait, I still need to get to Snow’s in Lexington. Oh, sorry…. I got carried away, dreaming of succulent smoked meat.

If you want to read more about the Texas A&M study, click here:

Do you want to learn more about oleic acid? The Livestrong foundation has a nice insightful post located here:

Let The Kids Play! The Importance of Playing Multiple Sports

For some at least the last decade, pediatricians have become alarmed at the increased amount of injuries they are seeing in young athletes. The doctors are noting that they are seeing athletes at a young age suffer from repetitive stress injuries, i.e. those injuries associated with playing a single sport and the athlete essentially wears out their joints, muscles, and/or bones. Although pediatricians have called out the need for athletes to play multiple sports and thus avoiding multiple injuries, there has been a lack of study on the long-term effects, positive or negative, on playing multiple versus single sports. That lack of information was until just recently.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco tackled the topic of multiple sports play in a recently published a report titled “The Effects of Playing Multiple High School Sports on National Basketball Association Players’ Propensity for Injury and Athletic Performance” (A title you would only find in a research paper). The researchers studied the health and performance of 237 NBA athletes, noted those who were multisport athletes in high school, and those who played a single sport, and sought to find a statistical difference in health (injuries) and performance (play time and longevity).

The finding show that the athletes who played multiple sports when they were younger suffered fewer major injuries (25% vs 43%), had an increase in the number of games they played, and a significantly longer career.

For you parents with multisport stars, I think the direction is obvious: Let the Kids Play!!

Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Delay sports specialization until at least age 15-16 to minimize risks of overuse injury.
  • Encourage participation in multiple sports.
  • If a young athlete has decided to specialize in a single sport, a pediatrician should discuss the child’s goals to determine whether they are appropriate and realistic.
  • Parents are encouraged to monitor the training and coaching environment of “elite” youth sports programs.
  • Encourage a young athlete to take off at least three months during the year, in increments of one month, from their particular sport. They can still remain active in other activities during this time.
  • Young athletes should take one to two days off per week to decrease chances of injury.

Go Ahead. Have Another Cup of Joe!

Do you love your coffee? If you are like most Americans, your answer is probably a resounding “YES!”. According to 2015 survey by Zagat’s, nearly 90% of Americans drink coffee, and those who drink, consumer approximately 2.1. cups a day. Let’s see; if we do the math on this correctly… 90% of Americans is 283.5M people, multiply by 2.1 cups is…. 595.35M cups a day! (Maybe I should invest in a coffee shop) Multiply that number by 365 days, and … whoa! That is 217 BILLION cups of coffee consumed by Americans each year. (I definitely need to invest in a coffee shop) But, how many of you coffee consumers worry that coffee may have a negative impact on your health?

Worry no more caffeinated brethren, because coffee has some health benefits! According to a study found within the British Medical Journal, coffee was not found to be associate with most of the deadly diseases we associate with our modern society. Those diseases I’m refereeing to are cardiovascular disease, and incidence of cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and diabetes. Other studies have shown that coffee is a mood enhancer, and when you extrapolate that mood enhancement to the knowledge that people who in a positive mood are considered to have longer and more positive lives, the consumption of coffee should be celebrated!

Well, as with all things, devil is in the details. Before you double fist your next cup of Joe, you need to consider how much sugar and cream you are adding to your favorite morning brew. The results in the BMJ note the benefits of black coffee. Sugar and cream can add unwanted calories and weight that most of us don’t want, not to mention the future unhealthy results.