My friend loves wearing loud animal prints like Ranveer Singh. A bold choice, or burn the lot?

 It certainly takes a very specific type of personality to pull off the animal print look. Ranveer Singh and his larger than life personality are surely the exceptions to an otherwise loud look that, besides the runway or an editorial shoot, isn’t normally taken seriously. But then again, designers keep creating… and in particular, the leopard look has appeared yet again in many designers’ latest collections. A bold choice, maybe? Burn them… well, that would require owning them, and while I can’t really see where this look would work beside on Singh if your friend has got more than one animal print anything, I think it’s time to light the fire.

I was watching Made In Heaven. What causes low sperm motility?

First of all, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a mainstream show chose to highlight this surprisingly common but often taboo subject. Low sperm motility is basically when 30 per cent or less of the sperm making its way through the cervical mucus and trying to fertilize a woman’s egg is able to move efficiently.

Let’s take a step back. There are actually two types of sperm motility. Progressive motility is where the sperm is swimming in a mostly straight line or large circles. Non-progressive motility is where the sperm doesn’t move in straight lines, or they swim in close-knit circles. The sperm has to have progressive motility of at least 25 micrometres a second for this to happen. I guess the real question would be “what causes this?” There are a plethora of reasons, but beyond the medical cases (which can be anything from trauma to hormonal imbalance), I’ll focus on the health and lifestyle causes that could contribute to this issue. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that alcohol consumption and tobacco usage can decrease sperm production. Beyond this, a common issue in India is the frequent usage of steroids. Anabolic steroids can actually cause the testicles to shrink and reduce sperm production. Undiagnosed, untreated depression and other emotional stressors can be factors, as are weight and overall health.

 Soy – good for men or not?

Consuming soy does NOT raise or lower a man’s testosterone level. Yes, there have been many concerns about this, because one of the active ingredients in soy is isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens which behave oestrogen.

While study after study has been disproving this and has found there to be no adverse effects from the consumption of soy foods and even isoflavone supplements, it’s important that the focus actually be on testosterone levels. Given that low testosterone is linked to everything from erectile dysfunction and osteoporosis to depression and a reduction in muscle mass, making sure the balance between a man’s testosterone and oestrogen levels are monitored is key.

It’s important to recognize too that men’s testosterone synthesis begins with their cholesterol, and this type of cholesterol comes from internal bodily sources (it is not the same as dietary cholesterol). Thus, drugs for cholesterol-lowering and dietary changes like adding or subtracting soy or soy-based products will not affect the production of testosterone.

 Gym selfies? What’s your take?

 This is a tough one. Searching for #gymselfie on Instagram pulls over half a million posts, but just because everyone is doing it, does that make it right?

Here’s the thing. If you are doing it to motivate yourself and track your progress, sure. If you are professional and your body is the asset you are selling to become an influencer or a trainer, sure, why not? But if you are just doing it to show off, well, maybe you aren’t focussing hard enough on your workout. Are you taking up equipment time looking for that just right pose? Are you doing it because you want to share or because you want the self-congratulatory feedback via likes and comments?

 In this day and age, we share everything, so fundamentally there is nothing wrong in the occasional #gymselfie, but like everything else on social media, it shouldn’t become so candy-coated and filtered that the aspiration we have and the inspiration we need to attain better health is actually an illusion. We need to realize that no amount of time in the gym will shape us up into the photoshopped, beauty cam edited versions of ourselves we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking is actually us.

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