Why You Should Worry About The Fat You Can’t See

People often gauge how much fat they have by what is visible to the eye and what you can grasp with your hand, also known as subcutaneous fat. But did you know that we have fat that you can’t see? Visceral fat lies out of reach beyond your abdominal wall and surrounds the organs in your midsection.

Dangers of high Visceral Fat:

A high level of visceral fat is cause for more serious concern than just your total body fat percentage because of where it’s located. According to research at Harvard Health, visceral fat was discovered to be biologically active, meaning it acts as an endocrine gland and produces hormones along with other substances that could negatively affect and disrupt our overall health.1 Visceral fat increases the small proteins called cytokines that are critical in cell signaling and are responsible for regulating inflammation in the body.  Systemic inflammation puts us at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. Additionally, visceral fat strongly provokes your cells to resist insulin that normally pushes energy (in the form of glucose) into cells and resistance to this process causes glucose to stay in the blood stream eventually leading to Type 2 Diabetes.

How do I know how much I have?

If we can’t see it, how do we go about knowing how much we have? While a good indicator may be measuring your waistline, this is not always the most accurate reading. Luckily, there is an easy and noninvasive technology available called the bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) which is a method used to measure the components of the body, including muscle mass, body fat, and total body water. Alternating low and high-frequency electrical currents are sent through the water in the body via contact with electrodes to measure impedance. The impedance is used to determine total body water (TBW), which can then be used to derive your fat-free mass – the portion of your body that does not contain fat, including your muscle and bone – and then body fat.2

At Victory Men’s Health we use the InBody scale which is a medical-grade body composition device used to measure outputs such as skeletal muscle mass, percent body fat, basal metabolic rate and the presence of visceral fat. Having this valuable information allows us to have a better and deeper understanding of our complete body composition for overall health goals. Your visceral fat level reading on this scale will tell you if it falls within a range considered to be dangerous for your overall health.

What to do?

Aside from a genetic predisposition and poor diet, the other causes of accumulating visceral fat over time are:

  • Consuming more calories than burned due to lack of exercise
  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Excessive stress, likely related to cortisol levels
  • General aging as muscle mass decreases with age making it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight for your height
  • Hormone imbalances

While this can be a wake up call for many, the good news is regular exercise paired with a healthy diet can reverse visceral fat build up and prevent future fat storage. Processed foods are the enemy of healthy body composition and avoiding as much as possible is a good start.

In addition to lifestyle changes, hormone optimization increases lean body mass (muscle) and decreases visceral fat. Hormones are often overlooked by primary care physicians in treating body composition challenges but they can have a profound effect. For more information on getting your levels checked, visit victorymenshealth.com or call 618-632-9000 (IL) or 314-833-9000 (MO).


Did you know; Erectile Dysfunction can save your Life?

Often times, men avoid seeking medical care unless absolutely necessary. The “necessity” becomes pressing when they start to notice less frequent morning erections, erections that won’t last through intercourse, or even the inability to get an erection at all. These instances are defined as erectile dysfunction; or ED.

So how can ED save a life? Simple – it encourages the patient to seek medical care. Erectile dysfunction can be an indicator of other serious health issues. It is a legitimate medical problem and should be treated as such. The physiology of ED is endothelial dysfunction, which is a breakdown of the lining of the blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction usually presents itself as a “warning” to the body before the endothelial dysfunction causes other major traumas such as heart attack or stroke. Seeking care for ED often leads to discoveries and treatment options that will improve the health of the patient, not only sexually, but overall.

What are the causes?

There are a variety of causes; here are a few of the most common:

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure also know as “the silent killer”
  • Undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes
  • Age
  • High body fat levels
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol in excess
  • Certain medications (diuretics, hair loss medications, opioids, SSRIs, etc)
  • Hormone imbalances

What you need to know

  • ED is very common. The numbers are increasing yearly. In a study published in July 2019 by BJUI, it is estimated that there will be 322 million men affected by erectile dysfunction by 2025. That estimation is up 152 million men from 1995.
  • Treating ED early is vital. The sooner you seek treatment, the better chance of improvement.
  • The risk of ED increases with age, but young men experience ED too. It is crucial for men under 40 to understand that erectile dysfunction presents itself in different ways. The time to seek help is when you start to notice a decline.

What can be done?

Treatment options vary person to person.

  • First and foremost, lifestyle evaluation and improvement, including but not limited to a cleaner diet, increase in exercise, and smoking cessation.
  • Hormone Therapy
  • PDE5 inhibitors (Viagra, Cialis and Levitra)
  • Trimix
  • Wave therapy
  • Priapus shot
  • Nitric Oxide supplementation

Finding a Provider

Seek a medical provider who values your comfort, encourages treating you as a whole person, offers treatments that address different aspects of the cause (body composition, blood flow, hormones), respects your sexual health goals and expectations.

Give one of our offices a call to see if we are the right fit for you.

Illinois Location:
O: 618.632.9000
F: 618.589.3448
1405 N. Green Mount Rd,
Suite 240 O’Fallon, IL  62269

Missouri Location:
O: 314.833.9000
F: 618.589.3448 1036
Town & Country Crossing Dr
Town & Country, MO 63017

What to know about Nitric Oxide

What is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide is one of the most important molecules produced naturally in the human body.  This molecule is so important that in 1998 three scientists won a Nobel Prize for discovering Nitric Oxide as a miracle molecule. Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas composed of one atom of nitrogen bonded to one atom of oxygen. It serves as a critical signaling molecule in the cardiovascular and circulatory system. Our bodies cannot function as intended without proper circulation. This means that NO affects absolutely every function in our bodies.

NO is made by the blood vessel’s lining called the endotheliumNitric oxide expands the blood vessels, increasing blood flow and decreasing plaque growth and blood clotting.

Why is NO important in our bodies?

The loss of NO is recognized as the earliest onset of most, if not all, chronic diseases including the #1 killer of men and women, cardiovascular disease. Starting in your 30’s nitric oxide production begins to decline by 20% every 10 years. Most over the age of 65 have lost 85% of their ability to make NO. Factors influencing the decline in natural production of NO include aging, oxidative stress, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, diabetes and smoking.

NO is a vasodilator that helps keep arteries open and prevents plaque buildup. Reduced NO availability is often used as an early marker for various cardiovascular diseases.

Who needs NO?

  • Men experiencing sexual dysfunction
  • Anyone looking to support healthy blood pressure
  • Anyone over the age of 30
  • Anyone with low energy
  • Diabetics
  • Anyone suffering from issues with circulation
  • Anyone diagnosed with vascular dysfunction

How do we get more NO?

  • Start exercising regularly – Not only does exercise improve your ability to produce NO, the NO in return improves your ability to exercise. Moderate intensity exercise has been proven to yield the best results in enhancing endothelium vasodilation and increase production of NO. Research shows the best benefits come from 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity such as a brisk walk or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise like running, biking, or swimming laps.  The key is to get your heart rate above resting and to break a sweat.
  • Stop using mouthwash or fluoride toothpaste. These products kill the good NO creating bacteria in your mouth.
  • Re-evaluate if you are taking daily antacids, NSAIDS (ibuprofen, aspirin) and statin drugs which all block the production of NO.
  • Eat your vegetables – Vegetables rich in nitrate and nitrate can be converted into NO. Foods rich in NO include green leafy vegetables (kale, arugula, spinach), beets, radish, and cabbage.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking blocks your ability to make NO and causes your blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to every cell and tissue in the body.


How to supplement NO?

Restoring NO production can lead to better vascular production and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nitric oxide supplements are easy to order online and over the counter but NOT all are created equal. Supplements often market “increase blood flow to the muscles” or use as a pre-workout to “get blood flowing”.  Although the marketing on the outside seems appealing, the ingredients on the inside are often misleading and do not increase production of NO. Most OTC supplements include L-Arginine or L-Citrulline. The pathway to make more NO requires L-Arginine along with OTHER molecules. If supplements do not include the other molecules, supplementing L-Arginine can actually make things worse. According to research by the American Heart Association, “Long term administration of L-Arginine does not increase nitric oxide synthesis or improve the ability of blood vessels to widen.”

Other products often include beet root extract or kale but that doesn’t mean they have sufficient nitrates to create more NO. These vegetable sources are not all equal and are subject to growth conditions, chemicals, processing, heat and packaging.

How to pick a NO supplement?

Read the research. If a product has no published clinical trials in humans, stay away. Clinical trials are expensive but prove that a product does what it says. Very few companies go through this test to prove the quality of their product. At Victory Men’s Health our staff and medical providers have done extensive research on the best products on the market and only use clinically tested NO supplements.

Nitric Oxide and Erectile Dysfunction

The leading cause of erectile dysfunction is poor blood flow to the erectile tissue. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels which in turn can increase blood flow to the penis. The key to getting and maintaining erections revolves around continuous activation of NO. Men often use medications like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra to assist in maintaining erections. These medications let NO go to work and stay at work. Here is the science in action behind the scenes. First, NO binds to the receptors of an enzyme called guanylyl cyclase. Second, this binding process boosts levels of CGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate), which leads to widening of arteries in the penis. Third, more blood flows into the penis, filling the corpus cavernosum, which is the spongy tissue that expands to form an erection. Fourth, Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra work by blocking the compound of PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5), which in turn dissolves cGMP.

For more information on NO supplements please contact our medical providers.

Clinical references:

  • Bryan PHD, Nathan “How to boost the body’s miracle molecule to prevent and reverse chronic disease.”  The Nitric Oxide (NO) Solution, 2010.
  • Bryan PHD, Nathan “Nitric Oxide Science.” https://drnathansbryan.com/nitric-oxide-science/
  • Woolford, Andrea. “Nitric Oxide Study Guide”. 2020. Cardiology Institute.

Illinois Location:
O: 618.632.9000
F: 618.589.3448
1405 N. Green Mount Rd,
Suite 240 O’Fallon, IL  62269

Missouri Location:
O: 314.833.9000
F: 618.589.3448 1036
Town & Country Crossing Dr
Town & Country, MO 63017