Hey Men! Have a (Healthy) Heart!

testosterone, age management, dr. mike carragher, hormones, beverly hills, los angeles, west hollywood

The untimely death of James Gandolfini yesterday got me thinking about heart disease and heart attacks. And, of course, about testosterone.  Should you be on testosterone to decrease your risk of heart disease and heart attack?

Cardiovascular disease or heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans. And Canadians. And Brits. And Russians. And Germans. And Australians. And French. And Italians. In fact, it is the number one killer in virtually every Western country.

What does this have to do with testosterone?  There is strong evidence suggesting that a deficiency of testosterone plays an important role in the development of heart disease. Still, most cardiologists and primary care physicians don’t think about testosterone when it comes to caring for their patients.

When many of us think about testosterone, we think about sex and muscles.  Or we think about abuse in high school, college and professional sports or abuse by bodybuilders in gyms.  So testosterone has gotten a bit of a bad rap, to say the least.

Unfortunately, many doctors think the same thing when they think about testosterone.  Poor testosterone!  So here are some facts to arm you with so you can educate your doctor.

There are several very strong studies suggesting the beneficial role testosterone plays in the prevention of heart disease (references available upon request; see end of article):

  1. Men with higher levels of testosterone have a lower incidence of heart disease and restoring deficient men to youthful levels prevents the worsening of heart disease, results in less chest pain during exercise, and results in better stress-treadmill test performance.
  2. A recent study of 2500 men showed that those with the lowest levels of testosterone had the greatest degree of blockage in their arteries.
  3. A landmark analysis of the relationship between testosterone and subsequent risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) reviewed over 8000 men from 11 studies. The data analysis revealed that in 10 of 11 studies, higher testosterone levels were associated with lower CVD risk.  Men in the upper third for testosterone level had 20% the atherosclerosis risk than men in the lower one-third.
  4. Testosterone reduces C-Reactive Protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in blood vessels and of heart disease risk.
  5. Testosterone increases lifespan.  Men with the highest testosterone levels live the longest.
  6. Testosterone optimization helps reduce obesity.
  7. Testosterone increases lean body mass (muscular weight).
  8. Testosterone raises HDL (good) cholesterol.
  9. Older men treated with testosterone show decreases in total cholesterol and LDL.

There is a higher concentration of testosterone receptors in the heart than any other organ in the human body.  It is absolutely essential for optimal cardiac function.  Responsibly optimizing your levels is key to keeping you functioning at the highest level while decreasing your risk for chronic degenerative diseases.

I encourage you to have your hormone levels tested by a physician who specializes in Age Management Medicine.  Yes, testosterone optimization will likely help your sex drive and lean muscle development.  But it will also most likely improve your cardiovascular health and may decrease your risk of heart disease, heart attack and premature death.

For more information or references, please email me at info@thebodywellusa.com

My Doctor Told Me My Labs Are Normal But I Don’t Feel Normal!

Are you the type of person who settles for average in life?

Probably not.

Would you prefer to have average sex or fantastic sex? Do you want to perform average at work compared to your peers – or superior?  You want to excel, right?  So why would you settle for “normal” hormone levels when you can have fantastic, or optimal, hormone levels?

Many patients come to me and say their doctor told them everything in their lab work is “normal” or “looks great.” But the truth is, most physicians are not educated in hormonal optimization or the importance of hormone levels in maintaining optimal health.  Many doctors don’t even check hormone levels – or they check the wrong ones.

Would you see a dermatologist if you had a heart problem?  No way.  You’d see a cardiologist because he or she is trained in cardiology.   So when it comes to optimizing hormones and healthy aging, the best type of doctor to see is one who specializes in Hormonal Optimization and Age Management.

What are Optimal Lab Ranges?

If your doctor has told you that your hormone levels are “normal” what he or she most likely means is that they fall within the normal lab range.  Normal ranges are determined by sampling a large number of average “healthy” Americans and creating a range of numbers from the high end to the low end.  Anything within this range is then called “normal.”  But “normal” is not necessarily optimal.  If fact, in most cases, it isn’t.  With chronic disease rates on the rise and obesity approaching 50% in the United States, I certainly don’t want to be considered an “average” or “normal” American when it comes to my health. Do you?

Let’s take testosterone in males, for example.  When you look at a copy of your blood work, “normal” free testosterone ranges from approxiamtely 5 pg/mL to 30 pg/mL, depending upon which lab you use.  This is a huge variation!  But if your level was at  30 pg/mL last year and it’s at 5 pg/mL this year, your doctor would tell you that your testosterone is “normal” even though it has fallen about 80% from a year ago!  Does that sound normal to you?

Why is Optimal Better? 

The truth is your hormones should be in the top 1/3 of the normal range for your age group for the hormones you want high and the lower 1/3 for the hormones you want low.  Because when it comes to hormones, men and women who have optimal hormone levels typically feel better, perform better, have less body fat, better libidos and are generally stronger and more fit. Not to mention they’re at a significantly lower risk for virtually all the chronic degenerative diseases of aging.

So, again, why would you settle for “normal” if being optimal means you can look and feel better than ever and at the same time be at lower risk for heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, insomnia, and depression?

I encourage you to get your hormone levels checked by a physician specializing in Age Management and Hormonal Optimization.

Let’s make optimal your new normal!

Please continue to follow our updates and make THE BODY WELL your go-to source for information on Age Management and Hormone Optimization.


Age Management 101: How to Feel Like You Did in Your 20s No Matter How Old You Are

Are you losing your edge? Feeling less energetic? Gaining weight around the middle despite your best efforts? Is your skin less supple and smooth, becoming more wrinkled? Are your libido and sexual performance declining? Do you wish you could look and feel vibrant, active and youthful again?

Beginning as early as your late 20s, the hormones you want low typically begin to rise (e.g. insulin, cortisol) and the ones you want high begin to decline (e.g. testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, pregnenolone, human growth hormone (HGH), DHEA, thyroid). As a result, men and women begin to experience changes in attitudes and moods, mild depression, fatigue, loss of mental sharpness and memory, lower sex drive, skin wrinkling, muscle loss, belly fat, loss of energy, and reduction in physical agility.

It’s commonly a result of these hormone changes. And there is a solution.

Comprehensive Age Management Medicine is a medical specialty that involves evaluating you for symptoms and signs of degenerative aging and decline and slowing down that process through hormone optimization, proper nutrition, and exercise. It’s not just about living longer, it’s about living better.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of hormonal decline, I encourage you to make an appointment with a physician who specializes in Age Management.  It may just be the best decision you ever make.

Please continue to follow our updates and make THE BODY WELL your go-to source for information on Age Management and Hormone Optimization.


Swifter, Higher, Stronger

What an exciting time to be an Olympian, especially a U.S. Olympian!  As of today, the U.S.A. has 39 gold medals, and Michael Phelps has made history by winning the most Olympic gold medals ever.

In the spirit of celebrating the 2012 Olympic games, here are 10 Interesting Facts About the Olympics:

  1. The early Olympic Games were celebrated as a religious festival from 776 B.C. until 393 A.D., when they were banned for being a pagan festival (the Olympics celebrated the Greek god Zeus). In 1894, a French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin, proposed a revival of the ancient tradition, and thus the modern-day Olympic Summer Games were born.
  2. The United States has won more medals (2,189) at the Summer Games than any other country.
  3. Norway has won the most medals (263) at the Winter Games.
  4. No country in the Southern Hemisphere has ever hosted a Winter Games.
  5. Nobody has won more medals at the Winter Games than cross-country skier Bjorn Dählie of Norway, who has 12.
  6. In 1921, Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, borrowed a Latin phrase from his friend for the Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (“Swifter, Higher, Stronger”).
  7. Gandhi once covered the Olympics as a newspaper reporter: The 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.
  8. China’s first Olympic medal was not until 1984.
  9. 1912 the last year gold medals were made entirely out of gold. They are now silver with gold plating.
  10. The oldest Olympic medalist was Oscar Swahn, a Swedish shooter.  He won his last medal at the age of 72.

 The Body Well salutes all the Olympic athletes.

 They inspire all of us to be “Swifter, Higher, Stronger.”

DHEA: Your Body’s Most Abundant Androgen

DHEA (de-hydro-epi-androsterone) is the most abundant androgen in the human body. It is, importantly, a precursor of estrogen, testosterone and other hormones. Most of your body’s DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands, although small amounts are synthesized in the gonads, skin and brain. After production, DHEA is released into the bloodstream, where it can be converted into either estrogen or testosterone as needed.

DHEA levels peak at around age 20, then decline by approximately 10 percent per decade, with great individual-to-individual variability. By age 70, DHEA levels reach a level of 10 percent to 20 percent of young adult levels.

Low DHEA levels can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Low sex drive
  • Loss of strength and muscle mass
  • Depression
  • Impaired immune function
  • Joint pain

Optimal DHEA levels can help:

  • Increase endurance
  • Increase testosterone levels
  • Increase lean muscle mass
  • Decrease body fat %
  • Improve memory
  • Boost immune function
  • Promote flexibility

Some studies show DHEA may help improve energy and libido, eliminate abdominal fat, increase muscle tone, improve immune function, regenerate tissue (bones, muscles and skin), improve cholesterol levels, maintain emotional well-being and improve the body’s ability to cope with stress.

Optimizing DHEA levels, as part of a complete Age Management Program, helps restore youthful amounts of this and other crucial hormones, resulting in more energy, improved immune function, enhanced well-being and better cognitive (brain) function.

If you’re in the West Hollywood, Orange County, Beverly Hills, or Los Angeles area, schedule an evaluation with Age Management / Hormonal Optimization expert Dr. Mike Carragher.  If you live out of the area, we can take care of you as well, requiring only an annual visit to The Body Well for your anti-aging Age Management Program. Dr. Carragher will request a blood panel, schedule a comprehensive evaluation, and discuss the best individual treatment options for you.

Call (323) 874-9355 to book an evaluation, or for more information e-mail drmike@thebodywellusa.com