There’s a tremendous amount of information out there on testosterone these days. Even a cursory internet search and you can find yourself down a rabbit hole full of benefits, risks, legality, muscle men, prostate cancer, athlete abuse, and ambulance chasing lawyers. It can quickly become so complicated that you may just sigh and walk away.
So I’d like to address some of your questions and hopefully bring you to a better understanding of this remarkable hormone.
But one thing first.
I’m biased because I’ve been practicing Age Management and Hormonal Optimization for over 10 years. I know the research. The real research. I have also seen testosterone transform lives when responsibly and appropriately prescribed. It’s the reason I love what I do and why I want to share some of what I know with you.
Here are some of the questions people frequently ask me:
Why should I care about testosterone?
Testosterone is a crucial hormone in how your body functions. For most of us, the amount of testosterone our body produces starts to decrease around the age of 30.
This poor hormone has gotten a bad reputation over time due to abuse & overuse in professional sports and bodybuilding, as well as by the media who tend to demonize it. But the truth is it’s extremely beneficial to your health when it’s prescribed by a hormone specialist and taken in controlled, therapeutic replacement doses.
Why should I consider taking testosterone? Shouldn’t I just let my hormone levels fall as I age?
Think about it this way: Medical problems develop over time for all of us. You get treated for these issues so you can feel better and continue to function the best way possible, right?
For example, if your vision starts to decline, you go to an eye specialist and get glasses or contact lenses prescribed. Or if you develop a cavity in your tooth, you go to the dentist to get a filling in order to relieve your suffering and not let a bad problem get worse.
Shouldn’t the same hold true for hormonal decline?
So what does testosterone do exactly?
It’s commonly known that testosterone can help you to build muscle and boost sex drive. Both are true. But here are some other important benefits of testosterone:
Cardiovascular health: Did you know that the highest concentration of testosterone receptors is in the heart? It improves overall cardiovascular function, improves cholesterol levels and is associated with decreased plaque size in arteries. It’s an absolutely critical hormone for cardiovascular health.
Bone Density: Testosterone helps maintain bone density and decreases fracture risk. It’s a key player in preventing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Memory and Brain Health: Low testosterone levels may cause you to experience a decreased sense of well-being, depressed mood, heightened anxiety, and low energy. Additionally, you run a higher risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and other neurodegenrative disorders with low testosterone. Testosterone replacement therapy improves mood in men and women with low testosterone. People treated with supplemental testosterone experienced a decrease in anger, sadness, fatigue, nervousness, as well as increased energy and friendliness. In fact, the number one reported benefit in those who receive testosterone therapy is an overall better sense of well-being. They just feel better.
I thought testosterone treatment was just for men. Can women can benefit too?
Testosterone is often associated with men, but yes, it’s a key hormone in women too. In fact, a healthy young woman produces 300 micrograms of testosterone per day. As it does with men, it stimulates sexual desire, increases libido, heightens arousal and increases sexual satisfaction. Testosterone also helps women to maintain bone density, muscle mass, body composition and improves energy levels.
So why all the fear about testosterone if it’s so great?
In my opinion, testosterone has to be prescribed by a physician who knows the research. There are several different forms of testosterone therapy. There are injections, creams, pellets, gels, and alternative medications that signal your body to produce more of it’s own testosterone. Many doctors use a single approach without full consideration of which form is best for an individual patient. For example, most physicians don’t know that injectable testosterone can lower your HDL (good) cholesterol…that’s the one you want as high as possible. This doesn’t happen with the other forms of replacement, So if you’re a patient with already low HDL, your doctor could unknowingly make a bad situation worse by prescribing testosterone injections. Another example is that for men who want to preserve fertility, there are alternatives medications to optimize your testosterone levels that will not decrease sperm production like testosterone can.
Also, with all of the “Low T”clinics springing up across the country, there is a trend toward treating testosterone levels as if it were the only hormone in the body. Testosterone is only one of the key hormones that need to be addressed. Your hormones interact together in profound ways. Prescribing testosterone alone without addressing your other key hormones (DHEA, growth hormone, cortisol, thyroid, insulin, LH, estrogen, etc.) is like changing a flat tire on a car that may have no oil in it. It’s only addressing part of the problem.
So how do I know if my testosterone (or other hormones) are low?
With all due respect to your general physician, most are not educated in how to comprehensively address hormonal deficiencies in a way that best serves you. My best advice is to have a comprehensive hormone panel done by a physician who specializes in optimizing hormones. That’s your best bet.
Contact us for more information.