What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group and is found in mammals, reptiles, birds, and other vertebrates. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testicles of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands. It is the principal make sex hormone and an anabolic steroid.
In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle, bone mass, and the growth of body hair. In addition, testosterone is essential for health and well-being as well as the prevention of osteoporosis.
How Can Testosterone Levels Become Too Low?
It’s sad to say, but most American men die of heart disease. The evidence has been piling up in favor of the positive impact testosterone replacement has on many aspects of heart health for men with decreased levels of testosterone. So-called supraphysiologic levels, or hormone levels beyond normal, do not help prevent heart disease or reduce risk of death.
Current estimates are that 30 percent of American men are affected by hypogonadism—T levels below 300 ng/dL. Average T levels have been dropping in men over the past 20 years. They are about 16 percent lower in men aged 65-69 than they were in 1993. Obesity and environmental toxins are among the suspected causes.
Excess body fat increases the action of aromatase enzymes in men’s bodies. Aromatase transforms testosterone into estrogen, causing a man’s T levels to drop. Environmental toxins may damage men’s testosterone-making machinery, beginning in the very earliest stages of development in the mother’s body.
Testosterone levels decline gradually with age in human beings. The clinical significance of this decrease is debated. There is disagreement about when to treat aging men with testosterone replacement therapy. The American Society of Andrology’s position is that “testosterone replacement therapy in aging men is indicated when both clinical symptoms and signs suggestive of androgen deficiency and decreased testosterone levels are present.” The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists says “Hypogonadism is defined as a free testosterone level that is below the lower limit of normal for young adult control subjects.” Previously, age-related decreases in free testosterone were once accepted as normal. Currently, they are not considered normal. Patients with borderline testosterone levels warrant a clinical trial of testosterone.
What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone can cause distinct symptoms:
- Low energy level
- Low libido (sex drive)
- Inability to build and maintain muscle mass
- Can cause erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Some mind clarity issues (including a link to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease)
- Inability to lose weight, especially belly fat
- Weight gain
- Breast enlargement (in men)
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Hair loss
- Is a precursor to the development of diabetes
- Is a precursor the development of cardiovascular disease
- Is a contributor to increase morbidity (early death)
On the flip-side, optimal levels of testosterone can help you:
- Improve bone density
- Build lean muscle mass
- Lose weight
- Jumpstart your sex drive
- Reduce hot flashes and night sweats
- Improve memory and cognitive function
Determining Low Testosterone and Follow-Up
First, get to your physician and insist that a simple blood test be performed and analyzed to determine your current testosterone level.
If your testosterone level is found to be abnormally low for your age, knowledgeable physicians will prescribe hormone replacement therapy with bioidentical testosterone in order to raise your testosterone level back up to a deemed ‘normal’ physiological level.
Testosterone and Improved Health and Longevity
Should aging males use testosterone therapy to increase overall health and longevity?
It’s a question I’ve pondered after interviewing many doctors and TRT patients over the last couple of years. Unequivocally, my stance is YES!
Would Testosterone help me and all the men I consult with get to 100 years of age?
At 100, what would be the quality of our lives?
Would we be as strong and vigorous at 100 as when we were 75-80?
All great questions, and I think about these questions on a daily basis as I continue to build the Modern Mature Male health and wellness ecosystems.
Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, Clinical Professor at The Harvard Medical School and author of Testosterone for Life: Recharge Your Vitality, Sex Drive, Muscle Mass and Overall Health, categorically agrees that the benefits of Testosterone should not be denied to men, even those with prostate cancer.
Low testosterone is present in 40 per cent of men over age 45. Its loss as already exquisitely covered in Morgentaler’s book is associated with real life issues, concerns, and challenges linked to fatigue, depression, insomnia, grumpiness, lack of interest in sex, and work related problems.
Dr. Morgentaler asks the fundamental question, “Why not prescribe testosterone?”
Critics have always argued that aging is a natural process, so why medicalize it.
This is a bit hypocritical since male doctors have no problem treating menopausal symptoms in women with female hormones, eyesight problems with corrective surgery like lasix, or advocating anti-aging therapies and surgery designed to beautify and make men and women appear more youthful.
Morgentaler makes another point. He argues that no one argues against treating patients with bad hearing, poor eye sight, sore hips, or blocked coronary arteries, so why not help men with low testosterone? He continues his point, “Besides, normal aging stinks.”
We here at Modern Mature Male whole heartedly agree with Dr. Morgentaler’s conclusion.
However, many other medical practitioners continue to have a major concern with testosterone replacement therapy and its various delivery systems.
For years medical practitioners have feared that testosterone, particularly when prescribed to a man with undiagnosed early prostate cancer, might result in marked cancer growth, like adding gasoline to a fire.
But Morgentaler has proven that this is not the case. First, he says, an earlier study by Dr. Charles Huggin’s in which he castrated men with prostate cancer and examined cancer growth potential incorrectly theorized that testosterone was one of the leading causes of tissue malignancy and metastasis in males. But, since Huggins was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1966, the theory was born that testosterone is an incubator of prostate cancer. Dr. Morgentaler later discovered that Huggin’s conclusion was based on just a single patient, therefore proven to be inconclusive, baseless, and false.
Morgentaler subsequently published multiple articles in the New England Journal of Medicine on the risks of testosterone therapy after reviewing over 200 medical studies. He could not find any significant evidence linking high levels of testosterone to prostate cancer.
Dr. Morgentaler, ridiculed for his early research, is one of the many forward-thinking medical practitioners who now believe Huggin’s theory about testosterone was conclusively inaccurate, and that the restoration and establishment of optimal health can be achieved by supporting a person's inherent self-healing process, identifying underlying causes of illness, and developing personalized treatment plans to address hormonal imbalances and deficiencies. Morgentaler has been hailed as one of the avant-garde leaders in recognizing that low testosterone is not protective against prostate cancer and high testosterone is not the catalyst that triggers it.
In fact, according to Dr. R.M. Coward and Professor CC Carson:
“Based on all available data, as well as our personal experience, it is our opinion that testosterone deficiency syndrome can be safely treated with TRT after successful prostate cancer treatment.”
Morgentaler is convinced that low T is under-recognized, under-diagnosed, and under-treated and it does not make sense to deprive men of testosterone therapy when they have low T.
How many of the Modern Mature Male readers know that men who normally have high levels of testosterone live longer?
Sure it is still not known if prescribing the testosterone to men with low levels will have the same effect, but sometimes anecdotal data is proof enough.
This possibility has me working harder than I ever have in my life at attempting to prove it.
Doing so will benefit millions of men around the world in perpetuity.
Still doubt the amazing and life changing effects of therapeutic testosterone? Stop wasting time and seek out the answers to lengthen and improve both your lifespan and health span (the healthy, active years within your lifespan).
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