Testosterone Replacement for Men Revisited

Posted on by San Ysidro Pharmacy

When one thinks of testosterone use by men, thoughts of rippling muscles, a super libido or aggressive personalities are likely to come to mind.  These extreme impressions fail to highlight the many critical benefits of testosterone use that most men are currently unaware of.  Recently, a large number of men are becoming increasingly aware of Andropause, an imperceptible decline of testosterone to deficiency levels, beginning around the age of 30 yrs, and decreasing to deficiency levels by the age of 45 to 50 yrs.  Clinically deficient men usually have a blood level below 350ng/dl (normal is 350 to 1,000 ng/dl) with optimal levels seen around 450 to 900ng/dl.  Associated symptoms usually consist of loss of energy, weight gain, decreased stamina, sleep disturbances, hot flashes, joint pain, decreased sex drive, depression, poor concentration and memory, frequent urination and becoming socially withdrawn.

Around 45 years ago, the medical community brought to light the menopausal condition that women faced as they aged.  Women who voiced the desire to quell their symptoms found that the use of estrogen and progesterone replacement helped to resolve the negative symptoms associated with menopause.  Because women were able to voice their needs, seek help and embrace the suggested hormone replacement, many were able to overcome their debilitating symptoms of menopause far earlier than the realization of Andropause for men today.  Because of our culture, men tend to be less inclined to verbalize their feelings and needs as opposed to women.  This lack of verbalization and reticence in seeking out medical advice or information regarding the symptoms of Andropause accounts for why their condition is just now surfacing even though the condition has knowingly existed for years.  This condition is also increasingly being recognized by the medical community, and men are now seeking the help and information about their hormonal health that was once sought by women 40 to 50 years ago.      

Today, the benefits of testosterone replacement for men are well documented and supported by many excellent peer-reviewed medical studies.  This literature can easily be found on the internet, and if sincerely and thoroughly researched, will provide an abundant amount of information regarding the benefits of testosterone replacement.

Aside from the benefits of symptom relief, more importantly, are the long term benefits that can be seen from testosterone replacement.  Testosterone deficiency is linked to a 260% increase in the risk of acquiring cardiovascular diseases.  Testosterone replacement reduces those risks by dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the body thereby decreasing the risk of coronary artery disease, angina, increasing stamina and reducing blood pressure.  Also, can be found are decreases in fibrin production involved in blood clots, which lead to strokes and heart attacks.  It decreases the production of foam cells, which is the source of plaque formation leading to Atherosclerosis. The muscle building effects of testosterone help to decrease your body mass index (BMI).  This translates into increased fat metabolism, which helps to decrease obesity around the waist.  Increasing muscle mass also helps to increase insulin sensitivity, which decreases insulin resistance that could eventually lead to such conditions as Type 2 Diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome X, a combination of diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Testosterone stimulates increased bone formation, which decreases a condition called Osteoporosis.  It reduces the risk of Alzheimers Disease by reducing the production and formation of the devastating beta amyloid plaques.  Testosterone also helps to improve cognition and memory function with improved blood circulation in the brain and also stimulates nerve growth factors which increase nerve tissue growth.  It decreases depression and improves mood as a result of increased serotonin production.  There is decreased incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions that are seen due to a decrease in inflammatory chemical messengers that provoke these conditions.  These are some of the exceptional benefits of testosterone replacement known today.

Another concern regarding the use of testosterone replacement has been its suspected association with Prostate Cancer.  It was almost universally believed, until just a few years ago, that testosterone replacement therapy would lead to some degree of Prostate Cancer.  This has been another reason why most men and, to a greater degree, the medical community have shied away from testosterone use.  These beliefs and conclusions were based on 3 studies. The first study was by Huggins and Hodges in the 1940 journal of “Cancer Research” involving only 3 patients.  The second was the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Trial, and the third was the 1980 Lupron study regarding the “Testosterone Flare”.  All of these studies had similar conclusions, being that testosterone caused enhanced growth of “existing” prostate cancer.  These conclusions led the medical community to believe that testosterone therapy would cause new prostate cancers to arise or hidden ones to grow. Although, based on erroneous interpretations, this association has been gospel for over 65 years.  However, in 2011 Dr. Morgentaler, a Harvard Professor, did a  2½ year study documenting new evidence generating the “Saturation Model” that explained the paradox of existing prostate cancer growth and it’s suppression.   In this Saturation Model Morgantaler uses the analogy of a house plant that has dried out due to no water for a week.  Upon reviving the plant with water it began to grow, flourish and appear healthy again.  Once having been saturated with water however, no further water would produce any healthier appearance of growth thereafter.  This analogy appropriately describes the “testosterone saturation” effect that it has on enhancing any further prostate cancer growth. Once the prostate has been saturated with testosterone no further growth of the prostate would occur.  Testosterone levels generally above 120ng/dl suppressed growth and provided protection against any prostate cancer growth.

To summarize, the facts are, that low blood levels of testosterone do not protect against prostate cancer, and, in fact, may increase the risk.  High testosterone blood levels do not increase the risk of prostate cancer and are protective.  Thus, the research by Dr. Morgentaler of Harvard University and others clearly state “There is not now, nor has there ever been a scientific basis for the belief that testosterone causes prostate cancer”.

San Ysidro Pharmacy Research Group:

Robin Marzi RD            Nutritionist and Hormonal Educator/Consultant

Bent Formby Ph.D.      Medical Research Scientist with Doctorates in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Steve Hoyt RPh.           Hormonal Educator/Consultant and Pharmacist/owner

July 27, 2012  References available