Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Men October 11 2014, 0 Comments
Ask the average guy what he knows about hormones, bioidentical hormones or hormone imbalance symptoms and he’ll probably say something like “Hormone imbalance, that’s the reason women get all emotional before their period” or “Hormone imbalance is why women have hot flashes and get crabby when they go through menopause.” Many men don’t realize the crucial role hormones play in their own bodies or recognize that declining and low testosterone levels in men cause significant and progressive symptoms of hormone imbalance.The term “andropause” is referred to as “male menopause” in the mainstream media, and “androgen decline in the aging male (ADAM)” in the medical community. Symptoms of andropause and low testosterone levels in men usually come on gradually due to the progressive decline in testosterone, often coupled with an increase in estrogen production. Low testosterone levels are commonly seen in men over 40, with levels decreasing as early as the 30s. Recent studies suggest the prevalence of low testosterone in men over 45 years may be as high as 38.7%1, with >50% of men having low testosterone by age 70.
What does testosterone do?
Testosterone is an “anabolic” hormone, meaning it builds structural tissue such as muscle, bone, and the heart. Testosterone maintains lean body mass (increased muscle to fat ratio), promotes wound healing, and improves energy level. Testosterone is perhaps best known for maintaining a robust libido (sex drive) and normal erectile function.
Heart health and normal blood sugar levesl are influenced by testosterone. Low testosterone is associated with high insulin levels, and testosterone supplementation has been shown to decrease insulin resistance and help reverse diabetes. In addition, low testosterone is a risk factor for congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. Testosterone also improves blood flow to the heart itself by dilating the coronary arteries.
Brain function such as mental sharpness, memory, concentration, and mood is dependent on optimal testosterone production. Low testosterone is a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease, which currently afflicts someone in the U.S. every 71 seconds. Testosterone also influences brain chemicals that help prevent depression.
Symptoms of testosterone deficiency
The following symptoms are possible with sub-optimal or low testosterone levels in men:
- Accelerated aging
- Decreased muscle mass and strength
- Weight gain
- Low energy
- Poor exercise tolerance or stamina
- Joint stiffness or aching
- Irritability or depression
- Loss of competitive edge
- Decreased memory or poor concentration
- Low libido
- erectile dysfunction
The following conditions have been shown to be associated with sub-optimal or low testosterone levels in men:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
Natural ways to raise low testosterone levels
Low Testosterone levels can be enhanced my maintaining a healthy diet high in good-quality protein and low in simple carbohydrates, and keeping alcohol intake to a minimum. In addition, exercising for 30-45 minutes at least 4 days per week can enhance testosterone production. Avoiding environmental toxins in plastics and pesticides may help, as can reducing stress levels. Supplements, such as zinc and selenium, and herbs, such as saw palmetto and nettles, can improve hormone balance in men. Lastly, since the aromatase enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen is found in fat tissue, maintaining a healthy weight helps optimize testosterone production.
Testing total and free testosterone, as well as estradiol and PSA levels, is crucial after age 40. If levels are low or suboptimal, supplementation with bioidentical testosterone (the same molecule produced by the body) is possible through topical creams or gels, patches, injections, or pellet implants.