Men’s Health: Male Hormone Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Why did cavemen, rather than cavewomen, hunt animals for meat? What causes young boys to suddenly develop an interest in the opposite sex? What causes young boys’ voices to change from soprano to bass, to develop hair on their faces and muscles on their arms?
Why do teenage boys drag race? What causes young soldiers to charge a hill under hostile gun fire? Testosterone!
That’s right. There is a profound biological difference between the sexes. No matter what politically correct spin is put on it, men and women are not the same and it has to do with the difference in sex hormones.
Men’s testicles produce both sperm and testosterone, the male hormone. The presence of this hormone creates the physical, emotional and mindset which dramatically differentiates men from women.
Review the following effects that testosterone has in men:
- Causes the formation of the internal and external male sex organs
- Promotes the development of the mass, strength and tone of the muscles
- Decreases body fat
- Stimulates the formation and increase of bone mass
- Stimulates the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow
- Enhances libido and sexual potency
- Initiates the production of sperm by the testicles
- Increases metabolism by enhancing the conversion of the inactive thyroid hormone, T4, to the active thyroid hormone, T3, within the cells
- Promotes heart function
Testosterone also initiates male pattern behavior: initiative, assertiveness, sense of well being, self confidence, elevated moods, decisiveness, goal orientation, abstract thinking, and mathematical ability
When men lose their testicles to disease or injury, they have difficulty reading a map, performing math problems and making decisions. They lack initiative and have depressed and irritable moods. However, biologically identical testosterone supplementation alleviates these symptoms and enables men to perform these normal functions. Most importantly, testosterone affects the brain function of men.
Just as the sex hormones decline in women over time, there is a gradual and steady decline in testosterone as men age. This condition is known as andropause, which is analogous to menopause in women. Although testosterone production in men does not stop completely, it does gradually decline over their lifetime. By the time a man is 40 years old, his testosterone level will be approximately 1/2 of what it was when it peaked in his twenties. By the time a man is 50 years old, it will be 1/3 of its peak; at 60 it will ? or less of its peak level. The natural course of production of all the various hormones in our body is downward after they have peaked in our late teens and early twenties.
The signs and symptoms of testosterone decline are as follows:
- Loss of muscle mass and strength
- Decrease in the size of the penis
- Erection difficulties
- Decline in libido
- Increased body fat around the waist
- Lower red blood cell counts
- Lower sperm counts
- Decreases hair in the pubic area and under the arms
- Diminished stamina and endurance
- Loss of energy
- Depressed and irritable moods
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of goals
- Poor sense of well being
- Loss of initiative and assertiveness
- Loss of interest in work
- Focusing on retirement prematurely
- Bone loss and osteoporosis
The decline in testosterone and other hormones is the prelude to the degenerative diseases which afflict men as they age, such as heart disease, arthritis, obesity, high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes and cancer. There is also a decline in testicular function with age associated with a concomitant decline in testosterone. This is common in males, but it is not healthy. While these diseases may occur in younger individuals, their incidence increases with age and the associated decline in hormones.
Petrochemicals in the environment hasten the decline in male testosterone levels. Petrochemical products are found throughout our environment, in pesticides in our homes and in our foods, in the plastic bottles from which we drink and in which we cook, in dry cleaning fluid, and in hair sprays and body lotions, to name a just a few sources. Petrochemicals mimic estrogen hormones and are referred to as xenoestrogens. Because they are fat soluble, exposure to petrochemicals of any kind are absorbed into our fat cells and the fat molecules which surround every cell. Xenoestrogens disrupt the production of testosterone in men and antagonize the effect of testosterone in the body. In western societies, the male sperm count has declined by at least 50% since the 1950’s. There has been a significant rise in testicular cancer over the same time period, as well as in the incidence of young boys with undescended testicles at birth. Numerous petrochemicals have been proven to cause various types of cancers in both males and females.
The diagnosis of andropause, the decline in male hormone, may easily be made based upon the patient’s age and clinical symptoms. The diagnosis may be confirmed by obtaining a free testosterone blood level. Only 1% of testosterone is free and available for use by the cells of the body. The remaining 99% of testosterone is bound to proteins in the blood and unavailable to be utilized by the cells.
Biologically identical human testosterone may be supplemented using creams, gels, patches, capsules, pellets and injections. Clinically, the best results are by weekly injections of 100-150mg. Testosterone Cypionate is in an oil base, which allows for a slow release. This maintains a steady blood level of testosterone without the associated highs and lows that accompany larger and infrequent injections. When large injections are given less frequently, the extra testosterone may be converted to estrone, an estrogen hormone, by the fat cells of the body. This leads to an effect opposite than the one desired. Consequently, it is better to administer a lower dosage of testosterone more frequently.
Some pharmaceutical companies have manufactured counterfeit testosterone hormones which have serious side effects. These are methyltestosterone and flouxylmesterone. These hormones have even been combined with estrogen hormones for women. These counterfeit testosterone products have been associated with severe liver disorders including liver cancer.
Many physicians will warn men about taking testosterone supplementation under the false conception that it may promote prostate cancer. Long term studies have demonstrated that there is no increased risk for prostate cancer in men who use biologically identical testosterone supplementation. As a matter of fact, it is not young men, with high testosterone levels who develop prostate cancer, but rather old men with low testosterone levels.