If You Don’t Have Enough;  Health Will Suffer And You are Wasting Your Time In the Gym!

As hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has become much more common place, and there is a growing understanding that keeping men in the “healthy” range for testosterone (T) has various benefits, I wanted to briefly address the issue. For those who need a refresher on the basics of blood work, see my article “It’s In Your Blood

To review the general issues of low T in men, according to one recent review by a Dr. Shabsigh and colleagues:

“Hypogonadism (low testosterone) is associated with central obesity; insulin resistance; low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL); high cholesterol levels; and high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides, fibrinogen, and plasminogen activator-1. Some observational studies show a correlation between low testosterone and cardiovascular disease (CVD), and others show no correlation. Interventional studies do not reveal a direct long-term relation between testosterone therapy and CVD. Short-term data suggest cardiovascular benefits of testosterone.”•

The above review also leaves out other known effects of low T, such as loss of libido, depression, loss of muscle mass and decreases performance, as well as other issues best avoided.

Most studies find clear health benefits for men with hypogonadism treated with HRT. However, some fears of long term side effects such as cardio vascular disease (CVD) and prostate cancer have been raised. These fears appear to be unfounded, with benefits to the cardio vascular system for men low in T.

So what of the risks of CVD or prostate cancer with HRT?

The jury is still out, but most data does not find an association between HRT and CVD or prostate cancer. For example, a retrospective analysis by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center published in The New England Journal of Medicine found no causal relationship between testosterone replacement and prostate cancer or heart disease risk. According to Dr. Abraham Morgentaler:

“We reviewed decades of research and found no compelling evidence that testosterone replacement therapy increases the incidence of prostate cancer or cardiovascular disease.”••

This review of 72 studies puts to rest-at least for me- that there is any risk of testosterone replacement therapy, at least where it concerns CVD or prostate cancer. Not everyone would agree with that opinion however and anyone considering HRT should get full blood workup done and talk with their doctor about it.

But what about healthy men with normal testosterone levels taking additional testosterone? That’s a little less clear at this time. Studies are conflicting whether or not adding additional testosterone to men with normal levels presents an increased risk. However, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) – considered one of the most prestigious medical and scientific journals in the world – found healthy men given 600mg per week of testosterone enanthate did not suffer any side effects, negative changes in lipid profiles, and did not see a rise in prostate-specific antigens, or increased aggression. •••

But what if the person has already had a heart attack? Interestingly, one study suggests testosterone therapy may actually help after a heart attack, but it’s preliminary research done on animals. ••••

This is just a sample of the many studies published on the topic. Finally, what about the very high doses used by high level bodybuilders and other athletes? That’s petty much an unknown at this time. As with many hormones, below a certain levels, health issues arise and above a certain level, the same thing happens, though the health issues may or may not be the same. For example, very high levels or very low levels of T may present an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) but far more is known about too little vs. too much when it comes to testosterone and CVD or prostate issues, etc. At the very high doses used by some athletes it would not surprise me if there was an increased risk of CVD but data is scarce here. So what’s the take home?

• For men with low testosterone, studies are quite clear the benefit of HRT outweigh the risks by a long shot.

• In men with normal testosterone who take moderate doses (defined here as 600mg per week or less), there appears to be little risk, at least in the short term. Other side effects, such as acne, hair loss (if genetically susceptible) and others are still possible however and should not be ignored

• In bodybuilders and other athletes taking very high doses, say above 1000mg per week or more, the risks are unclear and not recommended without very close medical supervision, especially if other risk factors are involved, such as a family history of CVD, etc.

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the issue.

Cites:

• Cardiovascular issues in hypogonadism and testosterone therapy.Am J Cardiol. 2005 Dec 26;96(12B):67M-72M.

••http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases…0129072631.htm

••• “The Effects Of Supraphysiologic Doses Of Testosterone On Muscle Size And Strength In Normal Men (vol.336, July, 96).

•••• Cardiovasc Res. 2003 Feb;57(2):370-8.

Effect of testosterone on post-myocardial infarction remodeling and function. Cardiovasc Res. 2003 Feb;57(2):370-8

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17 Comments
  1. Acai Cleanse 10 years ago

    Nice bog you have here. I pretty much lurk the internet when I’m bored and read all I can about the organic lifestyle, but I really liked you view on things. I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!

  2. Author
    Will Brink 10 years ago

    Good deal! Look for more good content in the near future.

  3. Primetime 10 years ago

    Testosterone and prostate cancer is a great example of a prevailing myth.
    This basic notion or suspicion, is the result of a “study” of ONE patient back in 1941! That right “one”. It more like a study that the supplement industry would credit as credible. (“Studies show… BS, BS…”)
    It has been a great sound byte for years for all opposing or ignorantly afraid of steroids and now TRT. Millions have been spent on studies that have tried to prove this as a medical fact or at least as a probability, but they have come up negative.
    If you HAVE colon cancer the Mayo states that Testosterone may: “Stimulate growth of prostate cancer that’s already present”
    See: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/testosterone-therapy/MC00030
    When it comes to steroids, where are all the dead bodies?
    (Do you have any idea how many children die from moms iron supplements each year?)
    By the way, I don’t take steroids, but as I am approaching 50 it looks like TRT is very valid option and is likely to also be very beneficial.
    Keep up the good work Will…

  4. J N 10 years ago

    Why would anyone need Hormone Replacement Therapy when
    there are so many ways to stimulate our natural testosterone,
    then anti estrogens and anti dihydrotestosterone let alone steroidal analogues?
    Another thing the amount of testosterone produced by males
    do not determine sex drive, libido, sexual orientation it’s all in the state of mind because adolescent males who are straight
    and good looking can not get an erection for unattractive
    females yet they will for attractive females on the other hand
    straight males in their 70’s can not get an erection for unattractive
    females yet they will for attractive females.

  5. Frever t. 10 years ago

    The quality of the info is what keeps me on this site, thanks!

  6. […] that makes men men. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of this hormone, and readers can see that via my other writings on the topic found throughout this web site. Everyone, men and women, can potentially benefit from […]

  7. Dianne Luiz 8 years ago

    I enjoyed your article and the ideas provided. There are plenty of opinions out there that are both savvy and bad. If you know of any more suggestions concerning natural health or simliar topics, that would be greatly appreciated. Keep up the excellent writing!

  8. Grace Smith 8 years ago

    Now this is what i was talking about, nice!

  9. Winding Machine 8 years ago

    ,,* I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives great information :*-

  10. dougie 8 years ago

    Will….im 52 yrs and wondered about this subject & was wondering if you know of D-35 Complex cream and if you think it would be of benefit…ie Testosterone… cheers DOUGIE. Scotland

    • Author
      Will Brink 8 years ago

      Not sure D-35 Complex cream is, but I have no faith in the OTC non prescription “T booster” type products that are a;; the rage these days. See my other blog posts on that topic.

  11. […] that makes men men. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of this hormone, and readers can see that via my other writings on the topic found throughout this web site. Everyone, men and women, can potentially benefit from […]

  12. Zoraida Perloff 7 years ago

    I must disagree with your post, just don’t believe all the facts are researched correctly. I did enjoy reading it, I will check back!

  13. Jeff Spicer 7 years ago

    Have what my doctor considers normal levels quote for my age I do not agree have been supplementing with a natural supp. and have raised it by 50pts. also what is the difference between full spectrum amino acids and branched chain?

    • Author
      Will Brink 7 years ago

      Full spectrum, which is not a science term, just means all the aminos found in a complete protein I would think, and Branched Chain are 3 specific amino acids often favored by athletes. I cover them in The Sports Supplement Bible and Body Building Revealed if interested.

  14. Ronbowe63 6 years ago

    Omair,I think you miss understood the article.Will is talking about people with LOW testosterone;below the ref range.You cant even imagine how bad it feels.No energy at all,very bad depression,very fatiged,fall asleep two hours after you wake up ,even if you just drank 3 cups of coffee,no intress in sex(that will get your wife wondering);no going to the gym thats for sure.It was by far the worst experence in my life,almost drove off the road several times from falling asleep,before I finally had my doctor check my test level,total t was 167.I guess some people handle it better but for me it was a nightmare.

  15. William Wiltshire 6 years ago

    Hi Will, great article! I agree 100%. I was diagnosed with secondary hypogonadism a few years ago by my Dr. and prior to starting Testosterone, I was prescribed HCG but it did not bring my levels high enough for the Dr. Before starting TRT I had all the classical symptoms of Low T. I also tried lots so called “t Boosters” and nothing worked. I tried D-Aspartic, Tribulus, Maca, Tongkat, and nothing worked. After 9 months of TRT getting my dosage adjusted and monitoring others blood chemistries I am happy to say I feel like new person. I lost lots of Abdominal fat, and have more energy and strength now. TRT has helped me also reverse some of the Metabolic Syndrome and did NOT increase my lipids or Blood Pressure. The key to TRT is to get the correct blood tests and be monitored by a knowledgeable Physician. Remember TRT is replacement of what your body is not producing. Juicing for bodybuilding is something totally different. I avoid the latter of the two.

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