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What is testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testes and helps maintain:

  • Sex drive and performance
  • Muscle strength and mass
  • Bone density and strength
  • Red blood cell production and energy

As men age past age 30-40, hormonal changes occur that perceptibly inhibit physical, sexual, and cognitive function. The outward appearance of a typical middle-aged male shows increased abdominal fat and shrinkage of muscle mass, a hallmark effect of hormone imbalance. Loss of a feeling of well-being, sometimes manifesting as depression, is a common psychological complication of a hormone imbalance. Until recently, these changes were attributed to "growing old," and men were expected to accept the fact that their bodies were entering into a long degenerative process that would someday result in death.

A remarkable amount of data has been compiled indicating that many of the diseases that middle-aged men begin experiencing, including depression, fatigue, abdominal weight gain, alterations in mood and cognition, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, prostate disease, and heart disease are directly related to hormone imbalances that are correctable with currently available drug and nutrient therapies. The onset of these symptoms usually can appear in the late 30s, although with smokers the onset is significantly earlier.

To the patient's detriment, conventional doctors are increasingly prescribing drugs to treat depression, elevated cholesterol, angina, and a host of other diseases that might be caused by an underlying hormone imbalance.

If doctors checked their male patients' blood levels of estrogen, testosterone and thyroid, they might be surprised to learn that many problems could be eliminated by adjusting hormone levels to fit the profile of a healthy 21-year-old male.

Only specialist physicians are familiar with the hormone blood tests that should be ordered for men and have the experience required to properly adjust hormones to reverse the degenerative changes that begin in midlife.

Too Much Estrogen:

The most significant hormone imbalance in aging men is a decrease in free testosterone, while estrogen levels remain the same or increase precipitously. As men grow older, they experience a variety of disorders relating to the dual effects of having too little testosterone and excess estrogen. The result is a testosterone-estrogen imbalance that directly causes many of the debilitating health problems associated with normal aging.

One cause of hormone imbalance in men is that their testosterone is increasingly converted to estrogen. The reason that testosterone replacement therapy does not work by itself for many men is that exogenously administered testosterone may convert (aromatize) into even more estrogen, thus potentially worsening the hormone imbalance problem in aging males (i.e., too much estrogen and not enough free testosterone). Although there are studies that show that testosterone replacement therapy does not increase estrogen beyond normal reference ranges, we will show later how the standard laboratory reference ranges do not adequately address the issue of estrogen overload.

When there is too little testosterone present, estrogen attaches to testosterone cell receptor sites throughout the body and creates many problems in aging men including reduction of sexual arousal and causing the loss of libido so common in aging men.

One further complication of excess estrogen is that it increases the body's production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds free testosterone in the blood and makes it unavailable to cell receptor sites.

Based on the multiple deleterious effects of excess estrogen in men, aggressive action should be taken to reduce estrogen to a safe range if a blood test reveals elevated levels.

The Critical Importance of Free Testosterone (Dallas, TX):

Dallas, testosterone is much more than a sex hormone. There are testosterone receptor sites in cells throughout the body, most notably in the brain and heart. Youthful protein synthesis for maintaining muscle mass and bone formation requires testosterone. Dallas, testosterone improves oxygen uptake throughout the body, helps control blood sugar, regulates cholesterol, and maintains immune surveillance. The body requires testosterone to maintain youthful cardiac output and neurological function. Dallas, testosterone is also a critical hormone in the maintenance of healthy bone density, muscle mass and red blood cell production.

Of critical concern to psychiatrists are studies showing that men with depression have lower levels of testosterone than do control subjects. For some men, elevating free testosterone levels could prove to be an effective antidepressant therapy. There is a basis for free testosterone levels being measured in men with depression and for replacement therapy being initiated if free testosterone levels are low normal or below normal.

Numerous studies show that maintaining youthful levels of free testosterone can enable the aging man to restore strength, stamina, cognition, heart function, sexuality, and outlook on life, that is, to alleviate depression.

Why Testosterone Levels Decline:

Dallas, testosterone production begins in the brain. When the hypothalamus detects a deficiency of testosterone in the blood it secretes a hormone called Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone to the pituitary gland. This prompts the pituitary to secrete luteinizing hormone (LH), which then prompts the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone.

In some men, the testes lose their ability to produce testosterone, no matter how much LH is being produced. In this case, this is why testosterone levels decline. This type of testosterone deficiency is diagnosed when blood tests show high levels of LH and low levels of testosterone. In other words, the pituitary gland is telling the testes (by secreting LH) to produce testosterone, but the testes have lost their functional ability. So the pituitary gland vainly continues to secrete LH because there is not enough testosterone in the blood to provide a feedback mechanism that would tell the pituitary to shut down.

In other cases, the hypothalamus, or pituitary gland, fails to produce sufficient amounts of LH, thus preventing healthy testes from secreting testosterone. Blood testing can determine whether sufficient amounts of LH are being secreted by the pituitary gland and help determine the appropriate therapeutic approach. If serum testosterone levels are very low, it is important to diagnose the cause, but no matter what the underlying problem, therapies exist today to safely restore testosterone to youthful levels in any man.

The Effects of Testosterone on Low Libido:

Sexual stimulation and erection begin in the brain when neuronal testosterone-receptor sites are prompted to ignite a cascade of biochemical events that involve testosterone-receptor sites in the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Free testosterone promotes sexual desire and then facilitates performance, sensation, and the ultimate degree of fulfillment.

Without adequate levels of free testosterone Dallas, the quality of a man's sex life is adversely affected and the genitals atrophy. When free testosterone is restored, positive changes can be expected in the structure and function of the sex organs. (It should be noted that sexual dysfunction can be caused by other factors unrelated to hormone imbalance. An example of such a factor is arteriosclerotic blockage of the penile arteries.)

The genital-pelvic region is packed with testosterone receptors that are ultra-sensitive to free testosterone-induced sexual stimulation. Clinical studies using testosterone injections, creams, or patches have often failed to provide a long-lasting, libido-enhancing effect in aging men. We now know why. The testosterone can be converted to estrogen. The estrogen is then taken up by testosterone receptor sites in cells throughout the body. When an estrogen molecule occupies a testosterone receptor site on a cell membrane, it blocks the ability of serum testosterone to induce a healthy hormonal signal. It does not matter how much serum free testosterone is available if excess estrogen is competing for the same cellular receptor sites.

Estrogen can also increase the production of SHBG, which binds the active free testosterone into an inactive "bound testosterone." Bound testosterone cannot be picked up by testosterone receptors on cell membranes. For testosterone to produce long-lasting, libido-enhancing effects, it must be kept in the "free" form (not bound to SHBG) in the bloodstream. It is also necessary to suppress excess estrogen because this hormone can compete for testosterone receptor sites in the sex centers of the brain and the genitals.

Restoring youthful hormone balance can have a significant impact on male sexuality.

Testosterone and the Heart:

Normal aging results in the gradual weakening of the heart, even in the absence of significant coronary artery disease. If nothing else kills the elderly male, his heart just stops beating at some point.

Testosterone is a muscle-building hormone, and there are many testosterone-receptor sites in the heart. The weakening of the heart muscle can sometimes be attributed to testosterone deficiency.

Testosterone is not only responsible for maintaining heart muscle protein synthesis, it is also a promoter of coronary artery dilation and helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

There are an ever-increasing number of studies indicating an association between high testosterone and low cardiovascular disease rates in men. In the majority of patients, symptoms and EKG measurements improve when low testosterone levels are corrected. One study showed that blood flow to the heart improved 68.8% in those receiving testosterone therapy. In China, doctors are successfully treating angina with testosterone therapy.

Testosterone and the Prostate Gland:

Many Dallas doctors will tell you that testosterone causes prostate disease. The published scientific literature indicates otherwise.

The major concern that has kept men from restoring their testosterone to youthful levels is the fear of prostate cancer. The theory is that since most prostate cancer cell lines need testosterone to proliferate, it is better not to replace the testosterone that is lost with aging. The problem with this theory is that most men who develop prostate cancer have low levels of testosterone, and the majority of published studies show that serum testosterone levels do not affect one's risk for contracting prostate cancer.

Testosterone and Depression:

A consistent finding in the scientific literature is that testosterone replacement therapy produces an increased feeling of well-being. Published studies show that low testosterone correlates with symptoms of depression and other psychological disorders.

A common side effect of prescription antidepressant drugs is the suppression of libido. Those with depression either accept this drug-induced reduction in quality of life, or get off the antidepressant drugs so they can at least have a somewhat normal sex life. If more psychiatrists tested their patients' blood for free testosterone and prescribed natural testosterone therapies to those with low free testosterone, the need for libido-suppressing antidepressant drugs could be reduced or eliminated. As previously described, testosterone replacement often enhances libido, the opposite effect of most prescription antidepressants.

One study showed that patients with major depression experienced improvement that was equal to that achieved with standard antidepressant drugs.

Androderm is one of several natural testosterone-replacement therapies that can be prescribed by doctors. A 12-month clinical trial using this FDA-approved drug resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the depression score (6.9 before versus 3.9 after). Also noted were highly significant decreases in fatigue: from 79% before the patch to only 10% after 12 months.

The following effects have been reported in response to low testosterone levels:

  • Loss of ability to concentrate
  • Moodiness and emotionality
  • Touchiness and irritability
  • Great timidity
  • Feeling weak
  • Inner unrest
  • Memory failure
  • Reduced intellectual agility
  • Passive attitudes
  • General tiredness
  • Reduced interest in surroundings
  • Hypochondria

The above feelings can all be clinical symptoms of depression, and testosterone replacement therapy has been shown to alleviate these conditions. Dallas, testosterone thus has exciting therapeutic potential in the treatment of depression in men.

Testosterone and Aging:

We know that many of the degenerative diseases of aging in men, such as Type-II diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease, are related to a testosterone deficiency. We also know that common characteristics of middle age and older age, such as depression, abdominal fat deposition, muscle atrophy, low energy, and cognitive decline, are also associated with less than optimal levels of free testosterone.

A consistent pattern that deals with fundamental aging shows that low testosterone causes excess production of a dangerous hormone called cortisol. Some anti-aging experts call cortisol a "death hormone" because of the multiple degenerative effects that it produces. Some of these effects are immune dysfunction, brain cell injury, and arterial wall damage.

Obesity and Hormone Imbalance:

A consistent finding in scientific literature is that obese men have low testosterone and very high estrogen levels. Central or visceral obesity ("pot belly") is recognized as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and Type-II diabetes. Research has shed light on subtle hormone imbalances of borderline character in obese men that often fall within the normal laboratory reference range. Boosting testosterone levels seems to decrease the abdominal fat mass, reverse glucose intolerance, and reduce lipoprotein abnormalities in the serum. Further analysis has also disclosed a regulatory role for testosterone in counteracting visceral fat accumulation.

Growth Hormone Therapy Can:

Reduce excess body fat, especially abdominal fat. (The reduction of abdominal fat is the single most profound effect of Human Growth Hormone Therapy).

  • Increase muscle mass.
  • Reduce wrinkling of the skin and some physical effects of aging.
  • Re-grow internal organs that have atrophied with age.
  • Increase bone density.
  • Strengthen the immune system.