How Testosterone Replacement Therapy Changes Natural Hormone Production
With the FDA began reinvestigating testosterone replacement therapy, natural supplements were clearly the best Choice.
Testosterone is the hormone that gives men the qualities that define them: musculature, the ability to be aggressive, body hair and a deep voice. As a sex hormone, it also makes genital growth at puberty possible, powers libido and enables sperm production. As with most hormones, testosterone plays roles that go far beyond its primary areas of action. It has roles to play fostering better vitality, health and thought.
As one grows older, the complex biological systems responsible for the availability of testosterone gradually begin to wind down. Starting in the mid-40s, the body's ability to produce the hormone begins to fail. In one's 50s and 60s, the drop in hormone levels may be sharp enough to make normal functioning difficult. With the lower levels of vitality, energy and libido that falling testosterone levels bring, life can become less pleasurable. Yet, hypogonadism, as it is known, is almost completely untreated. Researchers estimate that only about 5% of those affected seek treatment.
The 5% who do seek treatment for the symptoms of testosterone deficiency are usually quickly handed prescriptions for testosterone replacement therapy -- the conventional answer to the problem that doctors prefer today. Even basic blood tests are often ignored. Men who receive prescriptions often do not even have well-defined symptoms. To those who are unaware of the way in which hormone production works, the seriousness of these casual prescriptions may not be immediately apparent.
It isn't often that researchers go on major newspapers to warn the general population against major, established treatment courses. This is exactly what happened in the NYT in February 2014 in an op-ed piece. Testosterone replacement therapy isn't just problematic because doctors hand out prescriptions without due consideration. The problems come from the unintended consequences inherent to the approach.
To begin, administering testosterone does more than just raise hormone levels. It also raises the risk of heart disease. A major study published in PLOS ONE found that in those who underwent testosterone replacement, the risk of heart attacks occurring doubled within three months. The findings of the study is so serious, it has made the FDA start a new investigation into testosterone replacement therapy.
In hypogonadism, the body doesn't entirely lose its ability to produce its own testosterone. Rather, it enters a state of depressed production, making half or more of what it needs. When synthetic testosterone is supplied from outside (exogenous testosterone is the technical term), its effect is to discourage the body from carrying on with its natural production. It makes the testicles shrink and wither away. They no longer have the ability to function. This alone should worry men.
Exogenous testosterone, in other words, makes itself indispensable. Once you start testosterone replacement therapy, you can't quit: your body will not be able to pick up where it left off. The crash in your libido, general mood and overall health will be so severe that you will want to go back on the treatment immediately.
The literature supplied with TRT medication packaging is usually worded to suggest that there is no evidence to show that addiction or dependence are involved. What they cleverly avoid mentioning is that there are no major research studies on the subject. They simply take advantage of this fact to claim that there is no evidence of addiction.
A few smaller studies do suggest that addiction is a reality with TRT. One study published in Fertility and Sterility Journal, titled The treatment of hypogonadism in men of reproductive age, found that an important effect of testosterone replacement therapy is to set up the body to expect to function on a high level of testosterone.
When exogenous testosterone is removed, the body does try to rally around and regain its ability to produce testosterone. Nevertheless, in some men, most disturbing symptoms of hypogonadism persist. Their bodies refuse to recognize the natural production that the body manages, and demands high levels to feel normal. This is exactly the way in which addiction works.
Losing weight is one of the most effective natural ways possible to help with testosterone production. A study published in the 2012 Endocrine Society annual meeting finds that for overweight men, every 17 pounds lost results in a 15% boost in testosterone production. Getting off alcohol and including fresh produce in the diet can help, as well.
One of the safest and most reliable ways of boosting testosterone production is to put the right nutrients in your system in the form of proven supplements. While many natural formulas do exist, products that contain herb eurycoma longifolia (tongkiat ali) in pure, concentrated form have been shown to dramatically raise the body's ability to produce its own hormone. Trusted brands like Predoxen offer formulations with such herbs.
The fact that the FDA has reopened investigation into the safety of testosterone replacement therapy should serve as a warning to anyone considering treatments of this kind. When it comes to hormone replacement, women have long learned their lesson. Since the early 90s, women have discovered that synthetic estrogen and progesterone increase health risks, and the risk of addiction so great that they make for a foolhardy choice. Men can learn from the experience that women have had. Natural hormone boosting supplements and not synthetic replacements are the answer.