Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that is vital to keep in check man’s primal and carnal desire. It is also critically involved in building lean muscle, burning fat, and supporting blood function, energy level & mood, immune function, and bone density. By the 7th decade, a man’s testosterone level may only be 20% of what it was in his youth. This slow and steady decline in testosterone can start as early as the mid-30s, and can result in an increased risk of life-threatening illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This event is termed andropause, the male equivalent of female menopause.
Like men, one issue with testosterone that complicates matters is the fact that it exists in several different forms in the blood, and each form has a different hormonal activity. “Free” or unbound testosterone is a fully active hormone, but protein-bound testosterone are only partly active, or sometimes completely inactive. What is usually measured in a blood draw is the total testosterone, which is a combination of the free and protein-bound forms.
The good news is that many symptoms of testosterone deficiency can be reversed by restoring youthful testosterone levels in a variety of ways. Millions of men are now using testosterone-building supplements and even testosterone itself for this reason.
In a nutshell:
Regular blood testing can help you and your physician decide if testosterone therapy is right for you.
Optimizing testosterone levels requires a multi-pronged approach that includes optimal diet, proper nutrition, nutritional supplements, exercise, and bioidentical testosterone, if necessary. Optimizing testosterone levels in men requires a multi-faceted approach that includes proper lifestyle, nutrition, nutritional supplements (such as lignan and plant extracts), dietary modifications, and exercise, as well as testosterone supplementation and other prescriptive approaches when indicated.
Initially, a medical history and physical examination should be performed, along with a blood-testing panel that includes not only testosterone levels, but also other important parameters such as fasting glucose, PSA, estradiol, and complete blood counts.
Careful, thoughtful optimization of testosterone levels with a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan can result in dramatic improvements in one’s overall health and well-being.
For men who no longer produce enough testosterone, a topical cream can be applied to restore testosterone to youthful ranges. These testosterone creams usually come in delivery systems that enable the precise amount of this hormone to be applied to the skin each day for absorption into the bloodstream.
The reason testosterone cream is used as opposed to tablets is that the oral ingestion of testosterone can result in rapid degradation in the liver and wildly inconsistent blood levels. A testosterone cream, on the other hand, gradually releases into the bloodstream, which is more analogous to the way testosterone is naturally secreted each day by the testicles of younger men.
Follow-up blood testing 30-60 days later is important to ensure that PSA, estradiol, and other blood markers stay in normal ranges. Some men will aromatize (or convert) testosterone into estrogen, which necessitates the use of aromatase inhibitor drugs or nutrient-lifestyle changes to inhibit excess aromatase activity.
It’s important to know that if you’ve had prostate cancer or breast cancer you are absolutely not a candidate for testosterone therapy. Testosterone can make either of these cancers grow faster.
It would only be fair to also mention the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy in this article:
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