In the last blog, I mentioned that my “patient” (myself) was experiencing uncharacteristic fatigue and lack of motivation. The regular blood tests showed a normally-functioning thyroid, no anemia and blood sugar regulation within normal parameters. The cholesterol level was slightly high but not significantly changed over the last few years. The total testosterone was within the “normal” range, but the free or “active” testosterone was in the very low part of the range. Remember what I said about testosterone and heart disease? The free or “active” form of Testosterone helps to protect a man’s heart and arteries. Dr. Edward Lichten, M.D. in his “Textbook of Bio-Identical Hormones” states that “scientifically, vitamin D, human growth hormone, thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3), DHEA, and testosterone in men and estradiol in women have strong cardio-protective or therapeutic applications”.
What can a 58-year-old male do to increase his testosterone? Exercise – especially resistance training – tends to increase the testosterone level and the HDL. Reducing fat mass increasing lean muscle mass also reduces the tendency of the body to convert testosterone to estrogen and decreases insulin resistance. It is important for a man’s reproductive health that his body have the correct levels of Zinc, Vitamin E, and certain amino acids (like L-Citrulline and L-Arginine) vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium. Certain herbs are reputed to raise the free testosterone level – in particular, Tribulus terrestris and Eurycoma longifolia. Taking the natural precursors to testosterone production may increase levels e.g., DHEA, if it is available. Reducing stress is very important because high levels of cortisol (produced when stressed) suppresses DHEA. In general, I prefer patients to raise their testosterone levels through natural stimulation – rather than immediate testosterone replacement – if at all possible. Read on as I make testosterone stimulation very personal….
In my case, Blood Spot testing (done by finger prick and is a combination of arterial and venous blood) had previously been done in 2012 and was repeated on the same day as the regular blood tests last month. In 2012, the only parameter that was slightly below normal was the Testosterone level. The current test showed a further 30% drop in testosterone and a 56.5% reduction in DHEAS values. The current results show that there are four cardiovascular parameters that are now abnormal: the triglycerides are elevated (20% more than 2012); the HDL or good cholesterol has decreased by 40%; the VLDL (the very bad LDL cholesterol) is elevated as is the insulin level. In addition, the Vitamin D level is also severely low – which is surprising because I routinely take 2000 IU per day.
In a nutshell, it is my contention that most, if not all, of these cardiovascular-related changes are due to a less-than-optimal testosterone and vitamin D level . Unless I take appropriate action, I will become insulin-resistant (Type 2 diabetic) and the mechanisms of arteriosclerosis will continue to increase. Rather than immediately going for Bio-identical testosterone replacement, I will attempt to raise the testosterone level through exercise, stress reduction, weight reduction, nutrient supplementation and so on over the next few months and will report back to you when the tests are repeated in January 2015.
Until next time…..