Testosterone Is Not Just For Sex

funkyicon_maleHormone Optimization Therapy is important to every man, and at every age past puberty.  It might surprise you to know that the average man in his thirties these days has less measurable testosterone than his grandfather did at the same age – which probably explains why many thirty-year-olds are still living at home!  My theory is that these lowered testosterone levels (and the availability of online pornography) are killing the desire for young males to go out and start families of their own.  In other words, “the population-level declines are greater in magnitude than the cross-sectional declines in testosterone typically associated with age.” (J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab 2006, Oct 24)

What do optimal levels of testosterone do for a man?  If we take sexual desire and erections out of the equation for a moment, an adequate level of testosterone contributes to brain, bone, muscle and heart health – and reduces overall mortality rates.  A 2007 study had been following 800 men over the age of fifty for 18 years.  The group of men with values in the lower 1/3 testosterone level had a 33% increased rate of death from all causes than those men whose values were in the upper 1/3 testosterone level.  Another way to say this is… a higher level of testosterone that a man has as he ages reduces his risk of dying.  High free testosterone levels correlate with improved cognitive function and memory, and reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  Lower testosterone levels are associated with coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis.  Testosterone improves exercise-induced angina as it dilates coronary arteries.  High cholesterol has been associated with low testosterone and testosterone therapy has been shown to lower total cholesterol.  Testosterone therapy builds muscle mass in elderly men and increases bone strength.  These are just a few examples in current literature of the benefits of having enough testosterone.

The following is a list of symptoms indicating that a man may be low in testosterone:  decreased muscle mass and strength;  decreased sex drive;  reduced frequency and firmness of erections;  reduced ejaculate volume;  hot flushes;  excessive emotions/sensitivity to difficulty;  unnecessary worry anxiety, fear;  depression;  loss of self-confidence;  joint pains;  persistent fatigue that increases with activity; dry eyes;  reduced muscle tone;  depressed attitude;  nervous, irritable;  poor concentration and memory;  pale skin/anemia;  increased fat in breasts, abdomen and hips;  metabolic syndrome.  If you have any of these symptoms/signs on a continuing basis, please mention them to your primary health care provider and ask for testing to rule out testosterone deficiency. If, after the testing is done, your provider says that you are in the “normal” range, please ask him or her where in the normal range do your values fall?  If you are in the lower 1/3 of the range you are at risk (re-read paragraph number two above) and should consider or hormone optimization therapy.  In the next blog, I will talk about the ways to optimize testosterone levels – both naturally and by replacement.

~ Dr. Gatis