Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy the Answer to Slowing Aging
In men, testosterone is the primary male hormone produced mainly in the testicles, which helps maintain:
- Bone density
- Muscle strength
- Sex drive
- Facial and body hair
- Sperm production
- Mood modifier
How Testosterone Works
Throughout the reproductive life of a man, the hypothalamus (part of the brain that produces hormones and regulates body function) receives messages chemical messages from nerve cells in the body and the brain and reacts to these messages. The hypothalamus produces several hormones, among them GnRH, which is then received by the anterior pituitary gland, releasing FSH and LH hormones. These hormones travel to the gonads (testicles). LH causes the testes to make testosterone, and FSH controls sperm production.
While men continue to age, specific changes in their bodies occur that coincide with the reduction of testosterone. Under normal conditions, this is part of the aging process. Much marketing effort has gone into promoting testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and in many circumstances, the treatment is appropriate. However, TRT will not stop the aging process. Lifestyle, diet, exercise, and mental and physical health impact aging. There is only one way to see why testosterone levels may be declining and what is behind that decline. This information is provided by a blood test and a knowledgeable treating physician.
Results of Testosterone Blood Tests
During the 1980s, there was a resurgence in scientific research addressing Low T levels. Now, blood tests for a man can reveal whether there are Low T levels or High T levels. A low T level may mean a chronic disease or a problem with the pituitary gland. High T levels( without steroids or hormones) may indicate a tumor in the testicles or adrenal glands.
“Testosterone treatment can improve symptoms in men with significantly low levels of active (free) testosterone, such as:
- Generalized weakness
- Low energy
- Disabling frailty
- Problems with sexual function
- Problems with cognition.”
According to Harvard Health, testosterone is synthesized in the body from cholesterol (this function is unrelated to high or low cholesterol). Problems associated with HIGH levels of testosterone or High T (often related to anabolic steroids or other hormones used to increase muscle mass and athletic performance) can cause:
- Low sperm count, shrinking of the testicles, or impotence
- Heart muscle damage
- Prostate enlargement
- Liver disease
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Mood swings
It is difficult for medicine to determine normal levels in a man since levels vary during the day and from individual to individual. However, there is a natural reduction of testosterone in the body as a man ages. However, conditions outside the aging process contribute to the reduced testosterone levels mentioned above. Multiple conditions can cause problems with testosterone production—one such condition is hypogonadism (an issue that impacts testosterone production in the testicles or with the pituitary gland).
Still, a blood test is the only credible way to determine what is happening in the body. Additionally, it is difficult for treating physicians who do not specialize in TRT to understand Low T levels and the clinical signs/symptoms of the deficiency. It should be understood that there is no preventative role for aging in hormone replacement treatments. Studies are now showing that poor health, such as obesity and physical inactivity, have a strong correlation to reduced testosterone levels.
Seeking Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
It is important to stress that TRT must be closely monitored by the treating physician, who is aware of the pros and cons of TRT. According to the Penn Medicine newsletter, besides conditions such as hypogonadism and other related disorders, a variety of factors can also result from lower testosterone levels. These include too much exercise, poor diet, serious illness, sedentary lifestyle, alcoholism, and stress. Buying testosterone supplements without proper testing should be avoided. Additionally, testosterone supplements are not an anti-aging cure, especially if one has normal testosterone levels.
Ways to Receive TRT
There are a variety of ways TRT is administered.
- Gel (rubbed into the skin)
- Injection (given in a muscle or under the skin)
- Patch (applied every night to thigh or torso)
- Gum and cheek (a putty-like substance used on the gums and cheeks)
- Nasal (spray pumped into the nostrils)
- Implantable pellets (surgically implanted under the skin)
Feeling TRT Effects
It is difficult to state how quickly one can respond to TRT. Many factors determine how testosterone works in one’s body.
- Proper dosage
- Estrogen (another hormone) levels
- Androgen receptors saturation ( required for proper absorption of testosterone in the Cells)
Initial effects may be felt 3-4 weeks after the start of treatment, followed by more lasting effects 6 months later for issues related to erections/ejaculations. Other conditions also vary from onset of effects to peek effects.
There are many benefits to testosterone replacement therapy, especially if one suffers from one of the many conditions responsible for Low T counts. The research is unclear about the impact on the body if a man with normal testosterone levels decides to take testosterone supplements to stop the aging process.
Androgenix Advance Health and Wellness Center offers you a safe, secure, positive environment to discuss your concerns without embarrassment. We can help you understand the potential benefits of hormone replacement therapy. Our staff will help you every step of the way. Contact us today and feel better.
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.