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Testosterone is a sex hormone produced primarily in the testicles and it plays an important role throughout the body. Testosterone helps regulating several functions in men such as:1,2
Testosterone secretion follows a circadian rhythm, meaning that the highest levels typically occur in the morning.3 For this reason, blood samples to measure testosterone should be taken between 7 and 10 am. In general, testosterone levels are the highest during adolescence and early adulthood. As you age, levels will gradually decline – on average 1 percent a year after age 30. At the same time, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) will increase. Both of these changes will decrease bioavailable testosterone.4 In healthy men, the testosterone distribution pool has roughly 60 percent of SHBG – bound testosterone, 38 percent album-bind, and roughly 2 percent free testosterone. With age, due to simultaneous decrease in testosterone and increase in SHBG, decline in free testosterone levels is greater than reduction in total testosterone levels.3 Free testosterone is the one men need because it is available for body to use.
Testosterone is produced from Cholesterol and pure dietary habits as well as lack of strength training can significantly speed up the decline in testosterone production as we age. As we all know, Standard American Diet is high in processed sugars, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and vegetable oils. At the same time it is low in Omega 3 and good cholesterol. Combined with many foods that contain phytoestrogens (GMO soy products, plastic bottled water etc), over the course of time can wreak havoc on ones Testosterone production and overall feeling of wellbeing.
Many patients at the age 40-60 test extremely low Testosterone with extremely high Estrogen and SHBG, which requires medical treatment or TRT.
Signs of Low Testosterone
As they age, men can experience physical and emotional changes, and also changes in sexual function.1 The most common signs of low testosterone levels are:5
Benefits of Testosterone Therapy
Effects of testosterone therapy are very individual and for some men would not change much. However, the majority of men will have overall positive responses to the therapy. Most common benefits reported by men taking testosterone treatments include:3,5,6
Testosterone therapy would provide much better results if it’s combined with strength training, particularly in regard to muscle function and mass.3
During the therapy your body will stop making natural testosterone, and will convert part of new testosterone to estrogen. For that reason, HPI staff will combine medication that will keep your natural production going as well as estrogen blockers. With right kind of therapy, even after you stop taking testosterone, you will most likely keep all the gains and benefits. In opposite case, one will see a big drop in performance as the body recovers your natural production.6 In older men and specially after prolonged use, your natural production might never recover, that is why it is extremely important to use right kind of treatment.
Musculoskeletal benefits of testosterone therapy will not remain after you stop the treatment unless you follow above mentioned protocol.
You can also boost your testosterone production naturally, through diet changes, weight loss and increasing muscle mass through resistance exercise.1 Also some supplement available on the market (like DAA) can help as well, even though they usually stop making effects after 3-4 week time.
Forms of Testosterone Supplements
Testosterone therapy is available in several forms and all of them could improve testosterone levels. Your doctor can prescribe it as injections, pellets, patches or gels.1,5
Some experts avoid oral testosterone due to its negative effects on the liver. They prefer other forms that get testosterone into the blood directly and bypass the liver.5
At HPI, we prefer injectable form due to superior use and minimal side effects.
Risks of Testosterone Therapy
Common side effects (if proper procedure is not followed) of testosterone therapy include:1,4
Men on the testosterone therapy should be monitored for red blood cell counts, peripheral edema, heart or liver dysfunction.4