Common Myths About This Important Hormone

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha

There is a lot of misinformation about hormones.

One in particular, testosterone (T), has had more than its share of bad rap. But are those negative ideas true? Many are not.

In fact, almost 40% of men over age 45 have low T. And the older men get, the lower these levels go.

How do you know if you have low T? It may not be what you think. Let’s sort out the facts from fiction about this crucial hormone for health. Take this quiz and see how you do.

True or False: Low sex drive is the primary indication of low T.

FALSE: Low T can contribute to low libido, but there are many other symptoms that are more basic. These can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease

If you or someone you know is over 45 and has these symptoms, low T may be the cause.

True or False: Testosterone replacement increases risk of heart attacks and strokes.

FALSE: A few studies have suggested T replacement is the a heart risk factor. But these studies were poorly designed and were later shown to be wrong.

Many well-designed studies link LOW T to greater heart problems. The ideal range is in the mid to upper range. The “normal” lab test blood level is 300-1100 ng/dL. That means the ideal range in this test is at least 500.

True or False: Men should only be given testosterone if their blood levels are low.

FALSE: The reference range for many lab tests is not the same as ideal health outcomes. Higher than low-normal ranges are best. Of course you also don’t want to be over the range. But most men don’t have this problem, even with supplementation.

True or False: Testosterone supplementation causes or contributes to prostate cancer.

FALSE: In the 1940s researchers found that castration reduced the incidence of prostate cancer. They concluded that T played a role in causing prostate cancer.

The testicles produce several hormones other than testosterone. Now the conclusion is that the improvement was due to a lower estrogen production rather than testosterone.

Note also that prostate cancer is not common in young men, who have higher levels of T.  But it becomes more common with age, as T levels fall. There have been many recent studies disproving the link between testosterone and prostate cancer.

True or False: The only way to increase testosterone levels is with hormone replacement.

FALSE: T replacement can be very effective. But there are many natural ways to boost natural T production.

Here are just a few of them:

  • Weight loss can be very effective at boosting levels.
  • Building of muscle mass. Lifting weights or resistance training are very helpful.
  • Interval training is also very useful.
  • There are a number of nutritional and herbal supplements that improve T levels. These include zinc, Tribulus terrestris, and Epimedium grandiflorum.
  • Taking DHEA can also be effective.

All the best to you for your health and happiness,

Dr. Bruce Eichelberger

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