I guess medicine is like the stock market—what goes down will, given time, go back up. The most recent evidence of that: Testosterone no longer appears to be the villain it was just a few short months ago. In fact, two new studies suggest that testosterone replacement therapy might not cause the cardiovascular problems that cast shadows on it in previous research.
In the first study, researchers looked at 7,245 men with low testosterone levels. Instances of major cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke, or death) occurred in 5.5 percent of the men who received testosterone therapy and 6.7 percent of those who didn’t. While it’s not an extremely significant difference, it clearly shows testosterone therapy didn’t increase the men’s risk. In fact, it likely offered some level of protection against heart attack and stroke. Which, of course, is completely contrary to what mainstream medicine has been warning for years.
In the second study—a meta-analysis of 29 clinical trials looking at more than 122,000 men—researchers found testosterone therapy was not associated with a significantly increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes.
But of course, this being the US of A, the FDA still recently issued a warning about the potential risks of heart attack and stroke among men treated with testosterone-replacement therapy. I think at this point in time you may actually be better off doing the exact opposite of what the FDA says.
I’ve mentioned before how the original study that started this whole needless panic against testosterone had some serious flaws to begin with. It involved a group of disabled veterans who already had heart disease and just underwent coronary angiography. And in this particular group, the use of testosterone was associated with a 29-percent higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or death compared with men who were not receiving testosterone-replacement therapy.
But to base a blanket recommendation (or warning, as the case may be) for ALL men based on a study that only included participants who were already sick is just plain irresponsible. The men in that study should never have been on testosterone replacement to begin with. For that reason alone, that study should be discredited.
Yet the FDA now requires warnings on testosterone product labels as if they were cigarettes. It’s ridiculous that this is where our tax dollars go. Especially when testosterone hasn’t just been proven safe, but extremely beneficial.
The FDA was downright irresponsible in issuing this warning against such an important and valuable therapy. And these two new studies only further solidify my position.
If used appropriately, not only can testosterone therapy improve cardiovascular health—but it can also relieve an enormous list of symptoms associated with aging. Such as fatigue, low libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle weakness, and depression—just to name a few. I have used testosterone therapy safely for decades in my practice. And I have no plans to stop. Particularly considering that testosterone deficiency (low T) affects 4 to 5 million men in the U.S. (including as many as half of older men with type-2 diabetes).
My bottom line is and always has been: Replace responsibly. When you’re receiving testosterone replacement, make sure that your doctor is checking your heart health in addition to your testosterone levels. Any responsible physician should know this. If you don’t already have one, the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is a great resource for locating an experienced holistic practitioner in your area. Simply type your zip code into their search engine at www.acam.org to find a list of physicians near you.
“Two Studies Suggest Testosterone Might Not Increase Risks of Cardiovascular Events.” Medscape Medical News, 3/9/15