In the immortal words of Heidi Klum, “one day you are in and the next you are out.” Of course, she was talking about fashion industry. But the supplement industry can be just as fickle.
Especially when it comes to testosterone.
Not that this has stopped me from being a fierce advocate of testosterone therapy. As I explained back in January, one negative study showing heart risks among a group of already high-risk men isn’t reason enough to deprive my patients of the immense benefits that come with T replacement.
And the U.S. Androgen Study Group agrees with me. (Yes, there’s actually a group dedicated to androgen studies—this is America, after all.) They’re campaigning for a retraction of that study based on critical design flaws. Not to mention the fact that a lot of other research has shown testosterone has a protective effect on men’s health.
But that hasn’t stopped the U.S. Endocrine Society from speaking out against T replacement. And I have had to field a lot of questions about this topic in the months since every major media outlet decided to declare testosterone unsafe.
A lot of my patients are taking T. Understandably, they want reassurance. And if you’ve followed my recommendations for testosterone replacement, you probably do, too.
So I’d like to share a new study that I hope will put your mind at ease…
Now admittedly, this was not a randomized controlled trial. So it doesn’t meet the “gold standard” of clinical research. But this study took place at the Low T Centers—a group of clinics with incredibly strict treatment protocols.
They only treat men with a definite “hypogonadism” diagnosis. This means a total T level below 350 ng/dL, and a free T level below 10 ng/dL. This is the same cut-off criteria I use to treat my patients.
This research looked at data from 40 different clinics around the country. It found that T replacement doesn’t put men at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke—even in predisposed patients. And, in fact, testosterone may help to prevent these deadly cardiac events.
Among the nearly 20,000 men who received testosterone therapy during at Low T Centers between 2009 and 2014, the risk for myocardial infarction was seven times lower than the general population. And the risk for stroke? Nine times lower.
And that’s why I tell my patients not to stop taking their testosterone.
These findings are pretty much the polar opposite of the recent heart-related findings from the study I mentioned above. But that doesn’t surprise me at all.
I’ve witnessed the truly amazing benefits of T replacement first hand. It’s one of the reasons I feel so strongly about monitoring my patients’ testosterone levels (yes, even women). And treating them accordingly if those levels aren’t optimal.
Healthy men age better with testosterone replacement—it’s a clinically proven fact.
In the negative research that made headlines over the past year, subjects were older and sicker than the general population. And they had pre-existing heart disease. Plus, they only received testosterone therapy for three months—without follow-up check-ups and blood testing.
Are these findings cause for concern? Sure, for some men—especially if they’re not working with an experienced practitioner.
The bottom line? If you’re currently taking testosterone or you’d like to start, there’s no substitute for a knowledgeable doctor. Make sure the professional you’re working with is familiar with your medical history and is monitoring your therapy with routine blood work.
This is something I do with all of my patients on bio-identical hormone therapy. And if your doctor isn’t doing the same, it’s time to find a new one. The American College for Advancement in Medicine is a great resource for locating natural medicine doctors in your area. You can visit their website at www.acam.org or call (800)532-3688.
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 23rd Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress. Presented May 16, 2014.
“Testosterone Doesn’t Up MI or Stroke: May Be Protective?” Medscape. May 18, 2014.