Testosterone therapy — benefits beyond the bedroom

Testosterone therapy has found itself at the center of a firestorm of controversy in recent years. In fact, the FDA recently completed an investigation into health risks associated with testosterone injections and ruled that all prescription testosterone-containing products should carry a warning label.

Sounds pretty damning, right?

Well, let’s take a closer look beyond the headlines and sound bites you hear on the news.

First of all, the warning is actually against abuse of testosterone. In other words, using unsafe dosages and going against doctors’ advice on how to use it.

And second, even as the new warning was being issued — the same week, in fact — research came out showing that testosterone therapy is incredibly helpful to the men who need it. Not only that, but research also shows men who undergo testosterone therapy appear to have healthier hearts than men who don’t. (Which is the very reason the mainstream claims you shouldn’t use it — they say it increases risk of cardiovascular events.)

Now as you know, I’m a big fan of testosterone therapy. I’ve been using it in both men and women for more than 15 years. Low testosterone is real. And getting levels to where they should be improves health and vitality. My patients who are on it report more energy, clearer thinking, better motivation…not to mention a hardy libido.

And reading this new study just solidified my already strong feelings about testosterone’s benefits.

The study was based on data collected from a prospective registry started in 2004. That registry, which was created by two urologists, tracked the progress of patients being treated once every three months with injectable testosterone, over the course of 8 years.

Not surprisingly, the men on testosterone shots saw improvements in their urinary function.

But here’s what’s going to turn the most heads: At the end of the study, the men getting the testosterone shots hadn’t just maintained their baseline erectile function — they improved.

In other words, they were performing better sexually than they had when the study started.

And just look at what this study found in terms of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular events…

In the control group, 21 deaths occurred, and 19 were from cardiovascular causes. In the testosterone group, there were only two deaths (and neither was related to treatment).

The control group had 28 nonfatal strokes and 25 nonfatal heart attacks.

In the testosterone group? Not a single major adverse cardiovascular event.

And then there are the metabolic benefits. Almost all the men in the study were overweight, and 35 percent had type 2 diabetes. All of those were taking diabetes meds, mostly metformin.

Over the eight-year study period, the men receiving testosterone saw their weight drop by more than 13 percent. The men in the control group, however, gained weight.

More than 90 percent of the treatment group also had a reduction in HbA1c, a measure of blood glucose control.

Now do you see why I’ve been prescribing testosterone therapy all this time? Because it’s one of the most beneficial — and most underappreciated — therapies for older men.

I know everyone thinks of testosterone as a sex hormone. And it is, of course. But it’s also so much more than that.

And as I’ve said all along, testosterone does not deserve its bad rap…unless you use it irresponsibly and without the expert guidance of your physician.