I’ve been prescribing bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to my female patients since I started practicing medicine. But that’s not the only natural hormone replacement I recommend.
I’ve long been a proponent of testosterone therapy, as well.
In fact, I test all of my patients’ (both men and women) testosterone (T) levels. And, despite the “controversy” surrounding it, I’ve consistently found that supplementing with T has been beneficial in so many ways for those who test low.
Not only do my patients taking T tell me they feel more alive and more energetic with testosterone replacement. But it also clears their heads. Doubles their motivation. And of course, supercharges their sex drive. Plus, research shows testosterone therapy can improve heart health and even help you live longer.
And now there’s another benefit to add to T’s already impressive resume.
Researchers from the University of Buffalo have reached a landmark conclusion that testosterone therapy can significantly benefit men who have Type 2 diabetes.
This is what they found:
Out of the 94 men with type 2 diabetes who were in the study, 44 of these men had low T. These 44 men were then randomly assigned to receive intramuscular injections of 250 mg of testosterone or a placebo every two weeks for six months to see if there was a change in their sensitivity to insulin.
Well, there was a change alright. And not just a mild one…
In fact, the men getting T therapy had a 32% improvement in insulin sensitivity.
How exciting is that?
Because when you increase your sensitivity to insulin, it helps you to control your blood sugar. And ultimately, it can help prevent Type 2 diabetes — or even reverse it.
Researchers also performed body composition assessments on both groups of men participating in this study — those with low T and those with normal levels. And even at baseline, there was a big difference between the two.
The men with low T had significantly higher body fat and much lower lean muscle mass.
After testosterone replacement, their weight didn’t change. But these men did swap six pounds of fat for the same amount of lean muscle.
Not only does replacing fat with lean muscle result in a smaller waistline, but it also has some significant benefits.
For instance, the less fat you have on your body, the further the scales tip toward greater insulin sensitivity…not to mention better health in general.
But there was even more good news.
Besides an improvement in sexual function, the men in this study who supplemented with T also showed a significant decrease in circulating concentrations of several inflammatory markers — including C-reactive protein (which has direct links to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease), interleukin-1b, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and leptin (and I warned you recently about the dangers of leptin overload).
So you may be wondering — do you need to replace T?
As I said earlier, I test all of my patients’ testosterone levels as a matter of routine. It’s that important. So don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about getting tested.
Optimal testosterone levels are dependent on age. The younger you are, the higher it should be. Ideal T levels for a 20-year-old man (when testosterone is at its peak) are usually somewhere around 1500 ng/dl. That would drop to 1200 ng/dl at age 30, 1000 ng/dl at 40, 800 ng/dl at 50, 700 ng/dl at 60, 600 ng/dl at 70, and so on.
For women, the range is a little less predictable. An optimal testosterone level is one where she feels her best. That could be as low as 20 ng/dl. But in my experience, it’s usually closer to 80 ng/dl.
To achieve these levels, I generally start with 1 mg/gram dosages for women and 100 mg/gram dosages for men. I also use bioidentical compounded testosterone almost exclusively. Actually, all T is bioidentical. It’s just the delivery system that makes up the “patentable” part of the formulation. The difference ultimately boils down to price. If your insurance doesn’t cover testosterone replacement therapy, bioidentical compounded products will be significantly cheaper than commercial brands.
But the most important thing to remember is that testosterone therapy should always be individualized. And since your dosage will depend on your baseline numbers and other clinical factors, you should definitely work with a doctor who knows what he or she is doing.
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 plug your zip code into their search engine at www.acam.org to find a list of physicians near you.