Testosterone and You

Medical researchers have known for decades that testosterone supports memory, decreases body fat, strengthens bones, and improves libido in men and women. Yet, when the greater public discusses testosterone, it is typically associated with steroid-abuse, bodybuilders, and baseball sluggers afoul of the rules. While this perspective is valid, it’s limited and terribly outdated.

Transformative innovations in testosterone replacement therapy have made it possible to rebalance, with precision, what age is disrupting. Research has proven that bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy is empowering men, and yes, women too, to demonstrably improve their quality of life. Make no mistake – this is not the synthesized anabolic steroids that can cause permanent health problems. The molecular structure of bioidentical testosterone is a biochemical replica of the hormones our bodies naturally produce.

Testosterone is an androgen hormone, the particular type of hormone that triggers, regulates and maintains masculine physical and psychological attributes. To address the undeserved stigma attached to “steroids,” all androgens – natural, bioidentical, and synthetic – are all classified as steroids, due to their specific molecular structure. While it is well-known that testes and adrenal glands produce testosterone in men, ovaries, as well as adrenal glands, also produce this hormone in women. Men produce much more testosterone than women, though the lower-than-optimal levels produce strikingly similar symptoms in both sexes.

Testosterone levels decline for all of us as we age, both men and women. For most men, testosterone levels peak and level off in their 20s, but then naturally start to decline by about 1 percent per year starting at age 30. As men age, many will experience fatigue, disturbed sleep, weight gain, decreased bone mass, moodiness, and of course, decreased sexual function and desire, differing in degree of severity. Some fortunate men experience little to no symptoms, but those men who do, invariably report that their quality of life is diminished. The same occurs in women, too.

It is well known in the medical research community that as women age, their ovaries produce less testosterone, as well as its better-known cousin, estrogen. The majority of studies on low testosterone levels in women tend to focus on the effects on libido and sexual function. As this area of research has matured, low testosterone in women has been found to cause loss of muscle, loss of bone calcium, increase in fatty tissue, fatigue, and irregular sleep, just like men. Lower than optimal levels of testosterone in women can also cause dry skin, drooping eyelids, and trigger depression, anxiety, and diminished mental focus. Women experience these symptoms in the pre-menopausal and postmenopausal life stages, and can persist. Just like men, the symptoms and severity differ, but whether it is just one symptom or all, the quality of life is adversely affected.

The recent uptick in the frequency of “low T” advertising during televised sporting events has steadily shifted perceptions about men and testosterone replacement therapy. In one study conducted by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers found a clear connection between “low T” ads and increased demand for testosterone testing and prescriptions.

While the research has been available for years, for women, the conversation about low testosterone levels and what to do about it has been subdued. We don’t see many advertisements to improve women’s sexual function. While culture has likely played a dampening role, so have linkages between hormone replacement therapies that prescribed the use of synthetic estrogen and a synthetic progestin and an increased risk of breast cancer.

Here’s the twist that no one saw coming: According to a 2004 paper published by the National Institutes of Health, “the addition of testosterone to conventional hormone therapy for postmenopausal women does not increase and may indeed REDUCE the hormone therapy-associated with breast cancer risk.”

Since then, numerous studies have proven over and over that testosterone replacement therapy not only reduces the risk of breast cancer, but it can alleviate psychological distress, improve bone mass density, ease menopause-related symptoms, and of course, improve libido and sexual function.

Some women fear that if they boost their testosterone levels, they will grow facial hair, or develop other physical masculine attributes. While this reaction is a lot rarer than most people think, when the dosage is precise to your specific genome, rebalancing testosterone levels will not produce a mustache.

As more and more of us begin to learn of testosterone’s positive life-improving efficacy, what we individually need to consider are the differences between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones and our health-related goals. Increasingly, medical professionals are preferring bioidentical hormones because they are derived from soy and plant extracts as opposed to chemical combinations. Comparatively, bioidenticals cause far fewer, if any, side effects. That’s a big deal because as we all know, when a medication is easier for our bodies to process, the better we do in sticking to the prescribed course, and the better the success.

While we here at Genetix only prescribe bioidentical testosterone, there are certain medical conditions, unrelated to aging, that do respond better to synthetic hormones. Unfortunately, synthetic hormones do come with debilitating side effects and increased health risks including cancer and heart disease.

Testosterone is just one of 50 hormones that our bodies produce and send circulating around our endocrine system. Hormones, often described as the body’s messenger service, engage different organs to perform specific tasks. And many hormones depend on others to do their part for complicated actions, such as regulating sexual desire and supporting performance. When one fails to show up, it can affect how well others perform their jobs.

Our medical team specializes in rebalancing hormone levels and will take you back to the optimal levels that you had in your 20s. It’s all about health and improving your quality of life. With the proper balance and levels, your muscle tone will return, body fat will disappear, skin will become plump, sleep will be uninterrupted, and you will be energized.

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