Testosterone therapy is a medical treatment that is designed to boost the testosterone levels in men that are lacking sufficient quantities of the hormone. In recent years, several medical professionals have suggested that testosterone therapy would be ideal for maintaining the health of aging men.
Others, however, believe that more research remains before it can be determined whether testosterone therapy could increase the risk of life-threatening health conditions including cancer and heart disease. So, is testosterone safe?
Proponents of the therapy just received a breakthrough in the form of a study indicating that testosterone treatments lasting just six months can result in a few pounds of lost body fat along with a few pounds of gained muscle mass.
Still, some medical scientists and professionals argue that the benefits associated with testosterone therapy may not outweigh the potential health risks. Could testosterone therapy be a viable treatment for you? The primary thought here is – proceed with caution and make sure that you take the time to thoroughly research the “pros and cons” of testosterone therapy and of course, consult your medical physician.
The Nature of the Study, Results, and Conclusions
The study was conducted by researchers at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. A total of 58 men, 20 of whom had low levels of testosterone, were given testosterone treatments in the form of injections and topical gels for a period of six months. The remaining 38 subjects had normal levels of testosterone, albeit with certain symptoms of low testosterone including fatigue, diminished sex drive and erectile dysfunction.
At the conclusion of the study, each participant had gained an average of 2.5 pounds of muscle mass. Dr. John Amory, a University of Washington testosterone researcher who was not involved with the study, described these types of gains as insignificant.
Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, a researcher who was involved with the Boston testosterone study, disagreed. According to Morgentaler, even a single pound of gained muscle mass is “significant” and noticeable for most individuals. Morgentaler, who recently published a book entitled “Testosterone for Life: Recharge Your Vitality, Sex Drive, Muscle Mass, and Overall Health,” is a major testosterone therapy advocate who believes that concerns about health risks associated with the treatment are largely unwarranted.
Does Testosterone Treatment Affect Prostate Cancer?
According to Morgentaler, testosterone treatments could reduce a patient’s chances of developing prostate cancer, and even slow the growth of existing cancer. Although those claims have yet to be verified, another recent study indicated that a testosterone safe therapy wouldn’t make existing prostate cancer any worse. That study was very small, however, with only 13 male participants.
Morgentaler said the findings were nonetheless positive given an old belief among the medical industry that higher levels of testosterone could spur rapid cancer growth among those with prostate cancer.
Does Testosterone Treatment Cause Heart Problems?
Other medical experts disagree with Morgentaler’s opinion. A 2010 Boston University testosterone therapy study was cut short due to warning signs that treatments could lead to heart problems, jeopardizing the health of subjects involved in the study.
That study included 209 male participants averaging 74 years of age. Many of the participants experienced heart events, including irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, stroke and heart attack, during the study which necessitated its discontinuation.
However, Morgentaler was quick to point out that most of the heart events were of a less severe nature, while only one participant experienced a stroke and two participants had heart attacks. Morgentaler said that the seeming excess of heart events may have been due to the age and frailty of the participants.
Whether the heart events were due to the testosterone treatment or the existing health status of the participants is a matter of debate among testosterone researchers.
More Data is Forthcoming in 2015
For those considering whether testosterone therapy is appropriate for them, it may be best to wait a few years. In 2015, it’s expected that another randomized clinical trial regarding testosterone therapy will be finalized.
The so-called Testosterone Trial will include 800 male adults. The National Institutes of Health-sponsored study will be conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and helm’ed by Dr. Peter Snyder.
Each subject in the study will be given either a placebo or a topical testosterone gel once per day. The researchers will track each participant’s sexual activity, memory, walking speed and other indicators to better determine the effects of testosterone therapy.
Interestingly, Morgentaler is skeptical of the study because he feels it won’t last long enough to truly determine how testosterone therapy affects prostate cancer risk. Still, it should yield useful data in a field sorely lacking it.
Is Testosterone Therapy Safe? The Bottom Line
According to Dr. Amory, there are current cases where testosterone therapy appears to yield obvious benefits, such as in younger men who have had their testicles removed. However, he said that the jury is still out as to whether testosterone treatments could provide real vitality boosts for older men.
In all likelihood, testosterone treatments for men will end up being viewed the same as estrogen treatments for women. Estrogen treatments are known to increase breast cancer risk among women, but they still provide significant benefits that outweigh the risks for some individuals. As such, estrogen treatments are provided to patients on a selective basis following careful analysis of risk versus reward. Testosterone therapy will most likely follow a similar medical path. So, any man who’s considering testosterone therapy may want to consider natural ways of maintaining testosterone levels through diet, exercise and stress maintenance instead.
Will this treatment cure my ED problem
Thanks for the information about testosterone therapy! I’ve wanted to do it for some time, but I’m scared that it’s not healthy. Thanks for calming my fears! It’s nice to hear that it will help increase my overall health.
It’s important for people to know that by going on testosterone replacement you are signing up for it for life. Replacement will permanently alter your hormonal system and it will often not be able to recover to the level it was before going on replacement.
Most guys are not aware that low testosterone is common and is often a lifestyle problem that won’t need medical treatments. There are many effective natural ways to increase testosterone like dietary changes, weekly strength training and botanical supplement.
I recommend you look up Tongkat Ali which is a effective and safe herb that all men can use to increase testosterone naturally.
Alexander Eriksson recently posted..7 Best Testosterone Boosters on the Market: Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally
One thing is sure, if you buy cheap supplements you either get zero results or end up complicating things, there’s no win in this case. I guess it’s a bit far fetched to hope to have the same testosterone levels in your 50s as you had in your 30s, and you can improve those levels with a balanced lifestyle.
While testosterone levels inevitably decline with age, it’s good to know that studies have proved without a shadow of a doubt that you can increase testosterone levels with exercise, nutrition, sleep, and supplements.
This way of increasing testosterone is always the best option in the long run
The problem with testosterone therapy is that the body over time starts to not produce testosterone by itself.
The safest way is to increase testosterone through diet, exercise, sleep, and supplements.
Sean – Naturally Boost Testosterone recently posted..Garlic and Erectile Dysfunction
Hey there! Excellent article.
Great information about the pros and cons of TRT. I was wondering though, in order to take a more natural approach to boosting T levels, what kind of lifestyle changes are necessary? More specifically, what kind of exercises/foods would you recommend?
The best thing to do if you’re trying to increase your testosterone naturally is to talk to your doctor and get their advice. Overall, though, testosterone levels have been shown to increase with diet changes such as eliminating sugar and increasing healthy fats. As far as exercise goes, strength training and short, intense exercise have been shown to at least help prevent testosterone from going down. Simply just exercising more can help prevent low testosterone. It’s also important to get enough sleep and reduce stress as much as possible.
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