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By Dr. Mercola
Do You Really Need to Take Testosterone?
Testosterone is an androgenic sex hormone produced by the
testicles (and in smaller amounts in women's ovaries) that is
typically associated with "manhood." Beginning around age 30,
a man's testosterone levels begin to decline, and continue to
do so as the years go on.
A wide range of chemical exposures, including
prescription drugs like statins, can also have an adverse
effect on your testosterone production.
While primarily associated with male sexuality and
reproduction, testosterone also plays a role in maintaining
muscle mass, bone density, levels of red blood cells, and a
general sense of vigor and well-being.
Symptoms of declining testosterone levels include
decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depressed mood,
and difficulties with concentration and memory. Men with low
testosterone may also experience weight gain, breast
enlargement, and problems urinating.
According to recent research the number of testosterone
prescriptions have tripled over the past decade, causing
researchers to sound the alarm that men may be abusing the
This should come as no surprise considering the many
direct-to-consumer ads now promoting a testosterone
prescription as the answer if you feel you've lost the spring
in your step... In fact, in a related commentary medical
ghostwriter Steven Braun says4 that the sales of testosterone
are being driven by:
"A sophisticated marketing effort to define low
testosterone as a disease for which the treatment is
[testosterone-replacement therapy]. I know this because, as a
professional medical writer, I have helped craft that message
for transmission in a range of media to both physicians and
While declining testosterone levels can certainly be
problematic, I know first-hand that such a fate is not an
automatic outcome of aging, provided you incorporate certain
lifestyle strategies that can naturally boost your
testosterone levels, which I'll review in this article.
Many Men Are Taking Testosterone Without Evidence of
According to the Endocrine Society, which is responsible
for setting the clinical guidelines for testosterone
replacement therapy, testosterone should only be given to men
with persistent symptoms and "unequivocally low testosterone
levels," a condition known as hypogonadism.
To determine this, you have to actually test your
testosterone level, which is done with a blood test ideally
more than once, as your testosterone level can rise and fall
during each day.
The current findings indicate that 25 percent of men
given a prescription for testosterone did not have their
levels tested prior to receiving a prescription, and of the
remaining 75 percent, it was unclear as to how many actually
had a testosterone deficiency. In all, the study tracked 11
million men through a large health insurer, and found that:
Since 2001, testosterone prescriptions have tripled
more than two percent of men in their 40s and nearly
four percent of men in their 60s were on testosterone therapy
in 2011. Men in their 40s represent the fastest-growing group
About half of men prescribed testosterone had a
diagnosis of hypogonadism
About 40 percent of men prescribed testosterone had
erectile or sexual dysfunction
One-third of men prescribed testosterone had a
diagnosis of "fatigue"
Potential Side Effects and Benefits of Testosterone Therapy
While your levels can rise and fall daily, the average
testosterone levels for most men range from 300 to 1,000
nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl) of blood. Again, hypogonadism
can be a bit tricky to diagnose based on total testosterone
(total T) alone, and since your levels can rise and drop
dramatically from day to day depending on factors like sleep
and stress, you need to measure your levels more than once.
That said, according to a 2012 study looking at the
sensitivity and specificity of total testosterone (total T)
as an indicator of biochemical hypogonadism found that a
total T level below 150 ng/dl is indicative of hypogonadism,
while levels above 350 ng/dl excludes the condition in most
cases. If you fall within that range of 150-350 ng/dl, the
authors advised measuring free or bioavailable T levels,
which are thought to identify biochemical hypogonadism more
There's a fair amount of controversy on the subject of
testosterone replacement therapy. Some of the evidence
suggests it may cause worrisome side effects (especially if
you're not actually deficient), including:
Thickening of the blood / blood clots
Reduced sperm count
Increased risk of heart disease
Increased risk of prostate cancer
Liver problems Male breast growth
Increased male pattern baldness
Worsening of urinary symptoms
Others disagree. For example, according to Dr. Abraham
Morgentaler, MD, a professor of urology at Harvard Medical
School and the author of Testosterone for Life, men with low
testosterone are the ones at greater risk for prostate cancer
and other health problems, including heart disease and
osteoporosis. For an interesting article that contains a lot
more information about this, read Dr. Morgentaler's report
Destroying the Myth About Testosterone Replacement and
You Can Raise Your Testosterone Levels Naturally Through
Personally, I do not recommend using testosterone hormone
replacement to enhance your performance. If you indeed have
low testosterone, you can consider trans rectal DHEA cream,
which I'll discuss below. But I believe many of you may not
even need that, were you to take full advantage of your
body's natural ability to optimize hormones like testosterone
and human growth hormone (HGH).
Just like testosterone and ubiquinol levels, your HGH levels
also sharply decline after the age of 30, as illustrated in
the graph above. Both of these hormones are also boosted in
response to short, intense exercise. As an example, I've been
doing Peak Fitness exercises for just over three years now,
and at the age of 59, my testosterone and HGH levels (listed
below) are still well within the normal range for a young
adult male without the aid of ANY prescriptions, hormones and
hormone precursor supplements:
Total testosterone: 854 ng/dl (normal test range: 250-
Free testosterone: 117 pg/ml (normal test range: 35-155
HGH: 14,000 pg, more than three times the normal test
range of 1,000-4,000 pg/24 hours
Below is a summary and video demonstration of what a typical
high-intensity Peak Fitness routine might look like. As you
can see, the entire workout is only 20 minutes, and 75
percent of that time is warming up, recovering or cooling
down. You're really only working out intensely for four
minutes. It's hard to believe if you have never done this,
that you can actually get that much benefit from only four
minutes of intense exercise, but that's all you need!
Warm up for three minutes
Exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You
should feel like you couldn't possibly go on another few
Recover at a slow to moderate pace for 90 seconds
Repeat the high-intensity exercise and recovery 7 more
How to Further Boost Testosterone and HGH Release...
Interestingly, Whole Body Vibration Training (WBVT) using
a Power Plate can also independently increase growth hormone
levels. Like high-intensity exercise, WBVT also works all
three types of muscle fibers, and it does so more effectively
and efficiently than straight cardio or weight lifting. You
can accomplish more from 15 minutes on the Power Plate than
from an hour of traditional strength training. By stimulating
your white muscle fiber, the Power Plate kick-starts your
pituitary gland into making more growth hormone, which helps
you build lean body mass and burn fat.
Another effective strategy for enhancing both
testosterone and HGH release is daily intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting helps boost testosterone by improving
the expression of satiety hormones, like insulin, leptin,
adiponectin, glucacgon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1),
cholecystokinin (CKK), and melanocortins, which are linked to
healthy testosterone function, increased libido, and the
prevention of age-induced testosterone decline. When it comes
to an exercise plan that will complement testosterone
function and production (along with overall health), I
recommend including both high-intensity interval training and
When you use strength training to raise your
testosterone, you'll want to increase the weight and lower
your number of reps. Focus on doing exercises that work a
wider number of muscles, such as squats or dead lifts. You
can take your workout to the next level by learning the
principles of Super-Slow Weight Training. For more
information on how exercise can be used as a natural
testosterone booster, read my article "Testosterone Surge
After Exercise May Help Remodel the Mind."
Thank You Dr. Mercola
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.
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