16 Little Known Tidbits and Factoids About Testosterone
What is something that almost nobody knows about testosterone?
I’m not sure that almost nobody knows this but it is interesting. If you look at your ring finger and compare its length to your pointer finger, the pointer finger in most men is shorter than the ring finger. Scientists have discovered that this is a marker for the amount of testosterone boys were exposed to prior to birth. The more testosterone you are exposed to in utero, the lower your pointer finger to ring finger ratio. In other words, your ring finger is longer. One study showed that men with the lowest ratios made the most money and stayed in business longer. This ratio is set at birth and does not change with adult levels of testosterone.
Does eating eggs increase testosterone in men?
Actually, they kind of do help with testosterone biosynthesis. The common denominator for most hormones is cholesterol and eggs are a good source of cholesterol, yoke and all. As Testosterone levels decline, activity of lipoprotein lipase increases and the body stores more fat. And higher stored fat leads to lower testosterone levels. Increased fat in the diet leads to decreased Sex Hormone Binding Globulin which binds to testosterone. When SHBG decreases, more free testosterone is available to your tissues. Free testosterone is the active form of the hormone so measuring total testosterone levels does not tell the whole story. You need to know your free testosterone level. In addition to eggs, nuts and meat, you can help improve your testosterone levels with Zinc, Omega Fatty Acids and Vitamin D. Most men will also improve testosterone levels with weight lifting exercise as well.
Things to consider Before Starting Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
TRT can decrease your sperm count so if you are striving for pregnancy, this may not be a treatment you want to consider. Testosterone levels and sperm counts have been decreasing in the U.S. for several decades, probably from plastic and chemical exposures. This has kept me busy when I was a full time infertility doctor, but I did not put men on testosterone while they were attempting pregnancy with their partners. TRT can raise your hematocrit level making your blood viscosity increase. That is the basis of the incorrect (sort of) thoughts that testosterone increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is easily rectified by blood donations every 2-3 months.
TRT really is a replacement therapy. It is not supplemental. TRT will shut down testosterone production from the testicles in men. However, if you stop TRT, your own testicular production of testosterone will resume in about 6 months. However, your own production may be suboptimal, which probably led to low testosterone symptoms in the first place.
Testosterone can be administered in a gel or cream but it has traditionally been given by injection. Pellets are also available although they are quite expensive. What you need is a doctor who monitors your testosterone levels and symptoms to get the most accurate dose for each individual on TRT.
Testosterone injections have usually been given as a deep intramuscular shot but subcutaneous injection just under the skin is also effective. You can actually do this with an insulin syringe with a much smaller needle.
Men younger than 60 may do better taking a smaller injection every 4 days to avoid the peaks and troughs of testosterone metabolism. The half life of a testosterone injection is about 4 days.
Although erectile dysfunction will get men to consider TRT, it usually works better for that indication in men younger than 60 years of age. ED is really a vascular process and is considered one of the first symptoms of future heart disease. If you have ED, you need to have your heart checked out and cardiovascular lab markers measured. TRT will improve sexual libido for most men at any age. TRT also helps burn fat, improve metabolism, and develops muscle mass. If you are weight lifting and not seeing results, check your testosterone levels.
There have been some concerns that TRT worsens sleep apnea. That evidence is weak. There is a stronger association with sleep apnea and low testosterone. Testosterone reserves are replenished while sleeping, so disrupted sleep can lead to low testosterone levels. This is somewhat of a chicken/egg issue but if you have obstructive sleep apnea, check your testosterone levels.
Speaking of checking testosterone levels, you can order those yourself without a doctor visit. Here are several direct access labs that will send you a kit. You need to find someone to draw your blood and centrifuge it but everything else is in the kit including a way to mail your lab specimens back to the lab. You can virtually order any lab test you want.
Here are four direct access labs for which I am an affiliate (so I get a commission at no cost to you) and you get the discounted insurance rate on pricing:
If you want to consider TRT, you can have a telemedicine visit with a doctor who will provide testing, monitoring, and recommendations after reviewing your health history. This way, you don’t have to go into a TRT clinic and perhaps feel humiliated that you are there. If you need help, go to the following website and I’ll help you get started with one of my collaborative physicians: www.healthwithoutrisk.com
TRT does not cause prostate cancer or heart attacks. In fact, low testosterone is a major risk factor for both of these diseases. However, you do need to be monitored with lab testing, donate blood if your hematocrit gets over 52%, and adjust doses with physician oversight while you are on TRT.
Except for erectile dysfunction, all of the above is true for women as they age into perimenopause and menopause. Testosterone is as important for women as it is for men. Most doctors won’t prescribe testosterone to women. However, Functional Medicine and Age Management doctors will. Go to the Health Without Risk website and I’ll help you find one.
Testosterone is an important hormone in men and women, with levels declining as we age, and lower levels may cause a number of health problems that are readily reversible with proper replacement protocols. Lab monitoring and proper physician oversight makes this a safe alternative for those that are feeling too old too fast. You will feel the results almost immediately.
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