Testosterone and your Heart: Don’t believe the hype
Testosterone, the “big T”, you can’t turn on the TV without someone talking about it. In fact, despite the bad [and almost completely false] press about the effects of testosterone, the amount of prescriptions in the US has tripled since 2001. Rightfully so, anyone on testosterone therapy will tell you how incredible the effects can be on day to day life.
Unfortunately testosterone therapy has it’s own smear campaign [analogous to the anti vaccination movement], surprising considering the number of people on TRT [Testosterone Replacement Therapy] I know. People throw around terms like roid rage [which is not real] when TRT is brought up, or depression, which as the evidence shows is the exact opposite of what TRT does [can you see my frustration yet?].
There are [unfortunately] a few side effects of TRT that are very much real. Some men will have changes in cholesterol, LDL [the bad kind] can increase and HDL [the good kind] can decrease, this can easily be managed by diet and exercise, but should be noted. Another thing to note, prostate problems will affect a [extremely] small percentage of men. Other [not so dire] side effects like oily skin, acne, hair growth, etc. are also fairly common depending on the person.
However, one major side effect that has made news lately is heart problems. There has been a [albeit causal] link between testosterone and heart problems, typically with dosages well beyond the normal TRT dose. But like any good controversy the news has taken the idea and run with it.
Thankfully a new study aims to set the record straight, not only did they show that there was no evidence between TRT and heart problems, it showed that in some cases it actually improves cardiovascular health [definately a good thing].
“We object to comments that question the reality of T deficiency, regardless of whether it is called hypogonadism or, as in advertisements, ‘low T.’”
More data from larger, longer term studies are needed to assess potential effects of testosterone therapy on cardiovascular events in men. Based on the current evidence, but per the authors, “we can find no foundation for suggesting new restrictions on T therapy in men with cardiac disease.”
Now what does this mean to the average guy — if you are suffering from low testosterone [which in my opinion can still be in the normal range, just on the low end] then you should not fear TRT. As it stands TRT is perfectly safe and as the roughly 1.7 million men [just in the US] will tell you, it can not only make a world of difference, it can give you your life back.
Sources in a Quantum Mechanical [see random] order:
Miller M.J.S. (2013). Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease: A Cautionary Tale of Diet–Microbiome Interactions, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32 (2) 75-78. DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2013.799982
Eisenegger C., Naef M., Snozzi R., Heinrichs M. & Fehr E. (2009). Prejudice and truth about the effect of testosterone on human bargaining behaviour, Nature, 463 (7279) 356-359. DOI: 10.1038/nature08711
Wang C. (1996). Testosterone replacement therapy improves mood in hypogonadal men–a clinical research center study, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 81 (10) 3578-3583. DOI: 10.1210/jc.81.10.3578
Corona G., Rastrelli G., Monami M., Guay A., Buvat J., Sforza A., Forti G., Mannucci E. & Maggi M. (2011). Hypogonadism as a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality in men: a meta-analytic study, European Journal of Endocrinology, 165 (5) 687-701. DOI: 10.1530/EJE-11-0447
Shores M.M., Moceri V.M., Gruenewald D.A., Brodkin K.I., Matsumoto A.M. & Kivlahan D.R. (2004). Low Testosterone Is Associated with Decreased Function and Increased Mortality Risk: A Preliminary Study of Men in a Geriatric Rehabilitation Unit, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52 (12) 2077-2081. DOI: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2004.52562.x
Morley J. The benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a review, Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 427. DOI: 10.2147/TCRM.S3025