Testosterone – Why Is It Important?
Here are new findings from my favorite men’s sexual health doctor, Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, associate clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School. He clearly shows that supplementing your Testosterone – if it’s low - can help your DHT (dihydrotestosterone) support better erections.
This excerpt is from a discussion between Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, associate clinical professor of urology at Harvard Medical School and Suzanne Somers, author of Bombshell: Explosive Medical Secrets That Will Redefine Aging.
Studies show that men with low testosterone are at an increased risk of developing diabetes.
A number of studies have now shown that between 40 and 50 percent of men with adult diabetes have a low testosterone levels. It’s one of the greatest risk factors for low testosterone. Other studies have shown that men in the lowest 25 percent of the group with low testosterone ended up with more than double the risk of developing new onset of diabetes. In other words, having diabetes means that a man is at high risk of having low testosterone, or “low T” as I like to call it, and low T itself is a risk for developing diabetes down the road.
Also, in separate studies they found men in the lowest 25 percent had two to three times the risk of getting fractures because testosterone is crucial for bone density in men.
Testosterone is good for bone in men just as estrogen is good for bone in women.
Furthermore, in four population studies involving a total of several thousand men, men with low testosterone died sooner than men with normal testosterone.
Low testosterone can make men grumpy.
When you give testosterone to men with diabetes, their blood sugar control gets better. Testosterone changes the body’s composition from fat to muscle, which not only sounds good but also helps with blood sugar metabolism and probably atherosclerosis, too.
There is a widespread belief in the medical establishment that testosterone causes trouble, and it’s seen largely as a hormone for sex rather than for your heart, muscle, and fat and for your health in general. But sex has the biggest implication in terms of perception.
IT HAS BECOME CLEAR TO ME THAT THERE IS PROBABLY NO PROBLEM FOR MOST MEN WITH PROSTATE CANCER TO MAKE TESTOSTERONE THERAPY.
One group I do worry about is men with advanced prostate cancer, especially if they are on medicines like Lupron, which lowers the testosterone almost to zero.
I went through all the published literature on T and prostate cancer for a review paper on the risks of testosterone for the New England Journal of Medicine. We looked at several articles from medical journals to investigate the association between high testosterone and prostate cancer. In the end we couldn’t find a single article that showed any compelling evidence that high T, or raising T with treatment, was a risk for prostate cancer. Not one.
SS: So the theory of low testosterone being protective from getting prostate cancer was totally inaccurate? That’s an amazing story.
AM: Prostate cancer needs some testosterone in order to grow. But it can only use a little. Adding more doesn’t seem to do anything bad.
AM: I like to use the analogy of a houseplant. If I go away and don’t water a houseplant, when I come back it’s going to be dry and shriveled up. If I come home in time and water it, the plant will grow and gain mass again. Once it’s has enough water it doesn’t matter if I let a garden hose run into that plant night and day, it will never grow to the size of a tree.
SS: Excess testosterone won’t make prostate cancer metastasize?
AM: “Androgen” is a general term for chemicals similar to testosterone. I mentioned earlier that there are receptors that hormones bind to; anything that’s in a class like testosterone and binds to the androgen receptor is called an androgen. As a rule, androgens have positive effect on muscle and bone. There are several fairly well-known androgens. The best known, and most plentiful in the body, is testosterone itself. Others include DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and androstenedione.
DHT appears to be responsible for some good things for men, such as erections. DHT is involved in the signaling pathway that allows cells in the penis to release the chemical that causes erections.
Testosterone creams tend to increase DHT because there’s an enzyme in the skin called 5-alpha-reductase that converts testosterone to DHT. So it’s fairly common to get higher DHT levels with T gels or creams. I am not aware of any evidence that high levels of DHT are a problem, and in fact there have now been several studies in which men were treated with DHT gels. Their blood levels of DHT increased quite dramatically, but those men experienced no significant problems. I don’t worry about high DHT levels at all.
SS: This is new information. I thought high DHT levels were worrisome, just like overly high estrogen levels in men.
AM: Estrogen in men comes from the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Higher estrogen is often found in men who are obese. If you have more fat tissue, you have more aromatase, which is an enzyme that converts testosterone to estradiol. If you have more aromatase as a man, you are going to end up with more estradiol. If those levels are excessive, you are at a higher risk of getting breast tissue (you’ve seen those man boobs on guys who are heavy). Actually, some studies show that when estrogen levels are too high or too low in men, there is a higher risk of atherosclerosis and stroke, and when estrogen levels are too low, a greater risk of osteoporosis.
Dr. Jonathan Wright who told me in my book Breakthrough that loss of hearing was a result of low aldosterone [a hormone] and by replacing aldosterone, many of his patients’ hearing is coming back measurably.
AM: It means that fewer people who were deprived of androgen died of prostate cancer, but they still died at the same rate as men who were not androgen deprived. They died of other things, like heart attacks. And in all likelihood they were miserable–low or absent sex drive, chronic fatigue, depression and irritability, weight gain.
Lowering testosterone severely causes men to increase their fat and increase their risk of getting metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The risk of a fracture increases substantially. The medical establishment jumps for joy that we saved a man from prostate cancer, but in doing so we produced conditions that killed him anyway. That’s not much of a victory.