Studies continue to show that low serum testosterone signals serious problems for men. Both physicians and patients should consider the real evidence. Low testosterone is not acceptable as we age—it contributes to more heart disease and early mortality.

That’s an alarming fact for every man since hormones start to drop by 1% to 3% each year, beginning around age 30. Factored out, that calculates to a 20% drop by age 50 and a 50% drop by age 80.

These diminished testosterone levels manifest in symptoms such as lowered libido, reduced muscle mass, decreased bone density, higher fat mass, central obesity, low energy, irritability and insulin resistance.

Just look at the studies. The August 2006 issue of Circulation magazine—a journal of the American Heart Association—published findings of a study titled, “Anabolic Deficiency in Men with Chronic Heart Failure/Prevalence and Detrimental Impact on Survival.”

The research examined the “age-related decline of circulating anabolic hormones” and studied the frequency and consequences of deficiencies in four hormone groups in men with chronic heart failure (CHF): (1) circulating total testosterone (TT); (2) free testosterone; (3) DHEA; and (4) insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). The study measured serum levels of 366 healthy men and 208 men (average 63 years old) with a 33% left ventricular ejection fraction—the norm runs approximately 58%.

  • They concluded men with CHF had diminished levels of all four hormone categories across age groups—at or below the 10th percentile of their healthy peers.
  • Survival rates of men with CHF and a hormone deficiency in one of these categories showed a 74% three-year survival rate. Those having deficiencies in two had a 55% three-year survival rate; those with deficiencies in all three had a 27% three-year survival rate.
  • Men with CHF and no hormonal deficiencies in these groups had the best three-year survival rate at 83%.

Another study appeared in the August 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. It published results of the “Low Serum Testosterone and Mortality in Male Veterans” study. Researchers measured testosterone levels in men over 40 repeatedly from October 1994 to December 1999.

  • Low testosterone levels “continued to be associated with increased mortality” even after researchers adjusted for age, medical morbidity and other clinical predictive variables.
  • In a smaller study at a geriatric rehabilitation center, men with “low testosterone level had an increased 6-month mortality compared with men with a normal testosterone level who were of a comparable age and had comparable medical morbidity.

The answer may not simply be more testosterone. Younger men—30s, 40s and 50s—face different problems than older ones. Their pituitary gland may slow down or stop producing stimulating Luteinizing Hormone (LH). In other words, their testicles aren’t receiving a signal, so they’re not producing testosterone. Giving these men testosterone supplementation typically compounds the problem. What they need is the right therapy to stimulate testosterone production or a hormone that mimics LH. Conversely, an older man may need age-appropriate hormonal therapy. Meanwhile, some men may need a combination. One needs to find out if the low testosterone problem is related to a pituitary or testicular problem.

A personalized action plan helps you regain and maintain metabolic and endocrine functions at the upper end of the normal range for your age—giving you the best opportunity for a more vigorous and healthy life.

Reprinted by permission of Cenegenics

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