Learn the difference:
Performance Enhancement Drugs (Anabolic Steroids) VS. Medically Supervised Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
As a physician, I am often asked the difference between these two terms and their effects on health and longevity. While there are some minor similarities, there are major differences as well.
A steroid is known as a “biologically active organic compound with four rings arranged in a specific molecular configuration”. Steroids are naturally found in both animals, plants, and many medicines (like prednisone or corticosteroids) that reduce inflammation and effect the immune system. They are also found in many vitamins, such as Vitamin D. These naturally occurring steroids can also be found in a large number of hormones that your body makes naturally like estrogen, cortisol, testosterone, and progesterone. These help our organs, tissues, and cells do their job.
Another steroid hormone that is naturally produced by moth men and women is Testosterone. Like all the “sex steroids” they normally decrease as we age, producing some unwanted and undesirable changes in our bodies including loss of muscle mass, libido, and energy. This can also increase fat which can trigger a host of symptoms from depression to early menopause in women. Surprisingly, testosterone can start to decrease in both men and women in as early as their 20’s.
It is important to know that naturally occurring testosterone should not be confused with anabolic steroids!!
So, the term “steroids” is also frequently used to describe a class of man-made medicines commonly known as “anabolic steroids” referring to performance enhancing drugs used by athletes, and body builders. They are man-made versions of testosterone that increase muscle size and strength. Their performance and muscle enhancing properties have led to misuse and abuse when taken in large doses for long periods and can have serious long-term side effects. It is possible for these steroids to have a therapeutic effect in proper doses, and in fact health care providers sometimes prescribe them to people who lose muscle mass because of cancer, AIDS, and other health conditions.
The medical specialty of Hormone Replacement Therapy refers to physicians who specialize in treating both men and women with hormone imbalances. While bio-identical testosterone is often one of the medicines used, knowledgeable health care providers with experience in HRT will also test and balance estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, and cortisol in both men and women. (Yes, men need a certain amount of estrogen just like women need a certain amount of testosterone).
But it is true that both men and women with sub-optimal testosterone can rebuild muscle and increase strength, energy, and libido when the testosterone is replaced, especially when done by experienced providers specializing in this area. The majority of our clients are examples of how bio-identical hormone replacement, when used properly with proper nutrition and exercise, can improve health, strength, endurance, and physique.
Unfortunately, many excellent health care providers are not up to speed or comfortable with HRT. At the Age Management Center, Hormone Replacement Therapy is our core business. We have highly trained staff that have years’ experience in HRT and are here to help you live as well as you can, for as long as you can. Contact us today to schedule your free screening!