The Low-Down on Low-T Just in TIME
Are you one of the millions of men (and possibly their wives as well) who are thinking now is the time to do something about that decreasing muscle mass, decreasing libido and increasing belly fat - which are claimed (unofficially) as symptoms of Low-T? You may want to rethink this decision. In the August 18, 2014 issue of TIME magazine, writer David Von Drehle provides the low-down on low-T about whether the promise to pump men up is less real and more imagined, or just what the doctor ordered.
According to the TIME article, aging in men has gone from a “go quietly into the night” of our fathers to a more raucous hell-raising as men bombard their bodies with a booming onslaught of prescription testosterone-infused gels, injections, nasal sprays, implants and pills that promise power, performance and passion.
However, those promises may be more hype than help. Low-T as it turns out is a multi-billion dollar industry that is expected to increase even further from $2.4 billion in 2013 to $3.8 billion in 2018―a fact based on U.S. prescriptions for testosterone that have risen from 2.9 million in 2007 to 7.5 million in 2013. Which begs the question, are men today facing an epidemic of lowered testosterone levels, or is this really a more accurate reflection of increased marketing spending (up 2,800% since 2009)?
In fact, recently experts warned the public that those evening testosterone drug ad commercials actually lie to consumers.
If the numbers and ad warnings are not enough to raise a red flag before going to your doctor for a testosterone chaser with your Viagra renewal, here is a summary of facts gleaned from TIME:
Low-T fact #1: Low-T hormone therapy is not FDA-approved as many think it is. In fact, testosterone therapy is only FDA-approved for conditions of hypogonadism with symptoms such as non-descended testicles, infertility, enlarged male breasts and lack of body hair.
Low-T fact #2: Dropping T-levels are a part of the normal aging process. Testosterone levels peak at age 20 and decrease by 1-2% per year after that.
Low-T fact #3: Low-T therapy may be harmful with an increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes in some users. However, studies are conflicting as poignantly pointed out in the TIME article with the statement that, “No matter what you think about testosterone therapy, some scientist somewhere has data to back you up.”
Low-T fact #4: There is no scientific consensus on what levels of testosterone clinically constitutes a condition of Low-T as well as how it should be measured and when. In fact, individual testosterone levels fluctuate from morning to afternoon and from day to day.
Low-T fact #5: Low-T may be a symptom rather than a condition states some experts who posit that belly fat leads to Low-T rather than Low-T leads to belly fat. Belly fat typically results from lack of exercise and lack of sleep and a poor diet, all of which can lead to decreased hormone levels. Many doctors advocate getting in shape first to treat Low-T before asking for prescription medical therapy.
Low-T fact #6: Users of Low-T therapy often report improvement; however, double-blind placebo studies have shown that in spite of many test subjects reporting improvement in mood and sexual function (including those taking the placebo) that the statistics do not reveal significant clinical progress in those who were given the testosterone therapy. Expectations of improvement can lead to some improvement however as this is often accompanied with new motivation to exercise and eat right.
Low-T fact #7: No man is an island of Testosterone, low or otherwise due to the fact that testosterone is just one part of an endocrine system that is more complex than being easily remedied with the simple addition of extra hormone(s) to take care of business. Genes, environment and psychology all play roles in a complex body system that defies simple medical interpretation of something as both rock-solid and fragile as masculinity.
For more about low testosterone and how to tell if you are experiencing decreased erections at night while sleeping, try this Dr. Oz overnight erection stamp test.
Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket
Reference: TIME magazine, August 18, 2014 issue