For those with low testosterone, symptoms can play a dramatic role in day-to-day activities.
While low libidio, muscle loss, and fatigue are notorious aspects of testosterone deficiency, research shows testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can do more than abate these symptoms. As science progresses, the novel discoveries of TRT continue to surprise.
1) Testosterone improves cognitive function
Low testosterone levels are often associated with aging. As men age, testosterone levels diminish. Cognitive impairment — as seen in Alzheimer’s disease — is also correlated with the elderly. For those suffering from mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, testosterone replacement therapy is shown to promote protective effects against cognitive decline.
Cognitive improvements also appear in healthy older men and men with mild hypogonadism (low secretion of hormones in the gonads). Functions such as spatial memory, spatial ability, and verbal memory are significantly improve with testosterone replacement therapy. General symptoms of aging (unrelated to disease) are shown to substantially decline with testosterone supplementation, as well. (Bonus!)
2) Testosterone replacement therapy helps depression
Over 30% of men have suffered from depression in their lifetime, according to the American Psychological Association. Men with low testosterone levels are affected at even higher rates by this life disruptive disorder. According to Dr. Shores, et.al, hypogonadal men are three times more likely to develop clinical depression than those with normal T-levels.
Depression is a complex neural disorder, involving a range of hormones and neurotransmitters. Changes in brain function and neural circuit activity are increasingly thought to be the culprits.
TRT enhances blood flow to brain regions involved in emotions, judgment, and reasoning; regions rich in neurotransmitters. Serotonin — thought to regulate happiness, anxiety, and mood — is particularly positively impacted. (Low serotonin levels are often linked to depression.)
Additionally, the presence of androgen (testosterone) receptors in the brain may emphasize the role steroid hormones play in neuronal function. This might help explain why depression occurs more often in women than men — androgen receptors can offer protective actions against depression on a consistent basis, while similar protection by estrogen in women is only cyclical.
3) Bioidentical testosterone therapy exists
The chemistry of the body is intricate. Hormones produce a multitude of effects. Some are great; others, not so much. In order to ensure the maximal potential of your testosterone replacement therapy (and reduce adverse health consequences), it’s crucial you choose the correct hormone therapy. Medical advancements have greatly expanded your TRT options.
Bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical to endogenous hormones (those naturally produced in the body). Unlike their synthetic counterparts, bioidentical hormones are derived from plants. These hormones are often customized for individual patients through a process called compounding. Custom-compounded bioidentical testosterone comes in several forms.
Testosterone can be delivered through patches, creams, gels, oral tablets, injections, and more. Unfortunately, most of these produce undesirable side effects, like liver damage or a likelihood of rubbing off on family members (it happens). One method, however, stands above the rest.
Hormone pellets, or subdermal implants, containing bioidentical testosterone are gently placed beneath the skin. These bioidentical testosterone pellets deliver a slow release of testosterone over time. In 3-6 months, the pellet dissolves. A non-surgical procedure reimplants a new pellet.
Testosterone replacement therapy is gaining popularity rapidly. Men of all ages seek the benefits of bioidentical testosterone and regulating hormone levels. If symptoms and lab results indicate your levels are low, speak with an expert physician well-versed in the language of TRT.