Posted at: 06/12/2013 4:40 PM
Updated at: 06/12/2013 6:10 PM
By: Benita Zahn
When men experience diminished energy along with a loss of sex drive and function, Madison Avenue says it's due to low testosterone. Perhaps. But they may also be signs of other conditions including high blood pressure.
“And many men think just because they're gonna have a normal testosterone everything's gonna be okay. But that's not the way it works, “ says Dr. McCullough.
Dr. McCullough, is a professor of Urology at Albany Medical College and in practice as a urologist. As he points out, very low testosterone, along with affecting quality of life, can lead to bone loss and even early death.
But you have to know why your level is low - and then understand the ramifications of supplementing testosterone.
For starters men's bodies produce an enzyme that converts testosterone to the female hormone, estrogen.
When estrogen levels rise a man's brain figures there's enough testosterone.
“So the brain then shuts down the production of his own testosterone,” he says.
Which in turn shuts down sperm production. That can cause infertility in young men.
The same thing can happen if a man is obese as fat produces estrogen.
So trimming down improves the hormone balance and can restore fertility and well being.
For men truly deficient in testosterone, attaining the right level is a balancing act.
“Then after a certain level adding more testosterone really doesn't make a lot of difference. “
Adequate testosterone, says McCullough can range from 300 to 800. But as he points out, a testosterone level of 300 for one man may be perfect but too low for another.
“So I think every man is a little bit different and it's not a, there's no formula “
Yes, for some men, particularly the elderly, testosterone supplementation can improve muscle mass leading to a better quality of life, but it's not a one size fits all panacea.
“And is testosterone supplements the fountain of youth some men would like to believe it is? No, it is not. “