From the Desk of Dr. Len
Should you Take Testosterone
Dr. Len Lopez – Monday, December 09, 2013
If you haven’t already seen or heard all the commercials about low Testosterone (TT) being the cause of weight gain, lack of stamina, and strength I would think again before you whip on a patch of testosterone. The one thing these companies don’t tell you is that you ought to also be checking for estrogen levels, because a lot of Men and Women are converting their Testesterone into estrogen and have a Conversion Problem causing the low testosterone levels!
I believe Testosterone is a lot like money. It’s not so much how much you make – it’s how much you keep. If you….
- Have a belly
- Are more than 25 pounds overweight
- Like carbohydrates and sweets
- Don’t eat enough protein
- Eat something sweet (carb loaded) at night
There is a good chance you are dealing with a conversion issue and are converting more of your testosterone into estrogen then you should.
Both men and women make testosterone. Everyone first makes DHEA, the antiaging hormone, and converts it into TT. For simplicity, women will move about 90% of TT and convert it into EST, thereby keeping only about 10% TT. Men will basically do the reverse and keep about 90% of the TT and convert only about 10% into EST.
That’s the norm, so think about what happens if you’re a man and go from a 90-10 (TT to EST) ratio to 85-15. Or if you are a women and move from a 10-90…to a 5-95 ration? What’s causing the lack of libido, strength and ability to add lean muscle? Adding more TT to your system may make you feel better, but if you don’t take care of the Conversion Problem you’re going to also be making more EST…this is why you need to know both numbers.
If you are thinking about testosterone replacement, the best measurement to determine if you have low testosterone is called a Free Testosterone test as opposed to aTotal Testosterone.
FYI…the Free Testosterone gives you the amount of active TT, that’s the important number. The Total gives you a count of both the inactive and active form of TT racing through your body. A Total TT is useless if they don’t give you both inactive and active forms.
The first thing you need to know about TT and EST is that all the extra fatty tissue around your tummy is producing estrogen for both men and women. This is going to further induce estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance for both men and women.
Secondly, your diet could be triggering an increased production of an aromatase enzyme that tells your body to convert your TT into EST. A high carb diet will do that, especially when you take carbs in before you going to bed.
One of the best nutrients and herbs you can take to neutralize that aromatase enzyme is zinc, saw palmetto, pygeum, pumpkin seeds, and neetles. The herbs are loaded with zinc, which is probably why they are helpful.
FYI…you will find many of these herbs in your typical prostate formulas. I recommend them to both male and female patients who are carrying 25 plus pounds and are over 40 and are looking to start an exercise program. Remember it’s about keeping the TT that you produce and not losing it!
There is a simple Do It Yourself test to see if you could have a zinc deficiency. It’s basically a Zinc Challenge. I use it with patients and encourage clients to use it, because it is a good indicator that you probably don’t have enough zinc, which could be why your testosterone levels aren’t where they need to be. Low levels of zinc are also associated with weakened immune system, fatigue, adrenal exhaustion, as well as, hormonal imbalance.
So if you do decide to take medications to increase your TT just make sure you have your estrogen levels checked otherwise you could be setting yourself up for some problems down the road.
Yes, your libido and energy will increase…for a while, but what’s going to happen with all that estrogen if you don’t take care of that conversion problem. The best way to raise testosterone naturally is with intense physical exercise and sleep. The more intense the exercise the more testosterone you produce. If you’re like many of the others who are struggling with energy and enough time to workout – try burst training or high intensity interval training.
These workouts are short and can really help increase those levels without using a medication. Once you start raising your testosterone levels naturally you can start addressing the diet and hormonal imbalance to keep from losing it. I hope that helps, and remember it’s about working out and dieting smarter!