Recent research studies from major universities and health organizations show that low or high testosterone levels are detrimental to several aspects of men’s health. Testosterone is measured at two levels —bonded and free---the latter being the active form. Bonded testosterone makes up about 90% of the total and is bonded to bones and muscle. Free testosterone flows in the blood and is very important for many health aspects in men and women.
Metabolic Syndrome is a combination: -waist size, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. It leads to diabetes, heart disease and the inability to process fats and sugars. Men with low testosterone have an increasing prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, stress, and body fat (especially visceral belly fat). As total testosterone levels rise to the optimum level, (550ng/dl) or above, the chance for these diseases decreases. New research now shows that men in the lowest testosterone level are twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease (CVD) versus those at the optimum level who over the five year program had a 30% lower risk of CVD. Any level below 550ng/dl resulted in a significant increased risk. Only at 550ng/dl or higher was the 30% reduction for CVD seen and 24% for strokes.
The important consideration is hormone balance. As men grow older they are more and more at risk for increases in an enzyme called aromatase. One of the main causes of this increase is belly fat. Obesity can cause estrogen levels to rise because belly fat produces aromatase which coverts testosterone into estrogen.
When testosterone and estrogen are in youthful balance there are many protective effects. Research has shown there is an increase in mortality when estrogen levels are either too low or too high.
Measuring FREE testosterone is the most accurate way of assessing levels in men. The balance should be 15-20ng/dl free with estrogen less than 30ng/dl. An in balance between these two hormones leads to diet resistant belly fat which is due to either too much estrogen or too little testosterone. In men this fat increases estrogen resulting in memory loss, lack of motivation, depression and low libido. Belly fat can also be linked to stress which releases hormones like cortisol which signals the body to maintain its fat and weight and also to low DHEA (the precursor to these hormones).
Low testosterone which may be linked to stress, can also lead to belly fat in both men and women. This type of fat resists diet, is very difficult to remove and can increase estrogen levels. This jump in estrogen levels helps to develop platelet aggregation, coagulation and inflammation in arteries which may cause a heart attack.
High HDL levels (good cholesterol) protect against heart attacks by helping to remove plaque from arteries. Testosterone enables HDL to remove this built up of cholesterol from arterial walls and cycles it back to the liver for disposal. This is known as Reserve Cholesterol Transport (RCT). Adequate levels of testosterone are required for optimal support of this process; low levels may cause a drop in HDL increasing the chance of CVD.
A major research study revealed that free testosterone levels below 17pg/dl resulted in a 3.3 fold greater risk in developing arterial disease. In perspective aging men with levels below 17pg/dl often have HDL levels below 40-50 mg/dl.
Chronic heart failure (CHF) is characterized by exercise intolerance, shortness of breath and muscle wasting. Low testosterone is one of the mail culprits. Testosterone increases anabolic function, improves arterial dilation and is a known anti inflammatory agent.
The Journal of the American Medical Assoc. published a study measuring estradiol (the active form of estrogen) in men with chronic heart failure (CHF). The end results were: men with the lowest level were 217% more likely to die and men in the highest level were 133% more likely to die sooner from all sources than men with a balanced estradiol—testosterone level.
Over 16 years ago several research reports indicated that excess estrogen (in its active form of estradiol) contributed to atherosclerosis (artery blocking). Men with only slightly increased levels had twice the risk of a stroke and a higher chance of CVD. The research also explained that men with “high” levels of estrogen and “low” levels of testosterone had higher incidences of benign prostate enlargement (BPH) . On the other hand too low estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis and bone fracture.
A low testosterone level indicates an increased possibility of prostate cancer. This is detailed in research from Harvard Medical School with Dr. Abraham Morgentaler’s book and from the National Institute of Health (NIH) 2006 ,It is high levels of estrogen not testosterone that cause prostate cancer. WHY?
First: the research done in 1940 which stated that testosterone was the culprit (for which the author received the Noble Prize) was based on the results from dogs, a castrated man and ONE normal man! Dr Morgentaler’s research at Harvard starting years ago has proved this research was flawed.
Second: it was found that in aging men obesity, especially belly fat, can cause estrogen levels to rise. This visceral fat produces an enzyme called AROMATASE , which converts testosterone into estrogen. Excess estrogen is also one of the leading factors in women’s breast cancer.
New research just released from Un. of Texas Health Science Center : “ For the first time we have demonstrated that excess fat (adipose belly fat) is a key factor in cancer progression regardless of the diet contributing to the excess weight.”
Harvard Medical School list the optimum hormone levels as: DHEA -350-490ng/dl; Estradiol 20-30pg/ml; Total testosterone 550/700ng/dl; free 20-25 pg/dl.
Abdominal exercises like sit ups and crunches do NOT reduce belly fat. This fat is deep and wrapped around your interior organs and is not affected by abdominal exercise. Exercises to reduce this visceral fat include: cardio, pushups, lunges, squats and step ups.
Now you will understand that belly fat is dangerous in more than one way
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is closely related the vascular disease. The three known common medications (Viagra et.al.) do not increase blood flow they activate an enzyme called FDN3 which inhibits the blood from flowing out. Researchers from Harvard have written several articles /books about ED, its’ probable causes and remedies. There are several non prescription items that have a proven beneficial record of alleviating ED.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is caused by a lack of blood flow which can occur gradually as one gets older. It is closely related to CVD which may happen two or three years after the beginning of the ED. The three known common medications (Viagra et.al.) do not increase blood flow into the penis (however there are supplements that do so don’t worry) they activate an enzyme called FDN3 which inhibits the blood from flowing out. Researchers from Harvard and Life Extension Foundation have written several articles and /books about ED, its’ probable causes and remedies. There are several non prescription supplements that have a proven beneficial record of alleviating ED.
Viagra et al (especially the daily dose of Cialis) has also been shown to reduce the urinary tract problems associated with BPH( benign prostate hyperplasia) and reduces stress in the brain after a stroke by stimulating the growth of nerve cellsThere are also remedies that inhibit aromatase from converting testosterone to estrogen.