Recently, there was an article published in the local paper titled “Hormone”, and Dr. Fotinos has provided responses to quotes within this article. It also must be made clear when discussions on hormones are related to synthetic hormones or bio-identical hormones. The article and quotes below are directly related to synthetic hormones, which do pose potential health risks. Bio-Identical Hormones are what Dr. Fotinos prescribes and are safer for you and actually assist in decreasing risks for future diseases. Not only that, they also help you regain overall physical, mental, and sexual vitality while lengthening your lifespan.
The level of care associated with bio-identical hormones far exceeds synthetic hormone treatments as well, as synthetic hormones are generally not prescribed by age management doctors or bio-identical hormone specialists. (Read previous blog titled: “Why Should You See an Age Management Specialist?”)
“Researchers say it’s unclear whether the issues associated with aging- decreased sex drive, less energy, reduced muscle mass- are the result of low testosterone or other factors.”-
Response: Actually, the root cause of aging is hormonal loss. Testosterone is required to build muscle, to have a libido, etc. All of these symptoms are directly related to declining testosterone levels. That is why a 20 year old or someone using testosterone is able to build muscle easy and effectively than someone at age 50. Blood panels drawn are so thorough that they can accurately pinpoint if it is testosterone, other hormones, or associated with blood counts or organ functioning. An anti-aging specialist can accurately pinpoint the root cause of a patient’s symptoms and appropriately diagnose going forward.
“Most experts say testosterone is as effective as anti-wrinkle face cream when used to reverse the effects of aging.”
Response: Many doctors use synthetic or chemical treatments to “cover stuff up” or to band-aid the symptoms, so it would make sense that there are comments stating that these treatments are not effective in directly causing reverse effects in aging. Doctors who do not practice or are trained in age management may prescribe low doses or synthetic testosterone which slightly alleviates the noted symptoms of low testosterone. They treat the symptoms and not the patient, and many times these doctors do not even draw the blood work to determine it is indeed testosterone or potentially something else. It is pivotal to analyze the appropriate blood work to address the true and root causes of those symptoms. When those are addressed and treated with bio-identical hormones, it is significantly noted that it provides overall success for patients in relief in how they feel and how their blood work and levels improve. Their blood work clinically indicates that they are physically improving, and their blood work shows that their levels are in more youthful ranges. Youthful ranges are a true indicator of proving effectiveness in the reversal of aging. When patients share how they feel overall, they share significant improvements in all aspects of how they think, feel, and perform day-to-day.
“Test results are hit or miss: Blood tests for testosterone are so unreliable- and saliva tests are worse.”
Response: Once again, this would mainly apply to testing ordered by doctors who are not specialists in age-management medicine. Typical tests ordered to address testosterone levels are a simple testosterone test. Free testosterone and Sex-Binding Hormone Globulin are two additional tests to show how testosterone is truly functioning or being used in a patients system. These three tests combined will show accurate readings of patients levels, and in turn help your age management doctor to appropriately prescribe treatment. Blood tests are more commonly used to determine patients’ levels. Many times saliva tests can be drawn as well, but are more commonly used to address cortisol levels, as cortisol fluctuates or spikes throughout the day and helps explain why patients may notice fatigue or sleep disturbances throughout the day, hence helping the doctor to provide appropriate care. That is the goal. So, in conclusion, blood tests are completely reliable if the appropriate and adequate amount of tests are ordered and analyzed by an age management specialist.
“Meaning of “low” and “normal” is unclear: Doctors don’t exactly know what “low” is.
Response: All labs have ranges that are considered normal in regards to all blood panels draw per the patient’s age group at the time the blood is drawn. The ranges for normal for testosterone are vast between. A patient could be at the bottom of these “normal” ranges, hence the hormone could be “low-performing”. If it is low-performing and the patient has noted symptoms of typical low testosterone, then it is obvious that a patient is experiencing a gradual decline in their testosterone levels. The goals of testosterone replacement are to optimize patients’ levels so that they are clinically indicated to be in youthful ranges and to experience relief of their symptoms and changes in physical performance. So, it’s important to not look for normal, but to reach for optimal.
“Testosterone therapy is still a “scientifically unproven method” for preventing or relieving the physical and psychological changes that men with age-appropriate testosterone levels experience later in life.”
Response: A 60 year old is age-appropriate and his symptoms are normal for his age, but who wants to feel weaker and physically and psychologically? If blood work is monitored monthly as treatment adjustments are made, it is clinically indicated and proven that patients’ levels are optimized to youthful ranges. And, patients will voice that they notice obvious changes in their mental, physical, and sexual performance.
“Treatments have potential side effects…such as genitalia enlargement or aggressive behavior. Many researchers believe that supplements can put men at greater risk for prostate cancer-or stimulate growth of cancer if it is already present-and perhaps even greater risk for stroke, because it increases the production of red blood cells.”
Response: These studies revolve around synthetic testosterone replacement treatments where a patient’s levels were not closely monitored monthly and appropriate care was provided. Synthetic hormones just like anything foreign placed in your body can increase your risks for cancers. Bio-Identical Hormones are natural hormones that are safer for your body, as they are natural (not foreign) to your body. Bio-Identical hormones have been studied to show an obvious decline in cholesterol, improvements in cardiac function, and actual decreases in risks for diseases and cancers. No studies have shown that bio-identical hormones increase risks for cancers or diseases. And, age management doctors monitor patients’ levels so closely that there are no risks for levels to be abnormally elevated or to risk putting a patient in danger. No study has show increased risk for prostate cancer. Recently, a study showed improvements or regression of prostate illness in men that were on testosterone.
“Men who supplement with testosterone shut down their own factory. “If you’re taking it long enough, you don’t get testosterone production or sperm back.”
Response: Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement is used to supplement the levels that your body is already naturally producing. If you discontinue using the supplementation, then your levels just return to what your body is naturally producing. It makes sense. Without the additional testosterone replacement, your body unfortunately goes “back to normal”. The natural production is not shut down by testosterone replacement. Any shut down or decline experienced by a patient is due to a patient discontinuing treatments or supplementation. Also, experienced age management doctors monitor a patients testosterone levels to manage fertility. There are other natural hormones that boost fertility and improve sperm counts, so this is alleviated and prevented as well. To properly manage, optimize, and supplement testosterone, it must be for as long as the patient wishes to feel at their best. Many patients utilize testosterone replacement for life.