Straight from the pages of MedPageToday.com, another article on the supposed dangers of testosterone. For CWI patients and those that love them, as well as lay people who read this page or blog (this will be posted elsewhere), here’s another brain dead citation about the supposed “risk” of testosterone. The first article referenced here refers to one that has been thoroughly discredited, from a logical point of view, by my friend and colleague Dr. Neal Rouzier, MD. The blog post on the CWI website which contains Dr. Rouzier’s cogent analysis is here: http://cadywellness.com/testosterone-more-medical-bias-junk-science-appears-in-ama
The second article cited in this report from MedPageToday is yet another confusion of correlation with causality. This study, noted a doubling of risk of heart attack in men 65 and older compared with other in that year as a function of being on testosterone. There are multiple potential theories about why this could be:
1) The “sick user” syndrome – where it is people that are SICK or not feeling well that end up taking more vitamins or, in this case testosterone. The logic goes like this: they were taking vitamins, they had a heart attack, so the vitamins must have killed them. Similarly, “they took testosterone, they had double the risk of heart attacks; therefore the testosterone got them.”
It could, in fact, be that these men simply weren’t feeling as well as they had heretofore, went to their doctor, got on testosterone because of demonstrably low levels, and were simply on the testosterone with extant, previously undiagnosed cardiac problems.
2) The “Viagra effect.” A spate of news stories appears after Viagra was released that it was “increasing the risk of heart attacks in elderly men.” Well, duh!!!! Do you suppose that they were doing something that they hadn’t been doing in a while? The act of sex is actually fairly aerobically taxing. You need to have the cardiac reserve to walk up two flights of stairs without getting winded to have sex. A lot of older, reconditioned guys, did not have that. One wit might remark that “at least they died happy,” but joking is not appropriate in a case like that. They died because they exceeded the envelope, physiologically, of what their systems could support.
Testosterone actually has a similar effect, but it is more like “Super Viagra.” It not only contributes to erectile potency (so a man might not even need Viagra), but it also increases DRIVE, so that the man might actually be wanting to have sex MORE. This again increases the load on the system.
As Dr. Rouzier points out in his excellent blog entry, study after study shows the beneficial effect of testosterone on men, including burning off visceral adipose fat (which increases heart disease risk) and preserving muscle mass. It is bone protective (guarding against osteoporosis in men – who actually have 1/2 the hip fractures than women (better olds, but still a problem), depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. The purveyors of “FUD” (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about testosterone in the past darkly predicted that it would “cause cancer” [of the prostate] or “raise your risks of cancer [of the prostate], but cold blood calculated statistics in numerous studies show that this isn’t the case.
When I read crap like this in the media, it steams me. It seems to me that it continues to represent a sort of snarky mentality that says, “We know what is good for you – just take your statins, don’t worry about your declining strength, potency, muscle tone,absent sex life and your general crappy sense of well being… and for heaven sakes, don’t take that dangerous testosterone or those ‘vitamins that don’t work.'”
I also believe that this article and ones like it are a rear guard action being fought by what one authority called the “gerontological elite” who have argued and lobbied against basically all advances in age management medicine and optimal aging. They have have engaged in dishonesty and disingenuity in print and presentation. This is yet another example. The wonderful thing is that ultimately they’re going to be buried under data and studies to the contrary of their positions.
The bottom line: treat very carefully what you read in the general media. Don’t take anything for granted, and don’t suppose that the so-called experts” – including me – know what they are talking about. Like Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” On second thought, that might be better changed to “Go ahead and read it, but verify it… and you’ll have to read several studies and look ’em up on www.pubmed.gov to really understand what’s going on.” Only in that way can one make an informed decision.
If there are people that have questions about this, we would love to assist you. You can contact the front office at CWI at 812-429-0772 for questions or to set up a brief visit with either me or Whitney Gabhart, our naturopath, to get some answers.