Vail health column: Studies show testosterone replacement can lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke |

Vail health column: Studies show testosterone replacement can lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke

Scott A. Brandt, M.D.
Health Insights
Dr. Scott Brandt
Special to the Daily |

While considered controversial by many and often sensationalized by the media, testosterone replacement in aging males continues to increase worldwide.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, prescriptions for testosterone have nearly doubled in the past five years. This trend suggests that men with symptoms of low testosterone are realizing significant benefits from this therapy.

Sexual dysfunction, decreased libido and fatigue are widely recognized symptoms of an age-related decline in testosterone. Additional symptoms of low testosterone include erectile dysfunction, reduced intensity of orgasm, muscle loss, weight gain, increased body fat, impaired cognition, mental fog, lack of energy, frailty, decline in bone density and decreased sense of well-being.

Low levels of testosterone are also commonly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. The question remains, if low testosterone levels are associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, does testosterone replacement decrease the risk of these conditions?

The preponderance of the scientific evidence suggests that yes, testosterone replacement does lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In fact, improving testosterone levels decreases the risk of all causes of mortality.

Why is it, then, that the majority of scientific studies support testosterone replacement and yet the public’s understanding, and conventional wisdom, often do not?

There are many answers to this question.

There is always resistance to change, and doubts often surround something new. There is also a tarnished reputation associated with testosterone therapy due to the misuse of testosterone and other performance-enhancing hormones in professional athletes. This misuse relates specifically to hormonal replacement in professional and Olympic athletes, not hormonal therapy in the treatment of age management.

The notion exists that men should accept the rigors of natural aging. Pharmaceutical marketing to promote testosterone-replacement products may suggest unnecessary promotion, utilization and overselling — for profit, not true medical need. There is widespread fear and misunderstanding associated with sex hormone (estrogen and testosterone) treatment.

Additionally, there exists a common belief that testosterone causes prostate cancer, despite this being untrue. There are many studies that clearly demonstrate that the addition of testosterone does not increase prostate cancer risk. In fact, prostate cancer risk is highest when testosterone levels are at their lowest. The media seeks to satisfy the public’s interest in controversy and risk and often creates controversy and risk where little exists.

In a recent review of testosterone therapy and cardiovascular risk published in the “Mayo Clinic Proceedings,” February 2015, Harvard urologist A. Morgentaler, M.D., cites 46 studies that support the cardiovascular and metabolic benefits of testosterone replacement and four studies that do not. Morgentaler identifies and explains the flaws in the four negative studies and the edits that have been made in those studies to correct the untrue statements.

Morgantaler does an excellent job reviewing this topic in a YouTube video he recently posted, “Dr. Morgentaler Clarifies Misperceptions of Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Heart Disease Risk.”

The preponderance of the scientific evidence supports testosterone-replacement therapy and demonstrates a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke. In addition to these important factors, there are also many feel-good benefits, such as increased energy, improved libido and positive sense of well-being associated with testosterone therapy.

Dr. Scott Brandt, of ThriveMD, practices leading-edge regenerative medicine. He offers stem-cell treatments for orthopedic conditions, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, IV nutrient therapies, medical diets and liposculpture. To find out how this field can change your life, contact ThriveMD at 970-766-8245 or visit

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