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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
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Over 30 guys...interesting read.

As men age past year 40, hormonal changes occur that perceptibly inhibit physical, sexual, and cognitive function. The outward appearance of a typical middle-age male shows increased abdominal fat and shrinkage of muscle mass, a hallmark effect of hormone imbalance. A loss of feeling of well being, sometimes manifesting as depression, is a common psychological complication of hormone imbalance.

Until recently, these changes were attributed to "growing old," and men were expected to accept the fact that their body was entering into a long degenerative process that would someday result in death.

A remarkable amount of data has been compiled that indicates that many of the diseases that middle-aged men begin experiencing, including depression, abdominal weight gain, prostate and heart disease are directly related to hormone imbalances that are correctable with currently available drug and nutrient therapies. To the patient's detriment, conventional doctors are increasingly prescribing drugs to treat depression, elevated cholesterol, angina and a host of other diseases that may be caused by an underlying hormone imbalance.

If doctors checked their male patient's blood levels of estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, and DHEA (instead of prescribing drugs to treat symptoms), they might be surprised to learn that many problems could be eliminated by adjusting hormone levels to fit the profile of a healthy 21-year- old.

Few physicians know what hormone blood tests to order for men, nor do they have the experience to properly adjust hormones to reverse the degenerative changes that begin in mid-life. This protocol will provide the patient and physician with the information necessary to safely modulate hormone levels for the purpose of preventing and treating many of the common diseases associated with growing older.

Too Much Estrogen

The most significant hormone imbalance in aging men is a decrease in free testosterone while estrogen levels remain the same or precipitously increase. Through a variety of mechanisms, as men grow older, they suffer from the dual effects of having too little testosterone and excess estrogen. The result is a testosterone/estrogen imbalance that directly causes many of the debilitating health problems associated with normal aging.

One cause of hormone imbalance in men is that their testosterone is increasingly converted to estrogen. One report showed that estrogen levels of the average 54-year-old man is higher than those of the average 59-year-old women.

The reason that testosterone replacement therapy by itself does not work for many men is that exogenously administered testosterone may convert (aromatize) into even more estrogen, thus potentially worsening the hormone imbalance problem in aging males, i.e., too much estrogen and not enough free testosterone. While there are studies showing that testosterone replacement therapy does not increase estrogen beyond normal reference ranges, we are going to show later how the standard laboratory reference ranges do not adequately address the issue of estrogen overload.

Estrogen is a necessary hormone for men, but too much causes a wide range of health problems. The most dangerous acute effect of excess estrogen and too little testosterone is an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. High levels of estrogen have been implicated as a cause of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and one mechanism by which nettle extract works is to block the binding of growth-stimulating estrogen to prostate cells

When there is too little testosterone present, estrogen attaches to testosterone cell receptor sites throughout the body and creates many problems in aging men. In youth, low amounts of estrogen are used to turn off the powerful cell-stimulating effects of testosterone. As estrogen levels increase with age, testosterone cell stimulation may be locked in the "off " position, thus reducing sexual arousal and sensation and causing the common loss of libido so common in aging men.

High serum levels of estrogen also trick the brain into thinking that enough testosterone is being produced, thereby slowing down the natural production of testosterone. This happens when estrogen saturates testosterone receptors in the hypothalamus region of the brain. The saturated hypothalamus then stops sending out a hormone to the pituitary gland to stimulate secretion of luteinizing hormone, which the gonads require to produce testosterone. High estrogen can thus shut down the normal testicular production of testosterone.

One further complication of excess estrogen is that it increases the body's production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds free testosterone in the blood and makes it unavailable to cell receptor sites.

Based on the multiple deleterious effects of excess estrogen in men, aggressive actions should be taken to reduce estrogen to a safe range if a blood test reveals elevated levels. We will discuss the appropriate blood tests and steps that can be taken to lower estrogen levels later in this protocol.

The Critical Importance of Free Testosterone

Testosterone is much more than a sex hormone. There are testosterone receptor sites in cells throughout the body, most notably in the brain and heart. Youthful protein synthesis for maintaining muscle mass and bone formation requires testosterone. Testosterone improves oxygen uptake throughout the body, helps control blood sugar, regulate cholesterol, and maintain immune surveillance. The body requires testosterone to maintain youthful cardiac output and neurological function. Testosterone is a critical hormone in the maintenance of healthy bone density, muscle mass, and red blood cell production.

Of critical concern to psychiatrists are studies showing that men suffering from depression have lower levels of testosterone than control subjects. For some men, elevating free testosterone levels could prove to be an effective anti-depressant therapy. There is a basis for free testosterone levels being measured in men suffering from depression and replacement therapy initiated if free testosterone levels are low normal or below normal.

One of the most misunderstood hormones is testosterone. Body builders tarnished the reputation of testosterone by putting large amounts of synthetic testosterone drugs into their young bodies. Synthetic testosterone abuse can produce detrimental effects, but this has nothing to do with the benefits a man over age 40 can enjoy by properly restoring his natural testosterone to a youthful level.

Conventional doctors have not recommended testosterone replacement therapy because of an erroneous concern that testosterone causes prostate cancer. As we will later show, fear of prostate cancer is not a scientific reason to avoid testosterone modulation therapy.

Another concern skeptical doctors have about prescribing testosterone replacement therapy is that some poorly conducted studies showed it to be ineffective in the long-term treatment of aging. These studies indicate anti-aging benefits when testosterone is given, but the effects often wear off. What doctors fail to appreciate is that exogenously administered testosterone can convert to estrogen in the body. The higher estrogen levels may negate the benefits of the exogenously administered testosterone. The solution to the estrogen-overload problem is to block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the body. Numerous studies show that maintaining youthful levels of free testosterone can enable the aging man to restore strength, stamina, cognition, heart function, sexuality and their outlook on life, i.e., alleviate depression.

Why Testosterone Levels Decline

Testosterone production begins in the brain. When the hypothalamus detects a deficiency of testosterone in the blood, it secretes a hormone called gonadotrophin-releasing hormone to the pituitary gland. This prompts the pituitary to secrete luteinizing hormone (LH) which then prompts the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone.

In some men, the testes lose their ability to produce testosterone, no matter how much LH is being produced. This type of testosterone deficiency is diagnosed when blood tests show high levels of LH and low levels of testosterone. In other words, the pituitary gland is telling the testes (by secreting LH ) to produce testosterone, but the testes have lost their functional ability, so the pituitary gland vainly continues to secrete LH because there is not enough testosterone in the blood to provide a feedback mechanism that would tell the pituitary to shut down. In other cases, the hypothalamus or pituitary gland fail to produce sufficient amounts of LH, thus preventing a healthy pair of testes from secreting testosterone. Blood testing can determine if sufficient amounts of LH are being secreted by the pituitary gland and help determine the proper therapeutic approach.

If serum (blood) testosterone levels are very low, it is important to diagnose the cause, but no matter what the underlying problem, therapies exist today to safely restore testosterone to youthful levels in any man (who does not already have prostate cancer).

As indicated earlier in this article, a major problem aging men face is not low production of testosterone, but excessive conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Again, specific therapies will be discussed later about how to suppress excess estrogen and boost free testosterone back to youthful physiologic levels.

The Effects of Testosterone on Libido

Sexual stimulation and erection begin in the brain when neuronal testosterone-receptor sites are prompted to ignite a cascade of biochemical events that involve testosterone-receptor sites in the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Free testosterone promotes sexual desire and then facilitates performance, sensation, and the ultimate degree of fulfillment.

Without adequate levels of free testosterone, the quality of a man's sex life is impacted and the genitals atrophy. When free testosterone is restored, positive changes in structure and function of the sex organs can be expected. (It should be noted that sexual dysfunction can be caused by other factors unrelated to hormone balance such as arteriosclerotic blockage of the penile arteries.)

The genital/pelvic region is packed with testosterone receptors that are ultra-sensitive to free testosterone-induced sexual stimulation. Clinical studies using testosterone injections, creams, or patches have often failed to provide a long-lasting libido enhancing effect in aging men. We now know why. The testosterone can be converted to estrogen. The estrogen is then taken up by testosterone receptor sites in cells throughout the body. When an estrogen molecule occupies a testosterone receptor site on a cell membrane, this blocks the ability of serum testosterone to induce a healthy hormonal signal. It does not matter how much serum free testosterone is available if excess estrogen is competing for the same cellular receptor sites.

Estrogen can also increase the production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which binds the active free testosterone into a non-active "bound testosterone". Bound testosterone is not able to be picked up by testosterone receptors on cell membranes. For testosterone to produce long-lasting libido enhancing effects, it must be kept in the "free" form (not bound to SHBG) in the bloodstream. It is also necessary to suppress excess estrogen as this hormone can compete for testosterone receptor sites in the sex-centers of the brain and the genitals.

Restoring youthful hormone balance can have a significant impact on male sexuality .

Testosterone and the Heart

Normal aging results in the gradual weakening of the heart, even in the absence of significant coronary artery disease. If nothing else kills the elderly, at some point their heart just stops beating.

Testosterone is a muscle-building hormone and there are many testosterone-receptor sites in the heart. The weakening of the heart muscle can sometimes be attributed to testosterone deficiency. Testosterone is not only responsible for maintaining heart muscle protein synthesis, but it is a promoter of coronary artery dilation and helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

There is an ever-increasing number of studies indicating an association between high testosterone and low cardiovascular disease rates in men. In the majority of patients, symptoms and EKG measurements improve when low testosterone levels are corrected. One study showed that blood flow to the heart improved 68.8% in those receiving testosterone therapy. In China, doctors are successfully treating angina with testosterone therapy.

The following list represents the effects of low testosterone on cardiovascular disease:

Cholesterol, fibrinogen, triglycerides, and insulin levels increase
Coronary artery elasticity diminishes
Blood pressure rises
Human growth hormone (HGH) declines (weakening heart muscle)
Abdominal fat increases (increasing heart attack risk)
Those with cardiovascular disease should have their blood tested for free testosterone and estrogen. Some men (with full cooperation from their physician) may be able to stop taking expensive drugs to stimulate cardiac output, lower cholesterol, and keep blood pressure under control if they correct a testosterone deficit and/or a testosterone/estrogen imbalance.

Despite numerous studies substantiating the beneficial effects of testosterone therapy in treating heart disease, conventional cardiologists continue to overlook the important role this hormone plays in keeping their cardiac patients alive.

Testosterone and the Prostate Gland

Many doctors will tell you that testosterone causes prostate disease. The published scientific literature indicates otherwise.

As readers of Life Extension Magazine learned in late 1997, estrogen has been identified as a primary culprit in the development of BPH. Estrogen has been shown to bind to SHBG in the prostate gland and cause the proliferation of epithelial cells in the prostate. This is corroborated by the fact that as men develop benign prostate enlargement, their levels of free testosterone are plummeting while their estrogen levels remain the same or are rising. As previously discussed, aging men tend to convert their testosterone into estrogen. The published evidence shows that serum levels of testosterone are not a risk factor for developing benign prostate disease.

The major concern that has kept men from restoring their testosterone to youthful levels is fear of prostate cancer. The theory is that since most prostate cancer cell lines need testosterone to proliferate, it is better to not replace the testosterone that is lost with aging. The problem with this theory is that most men who contract prostate cancer have low levels of testosterone and the majority of published studies show that serum testosterone levels do not affect one's risk for contracting prostate cancer.

Since the perception is so strong that any augmentation of testosterone can increase the risk of prostate cancer, we did a MEDLINE search on all the published studies relating to serum testosterone and prostate cancer. The appendix at the end of this article provides quotations from the published literature as it relates to the issue of whether testosterone causes prostate disease. Out of 27 MEDLINE studies we found, five indicated that men with higher testosterone levels had a greater incidence of prostate cancer, whereas 21 studies showed that testosterone was not a risk factor. One study was considered neutral. The score was therefore:

21 studies indicating testosterone does not cause prostate cancer


5 studies indicating testosterone causes prostate cancer

(and one study that did not produce significant results)
Before anyone starts a testosterone replacement program, they should have a serum PSA test and a digital rectal exam to rule out prostate cancer. Nothing is risk free. A small minority of men with low testosterone and prostate cancer will not have an elevated PSA or palpable lesion detectable by digital rectal exam. If these men use supplemental testosterone, they risk an acute flare up in their disease state. That is why PSA monitoring is so important every 30-45 days during the first 6 months of any type of testosterone augmentation therapy. If an underlying prostate cancer is detected because of testosterone therapy, it is usually treatable with non-surgical means.

Please remember that testosterone does not cause acute prostate cancer, but if you have existing prostate cancer and don't know it, testosterone administration will likely sharply boost PSA and provide your doctor with a quick diagnosis of prostate cancer (and an opportunity for very early treatment). We acknowledge that some aging men will not want to take this risk.

As stated above, the MEDLINE score was 21 to 5 against the theory that testosterone plays a role in the development of prostate cancer. None of these studies took into account the prostate cancer prevention effects of men who take lycopene, selenium, and vitamins A and E. Nor did they factor in possible prostate disease preventives such as saw palmetto, nettle, soy, and pygeum.

In Dr. Jonathan Wright's book, Maximize Your Vitality and Potency, a persuasive case is made that testosterone and DHEA actually protect against the development of both benign and malignant prostate disease. Dr. Wright also points out that natural therapies such as saw palmetto, nettle, and pygeum provide a considerable degree of protection against the alleged negative effects that higher levels of testosterone might have on the prostate gland.

We eagerly await the results of more studies, but the fear of developing prostate cancer in the future should not be a reason to deprive your body today of the life-saving and life-enhancing benefits of restoring a youthful balance.

Once a man has prostate cancer, testosterone therapy cannot be recommended because most prostate cancer cells use testosterone as a growth promoter. This regrettably denies prostate cancer patients the wonderful benefits of testosterone therapy. Men with severe BPH should cautiously approach testosterone replacement. It would be prudent for those with BPH who are taking testosterone replacement therapy to also use the drug Proscar (finasteride) to inhibit 5- alpha-reductase levels, thereby suppressing the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is ten times more potent than testosterone in promoting prostate growth, and suppressing DHT is a proven therapy in treating benign prostate enlargement. Saw palmetto extract suppresses some DHT in the prostate gland, but its effectiveness in alleviating symptoms of BPH probably has more to do with:
Its blocking of alpha-adrenergic receptor sites on the sphincter muscle surrounding the urethra. (This is how the drug Hytrin works.)
Its inhibition of estrogen binding to prostate cells (like nettle).
Its inhibition the enzyme 3-ketosteroid (that causes the binding of DHT to prostate cells).
Its anti-inflammatory effect on the prostate.
It is unfortunate that many people still think that restoring testosterone to youthful levels will increase the risk of prostate disease. This misconception has kept many men from availing themselves to this life-enhancing and life-saving hormone.

While it is clear that excess estrogen causes benign prostate enlargement, the evidence for excess estrogen's role in the development of prostate cancer is uncertain. Some studies show elevated estrogen is associated with increased prostate cancer risk while other studies contradict this. For more information on testosterone, estrogen and the prostate gland, refer to the February 1999 issue of Life Extension Magazine.

Testosterone and Depression

A consistent finding in the scientific literature is that testosterone replacement therapy produces an increased feeling of well being. As stated earlier, newly published studies show that low testosterone correlates with symptoms of depression and other psychological disorders.

A common side-effect of prescription anti-depressant drugs is the suppression of libido. Those suffering with depression either accept this drug-induced reduction in quality of life, or get off the anti-depressant drugs so they can at least have a somewhat normal sex life. If more psychiatrists tested their patients blood for free testosterone and prescribed natural testosterone therapies to those with low free testosterone, the need for libido-suppressing anti-depressant drugs could be reduced or eliminated. As previously described, testosterone replacement often enhances libido which has the opposite effect of most prescription anti-depressants.

One study showed that patients with major depression experienced improvement that was equal to that achieved with standard antidepressant drugs.

Androderm is one of several natural testosterone replacement therapies that can be prescribed by doctors. A 12- month clinical trial on this FDA-approved drug resulted in a statistically significant reduction in the depression score (6.9 before vs 3.9 after). Also noted were highly significant decreases in fatigue from 79% before the patch to only 10% after 12 months.

According to Jonathan Wright, M.D., author of the book Maximize Your Vitality & Potency, the following effects have been reported in response to low testosterone levels:

Loss of ability to concentrate
Great timidity
Feeling weak
Inner unrest
Loss of ability to concentrate
Memory failure
Reduced intellectual agility
Passive attitudes
General tiredness
Reduced interest in surroundings
The above feelings can all be clinical symptoms of depression, and testosterone replacement therapy has been shown to alleviate these conditions. Testosterone thus has exciting therapeutic potential in the treatment of depression in men.

Testosterone and Aging

We know that many of the degenerative diseases of aging in men such as Type II diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease are related to a testosterone deficiency. We also know that common characteristics of middle-age and older age such as depression, abdominal fat deposition, muscle atrophy, low energy, and cognitive decline are also associated with less than optimal levels of free testosterone.

A consistent pattern that deals with fundamental aging shows that low testosterone causes excess production of a dangerous hormone called cortisol. Some anti-aging experts call cortisol a "death hormone" because of the multiple degenerative effects it produces such as immune dysfunction, brain cell injury, arterial wall damage, etc.

A group of scientists conducted two double-blind studies where they administered supplemental testosterone to groups of aging men and observed the typical responses of lower levels of cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides, reductions in blood pressure, and decreased abdominal fat mass. These scientists then showed that excess cortisol suppressed testosterone and growth hormone production and that the administration of testosterone acted as a "shield" against the over-production of cortisol in the adrenal gland.

It is important to point out that testosterone is an anabolic (or protein building) hormone while cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks down proteins in the body. Normal aging consists of a progressive decrease in free testosterone with a marked increase in cortisol. As men age past 40, cortisol begins to dominate, and the catabolic effects associated with growing older begin to dominate.

These findings have significant implications in the battle to maintain youthful hormone balance for the purpose of staving off normal aging and its associated degenerative diseases.

The Testosterone Doctor

Eugene Shippen, M.D., authored a book in 1998 called The Testosterone Syndrome. He was a speaker at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine Conference held in December 1998 where he provided extensive evidence documenting the pathology of the testosterone deficiency syndrome in men. Here are some excerpts from Dr. Shippen's presentation that appeared in the March 1999 issue of Life Extension Magazine:

First, Testosterone is not just a "sex hormone." It should be seen as a "total body hormone," affecting every cell in the body. The changes seen in aging, such as the loss of lean body mass, the decline in energy, strength, and stamina, unexplained depression, and decrease in sexual sensation and performance, are all directly related to testosterone deficiency. Degenerative diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and hypertension are all directly or indirectly linked to testosterone decline. Secondly, testosterone functions also as a prohormone. Local tissue conversion to estrogens, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), or other active metabolites plays an important part in cellular physiology.

Excess estrogen seems to be the culprit in prostate enlargement. Low testosterone levels are in fact associated with more aggressive prostate cancer. While fear of prostate cancer keeps many men from testosterone replacement, it is in fact testosterone deficiency that leads to the pathology that favors the development of prostate cancer.

Testosterone improves cellular bioenergetics. It acts as a cellular energizer. Since testosterone increases the metabolic rate and aerobic metabolism, it also dramatically improves glucose metabolism and lowers insulin resistance.

Another myth is that testosterone is bad for the heart. Actually, low testosterone correlates with heart disease more reliably than high cholesterol. Testosterone is the most powerful cardiovascular protector for men. Testosterone strengthens the heart muscle; there are more testosterone receptors in the heart than in any other muscle. Testosterone lowers LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, and improves every cardiac risk factor. It has been shown to improve or eliminate arrhythmia and angina. A Testosterone replacement is the most underutilized important treatment for heart disease.

Testosterone shines as a blood thinner, preventing blood clots. 32 Testosterone also helps prevent colon cancer.

Previous research on testosterone used the wrong form of replacement. Injections result in initial excess of testosterone, with excess conversion to estrogens. Likewise, total testosterone is often measured instead of free testosterone, the bioavailable form. Some studies do not last long enough to show improvement. For instance, it may take six months to a year before the genital tissue fully recovers from atrophy caused by testosterone deficiency, and potency is restored.

Physicians urgently need to be educated about the benefits of testosterone and the delicate balance between androgens (testosterone) and estrogens. Each individual has his or her own pattern of hormone balance; this indicates that hormone replacement should be individualized and carefully monitored.

Dr. Shippen's book, The Testosterone Syndrome retails for $21.95. Foundation members can purchase it for $15.00 by calling 1-800-544-4440. The book provides a persuasive argument in favor of hormone modulation in the aged male, and contains many interesting case histories. Dr. Wright's and Dr. Ullis's books on this subject are also available.

Last edited by davbrucas; 01-12-2007 at 08:54 PM.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Obesity and Hormone Imbalance

A consistent finding in the scientific literature is that obese men have low testosterone and very high estrogen levels. Central or visceral obesity (pot belly) is recognized as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. New findings have shed light on subtle hormone imbalances in obese men that are of borderline character and often fall within the normal laboratory reference range. Boosting testosterone levels seems to decrease the abdominal fat mass, reverse glucose intolerance, as well as lipoprotein abnormalities in the serum. Further analysis has also disclosed a regulatory role for testosterone in counteracting visceral fat accumulation. Longitudinal epidemiological data demonstrate that relatively low testosterone levels are a risk factor for development of visceral obesity.

One study showed that serum estrone and estradiol was twofold elevated in one group of morbidly obese men. Remember, fat cells synthesize the aromatase enzyme, and this causes male hormones to convert to estrogens Fat tissues, especially in the abdomen, have been shown to literally "aromatize" testosterone and its precursor hormones into potent estrogens. )

Eating high-fat foods may reduce free testosterone levels according to one study that measured serum levels of sex steroid hormones after ingestion of different types of food. High protein or carbohydrate meals had no effect on serum hormone levels, but a fat-containing meal reduced free testosterone levels for 4 hours.

So obese men suffer from testosterone deficiency caused by excess aromatase enzyme being produced in fat cells and also from the fat they consume in their diet. The resulting hormone imbalance (too much estrogen and not enough free testosterone) in obese men partially explains why so many are impotent, and suffer from a wrath of premature degenerative diseases.

Factors Causing the Estrogen-Testosterone Imbalance in Men

If your blood tests reveal high estrogen and low testosterone, here are the common factors involved:

Excess "Aromatase" Enzyme - As men age, they produce larger quantities of an enzyme called aromatase. The aromatase enzyme converts testosterone into estrogen in the body. Inhibiting the aromatase enzyme results in a significant decline in estrogen levels while often boosting free testosterone to youthful levels. Therefore, an agent designated as an "aromatase inhibitor" may be of special value to aging men who have excess estrogen.

Liver Enzymatic Activity- A healthy liver eliminates surplus estrogen and sex hormone-binding globulin. Aging, alcohol, and certain drugs impair liver function, and can be a major cause of hormone imbalance in aging men. Heavy alcohol intake increases estrogen in men and women.

Obesity- Fat cells create aromatase enzyme, especially abdominal fat. Low testosterone allows the formation of abdominal fat, which then causes more aromatase enzyme formation and thus even lower levels of testosterone and higher estrogen (by aromatizing testosterone into estrogen). It is especially important for overweight men to consider hormone modulation therapy.

Zinc Deficiency- Zinc is a natural aromatase enzyme inhibitor. Since most Life Extension Foundation members consume adequate amounts of zinc (30 to 90 mg/day), elevated estrogen in Foundation members is often caused by factors other than zinc deficiency.

Lifestyle changes (such as reducing alcohol intake) can produce a dramatic improvement in the estrogen-testosterone balance, but many people need to use aromatase inhibiting agents to lower estrogen and to improve their liver function to remove excess SHBG. Remember, aromtase converts testosterone into estrogen and can indirectly increase SHBG. SHBG binds to free testosterone and prevents its from exerting its biochemical effects in the body.

Correcting A Hormone Imbalance

A male hormone imbalance is correctable by utilizing the proper blood tests and using available drugs and nutrients. The following represents a step by step program to safely restore youthful hormone balance in aging men:

Step # 1: Blood Testing

The following initial blood tests are recommended for any man over age 40:

Complete blood count and chemistry profile (to include liver-kidney function, glucose, minerals, lipids, thyroid (TSH) etc.)
Free and Total Testosterone
Estradiol (estrogen)
Luteinizing hormone (LH)
Step # 2: Interpretation of Estrogen-Testosterone ratio and Free Testosterone Test Results

One of the difficulties in offering standardized interpretations at this time is that blood testing laboratories are using differing test methodologies and reference ranges for testosterone and other hormones.

When interpreting serum testosterone-estrogen (estradiol) levels, the following are basic guidelines:

Free testosterone should be at the high normal reference range. We define high normal range as the upper one-third of the highest number on the reference range. Under no circumstances should free or total testosterone be above the high normal range.
Estrogen (estradiol) should be in the mid to lower normal range. If estradiol levels are in the upper one-third of the normal reference range, or above the normal reference range, this excessive level of estrogen should be reduced.

What is most surprising is how standard laboratory "reference ranges" can fool a man (and his physician) into believing he has proper hormone balance simply because he falls within the "normal" range.

The following charts compare the conventional normal ranges for a man aged 20-49 and what the optimal ranges should be for most men over age 40:

Reference Ranges used by: LabCorp and Life Extension's Laboratory Hormone Conventional Normal Range Optimal Range
Free Testosterone 12.4- 40 26- 40 pg/mL
Estradiol 0-44 15-30 pg/mL
Total Testosterone 300 - 1000 600-1000 ng/dl

Reference Ranges used by SmithKline: Hormone Conventional Normal Range Optimal Range
Free Testosterone 34-194 128-194 pg/mL
Estradiol 0-50 15-30pg/mL
Total Testosterone 194-833 500-833 ng/dl

Reference Ranges used by Quest Laboratories Hormone Conventional Normal Range Optimal Range
Free Testosterone 50-210 138-210 pg/mL
Estradiol 0-60 15-30 pg/mL
Total Testosterone 260-1000 500-1000 ng/dl

Please remember that the conventional "normal" ranges stated above are for men aged 20-49. Conventional medicine does not expect a man over age 50 to have much testosterone, so the laboratories use a much lower reference range for men over 50. For instance, the reference range used by LabCorp for men over 50 for free testosterone is only 10.8 to 24.6, yet we have strong reason to believe the optimal range for a man over 50 should be 26 to 40. This low reference range shows how conventional medicine expects and accepts that a man over 50 will have sub-optimal free testosterone levels (and suffer all of the negative consequences of a testosterone deficiency we have discussed so far.) We presume that no one reading this article wants to be in the "normal" range of free testosterone for men over age 50.

Also not that these reference ranges indicate that it can be normal for a man to have no estrogen. The fact that most aging men have too much estrogen does not mean it is acceptable for a man to have NO (or virtually no) estrogen. Estrogen is used by men to maintain bone density and abnormally low estrogen levels may increase the risk for prostate cancer and osteoporosis. Please remember the objective is hormone balance, not to create sky-high testosterone levels and not enough estrogen. The problem is that if we do nothing, most men will have too much estrogen and far too little testosterone.

If free testosterone levels are low normal (below the upper third of the highest number of the reference range), there are five possible reasons for this:

Too much testosterone is being converted to estradiol by excess aromatase enzyme and/or the liver is failing to adequately detoxify surplus estrogen. Excess aromatase enzyme and/or liver dysfunction is likely the case if estradiol levels are over 30. Remember, aromatase converts testosterone into estradiol, which can cause estrogen overload and testosterone deficiency.
Too much free testosterone is being bound by SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin). This would be especially apparent if total testosterone levels were in the high normal range, while free testosterone was under the upper one-third range (in the case of LabCorp, this would mean a number below 26)
The pituitary gland fails to secrete adequate amounts of luteinizing hormone (LH) to stimulate testicular production of testosterone. Total testosterone in this case would be in the bottom one-third to one-half range number. (in the case of LabCorp, this would be a number below 333-500)
The testes have lost their ability to produce testosterone, despite adequate amounts of the testicular stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone. In this case, LH would be above normal and total testosterone would in very low normal or below normal ranges.
Inadequate amounts of DHEA are being produced in the body. DHEA is a precursor hormone to DHEA ( and estrogen).

Step# 3: What To Do When Results Are Less Than Optimal

(A) If estradiol levels are high (above 30), total testosterone is mid to high normal and free testosterone levels are low or low normal (bottom one-third of the highest number on the reference range), you should:

(1) Make sure you are getting 80-90 mg a day of zinc. Zinc functions as an aromatase inhibitor for some men.

(2) Consume 110 mg of soy isoflavones (phytoestrogens) each day. High levels of phytoestrogens compete with estradiol on cell receptor sites and stimulate the liver to remove estrogens from the blood. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower can also promote the liver to metabolize and excrete excess estrogen

(3) Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption to enable your liver to better remove excess estrogens. Refer to the Foundation's Liver Degeneration protocol to learn about ways to restore healthy liver function.

(4) Review all drugs you are regularly taking to see if they may be interfering with healthy liver function. Common drugs that affect liver function are the NSAIDs...ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, the "statin" class of cholesterol lowering drugs, some heart and blood pressure medications, and some anti-depressants. It is interesting to note that drugs being prescribed to treat the symptoms of testosterone deficiency such as the statins and certain anti-depressants may actually aggravate a testosterone deficit, thus making the cholesterol problem or depression worse!

(5) Lose weight. Fat cells, especially in the abdominal region, produce aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone into estrogen.

(6) If all of the above fail to increase free testosterone and lower excess estradiol, then ask your doctor to prescribe the potent aromatase inhibiting drug Arimidex (anastrozole) in the very low dose of one-half (0.5 mg) mg, twice a week. Arimidex is prescribed to breast cancer patients at the dose of 1 to10 mg a day. Even at the high dose prescribed to cancer patients, side effects are rare. In the minute dose of 0.5 mg twice a week, a man will see an immediate drop in estradiol levels and should experience a rise in free testosterone to the optimal range.

(B) If free testosterone levels are in the lower two-thirds of the highest number in the reference range, but total testosterone is high normal, and estradiol levels are not over 30, you should:

(1) Consider following some of the recommendations in the previous section to inhibit aromatase since many of the same factors are involved in excess SHBG activity.

(2) Take 320 mg a day of the super-critical extract of saw palmetto and 240 mg a day of the methanolic extract of nettle (Urtica dioica). Nettle may specifically inhibit SHGB, while saw palmetto may block the effects of excess estrogen by blocking the nuclear estrogen receptor sites in prostate cells which in turn activate the cell stimulating effects of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Saw palmetto also has an effect of blocking the oxidation of testosterone to androstenedione, a potent androgen that has been implicated in the development of prostate disease.

(C) If total testosterone is in the lower one-third of the reference range or below normal, and free testosterone is low, you should:

(1) See if your luteinizing hormone (LH) is below normal. If LH is low, your doctor can prescribe an individual dose of chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone for injection. Chorionic gonadotropic hormone functions similar to LH and can re-start testicular production of testosterone. Your doctor can instruct you how to use tiny 30-gauge needles to inject yourself two to three times a week. (Editor's note: Some scientists think HCG may cause cancer. If this concerns you, consider using a testosterone patch, cream, or pellet.)

(2) After one month on chorionic gonadotropic hormone, a blood test can determine if total testosterone levels are significantly increasing. You may also see your testicles growing larger. If total testosterone levels are restored, monitor blood levels of estradiol and free testosterone every 30-45 days for the first 5 months to make sure the exogenous testosterone you are putting into your body is following a healthy metabolic pathway, i.e. it is raising your levels of free testosterone, but not increasing estradiol levels beyond 30.

(D) If total testosterone remain low despite several months of chorionic gonadotropic hormone therapy, this indicates that your testicles are not capable of producing testosterone. In this case, initiate therapy with the testosterone patch, pellet or cream. Do not use testosterone injections or tablets. Before initiating testosterone replacement therapy, have a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam to rule out detectable prostate cancer. Once total testosterone levels are restored to a high normal range, monitor blood levels of estradiol, free testosterone, and PSA every 30-45 days for the first 6 months to make sure the exogenous testosterone you are putting into your body is following a healthy metabolic pathway and not causing a flare up of an under lying prostate cancer. The objective is to raise your levels of free testosterone to the upper third of the reference range, but not increase estradiol levels beyond 30.

Remember, excess estrogen (estradiol) blocks the production and effect of testosterone throughout the body, dampens sexuality, and increases the risk of prostate and cardiovascular disease. Once you have established the proper ratio of free testosterone (upper one-third of the highest number in the reference range) and estradiol (not more than 30), make sure your blood is tested every 30 to 45 days for the first 5 months. Then test every 6 months thereafter for free testosterone, estradiol, PSA, etc. For men in their 40s to 50s, correcting the excess level of estradiol is often all that has to be done. Men over 60 sometimes need the chorionic gonadotropin injection, and then later in life, may need to use a testosterone patch, cream or pellet.

The Testosterone Patch and PSA

An oncologist affiliated with the Life Extension Foundation reports that some men on the testosterone patch will show an elevated PSA that then drops upon cessation of the exogenously administered testosterone. There are published studies that contradict this finding. Elevation of PSA could be caused by the exogenous testosterone being converted to estrogen or DHT. Therapies have been discussed that can prevent testosterone from cascading into estrogen and DHT. This oncologist noted that prostate cancer patients with low testosterone levels have a more aggressive disease, most likely related to the development of tumor cells that are androgen independent, and thus more resistant to therapy. This observation is backed up by the published literature.

" Andro" Supplements

Androstenedione is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen. Early studies showed that "andro" supplements could markedly increase testosterone levels, but more recent studies case doubt. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on an 8-week study showing that androstenedione supplements increased estrogen levels in 30 men. No increase in strength, muscle mass, or testosterone levels was observed. Meanwhile, home run hitter Mark McGwire, who made androstenedione a media sensation, says he stopped taking the supplement in April 1999. Perhaps combining androstenedione with an aromatase inhibitor that would prevent it from converting to estrogen would make this precursor hormone work better in men. In the meantime, we suggest avoiding androstenedione until more definitive research is published.

Testosterone Drugs

Synthetic testosterone "steroid" drugs are chemically different from the testosterone your body makes and do not provide the same effect as natural testosterone. Here is a listing of some of the synthetic testosterone drugs to avoid using on a long-term basis:

Testosterone propionate, cypionate, or enanthate
Just because testosterone is called a "drug' does not mean it is not the same natural hormone your body produced. Scientists learned how to make the identical testosterone your body produces decades ago, but since natural testosterone could not be patented, drug companies developed all kinds of synthetic testosterone analogs that could be patented and approved by the FDA as new drugs. Here is a listing of currently available "natural" testosterone drugs:

Androderm Transdermal System (Smith Kline Beecham's testosterone "patch"
Testoderm Transdermal System (Alza's testosterone "patch" )
Testosterone creams, pellets and sub-lingual tablets (available from compounding pharmacies)
Both the synthetic and natural testosterone drugs require a prescription, and this prescription should only be written when blood or saliva tests reveal a testosterone deficiency.

Alternative physicians usually prescribe testosterone creams and other types made at compounding pharmacies, whereas conventional doctors are more likely to prescribe a box of ready-made FDA-approved testosterone patches. All forms of natural testosterone are the same and all will markedly increase free testosterone in the blood or saliva.

If you are exposed to children, you may want to avoid testosterone creams as there is one report of a father causing a young male child to go through pre-mature puberty because the child made contact with the testosterone cream on the father's body and on weight lifting equipment in the home. This unique case is a testament to the powerful effects that testosterone exerts in the body

Caution: DO NOT REPLACE TESTOSTERONE IF YOU HAVE PROSTATE CANCER. Men with existing prostate cancer should follow an opposite approach as it relates to testosterone. Prostate cancer patients are normally prescribed testosterone ablation therapy (using a drug that blocks the pituitary release of LH and another drug that blocks testosterone-receptor sites on the cells). Early state prostate cancer cells can often be controlled by totally suppressing testosterone in the body. Late-stage prostate cancer patients are sometimes put on drugs that produce estrogenic effects to suppress prostate cancer cells that no longer depend on testosterone for growth. Regrettably, prostate cancer patients put on testosterone ablation therapy often temporarily suffer many of the unpleasant effects of low testosterone that have been described in this article. Before initiating a therapy that boosts your free testosterone level, a blood PSA (prostate specific antigen) test and digital rectal exam is recommended for men over age 40. While restoring free testosterone to healthy physiological levels (25 to 40 pg/mL) does not cause prostate cancer, it can induce existing prostate cancer cells to proliferate faster.

Mandatory Testing

When embarking on a hormone modulation program, medical testing is critical.

First, a baseline blood PSA must be taken to rule out existing prostate cancer. Then free testosterone and estradiol tests are needed to make sure too much testosterone is not being converted into estradiol (estrogen). If estrogen levels are too high, the use of aromatase inhibitors can keep testosterone from converting (aromatizing) into estrogen in the body. Followup testing on testosterone, estrogen, and PSA are needed to rule out occult prostate cancer and to fine tune your program. It's possible that testosterone patches, creams, etc. can increase testosterone too much. In this case, blood or saliva testing could save you money be allowing you to use less testosterone drug.

There are now under development, natural dietary supplements that boost free testosterone levels and suppress excess estrogen. Even when these supplements become available, PSA testing is still mandatory, since any substance that increases testosterone should be avoided by most prostate cancer patients.

More Information

Over the last year, three new books have been written about testosterone replacement therapy.

The best place to read about actual case histories of men who successfully used hormone modulation is Dr. Eugene Shippen's book the Testosterone Syndrome. Dr. Shippen's book provides many interesting details that could not fit into this concise protocol. Dr. Jonathan Wright's book called Maximize Your Vitality and Potency contains historical and more technical data about the benefits of testosterone that again, could not be fit into this concise protocol. Dr. Karlis Ullis' book Super T deals primarily with dietary and supplement modifications related to testosterone deficiency.

The Testosterone Syndrome, Eugene Shippen, M.D., cover price: $21.95, member price: $15.00. Maximize Your Vitality and Potency, Jonathan, Wright, M.D., cover price: $14.95, member price: $11.00.

Super T , Karlis, Ullis, M.D., cover price: $12.00, member price: $8.50.

You can expect updates to this protocol in future issues of Life Extension Magazine as more information becomes available. The Foundation will be extensively monitoring the effects of this program based on reports from clinical physicians and Foundation members. As always, worldwide data base searches will routinely be conducted to uncover new studies relating to the effects of hormone modulation and aging.

Last edited by davbrucas; 01-12-2007 at 09:00 PM.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 07:06 PM
I might, im drunk.......
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you said gonads.......

Good read though
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 08:11 PM
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can someone brake all that down for me. I dont want read a book tonight.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Just print it off and read it bit by bit...
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 09:25 PM
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How do you convince your doctor to test your hormone levels? My doctor doesn't think its necessary....
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 09:37 PM
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only a doctor would say that

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 11:12 PM
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I sincerely think that I may have low test levels. Do you have a suggestion on findong a doc that's experienced in test testing?

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 11:13 PM
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bottom line is we all need steroids!

myself included... seriously
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 11:28 PM
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I have a "good " doctor or "endo" at AMHS.

But cannot refer he is one of the most responsible doctors out there and is really helping me through my test problems
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a list of HRT docs in Texas...find one in your area and give them a call...

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cooter
bottom line is we all need steroids!

myself included... seriously
Not necessarily...Men over 35 who experience the symptoms that I listed above may want to look into TRT. Not many docs will touch a 20-something when it comes to hormone replacement given the media frenzy on the topic. But, if you have documented hypogonadism, then it should be treated...ues, even the youngters that abused AAS and now are shut down for life. There is a doc over here in Fla that specializes in all types of TRT. Dr Tim Mackey in Tampa comes highly recommended from many TRT recipients.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-13-2007, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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select find a doctor and then your state
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-13-2007, 01:06 PM
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Who actually read all that?
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-13-2007, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 564826
Who actually read all that?
I did.

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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-13-2007, 03:57 PM
We lost one.....
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When I went to see my doc last year there was a sign on the wall for testosterone. It reminded me of the dr offices that were in downtown cancun where you saw what symptoms you needed to describe in order to get a prescription shown boldly on the front windows.
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2007, 11:57 AM
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wow, I can't wait to read this! Do these type of Dr's usually accept insurance?

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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2007, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by George G.
wow, I can't wait to read this! Do these type of Dr's usually accept insurance?

If you have documented hyogonadism...ie...low testosterone, low LH/FSH. So, if you have crashed from coming off an AAS cycle then go get your bloodwork done and documented. If it is purely for anti-aging then you may not get it covered...have to talk to the doctor.
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2007, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 564826
Who actually read all that?
I did also! but davbrucus can you just make it short and sweet for me and tell me a shortcut if there is one? PM me with your answer! and I'm 36 and I have talked with you many times before but you got my attention now on this subject!
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2007, 06:05 PM
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also Davbrucus how much of this can be linked to sleep apnea?
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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-15-2007, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by OMEGA DOOM
also Davbrucus how much of this can be linked to sleep apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea doesnt have much to do with hypogonadism but exogenous testosterone can aggravate it. OSA is caused by an increase in the amount of tissue in the posterior pharynx which relaxes during sleep. This temporarily obstructs the airway (hence the name). This causes the snoring and waking spells associated with this condition. The treatment is basically wt loss. A far as simplifying the above, it is difficult. If you have specific questions I can try to answer. But, you really should try to get your doctor to check your hormone levels...the labs above are what you need. Post the results here and I can tell you what they mean. You really want your test level high or high normal, but your estrogen level less than 30...preferrably 20. This is done with an aromatase inhibitor...drug that blocks the transformation of test to estrogen. You will feel like a younger person...obviously a twenty-something shouldnt bother with this unless they are shut down from AAS use.
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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 12:07 PM
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I think for my 35th b-day, I'm going to start this treatment.

Does anyone have an Endocrinologist doc they can refer? Preferrable that has seen this doc themselves with good results? I don't really like the idea of throwing a dart in the yellow pages.

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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 01:16 PM
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I'm interested in this stuff since I am 37.

Dave, can you tell us about the results you have had with your Dad?
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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 03:24 PM
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Let me get out my reading glasses....
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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-17-2009, 10:25 PM
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Since a lot of this seems to be linked to certain nutrient deficiencies, I'm glad I get mine based on my DNA

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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-18-2009, 12:43 PM
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Thanks for the good info.

I did my best to read as much as I could, but inevitably, I'll have to return to it later for a follow-up.

I did skim thru to see if it mentioned 11-ketotestosterone. I don't recall seeing it, so I figured I would ask.

Do you have any experience behind it? I have heard that it doesn't aromatize.

It can be found in the supplement "Icon" from Starchem labs. Here is a link to a supply house that has it for reference puroses only.


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