Back in the year 2000 when I started to practice anti-aging medicine, hormone replacement was a major part of our therapy. At the time it was the one thing that other doctors did not really do much of especially for men.
As a matter of fact it was downright quackery in the eyes of some of our more established (read old) colleagues. I have made many comments on the transition that has taken place mainly driven by Big Pharma’s ability to patent testosterone patches and creams. What was once quackery is now sanctioned by the establishment and the question “Is it low T?” is being asked in doctors’ offices around the world.
I have to tell you it’s because of all the wrong reasons. Much like the Viagra revolution which is a thinly veiled attempt to legitimize recreational drug use (by treating erectile dysfunction) testosterone replacement is being used to make men feel better about themselves. Now really there is nothing wrong with that but it misses the point: testosterone replacement is a real treatment for other legitimate diseases like heart failure, diabetes and bone loss in men (and women!).
My most memorable case was that of Joe F. aged 86 who had intermediate grade prostate cancer and was in the hospital every 2 weeks in heart failure much to the chagrin of our cardiologists.
I decided to treat Joe with 100 mg of testosterone cypionate a week. I was called by no less than 3 of my colleagues asking me if I had lost my mind. Didn’t I know the testosterone was absolutely contraindicated in prostate cancer? Didn’t I know I was going to kill the patient?
Fortunately for Joe I did not listen to them and went with what I knew would help Joe. He was never again admitted for heart failure and his diabetes went away as well. His quality of life was much better and he lived another 6 years to die of pneumonia.
If only we had had TA-65 then!
I had to laugh when 3 years ago world renowned Harvard based testosterone expert Abraham Morgantaler was lauded for being radical by treating men with prostate cancer with testosterone. That is almost as radical as Dr.Oz endorsing the Paleo diet and telling you it’s OK to eat butter. My coauthors and I made our preference for that diet known back in 2010 with our book The Immortality Edge.
But we are not from Harvard nor do we have a TV show!
So last week I read 2 back to back studies that I will sum up for you here.
These studies primarily looked at men but they apply to a degree to women as well. They basically said that power output and muscle mass were independent predictors of aging and death. The less muscle you had the more likely you were to die. The funny thing is I recently had the occasion to listen to the introductory fish oil CD I give all my new customers.
I had a long, long drive ahead of me and I was thinking maybe I should redo that CD- after all it was recorded in 2007. The more I listened the more I had to give myself a pat on the back and the less I wanted to tackle the redo. I never use notes for any of my lectures and the CD is no exception. Honestly I do not know how I packed all that info into one CD.
One of the things I talk about is power and muscle mass as it relates to Omega 3 levels. And I specifically talk about how it relates to morbidity (sickness) and mortality (death rate).
So now 7 years later science has given us 2 specific studies that show that muscle mass and strength along with testosterone and activity levels are independent predictors of how well you will age and how long you will live.
So here it is in a nutshell:
The way I practiced medicine as an anti-aging doc- trying to maximize hormone levels safely- should probably be standard of care especially for men, since it directly affects mortality.
Next since big Pharma now has patented testosterone formats it has become “OK” to do this since we are not taking away their profit margins by doing it ourselves the way I did so long ago.
Next, not doing these things – exercise, hormone management, telomere management, omega 3 management is not taking care of yourself or your patients to anywhere near the degree we would all want to do and have for ourselves and our loved ones.
Turns out it may be more important than you think. It may not just help you look great this summer, it may help keep you alive and healthy much longer!