They’re everywhere these days. Just search “low T clinic near me” on Google and you will see a gaggle of places get your fill of testosterone. There’s someone on every corner willing to sell you good ol’ vitamin T. But will it help?
Fountain of Youth
It depends. If you are a younger man, say aged 25-35 and have a really low T, then, yes, you should definitely expect improved body composition, bone density, and less anemia with T replacement. Fact is, in this scenario, testosterone replacement can improve and restore health. But, if you are a tad older, say aged 50-65, and think that you may have low T because you’ve lost some energy, are forgetful or don’t feel quite as strong, the benefits of the T-elixir are, honesty, quite unclear. What complicates things in older men is the fact that many symptoms ascribed to low T also occur with normal aging, or could be due to a dozen other diseases with similar symptoms. That smudges medical decision-making big time.
Seven Wonders of the World
But there’s help on the way, as the seven Testosterone Trials wind down and are published. Believe you me, this quiver of studies will go a long way to helping us figure out what testosterone can and can’t do in older men. They will define which signs and symptoms in elderly men are improved by T replacement. But alas, given their short (1 year) duration, they will not tell us much about the risks of T replacement. That kind of information requires far more lengthy studies to address.
Seven Deadly Sins
Much of what’s come out of the Testosterone Trials so far has to do with sexual activity, physical activity and vitality in older men. And, things are looking quite good for sex drive and sexual activity but somewhat mixed for erections and vitality. Trials addressing cognitive function, anemia, bone density and coronary artery disease are still in progress.
So should you visit that low T clinic? Well, it depends a lot upon what you’re looking to improve, and whether you actually have a low testosterone. Many of the advertised benefits of testosterone, including its life-lengthening and anti-aging properties, are utterly and completely unproven. Others, like sexual activity and desire, are far more worthy candidates for testosterone treatment. Your best bet is to see a doctor who cares and get care and not just testosterone. Let us not forget the words of a great physician, Sir William Osler, arguably the father of modern American medicine: “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”