Want Some Bio-Identical Testosterone?: The Truth About Supplements

So, you’re thinking of taking testosterone supplements because of all of the good things you’ve heard. Why not take “bio-identical testosterone” instead of the usual, pharmaceutical grade stuff, otherwise known as “patentable pseudo-testosterone?” Gees, I dunno. I thought that testosterone was testosterone, a simple pile of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules arranged in 4 rings of chicken wire. What’s the difference? What’s best?

The Testosterone Circus

Exactly what is bio-identical testosterone? According to Harvard (and I agree):

“The term bio-identical doesn’t have an exact medical definition. Health experts generally define bio-identical hormones as compounds that have the same chemical and molecular structure as those produced in the body. It is more broadly defined by advocates of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy…(to) include hormone testing via saliva tests and the use of individually compounded hormones to correct ‘deficiencies.’”

So, what is the difference between what we all know as a medical “drug” and a molecular copy of a natural hormone? You apply or ingest them either way. Not only that, “natural” usually means that the hormones in the product come from plant or animal sources and not synthesized in a lab. However, many bio-identical products must be commercially processed by pharmacies to be able to be applied or ingested. In the words of Dr. Oz’s blog: “The only thing that is natural is to drink the horse urine or eat the soy plant.” Not sure there’s any real difference here.
Ok, what does our government have to say? That would be the FDA, and they say: “Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is a marketing term not recognized by FDA.” It further notes that it “has not approved compounded ‘BHRT’ drugs and cannot assure their safety or effectiveness.” With which the Mayo Clinic agrees: “…hormones marketed as ‘bio-identical’ and ‘natural’ aren’t safer than hormones used in traditional hormone therapy, and there’s no evidence they’re any more effective.” Great. Now what do we do?
Maybe Dr. Oz is right when he says: “It’s basically all the same stuff.” All the heavies have now weighed in and still not a whole lot of clarity on the matter.

Clear Choices

In my view, the only truly “bio-identical” testosterone is the hormone made in your body for you and you alone. Think about it. No applied or ingested hormones are truly “bio-identical,” really. But how can we turn on our own testosterone? Here’s a short list of ways:

  • Take great care of yourself. Stay healthy, reduce stress, and get sleep and exercise. A stressed, unhealthy body is a great testosterone depressant.
  • Clomiphene citrate. Although not FDA approved for men (only women in the US), it increases pituitary gland “drive” to the testicle to make more testosterone. It’s a pill and works great for some men.
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Sounds like a medieval potion, but it is simply a small signaling molecule that tells the testicle to make more testosterone. It’s an injection but can work magic in many men.

How do these therapies stack up against the “bio-identicals?” First, you can’t get any more “natural” than increasing your own testosterone. Second, we can easily “individualize” doses to make them just right for you. Third, this approach embraces the concept of holistic care by fully promoting lifestyle changes. Fourth, there may be comfort in knowing that what you’re taking has been shown to be safe in humans by rigorous FDA standards.
By George, I think we’ve found it! Truly bio-identical testosterone: locally made, in-house, by hand, and just for you.

15 thoughts on “Want Some Bio-Identical Testosterone?: The Truth About Supplements

  1. “No no dont take synthetic testosterone, thats lab created garbage your body doesnt recognize. Dont even use bioidentical. No instead just use another toxic pharmaceutical the body doesnt recognize and isnt even approved for male use so you can get any anyway”
    …..did you even read this after you wrote it? This wins for the absolute most useless article on the subject ive found yet.

    1. Why not use bioidentical if your body isn’t producing sufficient amounts despite a healthy lifestyle…? It’s the same molecular structure and your body DOES recognize it.

      1. Dear HealthNerd, All testosterone is “bioidentical” in that it is all recognized by androgen receptors and exerts effects. I most certainly agree that if your body cannot make enough, it should get enough.

        1. Saying bioidentical testosterone is like saying vanilla testosterone being that it’s an additive to emphasize testosterone in its own word, C19H28O2 a very specific molecule.
          This same issue seems to be happening with progesterone, C21H30O2.
          Both these hormones seemed to be incorrectly used as a category when these are very specific molecules within a category that are produced in our bodies.
          And lastly, we can synthesize these two molecules, (synthetic doesn’t mean different, it’s just naming the origin of the molecule) so the same and the only testosterone and progesterone we manufacture in our bodies is available in medication.
          Lastly testosterone cypionate and testosterone enanthate are not testosterone, only testosterone is testosterone.

  2. Does Clomphene Citrate have another name and if so what is it? Can this be taken by women to increase their libido?

    1. Dear Kathleen, the generic name is clomiphene citrate. In the US we call it clomid. It is an FDA approved female fertility treatment in the US and abroad but is not FDA approved for use with men in the US. I am not sure what it does for female sex drive.

  3. I was getting the testosterone from a hormone center, and feeling better. I am a woman who is unable to make or maintain testosterone anymore and so I have aches and pains, am tired… etc. I really felt good on the testosterone, but its too expensive! I am a nurse and could do the injections myself as I know the hormone center was horribly overpriced. $410.00 monthly!!! Can I do these on my own? what are the long term effects on my body having 0 testosterone??? Please email me a reply. Thank you so much!

    1. Dear Steph, Regardless of whether you are a woman who desires testosterone therapy or a man who desires the same, testosterone injections are not that expensive! And yes, responsible patients can be taught how to self inject which removes the need for going to medical offices several times a month for same. Patients with low testosterone levels generally “wear out” faster and probably don’t live quite as long as those with normal levels.

  4. Hello. Thank you for your article. I am a 59 year old Caucasian male. I’ve had a low testosterone condition for years. I’ve switched between gel and injections from my primary care Dr. I recently went to an endocrinologist for the first time and awaiting blood results.

    1. Dear Aeriol, You cannot get testosterone replacement in any form in the U.S. without a prescription from a medical provider. It is a DEA “scheduled drug” and watched carefully.

    1. Dear Aeriol Not sure what you mean by “elderly” or what the normal range is for the level of 4.5, but yes there are ways to naturally produce more testosterone: getting good sleep, staying healthy, eating right, losing weight, reducing stress. If a man is “elderly” such that he has stopped making testosterone (andropause, typically in the 70s and 80s) then he may need replacement of testosterone.

    1. Dear Wayne, The best testosterone is your own! Try to boost it naturally by taking great care of yourself, or see a urologist who specializes in fertility-preserving testosterone supplements.

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