The Truth About Testosterone
Dr. Paul Turek discussed the truth about testosterone on View From the Bay (KGO TV/Channel 7 San Francisco) and why testosterone is good for men and their relationships. Testosterone is the primary male sex steroid and is important for puberty, normal growth, reproductive function, sexual function, mood, intellect, and strong muscles and bones. Testosterone is an essential hormone for life.
Dr. Turek dispeled some common myths regarding testosterone. For example, natural testosterone levels do not make men more aggressive or docile. High testosterone levels (or testosterone replacement) do not pose a greater risk of prostate cancer. Low levels of testosterone can lead to depression, but mood can be elevated by taking testosterone. Testosterone levels can be easily tested but need to be treated by a men’s health specialist as they overlap with many other men’s health issues. Here’s a transcript of his television appearance:
The truth about testosterone! Learn why it’s good for men and your relationship. Dr. Paul Turek of the Turek Clinic explains.
What is the male hormone testosterone and why is it important?
Testosterone is the major sex steroid hormone in men. In women, estrogen is the major sex steroid hormone. Just as plants need water to grow and bloom, normal testosterone balance is critical in boys for puberty and in men for normal growth and reproductive and sexual function. Although most known for its role as a sex steroid, testosterone also has effects on many body functions. In the brain, it influences mood, memory and intellect in addition to sex drive. Testosterone maintains muscle strength and growth and helps maintain normal blood counts and bone strength. It may also be important for normal cholesterol balance. Testosterone maintains erections, fertility and prostate function. In summary, testosterone is an essential hormone for a healthy male body.
What are the major myths surrounding testosterone?
- Testosterone is an illegal drug. False. Testosterone is a “controlled” substance that is regulated by the US Drug Enforcement Act (DEA) since 1991 (see ). This means that it can only be obtained legally with a doctor’s prescription. Anabolic steroids are synthetically produced variants of naturally testosterone. Some common street or slang names for anabolic steroids include arnolds, gym candy, pumpers, roids, stackers, weight trainers, and juice. Currently, there are more than 100 different types of anabolic steroids that have been developed, and each requires a prescription to be used legally in the United States. What is illegal is the possession or sale of any anabolic steroids without a valid prescription.
- Testosterone is a steroid, and steroids are dangerous. True and False. Testosterone is a steroid hormone as described above, but that doesn’t make it dangerous. It is essential for a healthy male body. However, testosterone supplements taken above and beyond that needed for normal body function can have dramatic side effects, including sterility. However, they are not dangerous like, say, hallucinogenic drugs.
- Testosterone causes uncontrollable violent behavior. False. Testosterone can affect mood and low testosterone levels may underlie many cases of depression. When taken in excess, testosterone can cause anxiety and insomnia. However, men with natural testosterone levels higher than others are not either more aggressive or docile than men with lower levels.
- Testosterone causes prostate cancer. False. Although a Nobel prize was given to urologists in the 1940’s for showing that prostate cancer is hormonally sensitive to testosterone, this hormone does not cause prostate cancer. Men with higher levels of testosterone are at no greater risk of developing prostate cancer than men with low testosterone. In fact, evidence is emerging that, if anything, men with lower testosterone levels may be at higher risk of prostate cancer.
- High testosterone levels cause baldness. False. On average, men with male pattern baldness have the same testosterone levels as men with a full head of hair. The driving factor for baldness is likely genetically determined. Male pattern baldness (that is, balding in the center of the crown but not all over) is inherited through the mother’s side, so to guess whether a man will have this, he should look at his mother’s father. All-over (not crown centered), early onset baldness, however, is usually through the father’s side, passed through the Y chromosome.