The first time I heard testosterone deficiency referred to this way was from a patient a few years back. “My doctor said I have low-T. I’m taking this cream and it’s not working right,” he said. What a nondescript way to describe an uncomfortable subject. In my usual slightly cynical Socratic way I asked, “So, you have a deficiency in synthetic soy-based pharmaceuticals?” He looked at me puzzled. I then asked, “Is your body supposed to make testosterone normally?” He said, “I would guess so, but I’m getting older. I hear a lot of guys are getting this issue.” “Have you ever met or heard of guys in their 70s still running around after girls?” I asked. “Of Course,” he said. “So why do you think that is?” I asked. “Because their body is working better?” opined my new patient. He was exactly right.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone part of a large system of interrelated hormones. The several dozen different hormones are primarily produced by the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys. They actually make about 20 percent of the total finished testosterone in the body and 100 percent of all precursors that will become testosterone in the gonadal tissues. It important to understand what these other steroid hormones are that can be converted to and from testosterone. The most famous is cortisol, the hormone modern society calls the “stress hormone” and blames for weight gain, sugar cravings and impaired immunity. Cortisol can be converted into testosterone, but more importantly, from testosterone. What does that mean to us? It means in situations of prolonged stress, sugar imbalance or sickness, our testosterone (and estrogens for women) will be converted to cortisol to try to deal with the increased demand. Even the testosterone creams and other treatments can be converted this way. There are other hormones in this system that can steal testosterone the same way. These hormones are the primary hormones controlling everything from blood pressure, sugar, mood, sleep, electrolytes, healing, cholesterol levels, digestion, growth and much more.
I am suggesting when there are problems in any of these areas, the body will sacrifice what it considers to be a less-important hormone, testosterone, for much more critical compounds to control these important functions. So when the body stops creating the hormone testosterone, the belief is that by administering a synthetic testosterone that it would assist the body in creating other important hormones (since they all heavily rely on each other. I say that the opposite is happening. Often testosterone will convert and get stuck, and unfortunately when stuck, there is an increase in estrogens or DHT in many men (causing weight gain or hair loss and anger, respectively). The opposite will often occur in women taking estrogens, with the creation of too much testosterone (hair growth in the wrong places). So by simply taking a hormone supplement, we are not truly solving the problem. To each patient I ask, “Do you want to just deal with this one symptom of having low testosterone (or estrogen or progesterone) or really solve the cause of what is going on?”
Source: Dr. David Pollack, of Pollack Wellness Institute (66 Commack Rd., Commack). For more information, call 631-462-0801 or visit PollackWellness.com