Does Testosterone Slow Aging?

Is there a chance that testosterone could be the proverbial fountain of youth? Some “anti-aging” doctors have controversially been prescribing the male sexual hormone as a way to slow down aging, but is this really safe? Does it even work?

Here’s what you need to know about if the risks of using anti-aging supplements are worth the reward.

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is the key hormone needed in the development of secondary sexual characteristics in men. The hormone is also used to regulate fat distribution, bone and muscle mass, and strength. The more testosterone a man has, the more “manly” they are.

Testosterone also plays an important part in regulation the sex drive/libido, and both men and women produce this hormone. Women will produce much smaller amounts of testosterone, however. Similar to how men still produce estrogen – the female equivalent of testosterone – but only produce small amounts.

Men produce the most testosterone during their adolescence and in early adulthood. Testosterone production declines with age, but many men still produce enough testosterone all throughout their lives.

Testosterone-Related Conditions

Testosterone incorrectly takes the blame for a number of age-related sexual problems. For example; erectile dysfunction has nothing to do with testosterone. It is actually caused most commonly by circulation problems. High blood pressure is more likely to be the cause of erectile dysfunction problems than a lack of testosterone.

Given that testosterone affects the sex drive, it could be responsible for a lack of libido, but it’s not the reason you can’t get an erection when you really want one.

The idea of male menopause, which is also sometimes known as the viropause or andropause, is a term that has been created to describe how men change when they grow older.

Much of the discussion of the andropause revolves around a decline in levels of testosterone, but there’s no solid evidence that a “male menopause” exists. It takes a very long time, years even, for male testosterone levels to decline. It’s a slow and gradual process.

Most men will have “normal” levels of testosterone production for pretty much their entire lives. It’s not like you’ll wake up one day with no testosterone at all. There is a big difference between having less testosterone and having a testosterone deficiency.

Can Testosterone Supplements Help?

Testosterone supplements can be used to help men that aren’t producing enough testosterone or have stopped producing it entirely. There hasn’t been much research at all that looks into the effects of healthy men taking testosterone supplements.

There are currently several studies conducted to determine the risks and benefits of taking testosterone supplements as a healthy male who produces enough testosterone already. Time will tell the results of these studies.

If you really have a testosterone deficiency, then testosterone supplements can be a great help. If not, then there’s no real evidence to suggest they can.

Risks of Testosterone Supplementation

Researchers and physicians alike are worried about the effects of testosterone supplementation; believing that it could increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Another concern is that increasing testosterone levels can make existing cancer grow quicker. It could also potentially cause blood to thicken by producing an abundance of red blood cells. When the blood is too thick, the risk of strokes and heart attacks goes up.

The Bottom Line

Testosterone supplements can be used as a legitimate medical treatment for men with a serious lack of testosterone. There is anecdotal evidence from some men that taking testosterone supplements increased their muscle mass and energy, but there hasn’t been any research that has proven these claims to be true.

Even so, there are great risks to taking testosterone supplements, and these risks may not be worth the potential – unproven – results. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be using testosterone as an anti-aging method. There are better, safer, alternatives out there. Leave testosterone supplementation for the people who need it.

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Battling Erectile Dysfunction with Vitamin B3

A new study has shown the effectiveness of taking a daily dose of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) can improve erectile function in men dealing with high cholesterol levels. The results of the study showed the 80 men with moderate to severe levels of erectile dysfunction (ED) who were given niacin improved their ability to maintain and achieve erections.

The study also included a group of men with mild levels of ED who were given placebos and showed no sign of improvement. All 160 men in the study also had high levels of lipids and cholesterol.

The author of the study – Dr. Chi-Fai Ng of the Chinese University of Hong Kong released a statement on the study; saying the results were exciting given how old and well-documented niacin is. Niacin is just a vitamin, making it one of the simplest treatments for erectile dysfunction.

The results of the study were published online in the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

The Cholesterol Connection

Niacin is already known to help patients with atherosclerosis; a condition causing fat to build up along the walls of blood vessels. It improves levels of both lipids and cholesterol, making it no surprise at all that it could also help with ED, given the connection between ED and atherosclerosis. Both conditions are caused by similar things.

Dr. Howard Hermann, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, explains that coronary heart disease is a cause for erectile dysfunction, but rather that both conditions have similar underlying pathophysiology. Basically; the two conditions can be caused by the same thing.

Strokes, heart disease, atherosclerosis and erectile dysfunction are all related to inflamed blood vessels according to Hermann, who was not a part of the study. One of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction is inflammation in the blood vessels connected to the penis. Because blood flow to the penis is limited, it’s hard to gain and maintain an erection.

Hermann wasn’t a part of this study, but he was involved in a study from 2006 that looked into how cholesterol-lowering statins affected erectile dysfunction. The study was small, but it did find that statins improved the effectiveness of ED drugs like Viagra for some men.

The study also showed that the statins affected ED faster than they reduced cholesterol levels, suggesting that statins were correcting the root inflammation involved with both problems.

The new study on niacin echoed the results from the statin study, strengthening the argument that ED could be related to other health problems. The men taking niacin showed improved lipid levels, as well as performing better with self-reported erectile function tests.

Convenience

In order to get the most out of common ED drugs, they need to be taken within a few hours of undertaking the sexual activity. As effective as ED drugs are, they are only really effective during this brief time span. This just isn’t enough for some people.

This is why niacin is so much more convenient than traditional ED medication. It can be taken once a day to improve erectile dysfunction, allowing you to have sex when you want without needing to worry about taking a pill. The only thing more embarrassing than having ED is being left without the pills that can treat the problem, even temporarily.

The niacin from the study was offered in the form of slow-release pills. These pills were designed to allow the niacin to slowly enter the bloodstream across the entire day. The men began the study with daily doses of 500mg of niacin to ensure there were no adverse side effects. After a while, the dose was increased up to 1,000mg, before finally reaching a maximum dose of 1,500mg.

Hermann admitted that there were still some questions left about statins and niacin that must be answered before they could be prescribed for treating ED. He said that there were still plenty of things to be learned about which patients are likely to respond to the treatment and which ones would be unlikely to respond to the treatment; adding that there are many scenarios that haven’t been tested yet.

The niacin study only included men who had lipid problems as well as ED problems. As such, there would need to be more tests done on men who only suffer from ED to see how well they respond. This is a study that Ng has expressed interest in doing, so perhaps it won’t be too long before we know more about that.

So tell your friends; if you are a man who suffers from erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol levels, then you could get a lot of benefit out of taking a daily dose of niacin.

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