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Health Protocols

Male Hormone Restoration

The Importance of Hormone Testing

Millions of aging men have the dual conditions of low testosterone and high cholesterol. Conventional physicians prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs to reduce cholesterol, when, in fact, the age-related rise in cholesterol might simply be the body's way of increasing hormone levels by supplying the raw materials necessary to make hormones.54 Researchers at Life Extension have successfully treated high cholesterol levels through a program of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Life Extension believes that comprehensive tests, along with a careful physical examination, are essential in detecting hormonal imbalances in aging men.

The so-called "normal" levels of testosterone in older men reflect population averages. Life Extension believes that most aging men would prefer not to accept the loss of youthful vigor as normal. Instead, we suggest that a more valid optimal level for all men would be in the upper one-third of the reference range used for men aged 21 to 49 years, and that any supplementation should aim to restore hormone levels to that range. The current Life Extension optimal level of free testosterone is 20‒25 pg/mL.

When measuring testosterone levels, it is critical to determine the levels of both free and total testosterone to understand the cause of any observed symptoms of deficiency.55

Because of difficulties with equipment standardization and inter-laboratory variability, it is recommended that physicians consistently use the same local laboratories and gain familiarity with the accuracy, precision and definition of normal values for the assays offered in their communities.13

It is also important to remember that blood levels of both free and total testosterone vary widely among individuals, making it difficult to establish a general baseline on which to prescribe a standardized treatment protocol. However, levels are quite consistent within individuals, and thus it is important that men have multiple tests over time to determine trends and individual thresholds for treatment.

Finally, during the initial testing, it is also imperative to test estrogen levels. Many of the unwanted effects of male hormone imbalance are actually caused by an elevated estrogen level relative to low testosterone levels (the estrogen/testosterone ratio). The Life Extension optimal level of estrogen (measured as estradiol) for aging men is 20‒30 pg/mL.

Estrogen Balance is Critical to Aging Men

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) measured blood estradiol in 501 men with chronic heart failure. Compared to men in the balanced estrogen quintile, men in the highest quintile (serum estradiol levels of 37.40 pg/mL or greater) were significantly (133%) more likely to die. Those in the lowest estradiol quintile (serum estradiol levels under 12.90 pg/mL) had a 317% increased death rate compared to the balanced group. The men in the balanced quintile—with the fewest deaths—had serum estradiol levels between 21.80 and 30.11 pg/mL.56 This is the ideal range that Life Extension has long recommended male customers strive for.

An epidemic problem we at Life Extension observe in aging male customers is insufficient free testosterone, that is less than 20‒25 pg/mL of serum. When accompanied by excess estradiol (over 30 pg/mL of serum), this can signal excess aromatase enzyme activity.

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