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Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) in Testosterone Deficient men - effects on fat loss, waist reduction and metabolic syndrome components

Testosterone deficiency in men, aka hypogonadism, is associated with increased total and abdominal fat mass, and reduced muscle mass, which negatively impacts body composition.[1, 2] This contributes to development of risk factors like insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and atherogenic dyslipidemia (a triad of increased blood levels of small, dense LDL particles and triglycerides, and decreased levels of HDL particles), which increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.[1, 3-16]

Previous studies have shown that testosterone replacement therapy ameliorates these risk factors in testosterone deficient (hypogonadal) men; it increases insulin sensitivity [17-20] and HDL (the "good" cholesterol) [9, 10, 20, 21], and reduces waist circumference [9, 20, 22], fasting blood glucose [9, 20] triglycerides (blood fats)[9], LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) [19, 22-24], and several inflammatory markers.[17, 25]

A 2011 meta-analysis concluded that testosterone replacement therapy improves metabolic control, as well as reduces abdominal obesity.[9] Many studies have shown that testosterone replacement therapy in hypogonadal men increases muscle mass and reduces fat mass.[19, 26-32] Further, adding testosterone (50 mg/day for 1 year, administered as a transdermal gel) to a diet and exercise program results in greater therapeutic improvements of glycemic control and reverses the metabolic syndrome.[20]

Testosterone also has direct (non-obesity mediated) beneficial effects on many metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors [12, 33-37], and reduces death risk independently of body fat status.[38] In line with all these effects, low testosterone levels are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular complications [39], and all-cause and cardiovascular disease death [40-42]. Low testosterone may thus be a predictive marker for men at high risk of cardiovascular disease.[41] In a group of men aged 50-91 who were followed for 20 years, it was found that men whose total testosterone levels were in the lowest quartile (241 ng/dl or lower) were 40% more likely to die than those with higher levels, independent of age, adiposity, lifestyle or presence of cardiovascular risk factors.[38]

Thus, treatment of testosterone deficient men with testosterone has demonstrated considerable health benefits. Despite this, critics state that most of the studies on testosterone replacement therapy were too small. They also argue that the studies were of too short duration (most of them lasting 6-12 months), and that the long-term effects of testosterone on body composition are not known.

Two 5 year long studies were just published that addressed the duration and small study size shortcomings in previous research...

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Blood Cholesterol Testing - don't let the routine standard lipid panel fool you!

 

The mere word “blood cholesterol” strikes horror in many people. We have been indoctrinated since the well-known Framingham Study in the 1980s that the higher the blood cholesterol level, the higher the risk of heart disease.[1-3] However, much has been discovered in medical research since then. 
 
Today there is compelling evidence showing that strict reliance on the traditional cholesterol test – aka the standard lipid panel - that is routinely run in primary care, can falsely indicate that you're fine, even when you aren't. 
 
Here you will find out what to look for when interpreting your cholesterol levels...
 
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Effects of 6-year Long-Term Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) in Patients with ‘‘Diabesity’’

March 6th 2014 FDA approved Aveed for treatment of male hypogonadism, aka testosterone deficiency.[1] Aveed is a long-acting form of injectable testosterone called testosterone undecanoate. In Europe, testosterone undecanoate (under the name Nebido) has a long successful TRT track record for treatment of testosterone deficiency and its consequences (especially obesity, the metabolic syndrome and diabetes).[2-16]

In contrast to shorter acting forms of testosterone (e.g. cypionate), testosterone undecanoate only needs to be injected every 6 to 12 weeks, and thereby offers practical benefits to patients. (Comment: for Nebido (1000 mg per 4 ml) the initial interval is 6 weeks, followed by intervals of 10-14 weeks; for Aveed (750 mg per 3 ml) the initial interval is 4 weeks, followed by 10-week intervals). 

Five days after the FDA approval a notable and impressive 6-year long TRT study was published, confirming the health benefits of TRT that have previously been found in shorter term studies... [44]

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Fish oil supplementation - benefits for young healthy adults

Fish oil is well known for protecting against development and progression of cardiovascular disease in high risk individuals, mostly middle-age and older.[1-4] A notable recent study shows that fish oil supplementation also confers health benefits in young healthy adults.[5]

Young healthy males, aged 21-24 years, were given a fish oil supplement providing 2 g EPA and 1 g DHA per day for 3 months. It was found that the fish oil supplementation significantly reduced fasting blood triglycerides (i.e. blood fats) by a whopping 38% (from 86 mg/dL to 54 mg/dL) and also improved the total cholesterol/HDL ratio, by reducing it from 3.25 to 3.05.

Relevance of blood triglycerides and the total cholesterol/HDL ratio for cardiovascular disease

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Multiple beneficial effects of testosterone replacement therapy in men with testosterone deficiency

Alleged concerns regarding risk of cardiovascular disease with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) have been promulgated recently. However, a large and growing number of intervention studies show to the contrary that TRT reduces cardiovascular risk factors and confers multiple beneficial health effects. Thus, fears promoted by some recent flawed studies need to be critically re-evaluated. 
 
This article gives an overview of studies that have investigated health effects and safety of TRT.[1] As outlined here, the position that testosterone deficiency (TD) should be regarded as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease is supported by a rapidly expanding body of evidence.[2-4]
 
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Why you need to look beyond your LDL - “bad cholesterol” - level

In the United States, cardiovascular diseases account for about 1 of every 3 deaths.[1] The cornerstone in heart disease treatment is reducing elevations of LDL, popularly known as the “bad cholesterol” (see table below “What do the terms mean?”) [2, 3], primarily with statins, the most widely used cholesterol/ heart disease drug.[4]  
 
However, when one looks at the aggregate effectiveness of statin treatment in all studies, morbidity and mortality rates among statin-treated patients still remain approximately two thirds to three quarters of those found in patients randomized to placebo.[5, 6] In the “Treating to New Targets” study there were still 80% cases of cardiovascular disease, despite intensive treatment with high-dose statins.[7]
 
Thus, many patients – even those treated aggressively with statins to meet LDL goals - have residual cardiovascular risk.[8-13] This remaining risk is associated with low levels of HDL, increased levels of triglycerides, and elevated numbers of small, dense, atherogenic LDL particles.[8, 10, 11, 14-17] and other common metabolic abnormalities that you will find out about in this article...
 
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Remnant Cholesterol and non-HDL – What’s that? Why bother?

In a previous article "Blood Cholesterol Testing - don't let the routine standard lipid panel fool you!" I talked about the standard lipid panel that doctors use to check your “bad” cholesterol, aka LDL level. In "Why you need to look beyond your “bad" cholesterol” - level" I’ve also gone into some depth on why a myopic focus on LDL-C can do more harm than good.
 
In this article I will talk about 2 relatively unknown cholesterol parameters and explain why you want to keep an eye on these…
 
The routine standard lipid panel checks your levels of:
 
- Total cholesterol 
 
- LDL-C (or just LDL, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the “bad" cholesterol)
 
- HDL-C (or just HDL, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the “good" cholesterol) 
 
- VLDL-C (or just VLDL, very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) 
 
- Triglycerides (a.k.a. blood fats)
 
If you have read my previous articles you know the limitations of LDL-C and the standard lipid panel. However, while the advanced lipid panel gives you much more accurate information on your health status, the standard lipid panel is not totally worthless if you know what to look for…The caveat is, what to look for - non-HDL-C and remnant cholesterol – are not printed in your standar lipid test results. And your doctor may not even know about non-HDL-C and remnant cholesterol! That’s why I had to write this article…
 
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Real-life experience of continuous long-term testosterone therapy on anthropometric, endocrine and metabolic parameters for up to 10 years

While it is well documented that testosterone levels decline in aging men, recent studies show that in some cases obesity and impaired general health can be more influential causes of testosterone deficiency than chronological age and aging per se.[1, 2]
 
Here I present real-life results from a registry study which investigated the effects of continuous long-term testosterone therapy for up to 10 years on anthropometric (body measurements), endocrine and metabolic parameters in obese hypogonadal men.[3]
 
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