Did You Forget Testosterone … Again?

Health Alert 66

If you are a man and you are depressed, one therapy outperforms all the rest. That therapy is natural testosterone. It works faster and better than antidepressant drugs. And if used appropriately it lacks the side effects of the psychiatrist’s drugs. Instead of the side effects of impotence and weakness, testosterone improves potency and strength.

Unfortunately, the drug companies have no interest in natural therapies like testosterone.

Without their promotion, physicians are likely to choose one of their highly marketed drugs. I recently observed how complete this omission is. All physicians are required to attend “continuing education” conferences several times per year to maintain their license to practice. I attended a conference on new treatments for mood disorders in Orlando.

There were four days of new treatments. All of them were drugs. Of course, drug companies sponsored the conference. If you’ve been reading Health Alerts you know I’ve attended conferences on impotency that omitted testosterone. So perhaps I should not be surprised. But when I think about the men I’ve seen coming in dejected, sad, hopeless and passive … and their return after testosterone cheerful, energetic and grateful … I feel compelled to speak out. No man is depressed because he has a deficiency of Prozac.

My male patients with low testosterone complain of moodiness and irritability. Once we restore their testosterone levels, these symptoms usually resolve. I finally have evidence to prove the phenomenon that I have been experiencing in my practice for years.

* The New Scientific Proof *

The Journal of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology and Metabolism published a conclusive study. It found the link between depression and low testosterone levels. Over 800 men aged 50 to 89 participated in the study. Researchers found that depression rose in direct correlation with a fall in testosterone levels.

“Free testosterone” has the strongest connection with depression. Low levels of free testosterone were the primary predictor of depression regardless of the subject’s age.1

Free testosterone is a form not bound to any other material. Free testosterone is able to affect the brain much more readily than bound testosterone. This is because free testosterone passes through the barrier between the blood and the brain more easily. This probably explains why free testosterone is the best predictor of depression.

Now we know that low testosterone can lead to depression. But does treatment with testosterone make the depression go away? A team of Harvard researchers has just answered that question. The January 2003 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry published their results.

They found that about 40% of the depressed men they interviewed had low testosterone levels. Even the researchers were surprised at the correlation.

About 60% of those who used testosterone had an improvement in their depression. This rate beats every antidepressant drug. In addition, 30% reported “striking, dramatic gains”. The placebo group did not improve. 2

* You Can Regain Happiness Naturally *

If you are feeling moody, sad or irritable, it is important to have your testosterone levels checked. Ask your doctor to not only check your total testosterone levels, but also test your “free testosterone”. Once you know your levels, you can implement a plan to raise your testosterone levels and feel better.

You can use this new information to improve your mood. I’ve been restoring testosterone in my male patients for years. And I have seen some dramatic changes. I restore testosterone in a few different ways:

• Applying testosterone gels

• Testosterone injections

• Taking testosterone precursor supplements

I don’t like to start with testosterone gels or injections. These options are usually not necessary. There are safer and more effective options for most men.

Testosterone precursors aid your body in making its own testosterone. You can read more about testosterone precursors in Health Alert 42. These substances convert into testosterone once in the body. Precursors include androstenedione.

I also mention and use the herb tribulus terrestris. It stimulates your testes to produce more of your own testosterone. These supplements are in health food stores. The best supplements are those that combine low doses (5-10 mg) of a few precursors together in one formula.

Al Sears, MD

1 Barrett-Connor E., et al. Bioavailable testosterone and depressed mood n older men: Rancho Bernaerdo study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999; 84: 573-577

2 Pope H., et al. Testosterone gel supplementation for men with refractory depression: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry 2003 Jan; 160(1): 105-111