Today the BBC interviewed Dr. Jeffry Life. He is 74 years old now but recently had heart problems and was borderline diabetic. He started a new health and fitness regime which involved bodybuilding, eating healthy and taking a testosterone supplement.
Lifting weights and a healthy diet are a big part of his new fitness regime. Dr Life performs several workouts each week, splitting the muscle groups to allow each muscle maximum rest between the next workout. Meals now involve simple ingredients such as chicken, potatoes and Brussels sprouts, which are also thought to be testosterone boosting foods. Life does not drink alcohol and does not eat bread.
What is a little controversial is that Dr. Life injects himself with testosterone, specifically testosterone cypionate which he injects daily. Testosterone is the male sex hormone and plays a vital role in muscle development. It can also improve mental function and libido.
“Low testosterone may be a predictive marker for those at high risk of cardiovascular disease.” Kay-Tee Khaw, 2007.
When men grow older testosterone levels drop. This can result in various health problems. Dr. Life believes that taking a testosterone supplement is just rebalancing an unfortunate side-effect of ageing.
Problems and Risks of Testosterone
Prof. Christian Pike from the University of Southern California agrees that testosterone is good to tackle some health issues and will aid fat loss, muscle growth and improve mood and libido.
“A positive relation with muscle strength and bone mineral density and a negative relation with fat mass was found.” (van den Beld, 2000)
However, there are risks though. It can promote prostate tumor growth – prostate cancer is a major killer of older men.
The question is, do you wish to live an active and happier old age with an increased risk of cancer. or risk diabetes and heart disease, and live a less active and possible less happy older life?
Testosterone naturally occurs in the body. It is not required in younger people and the potential risks are well documented. However, the human body was never “designed” to last as long as it does these days. Some studies suggest that simply improving fitness and diet may reverse the fall in testosterone levels (Travison, 2007). Taking action earlier to get fitter and stronger may actually mean there is less need for a supplement in later years.
Men over 60 years are generally past their Best Before date and the body is no longer interested in helping us stay youthful. So why not fight nature with a little injection that can bring happiness?
Watch the BBC interview here: Can testosterone make you live longer?
Research on Testosterone:
Testosterone Supplementation Therapy for Older Men: Potential Benefits and Risks by David A. Gruenewald, Alvin M. Matsumoto. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Volume 51, Issue 1, pages 101–115, January 2003
Risks Versus Benefits of Testosterone Therapy in Elderly Men by Basaria S.; Dobs A.S. Drugs & Aging, Volume 15, Number 2, 1 August 1999 , pp. 131-142(12)
The relative contributions of aging, health, and lifestyle factors to serum testosterone decline in men by Thomas G. Travison et al. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. February 1, 2007 vol. 92 no. 2 549-555
Endogenous testosterone and mortality due to all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in men by Kay-Tee Khaw et al. Circulation. 2007; 116: 2694-2701
Measures of bioavailable serum testosterone and estradiol and their relationships with muscle strength, bone density, and body composition in elderly men by Annewieke W. van den Beld et al. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism September 1, 2000 vol. 85 no. 9 3276-3282