View Full Version : The T word

Frank Needham
12-26-2006, 02:12 PM
Much of what follows is from a manís perspective though this discussion affects women also.

Because of its fundamental importance Iíve had this idea to a little research into, drum roll please, TESTOSTERONE. There it is, Iíve said it. Everywhere I look on these and other boards it seems folks are talking about fundamental issues involved in the application of nutrition as it pertains to gaining muscle, strength, metabolic pathways, ad nauseum.

Yet there seems to be very little in the way of discussion of T, or I may be just looking in the wrong places maybe. So I set out to see what I could find. Admittedly not knowing much about the topic I began with what I knew, that T is governs quite a few important bodily functions such as: sexual activity, cognitive function, general feeling of well being, and that it acts in conjunction with many other hormones. Also of importance to me is that it is widely known that T drops off dramatically with age, a rather disconcerting tidbit (aka andropause).

It is also apparent to that there are a few rather simple things that one can do to keep this important little thing going like exercise, the heavier the better it seems, eating red meat, and sleeping well. Did I forget to say being sexually active as well? An inverse relationship of testosterone to waist size has also been observed and documented, yet another practical reason for being slim.

Much of what youíll find being talked about are the above mentioned topics and some other, what seem to me, far out things like DHEA, gels, and injections. There are others Iíve neglected to mention. All of these seem to mess with the bodyís hormone production and it is generally accepted that not using them is the best course to follow. Of course there are exceptions to this notion and for some genuine medical reasons make therapy a real option.

SHBG is a topic of discussion, ie, being able to keep free testosterone levels as high as possible by getting SHBG to bind to some other substance in the body. Can this really be accomplished? What is out there on this subject does not strike me as definitive.

This article by Chris Thibaudeau puts some light on the explanation of why Olifts really are so damned good for you:

Mike ODonnell
12-26-2006, 03:16 PM
Increase Test levels (naturally) with:
- heavy/intense compound movements/training with short rest periods (30-120 sec)
- not overtraining
- reduction in cortisol/stress
- alcohol in moderation
- control estrogen (limit soy)
- Get your EFAs including Omega 3, Monounsat and healthy sat fats (they help increase)
- control insulin levels (blood sugar)

I like to keep it simple, so if you just go "Back to the Basics" of:
Train hard and quick
Eat Right
Rest and Recover

you'll optimize your results....and remember most average trainees do not follow those 3 simple steps...they complicate it more than it needs to be.

Coach Rutherford
12-26-2006, 06:20 PM
All of these seem to mess with the bodyís hormone production and it is generally accepted that not using them is the best course to follow.

Just for the sake of discussion, how did you arrive at the above conclusion? Agreed that HRT will clearly change one's natural production but what larger body suggests that "not using them" is the BEST course to follow?

Frank Needham
12-26-2006, 08:35 PM
While doing my homework it seemed pretty obvious to me that many are interested in the possibility of enhancing hormone production by therapy for reasons other than simple and straightforward health concerns. The uniformed probably are hearing what they want which usually translates to something not good. For that reason alone one could conclude that it is not a wise thing to mess with. I came across several references that indicate one is better off not messing around with therapy unless testing shows it is needed. I would always choose a route that avoids medical treatment myself. Not to expand the topic but lets not forget the role business plays in all this, lots of bucks to be made here.

Anyway, what do you think Coach? I read your article in the past issue of PM on this and you seem to be intelligently informed. If my memory serves me one of your main points was that testing is a basic requirement.

Tony Ferous
12-27-2006, 03:19 AM
Zinc is especially important in the right form, I use ZMA these days.

vitamin A is also needed, I use cod liver oil in the winter for my intake. Unless you eat liver pre-formed 'A' is hard to come by.

Cruciferous veg is also good for controlling estrogen.

Mike ODonnell
12-27-2006, 05:48 AM
[I] Agreed that HRT will clearly change one's natural production but what larger body suggests that "not using them" is the BEST course to follow?

That would be the FDA, DEA and all other govt agencies....that is until they understand how to pass a law controlling it all and making money off the whole process...then it will be legal and recommended for everyone!

That right there is the big grey area....at what point is HRT a necessity and what are the acceptable levels at which one needs to get back to? How high will be too much (in the eyes of being natural vs a performance enhancer) I am sure that arguement will be going back and forth for the next decade or so as people use trial and error.

I think HRT is good for people who really need it (if you can't maximize it using food or exercise), and it will probably be only in small enough doses to get you back to whatever your determined "normal" range should be. Most people who abuse Test are hardly even close to normal ranges...they are way above.

Coach Rutherford
12-27-2006, 06:30 AM
I find this a very interesting topic. Iíve generally found a few practitioners who are moderate on the topic. They are either in favor of HRT or not interested or as you say against it.

As you may recall from reading that PM article, I had a couple of clients who were aging like the rest of us. As part of a comprehensive approach, I suggested that they include a hormone profile with a blood draw. One decided to seek treatment for declining male hormones the other did not.

Right now I have four males in their 40ís who are on HRT. One of which is there as the result of my urging to check his hormones before accepting his doctors RX for Prozac. (See above) The others did it on their own without my suggestions but after reading my newsletter posting shared their treatment story.

Of the four I have witnessed a performance change in one. He is clearly stronger and has more stamina. Heís not a better athlete but he has improved his performance-in the gym. Interestingly enough, they all point to my programming as the biggest part of their success and would not place a big importance on their HRT even though they continue.

HRT is an interesting cultural thing as well. Somehow regulating a manís hormones is considered dark, yet we have accepted prescribing Prozac, Viagra, Cialis, Lipator or the next wonder drug as normal. Slick advertising campaigns show attractive people using these medicines. These meds treat symptoms but never the cause and often times creates a completely different set of problems. Pfizer just flushed 1 billion dollars on a trial for a drug that was to elevate HDL. Funny, because all the positive cholesterol changes that drugs are seeking are possible with lifestyle.

Iíll stop rambling but I will not discount the potential for responsible use of HRT. Clearly lifestyle is HUGH in this equation. The cost benefits of such practice should be left to the patient and his/her physician.

Frank Needham
12-27-2006, 07:05 AM
It is a very interesting topic and of course there are oodles of $$ to be made in HRT. But I had hoped that starting this topic would generate a discussion more focused on the technical aspects of how to get more from the body's natural ability to regulate T, and the androgens in general.

One observation Coach, your own experience with your clients seems to validate not using as the best course of action for most to follow. Even they have admitted (3 out of 4 is 75%) that HRT was minor to them in their progress.

Tony has brought up ZMA, one thing I had also come across being discussed here and elsewhere. There may be some genuine increase in T associated with using it. I don't know and though there are many refs touting it I've seen nothing that definitively makes it viable.

I am sure there are other things out there.

Coach Rutherford
12-27-2006, 08:30 AM
The obvious stuff like exercise, stress management,environmental contributors, diet all part of a healthy hormone profile. No question!

In that PM article I even mention the stories the doctor related. This particular doctor had ways of finding out secrets about lifestyle contributors. If you were a party boy or a drug user you were bounced out of the office.

Maybe it looks like I'm defending HRT practice- that is not my intent. The machine breaks sometimes. If lifestyle can't fix it then maybe certain people need the nudge from this treatment before they are label with XYZ condition. I see this as serious medicine and NOT an opportunity to become Shaved Ape 2007.

Mike ODonnell
12-27-2006, 02:57 PM
HRT will become mainstream in 1-2 years....and the debate (as it already started in professional sports) will be....what is a "maintenance" level for "normal" production.....vs...what are levels that are "above normal' and now fall into "performance enhancing". That will be argued for years to come.

But I agree...if you get lifestyle, diet and exercise right...your body can produce more GH and Test than you can take from an average HRT treatment. But as we get older...and more people look for the short cut to health, HRT will become more mainstream. I really can't put HRT in the same catagory as other drugs. HRT makes the body heal itself and shouldn't have negative side affects if kept within reasonable dosages....other perscription drugs are opposite and usually cause more problems than they solve in the long run.

Coach Rutherford
12-27-2006, 05:04 PM
What is an acceptable range in professional sports has already been nudged upward to account for super freak T levels. In addition, when you read about an NFL player who has been suspended for use, he has already failed a test several times. It was his inability to get it adjusted down to meet the already inflated numbers.

Also, lifestyle will only give an older guy/gal so much back. It's not possible for a 60 year old to live a hormone perfect life (heavy singles, 9-10 hours of sleep,....the NHE life) and think that his lifestyle & three capsules of ZMA are going to give him the GH release of his 23 year old grandson. If this is happening then they could sell the shizzle for $500 a bottle.

Then again maybe tinkering (RW speak) with programmed death isn't suppose to happen.

Steve Shafley
12-27-2006, 07:50 PM
I know 3 people (personally, in real life, as more than casual acquaintances) who utilize exogenous testosterone. Only one of them does it legally, and under the supervision of an experienced GP and endocrinologist.

He was frustrated with general fatigue levels, an inability to sleep, and completely stalled progress on his powerlifting. He finally went to his GP, and they tested him, and he was low. After trying the androgel and disliking it, he now takes a weekly injection that puts him at the mid-to-high levels of physiological "normal".

He was astounded by the results. More energy, more "zest", better lifting, better mood...he suspects it might have helped smooth his marriage out a bit. He's 41 years old, and his family and friends were glad to see the "old" him back.

The potential for abuse is there, but it's a legitimate medical practice that will see a more widespread acceptance in the next decade or so, as someone mentioned above.

Not for everybody, but nothing to be ashamed of doing, if necessary.

Mike ODonnell
12-28-2006, 09:25 AM
The legal term will be "anti-aging" medicine for HRT. If you start promoting performance enhancing then be prepared for the FDA and who ever to keep their eye on you.

There was the baseball player this year who also took GH and had a "legal perscription" from his doctor because his levels were low. Baseball still saw it as a performance enhancer and he still was in trouble. There are no real precedents set yet legally for what constitutes neccessary dosages of HRT, but I am sure it will come as more and more people are exposed to it.

I bet if a pharma company had the legal rights to HRT they would already have their TV commercials out there showing happy healthy people.

By the time I am in my elder years I am sure there will be anti-aging clinics with built in Starbucks where i can get a latte with GH.