Testosterones role in heart disease and how to recover it naturally
Testosterones role in preventing and contributing to heart disease (for men and women)
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women, however men are twice as likely to die from heart disease as women are. Given the magnitude of this disease, there has been a tremendous amount of research and study done on the causes.
Conventionally, we think of high blood pressure and high cholesterol as the two primary “causes” of heart disease. The increase of pressure wears and tears the blood vessels causing damage. Cholesterol is then produced to patch up the atherosclerotic plaquing. If the plaque gets large enough, then a heart attack or stroke can occur. While this is an aspect of what is happening in the body, the bigger question is WHY?
The current approach to heart disease is first line treatment of statin medications (⅓ of the US population is on a statin) and hypertensive medications (34 million US adults have uncontrolled high blood pressure). These medications have their place, but unfortunately they are significantly overused. They are more of a band-aid than an effective method to address the underlying cause of the problem.
This brings me to testosterone, a hormone that is oftentimes misunderstood and underappreciated for its role in heart disease. When we think of testosterone, we often think of guys using steroids to get ripped. Maybe you have a picture of Arnold Schwartzenager in your mind. Testosterone is considered an anabolic steroid and it will make people put on lots of muscle if it is injected into their body. Interestingly, through this type of steroid use, increased risk of heart disease occurs.
As testosterone lowers with increased age, it has been found that this process contributes to premature coronary artery disease through the process of atherosclerosis and endothelial damage. The interesting part of this finding is that even though lower testosterone levels contribute to heart disease, a recent study showed that when men would use synthetic testosterone to improve their levels, this did not improve their risk for heart disease. How could that be?
Endogenous (produced by our own body) testosterone has strong anti-inflammatory benefits that run in stark contrast to injectable testosterone. This has been shown in the research and I’ve seen it with my own patients.
There are many people (mostly men) using much lower doses of testosterone than bodybuilders, but they also are putting themselves at risk for developing heart disease. This is due to the effect exogenous (not produced by your own body) testosterone has on thickening the blood.
How does this impact heart disease in women? While testosterone plays a lesser role in women, it still influences their overall health. Ovaries produce small amounts of testosterone to help grow muscle, decrease fat storage, and support bone health; all issues that women struggle with as they age. As testosterone lowers in women, their metabolisms slow down contributing to increased inflammation in the blood vessels and heart.
If low testosterone contributes to heart disease, then it might seem only reasonable to supplement the body with it. Many people think that as long as they increase their testosterone levels, they will be healthier, but as I stated earlier, hormone replacement just doesn’t seem to be the best sustainable path. This is sending a message to the body to produce even less of the hormone that is deficient! And, the exogenous hormone can cause more problems such as blood thickening which contributes to an actual increased risk for heart disease.
How do we increase our own testosterone so that we can live a healthy life without needing to become reliant on potentially dangerous exogenous hormones? We address the normal functioning of our body. We do the activities that our bodies were built to do. We lift heavy objects. We maintain a healthy sleep regimen. We eat animal protein and fats. We regulate and control our breathing. We put ourselves in more uncomfortable situations such as with hydrotherapy. We follow the Basic Health Guidelines to improve our overall detoxification. We work on surrendering to things we do not have control, so we can lower our emotional stress. We replenish depleted stores with targeted supplementation.
The supplements that I’ve been formulating directly address these issues. Methyl-Detox Recovery B’s support adrenal function to allow better stress management subsequently improving testosterone production. Bio D3/K2 Recovery Formula is a hormone that actually helps increase testosterone in states of deficiency. Omega 3 Recovery actively decreases inflammation allowing for more testosterone to be produced and work more efficiently in the body. Recovery Probiotic I helps recover your natural immune function which promotes a parasympathetic response (rest and digest). When this is running smoothly, your body no longer produces excess cortisol and can start making more testosterone. The benefit of using targeted natural supplementation along with lifestyle medicine is you get all the benefits without any increased risk.
All of these supplements are important when trying to recover higher levels of your body’s own testosterone, which is why these formulations are part of my Basic Health Guidelines. It’s also why I found it important to formulate high quality ingredients for my supplements. They are all available through my website, where you can also find more information. I look forward to supporting you on your health recovery journey and continuing to be a formative force in your life!