Common Misconceptions: Facts About BHRTWednesday 02/9/2022
Facts About BHRT
There are a few common misconceptions about BHRT reported in the mainstream media—specifically, that hormone replacement is bad for your heart, that testosterone supplementation causes prostate cancer, and that over-the-counter supplements are the same thing as bioidenticals. All these assumptions are false. I will address each one individually.
Fact: Bioidentical Hormones Improve Cardiovascular Function
Many of my patients have questions about their heart. There is a widespread misconception that patients with cardiovascular issues get worse with hormone treatment. That has been proven false. In 2000, a study by a team of doctors at Royal Liverpool University Hospital in England discovered that treating angina patients with testosterone helped improve their condition.
In 2010, a study was published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology that examined the effect of testosterone on people who had exercise ischemia. Exercise ischemia is a common condition whereby a person experiences an inadequate blood flow to the heart during exercise. It generally results in shortness of breath, an elevated heart rate, fatigue, and sometimes nausea and chest pain. During the study, subjects were carefully monitored on a treadmill. At the onset of their symptoms, they were given gel-testosterone. They were not given pellets because researchers wanted to be able to see if there was an instant effect. All the subjects felt immediate improvement and were able to continue exercising.
A prevailing myth in the conventional medical community is that it is dangerous to give testosterone to people with bad hearts. In 2004, another study was conducted in the Department of Cardiology at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in England. The researchers concluded that increased levels of bioidentical testosterone decreased the load on the heart. Not only were there no adverse effects of administering testosterone, but there were also positive effects.
Despite the prevailing myth, studies show that hormone replacement therapy improves cardiovascular function.
Fact: Testosterone Does Not Cause Prostate Cancer
One of the concerns many men have is that hormone replacement will increase their chances of getting prostate cancer. In 2000, Dr. J.E. Morley, of The Education and Clinical Center at St. Louis V.A. Medical Center, conducted extensive research on this very subject. He concluded that “There is no clinical evidence that the risk of either prostate cancer or benign prostate hypoplasia increases with testosterone replacement therapy.”
In 2008, The Journal of the National Cancer Institute detailed a collaborative study, combining seventeen independent studies investigating the possible link between BHRT and cancer. In the end, it was surmised that “There is no association of increased risk of prostate cancer with increased testosterone or its by-products, DHT or estradiol.”
Dr. Abraham Morgentaler is a Harvard-trained urologist and an internationally-recognized expert in sexual medicine and male hormones. He authored the phenomenal book Testosterone for Life. In that book, he addresses the ordinary misconception that all hormone treatments cause cancer. He published some fascinating facts.
Dr. Morgentaler attacks and debunks a flawed hypothesis put forth in 1941 by Dr. Charles Huggins. Seventy years ago, Huggins decided that testosterone increased the risk of prostate cancer, and the mainstream medical community has held his word as gospel ever since. Morgentaler took it upon himself to reread Huggins’ papers and discovered that Huggins initially did his study on dogs, not humans! Huggins did a later study on only three men. Two of the individuals were taken off the protocol in the middle of the study, leaving only one remaining man, from which Huggins drew his conclusion—and that one subject was a castrated man! It is critical to note that all the subsequent literature which purports to prove testosterone causes prostate cancer, can be linked back to this one study. Morgentaler realized Huggins’ scientific methodology was so ludicrously inadequate to make the erroneous theory “based on almost nothing at all.”
Morgentaler now has thousands of patients in his practice. In a twenty-year study featured in The Journal of Urology, he documented thirteen patients with biopsied prostate cancer. Thirty months later, after treating them with testosterone, he biopsied them again. 54% of those patients had no residual disease. It was gone! The other 46% had zero increased progression or metastasis of their cancer. Morgantaler concluded that, if you have cancer, you have a 54% chance of curing it by treating it with testosterone! Additionally, you will also minimize other risks, such as cardiovascular disease and dementia.
There is not now, nor has there ever been, a scientific basis for the belief that testosterone causes prostate cancer to grow. ~ Dr. Abraham Morgentaler
Fact: BHRT Does Not Cause Cancer
There are articles all over the internet claiming that all hormone treatments cause cancer. However, this conclusion is based on researchers lumping together all hormone treatments—synthetic and bioidentical. BHRT has become guilty by association. Regardless, I cannot find a single research paper that shows a link between cancer and bioidenticals. If there was a link, you can bet that Big Pharma would have found it and spent millions of dollars exploiting that information. Bioidenticals are a skyrocketing market, and there is ever-growing competition for their patented, expensive, and synthetic hormone products. As it is, there is false information published continuously to create intentional confusion about, and distrust of, natural products like bioidentical hormones. We must be cautious what we read, where that information comes from, and who stands to benefit from changing public opinion.
Fact: There is No substitute for Pellet Therapy
You’ve probably seen the commercials on television for over-the-counter pills and treatments that claim to increase hormone levels. Some of them are natural, herbal supplements, which may be helpful for those who cannot afford pellet therapy at this time. Some of them are synthetic hormones and should be regarded with extreme caution. Over-the-counter hormone supplements of all kinds are far cheaper than pellet therapy, so many people ask me, “Are they effective?”
My answer is that the good ones can be somewhat effective but to a limited extent. Studies show that most herbal supplements are not beneficial.
For example, let’s consider a man looking to increase his testosterone. He first needs to understand is there are two kinds of testosterone in his body. You will often hear the term total testosterone. A man’s total testosterone is found in two forms: bound testosterone and free testosterone. Bound testosterone can be bound to two types of proteins: albumin and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Bound testosterone binds tightly to the hormones, testosterone, DHT, and estradiol. These proteins transport testosterone throughout the body. About 98% of testosterone is bound to one of these proteins. The other 2% of bio-available testosterone is known as free testosterone and is loosely bound to albumin. That is the percentage that over-the-counter supplements might help restore, but even if it does, it’s only 2%.
The important thing to understand is that all the workouts you do and all the over-the-counter supplements you take will not increase testosterone production in your body to genuinely significant levels, because it’s only affecting 2% of your total testosterone. You will still wind up with a low overall T score.
Another part of the problem with just taking some pills is that you won’t know what your initial testosterone level is, and you’ll have no way of knowing if it is rising with treatment. You lack real data. At Optimal Bio, we monitor your testosterone levels, from the beginning and continuously record your levels throughout treatment so we find the optimal level for you that makes you feel great. That doesn’t happen when you buy an over-the-counter supplement.
Also, BHRT does not force your body to increase testosterone production; it simply supplements it. BHRT does the work for your body. It brings your levels back to where they should be and keeps them there. That’s real health change. That’s a difference you will feel and experience.
95% of my patients who begin BHRT say they will stay on it for life. It is essential that you read the personal success stories of those who have had their lives transformed by BHRT.