Alternatives To Hormonal Replacement Therapy For Low Testosterone Levels
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is recommended when the natural testosterone levels decline as the body fails to produce sufficient hormone. The therapy involves administration of testosterone by means of injection, pallets, creams or gels.
HRT is an effective therapy that gives fruitful results by elevating the serum levels of testosterone. However, HRT has a negative impact on natural production of testosterone within the body.
What Are Some Negative Consequences Of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
The testosterone production is dependent on its availability in the serum. When HRT elevates the serum levels of testosterone, as a response the brain stops the release of luteinizing hormone (LH), due to which the production of natural testosterone gets suppressed. This is the major drawback associated with HRT as it lowers the natural testosterone production. And that’s only the beginning, with time this effect becomes even stronger. Once the HRT is stopped, the testosterone levels undergo an evident decline. So HRT becomes a mandatory thing in order to maintain the testosterone levels.
Another drawback of HRT is, it suppresses LH for a prolonged time which causes damage to the leydig cells of the testis.
So opting HRT is all about taking a lot of risk when it’s certainly not the last option. There are many approaches to naturally boost the testosterone levels without putting the body’s natural ability of producing testosterone at risk.
Given below are some other considerable options that may assist in elevating the testosterone levels:
- Red Light Therapy:
Researchers have found out that near infrared red light can be beneficial at particular wavelengths for patients of hypothyroidism. A study showed that when directed towards the thyroid gland, the red light normalized the levels of thyroid hormone.
In 2013, a study was conducted in Brazil on 43 subjects who were clinically diagnosed with hypothyroidism. To check the effect of red light, the patients were given red light therapy with the wavelength of 830nm, twice a week. After completion of 10 sessions, the subjects were asked to quit taking their thyroid medicine. For a period of 9 months, the subjects were monitored thoroughly to check whether they could do on their own, without continuing thyroid medicine (thyroxine).
The results were very intriguing as 48% of the subjects didn’t need to continue their medicine ever again. The light therapy not only successfully elevated the thyroid volume but it also enhanced the gland’s activity.
Many other Russian and Ukrainian studies found similar results. So the question is how does red light therapy do what it is supposed to do?
Red light can penetrate the skin and has been proven to sow its effects on the target tissues by enhancing:
- The production of cellular energy molecules(ATPs)
- The mitochondrial respiration (Cox)
So if red light therapy can normalize thyroid hormone levels, does this mean it can do the same for reduced testosterone levels?
Theoretically, if red light is directed to the testis it can relatively enhance the production of energy in leydig cells and also increase the testicular activity. The research is currently under way and are already giving promising results.
- Strategic Supplementation:
Unfortunately no natural supplement can compete with the results of HRT. But there are some natural compounds, which when used at a right dose, can significantly boost the testosterone levels. Micronutrient supplements are at the top of the list. These supplements provide enough vitamins and minerals to fight off the deficiencies responsible for reduced testosterone levels.
Following micronutrients can be used for this purpose:
- B-complex; particularly niacinamide
- Vitamin E; alpha tocopherol
- Vitamin K2
- Vitamin D3 in liquid form
- Vitamin A (retinol and nor caroteinoids)
Other than micronutrients, following supplements can also be used as they elevate testosterone levels by 10-50%:
- Mucuna pruriens (L-dopa)
Supplements in combination with healthy testosterone boosting approaches, can make quite a difference.
- Modification In Nutrition:
Modern day diet is becoming poorer than ever with respect to nutrition. Eating healthy is the key to balanced hormones.
Given below are the proper eating guidelines to elevate the testosterone levels:
- Consuming sufficient calories is very important. Poor calorie diet will fail to yield enough energy to synthesize hormone.
- 20-40% calories daily consumed from proteins help boosts the testosterone levels.
- 40-60% calories consumed from carbs on a daily basis help in metabolic energy production which is important for synthesizing testosterone.
- Remaining 20-40% calories can be consumed from fats typically monounsaturated and saturated fats.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) must be eliminated from the diet as they negatively impact the thyroid and testosterone.
- Meat and dairy based proteins should be the top priority instead of plants based proteins, which have little effect on testosterone.
- Diet should be rich in micronutrients. Good sources include: fruits, dairy, egg yolks and liver.
- Carbs should be taken from sources with low-gluten. Root tubers, sugar and fruits must also be added to the diet.
- Grech, A., Breck, J., & Heidelbaugh, J. (2014). Adverse effects of testosterone replacement therapy: an update on the evidence and controversy. Therapeutic advances in drug safety, 5(5), 190-200.
- George, A., & Henkel, R. (2014). Phytoandrogenic properties of Eurycoma longifolia as natural alternative to testosterone replacement therapy. Andrologia, 46(7), 708-721.
- McCullough, A. (2015). Alternatives to testosterone replacement: testosterone restoration. Asian journal of andrology, 17(2), 201.