Physiological Hormone Replacement
Around the age of 50, a woman’s ovaries suddenly and dramatically stop functioning. The treatment of menopause with physiological hormone replacement has been studied very extensively and the risks and benefits are well-established.
Testosterone use in women, usually rubbed on as a cream, may increase libido but the risks and benefits are not well-established.
Male Hormone replacement (Andropause?)
Male menopause or “andropause,” is not a recognized entity according to the World Health Organization, the international body that gets to decide on what is and isn’t a disease.
Nevertheless, its general acceptance by physicians and patients alike has occurred despite the dearth of data from large cohort or randomized clinical trials that we enjoy with regard to female hormone replacement.
Unlike women, men do not experience a complete and permanent physiological shutting down of the reproductive system. The loss of function is gradual and age- related, in keeping with a general theory of aging and the aging of our stem cells.
That said, many physicians feel that topical androgen use in physiologic dosages is probably not harmful, but again, the data is limited.
Excessive male hormones may help you set sports records and earn you an eight figure salary, but it involves a Faustian bargain; the risks include:
Testosterone and HGH are Potent and Non-specific Growth Promoters
The way in which hormones cause their ‘building up’ is poorly-understood because it is so global and non-specific. We know that cells function according to how their chromosomes are translated, so-called “gene expression.”
Like computer chips, scientists now have DNA microarrays which identify every known gene product of a man or mouse (25,000 – 30,000 different tests!)This “shotgun approach” gives us some interesting results. Testing for ‘everything’ doesn’t elucidate mechanisms but it gives us clues that help to understand what effects just about anything can have on gene expression.
Testosterone’s effects on gene expression:
From one of those mouse DNA microarrays, we see that testosterone changes gene expression in no less that 939 separate tests in murine prostate tissue:
Each row is the entire gene library at a specific time, 1/2 hour, 1 hour, …7 days.
A deep red color indicates a gene that was upregulated more than 2X.
The deep blue color indicates a gene that was downregulated to half of the untreated sample.
DHT is regular testosterone and THG is a commonly-used synthetic one.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)’s effects on gene expression:
Microarray Analysis of the in Vivo Effects ofHypophysectomy and Growth Hormone Treatment on Gene Expression in the Rat1, Amilcar Flores-Morales2, Nina Ståhlberg2, Petra Tollet-Egnell3, Joakim Lundeberg, Renae L. Malek, John Quackenbush, Norman H. Lee and Gunnar Norstedt – Endocrinology Vol. 142, No. 7 3163-3176
Copyright © 2001 by The Endocrine Society
When we use the same technology and translate the resuts into a tabular form, HGH appears to show more narrow spectrum of action upon gene expression:
TA-65’s effects on gene expression:
-courtesy of Tim Wang and Sierra Sciences (2008)
In contrast, when TA-65 is tested on a DNA microarray, the results are limited and small in magnitude:
Now for the down-regulated genes:
Recall that TRAP assays prove without a doubt that TA-65 lengthens telomeres but surprisingly, not via two of the obvious methods:
1) First, they screened the usual genes involved in telomerase promotion. There were no significant changes:
(N.B.: C0057684 was a molecule that Sierra Science discovered and which also showed telomerase activation, albeit by more non-specific and potent mechanisms.)
2) Next, they screened for the usual regulators of the DNA-damage-response. Remarkably, no changes were seen.
For more information on Anabolic Steroids and atheletic performance, see ourPODCAST 011: Exercise