ABC World News: Testosterone. Fountain Of Youth or Danger To Your Health?

Men's Health Low T09-19-2012 ABC World News with Diane Sawyer reports that baby boomers are willing to do whatever it takes to stay young.  For boomer men, since 2006,  prescriptions of testosterone have doubled and they are expecting them to triple in the next five years.  You can see it in those ads for “a treatable condition called low testosterone or Low T” appealing to 70 million boomer men.  ABC’s Neal Karlinsky says ‘T’ is what is keeping older males competitive against their younger ambitious coworkers.  This boost of testosterone,  the illegal drug of choice among sports athletes, is now being touted by some as “the fountain of youth.” 

One 57-year-old male says his generation is trying to stay as young as it can for as long as it can.  He showed us how he takes a simple prescription injection of testosterone twice a week.  And he is very happy with the results.  He’s been taking testosterone for three years and says he has transformed himself to a younger man.  He has gone from a 38 waist, relaxed fit jean to a 34 waist slim cut. Two hours more work per day and 30 pounds of fat gone!  And more muscles than he ever had in his 20s!  His wife thinks he looks great.  Chris said he is sold on testosterone and he will never not do it.

Just because you can, should you? 

Dr. Karron Power at the Youth Renewal Center, San Rafael California says, Yes!  She says she sees the young guys coming in feeling challenged by the older men.  She doesn’t think it’s cheating.  If your testosterone levels are low, bringing them up to a normal or an optimal level is just leveling the playing field.

But what is normal?

Karlinsky explains that the average 20-year-old testosterone level can range from 300 to 1080.  As you age those levels drop.  By age 60 the levels range from 300 to 720.

So… Is it safe to pump up an older man’s testosterone levels to those of a 20-year-old which can more than double his current level?

Dr. Edmund Sabanegh, Chairman of Urology at the Cleveland Clinic, an expert in testosterone,  says he is worried about the wave of men using ‘T’ to stay artificially young.  “Right now we do not have guidance in the medical research that suggests that it is safe to stay at those levels.”

Karlinsky reports there are serious side effects of using too much testosterone.  Blood clots, liver damage and some doctors are concerned about its impact on prostate cancer.  The New England Journal of Medicine warns that only about 2% of men over 40 should be getting any boost at all!

But risky or not, the alternative of not taking ‘T’ is not going to be an option for the millions of men who have already had that drink from “the fountain of youth.”

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