Do YOU have "Low T"? ?
You may have seen an advertisement for "Low T" products on TV, radio or in a newspaper or magazine? It started years ago (2003 - 2005) with an insipidly smiling idiot "Smiling Bob in "Enzyte" commercials. The commercials repeatedly talked about "natural male enhancement," which is a euphemism for penile enlargement.
Of course, Steve Warshak, founder of the company responsible for 'Enzyte,' was sentenced in 2008 to prison for 25 years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $93,000 by U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel. The company behind Enzyte and other defendants also had to surrender more than $500 million that it took from consumers in a scam in which customers ordered the pills, but were unable to cancel or get a refund. See this page for more information about the Enzyte scam.
Advance to today. The airwaves are filled with commercials for "natural" products that help with "Low T", Low Testosterone and a host of sexual and work performance problems all claimed to be due to men having declining levels of testosterone due to aging. The commercials often clearly imply that men can "perform" like a young stud again with the help of their supplements.
Of course, none of these advertised products have been tested by nor regulated by the FDA. SO. these claims are unsubstantiated hype at best. At worst, they can be dangerous.
The Problem: What is "Low T"
According to Dr. Davis Samadi, Chairman of the Department of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City and a consultant doctor to Fox News, low testosterone, as an adult, can cause men to experience erectile dysfunction, infertility, decreased body hair growth, decreased sex drive, decreased muscle mass, development of breast tissue or gynecomastia, decreased bone mass, fatigue and hot flashes.
Dr. Oz, on his website, says "Between two and four million men in the US alone suffer from below-normal testosterone levels, a condition known as hypogonadism. It's a problem that gets progressively more common as men age, though it can also strike men at any age for a variety of reasons. The enormous industry that has sprung up to capitalize on this problem has contributed to a dangerous rise in the unregulated sale and use of testosterone supplements. "
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles. According to the Mayo Clinic, testosterone helps maintain men's:
Muscle strength and mass
Red blood cell production
What do the commercials claim?
The commercials on TV, radio, magazines and online for products such as over the counter supplements and testosterone shots make more broad claims that symptoms of "Low T" are
A run-down feeling
Decreased mental quickness
As men go to doctors, driven my the advertising hype, a study in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine said the percentages of men 40 and older being treated for "Low T" has suddenly shot upward; more than tripling from 2001 to 2011.
The Bottom Line:
Dr. Ira Sharlip, a spokesman for the American Urological Association, has said, "There is no such thing as a penis pill that works. These are all things that are sold for profit. There's no science or substance behind them."
A story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on August 20, 2013 reports that Dr. Ellis Levin, chief of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University of California-Irvine's School of Medicine, says 'It's just a bunch of nonsense,' and that these products aren't FDA-approved, nor are they generally tested to see how well they work. 'So people can claim whatever they want, and nobody will hold them to the truth.' further, when a user does find a benefit, it's a placebo effect that dissipates over time.
We agree. Medical authorities say that many libido problems are more likely related to being overweight and out of shape, with poor circulation. A pill, shot or supplement won't change this.
Before you even consider any "Low T" treatment, medication or supplement, see your doctor and get an exam and recommendation.
The Full Story
Is there a need?
Real doctors, experts in this area of medicine, such as the June issue of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, say that testosterone replacement therapy is questionable because it has risks, its efficacy is uncertain, and there's no strong agreement about whether low testosterone is really a disease in older age. See the review here..
There almost always side effects to taking medications, drugs and supplements.
A 2010 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, found higher rates of cardiac, respiratory and skin problems among men over 65 using testosterone gel compare with those taking a placebo.
Testosterone therapy may stimulate noncancerous prostate growth and possibly worsen existing prostate cancer.
Testosterone gels can harm women and children who come in contact with it.
How to evaluate claims and products
There are really 3 questions to ask:
What does your doctor say?
Do studies from reputable independent (unaffiliated with the manufacturer) authorities show that the product and its active ingredients work as claimed?
Is the company reliable - are there documented complaints about the company, the product or any problems in ordering or returning the product?
Do they even work?
Highly unlikely. Since less than 2% of the male population even has this problem, and these products are neither regulated by nor inspected by the FDA, they are most likely a complete waste of your money, at best; and at worst could potentially cause you health problems by interacting with other medications you take, or because their ingredients have unintended consequences. Not to mention, are they even made in a safe, clean, hygienic conditions using high quality, safe, clean ingredients?
"Low T" Products
- AndroGel, made by Solvay Pharmaceuticals, is a prescription ointment for men with low testosterone. The ads direct viewers to a Web site called "Is It Low T?" and urge them to discuss the symptoms and others with their doctors.
- High T
- Dr. Davis Samadi, Chairman of the Department of Urology and Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lennox Hill Hospital in New York City on Fox News
- the Mayo Clinic
- American Urological Association
- Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, June 2013
- Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, June 2013
- USA Today, June 12, 2013, "Popular 'low T' therapy divides the medical field; Some doctors say men benefit from treatment, others say only the drug makers profit."
- Dr. Oz website
Atlanta Journal Constitution on August 20, 2013