TRT purely for anti-aging...need some advice
- 08-13-2013, 06:17 PM
TRT purely for anti-aging...need some advice
I'm 45, in good shape, and active athletically, and am interested in "optimizing" my hormone levels for anti-aging purposes. But I also don't want to do anything really reckless. So, I've been seeing a doctor at an anti-aging clinic for about 3 months now. The doc says she likes to get men up to around 900 total test, and above 180 free test. And I can't remember the target range she specified for IGF-1 -- over 200, I believe. So far, I've taken some kind of "initial" steps in terms of treatment, and gotten blood work done several times now. But I now seem to be at a critical point where I need to make bigger decisions. Here are the details on my blood work and treatment so far:
Initial blood work:
Total Test: 638
Free Test: 136
HCG 50 units (insulin syringe) 3 times per week
DHEA tabs daily
Sermorelin sublingual daily
Blood work after 5 weeks
Total test 647
Free test 133
At this point, the doc said she thought I'd need to go to Test Cyp injections because the HCG was not going to work. I was hesitant though, because my levels are not really all that low (although not optimal), and I'm worried about shutting down my natural production. So we agreed to give the HCG another shot with a new protocol.
HCG 50 units daily
DHEA tabs daily
Sermorelin 30 units (insulin syringe) daily (this was changed because now that I was comfortable with the injections, there seemed to be no reason to continue with the less effective sublingual tabs).
Blood work after 2 weeks
Total test: 838
Free test: 157
no test for estradiol or IGF-1 this time
The doc is now saying that she still feels like HCG is not going to get me to optimal test levels -- particularly free test, which she says she'd like to get above 180. Obviously, I had a big jump in total test, and a moderate jump in free test, from the daily HCG...but she says that's not sustainable, and she doesn't like to have people on daily 50 unit HCG injections anyway. She says that's risky as it can lead to "burn out", which she says is worse than shutting your testicles down altogether with TRT because in the former case, it can lead to long term damage, while in the later, baseline can almost always be regained if TRT is stopped. Given that, she said she believes if I reduce the amount of HCG I'm taking (either taking smaller daily injections, or cutting back to 3 times a week with the 50 unit injections), my levels will likely drop back down again. So, she really thinks the best option for me is TRT.
I'm still concerned about starting TRT, and shutting down my natural production, when I'm basically producing pretty strong levels for a 45 year old guy. That said, I'm pretty interested to see how I'd feel at "optimal" levels, and am quite committed to trying to do whatever I can to stay active and vital for as long as possible. So, if TRT is the path I need to go down, I feel like I want to do it. But...I'm nervous. It seems like a huge step, and I don't want to do something I'll regret later. I also feel like all the discussion I see online about TRT involves guys who had levels that were pretty low -- below 400. I can't find anyone who has been in my situation -- who has decent test levels, but wants to optimize them and choses TRT to do so. I'd really like to read about some experiences of people like that, because sometimes I'm wondering if I'm just being foolish.
By the way, regarding the sermorelin and IGF-1, she tells me that it takes about 3 months to really have a substantial impact. I've only been doing the injections for 3 weeks or so (with about 5 weeks of sublingual before that). So, hopefully in about a month or so, I'll start to feel some significant impact as far as growth hormone. In many ways, I think the growth hormone is my bigger problem...in that case, my levels really ARE low (or on the low end of the "normal" range, at least). Any thoughts or experience with this would also be greatly appreciated. Perhaps I should hold off on the TRT until I can see how I feel with some better GH levels?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
- 08-13-2013, 11:59 PM
08-14-2013, 10:33 AM
I'm kind of surprised, because I didn't think this type of anti-aging treatment for guys like me (mid-40s, moderate T levels) was as uncommon and as far out of the mainstream as the responses would indicate. I'd been under the impression, while still on fringe a bit, that this type of approach to hormone optimization was really gaining credibility and popularity. But, again, I'm having a hard time finding anywhere online where I can discuss this with people who have the same situation.
So, I'm wondering, have you not heard of people with levels in 600s who opt for TRT? Or do you know of people who have had bad experiences with it? I'm also wondering what the "fire" I'd be playing with is exactly...I mean, those who are on TRT on these boards, even if they needed it more than I do, don't seem to be hating it, or feeling like it's "fire". Save for the expense (which I'm not worried about), most people seem to be pretty OK with it....i.e., there don't seem to be a ton of negative side-effects or long term drawbacks. If I'm wrong about that, I'd love to hear some people's experience in that area.
Finally, I'm wondering how it would be worse, or more reckless, for me to engage in TRT than it is for guys to do a steroid cycle. Again, I'm asking this as a sincere question, not trying to argue with your point, which I value. But, there seem to be plenty of guys on this board messing around with this stuff outside the care of a doctor (like the thread from the guy with a 2080 total test level) -- so comparatively, giving test cyp a try under the care of a doctor with the intention of raising my levels by a few hundred points seems pretty benign. If you (or anyone else) feels inclined to elaborate on why you think it's a really bad idea, please do.
Thanks again. I'm really trying to educate myself and make a wise decision.
08-14-2013, 12:48 PM
What anti aging benefit are you trying to get by suppressing your natural hormone level? Going from 600+ to 900 will not give you any kind of benefit. I'll let others chime in maybe you can find the answer you desire from someone else. Good luck. Remember it is testosterone replacement and is not a supplement.
08-14-2013, 01:31 PM
As to what benefit I'm trying to get... I'm told by my doctor that I will feel better (higher energy, better results from exercise, quicker healing from injury, better skin elasticity, better sense of general well being) and age in a less destructive way if my testosterone is in the 800-1000 range, and if my free test is up above 180. And it's not just this doctor -- that seems to be the general theory behind hormone optimization as an anti-aging therapy. Those are the benefits I'm trying to gain. And I'm told that it's not necessary to wait until I have truly low, struggle-to-get-off-the-couch levels to benefit from optimizing my hormone levels.
Have you not heard of this approach, or are you just skeptical of it (and if so, why)?
I understand that this is replacement, not supplementation. That's why I'm so reluctant to do it before I really know what I'm getting into. As I've said, the doctor I'm speaking to (and other experts in the anti-aging movement) seem to believe that a person in my situation could benefit from TRT. But I'd really like to have some back and forth with people who have actually been in a similar situation, and hear about their experiences. I also value the opinions of people on this board (and others) who have years of experience with TRT in general, and can probably give more of a realistic picture than a doctor or even a book.
I don't pretend to be an expert on any of this, but I have been looking into for a long time, and have educated myself to the extent I've been able to thus far. Posting on this forum and trying to get some opinions is a part of that continuing process.
08-14-2013, 02:57 PM
Having been on TRT for some time (T cyp, HCG, and arimidex) I do agree that optimizing your hormones can make a huge difference, however, having been below 300 in total T to now stable around 850-900, I'd have to say I saw little/no difference in how I felt/performed when I was at 650 vs now and actually feel better now than when I was over 1000 (which was for several months at one point).
Besides TRT being for life, which anti-aging would essentially be as well I'd expect, one of the other factors to consider would be, what side effects would you experience in your attempts to get benefits?
Given your baseline, which is already very good, as you increase your total and free T with t cyp for example, what happens to your estrogen levels?
Do they shoot up and you have to deal with the sides, sides which may make you feel worse than when you started?
Something to think about.
I would think possibly optimizing your profile with HGH vs T cyp might make more sense, although I am not an anti aging expert at all.
Having been on TRT for the last year and a half, I'd have to caution you against taking t cyp when your levels are already good by many measures, without at least a plan to manage any sides, which will probably happen and also have the ability to go off and get back to baseline, which will probably involve being on HCG simultaneously with test as well.
T cyp alone, over an extended period, followed by stopping therapy without having been on something like HCG could leave you way worse off than when you started. Even a HCG "restart" or something similar which your doctor may float as an option if the t cyp doesn't work for you is not guaranteed to get you back to pre therapy levels of natty T production by any stretch of the imagination.
Agree 100% with the previous poster who said "you are playing with fire".
Good luck! All the best either way with however you choose to go.
08-14-2013, 03:14 PM
The anti aging clinics are after one thing: $
You don't need trt with levels in the mid 600's, and I would run far and fast from any doc wanting to prescribe trt at those levels...
08-14-2013, 06:50 PM
In the bolded section above, I'm wondering if it was a typo. Did you mean to say managing my testosterone levels with HCG? Or were you suggesting addressing the HGH issue as indicated by my relatively low IGF-1 levels before I concern myself with testosterone.
If it's the former, I'm wondering what people on this board think about long term HCG use. As I mentioned, my doc seems to be concerned about burnout. She seems to think that it's more of a concern than shutting down my test production with TRT. That's kind of baffling to me -- HCG would seem like the less risky path since I'm still producing it myself rather than going totally to exogenous test. Opinions?
08-14-2013, 06:57 PM
Anyway, I appreciate the response, and I value it. The fact that I've been hearing opinions like yours from several people (and no one seems to think it's a good idea...other than the docs at the anti-aging clinics), weighs heavily in this decision. I think I'll likely hold off on the TRT.
08-14-2013, 07:12 PM
08-14-2013, 07:26 PM
Hey Guys Great Thread and unfort I effed up, im afraid and went with TRT with Total levels of near 600 before any injections but low free and Bio-available T. After approx 6 weeks of 100 TEST Cyp injections and then they had me get the shot every 2 weeks., Im pretty sure my E2 level is elevated now. Do any of you know the tale-tale symptoms of high versus low E? I did develop sensitive and sometimes erect nipples, (but no Gyno per se), Bloating, weird body odor and cracking/popping joints. Also the last time I had labs my E2 was 17 then, on Quest labs.
any help is greatly appreciated !
08-14-2013, 10:09 PM
I don't know much about how to recognize raised estrogen levels, but I do know that a good doctor should be checking for that in your blood work and be ready to address it. So, hopefully with a little tweaking of your treatment you can get that under control and reduce the symptoms you described. I would guess that there are a number of people on this board who can give you much more detailed information.
In any case, glad that you chimed in here, and please continue to share your experiences. You seem to have begun this in a similar situation to the one I'm in, and I'll be really interested to hear how it unfolds for you.
08-15-2013, 10:12 AM
I'm interested to hear opinions about my estradiol. My doc says it's OK if it's below 40. Do you guys agree? I'm wondering if in the mid-30s, maybe it's a bit high, and maybe if it were down in the low 20s or teens I would have higher free test levels (I'm not totally clear how this works, but I'm pretty sure there is a direct relation between estrogen levels and free test). And if an AI or estrogen blocker are called for, what you recommend, and what kind of sides would I need to consider.
I'm also still looking for answers about long term HCG use. I've told my doc I'm not ready to start TRT, but would be interested to see if I can raise my test levels through a safe HCG treatment that will not subject me to LH burnout. After all, HCG did raise me from about 650 to about 850 (free test from about 135 to about 155). The doc is skeptical those results can be maintained (she still feels TRT is the way to go), but is saying I could try 15 units of HCG (insulin syringe) daily (this is down from the 50 units I was doing daily for the two week period before my last blood work). Do any of you have opinions on this? Anyone used HCG in this way? Results? Risks? Any feedback would be appreciated. (By the way, I may post this in a separate thread in an effort to get people who may not be checking this one to look at it).
As you can see, I'm still trying to get a handle on what all my options are, and whether I should pursue any of them or not.
Thanks again to all those who have helped me get a better understanding of what I'm dealing with.
08-15-2013, 10:21 AM
You will most likely be at 600 a couple of times a week even with the anti aging protocol. Id look for other ways to boost it to 900 naturally , it can be done I have a good friend that went from 500 to 900 by doping his cardio and changing diet, Yoga, heavy lifting, cutting alcohol and generally staying away from test killers.
I was in the 270's and felt horrible otherwise i would have never done it. Its something Im going to do for the rest of my life. Thats a long time to be pinning.
08-15-2013, 10:29 AM
Yeah, that would be ideal. I've been looking into ways to boost test naturally (or herb ally) for a couple of years, and I already do a lot of them. But, maybe more would help. What is "doping" cardio? Any other biggies you can think of? I already avoid alcohol, lift pretty heavy a few times a week, do high intensity interval training a couple of times a week, and I've tried various herbal test boosting supplements bought through on-line supplement companies...things like DAA, as well as the stuff containing maca root, stinging nettles, etc....does anyone know if any of the test booster supplements work?
Any website, book, or program you, or your friend, might recommend?
Thanks, by the way, for the feedback. The more I hear from guys like you that it's a bad idea, the more sure I am that I need to hold off for now.
08-15-2013, 11:19 AM
I agree with what your doc says: the benefits from hcg will be difficult if not impossible to maintain. Remember, if you're injecting exogenous anything into your body there are consequences...
08-15-2013, 11:25 AM
08-15-2013, 06:36 PM
Thanks Gaffney and My "blurt" is sortof A 911 effort for my health. I know i was vague on some things and also the biggest thing is pertaining to ED and NO Morning or REM sleep wood, plus fatigue like hell. I am going back to this Dr, reluctantly ,a he is a Primary who went into Anti-aging and accepts insurance. I was really desparate to feel better so i gave in at his advice to try it for 4 weeks straight to see if i flet better. I am also 51, but have worked out since i was 14 doing bodyweight exercises, resistance training of all kinds, played sports both intramural and city league ETC. so basically pretty fit all of my life despite since developing Type I Diabetes at age 15. I am well controlled on this and fanatic aobut checking my sugars. I am only 5'8 maybe and weigh about 165. Now I have a layer of fat around my waist i have Never have and I also have sleep apnea, but I do use a CPAP mask/machine to help and it does ..some. I was very ignorant on HRT/TRT in general until approx 2 yrs and attending Free Medical Seminars in my area and subscribing to Life Extension magazine and finding great sites like this one. Im trying to come out of this "hell hole" I just hope i havent messed up by going the route of TRT when i may have not needed to, even at my age. Sorry this was a long diatribe and thanks for reading and responding.
08-15-2013, 07:14 PM
im sorry bro but I fail to understand why you would do this at all, you have very very good levels, it makes no sense to shut yourself down with trt to get to 900,personally I would not be on hcg either, I say again your levels are great and that's the truth no matter what this dr says, if you are waiting for mainstream medicine to catch up to this theory you will wait your life time and some more, find yourself a good endo and show him/her your levels and see what they say about trt, your having someone pushing something out of left field on ya and you don't need it, as a matter of fact I would not return to this dr you are seeing.
08-16-2013, 02:22 PM
yeah me either J4ever . Due to this sleep disorder alot of the time i have severe brain fog, bad decison making and cognitive problems in General. As i said i was desparate and thought I could trust this Dr, but obv he has Money signs in his eyes! $$ Plus he recently renamed their facitlity as "Nirvana" and now has hot girls working there and they do Botox, facial rejuv, **** like that . I thought about going back to him to try HCG to increase T and testicle size, but not even sure on that. Is there anyway to restart my own T production at this stage or is it too late? I had an endo i saw for over a decade , just to have her write my scripts for my insulins, test strips, syringes etc,. I once mentioned Hormonal porbs to her but she didnt know that much , so i fired her of course. lol. i will seek out another DR and possibly a new endo, but I dont care as long they know BHT,TRT,Thyroid/Adrenal issues. On my last lab test back in June my DHEA was within range, but Low in My opinion. Can anyone recommend a supplemental protocol for this, to increase my Libido, enhance mood etc. ?
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