01/07/2014 05:15 EST | Updated 03/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Testosterone Replacement Therapy is Not Cheating

Testosterone replacement therapy has been demonized by many as cheating and unnatural. Some experts claim that testosterone replacement therapy can have detrimental health effects and that testosterone should be avoided under any circumstance. Replacing a hormone that is produced naturally in the body can significantly improve overall quality of life and should not be overshadowed by guilt.

The free testosterone range is from 25.0 - 80.0pmol/L (for men)

When asking a doctor to test testosterone, it is important that the doctor check for free testosterone. Total testosterone includes testosterone that is bound to sex-binding globulin hormone and albumin; this is not biologically available testosterone, meaning any bound testosterone is useless.

The Free testosterone range is very wide. The individual with a free test of 30pmol/L, and the individual with a free test of 75pmol/L should not both be considered normal. A free test of 30pmol/L is considered a "low normal" and a free test of 75pmol/L is considered a "high normal". An adult male with a free test of 75pmol/L would be 2.5 times more likely to add muscle, have a fulfilling sex life and a heightened sense of well-being. Equating the two individuals with normal testosterone levels is a disadvantage to the individual with a testosterone of 30pmol/L. That individual with a "low normal" free testosterone deserves the same positive effects as the individual with the high normal level.

Treating disease vs. treating quality of life

There is seldom an issue in society with individuals replacing a thyroid hormone for an individual who has developed hypothyroidism. This is because the medical community has recognized hypothyroidism as a disease with severe symptoms such as weight gain, cold intolerance, memory impairment, and fatigue. Individuals with a "low normal" testosterone may still be able to carry out daily functions, but may not be living a fully optimized healthy life. As long as testosterone is taken safely under the care of a qualified physician with regular blood tests, testosterone replacement therapy can enhance overall quality of your life.

You only live once. You can choose to listen to those who would say testosterone is cheating, or you can choose to take a replacement hormone that can improve your overall quality of life. Only you can make that decision.

What about in professional sports?

Professional sports are different than that of the average individual who seeks treatment for an improvement in quality of life. Athletes are generally very well paid to compete. Testosterone and anabolic steroids are banned in professional sports to create an even playing field. Players are regularly tested to ensure that players do not test at abnormally high ranges. Personally, I believe that an athlete should be able to use testosterone as long as his blood tests indicate that he is within the normal range. When testing shows an abnormally high range, it is no longer testosterone replacement therapy; it then becomes testosterone abuse. Though testosterone may be a naturally occurring hormone, it is also a drug, Like any other drug, it can be abused.

Creating an even playing field in professional sports has never been possible. Athletes of all different age, race, and bodytype compete against one another. Surely, Shaquille O'neal was not playing against an even playing field during his championship years in the NBA. A seven-foot-one, 315 lb man has an advantage over a 6'0 200 lb man, but we didn't tell Shaq that he couldn't play in the NBA.

Do I personally take testosterone?

I do not personally take testosterone. After having my levels checked, they were in the high normal range. There are also several ways to boost your testosterone levels naturally, which I have written about before. It could be beneficial to follow these suggestions for several months before considering testosterone replacement therapy. If these suggestions are not successful, and testosterone levels are still low, testosterone replacement therapy could be a consideration. Considering a physician prescribed treatment that can enhance an individual's lifestyle is a personal decision that shouldn't be influenced by those who may not know the advantages this treatment could bring.

Closing thoughts

Testosterone Replacement Therapy should be considered as other hormone replacement treatments are viewed. Just as medication is necessary for thyroid disorders or diabetes, testosterone is necessary for low testosterone levels. It is best to try to manage levels through lifestyle factors initially, but one should not hesitate to seek the advice and treatment from a physician for low testosterone if there is a deficiency or a low normal.

I hope this article may have changed your view on testosterone replacement therapy.

Thank-you for reading and please feel free to leave any comments and questions.