Alternative Cancer Therapies | Natural Health Blog

Date: 11/18/2008    Written by: Jon Barron

Women Benefit from Testosterone

Testosterone Supplements, Women

According to popular wisdom, decreased sex drive comes with aging, just like rotten teeth and a newfound interest in golf communities. But last week, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that aging doesn't have to mean decreased libido for women. By taking testosterone supplements, older women can restore their sexual desire to pre-menopausal levels.

Well, it's not exactly revelation -- for the past 20 years I've been saying that both men and women need to boost testosterone as they age in order to enjoy continued sexual drive, as well as to maintain energy levels and good circulation and to build muscle while burning fat. And predictably, although the researchers started on the right track, they went a bit askew in designing their study and so some problems arose -- like an increased incidence of cancer among the subjects. But more on that in a minute. First let's look at what the scientists did discover.

The year-long study, conducted by a consortium of researchers in Australia, Canada, Sweden, and the US and sponsored by Proctor & Gamble, gave testosterone patches (manufactured by Proctor & Gamble -- but you knew that was coming, didn't you?) to 814 women. The patches came in two different doses: 150 or 300 mcg. At the higher dose, subjects reported a 2.1 times increase in "satisfying sexual experiences." Originally, this group reported an average of two satisfying experiences a month, but with the patch, that rate increased to one a week. Even those on the lower dose patch reported significantly increased desire.

But as mentioned, the renewed sexual zest appeared to be marred by some unfortunate side effects. Four of the subjects developed breast cancer early on in the study, and though the researchers considered this a "statistical blip," it raises concerns.

As Dr. Leslie R. Schover, of the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center, says, "A valid safety study needs at least a five-year follow-up period in a large, randomized trial. If women use Intrinsa [the testosterone patch] without such a trial, I believe they are risking their lives to gain a very modest increase in sexual desire."

Study director, Dr. Susan Davis, dismissed such worries. She said four cases of cancer in a study of this size "is not unexpected...and it is probably a chance finding that they were in the two treatment groups."

Call it what you will -- dangerous risk, or a mere "chance finding"--in addition to the cancer cases, the patch also caused some subjects to report excess hair growth and androgenic side effects -- and those undesirable side effects point exactly to where the study went wrong. As I've written before, women do indeed need to boost their testosterone levels starting after age 30 in order to keep sexual drive level and to maintain energy and muscle mass. But, by pumping subjects full of testosterone, the researchers showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem. Instead of delivering large amounts of "extra" testosterone (a practice that might, in fact, increase cancer risk) women need to "free up" the testosterone already residing in their bodies (a much, much safer proposition).

The fact is that women don't stop producing testosterone as they age. In fact, the overall testosterone level for both men and women remains essentially the same throughout their lives, but the amount of bio-available testosterone decreases with age. What happens is that over time, the free circulating testosterone in the body gets bound to both albumin and a natural substance called SHBG (sex-hormone-binding-globulin), so although the older body still has plenty of testosterone, it can't use it. Because SHGB levels tend to increase as we age, more and more of the body's available testosterone becomes bound up with advancing years. And also, as I've reported previously, the oral contraceptive pill tends to inflate SHBG levels even after women stop taking the pill. So older women who were on the pill at any point in their lives may have particularly low levels of available testosterone.

To restore testosterone levels, the challenge is to free up the bound testosterone already residing in the body -- not to artificially overload the body with excess amounts of additional hormone. And the wondrous thing is that testosterone can indeed be freed in an absolutely natural and safe way, simply by taking the right herbs. A formula combining such components as saw palmetto, nettles, and wild oats can increase free testosterone levels by more than 100 percent -- without the disturbing and possibly deadly side effects.

But as usual, medical science (not to mention Proctor & Gamble) has little interest in the obvious and safe solution, and so the push is on to get FDA approval for the testosterone patch. Procter & Gamble spokesperson, Tom Milliken says, "Based on these data and other studies we've conducted, we are continuing our talks with [the] FDA to explore new opportunities and pathways forward."

May the force be with any women who decide to opt for the patch, should it show up on the market soon. And indeed, it just might, with support from such luminaries as Dr. JoAnn V. Pinkerton, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Virginia and president of the American Menopause Society.

"We don't have enough safety data to say it's safe for long-term use," she admits, "but I think short-term, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks." Tell that to one of the four subjects now suffering from breast cancer.

:hc

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Comments

  •  
    Submitted by Heike Schilling on
    January 7, 2009 - 4:12am

    Hello, I wish all cases were delivered with absolute specifics. This is a crucial subject, but without specifics and responding medical info to substantiate statements it's useless.
    Permit a brief case and need for helpful info:
    68 1/2 yr old female (7/1940), hysterectomy (ovaries left intact) at age 43/44 (12/64), onto estrogen (Estraderm 0.05mg) at age 47/8 age). since no remaining supply of own estrogen.
    Derived great health benefits from it up to Nov. 2007 (my fountain of youth medication), when invasive lobular cancer of the left breast, not discovered on the"" Mammogram"", occurred and was removed, no metastases. Low re-currance risk if on Arimidex (Aromatase Inhibitor-Astra-Zeneca).
    As of 4/008 on Arimidex. Per medical profession ideally for 5 years (That would take me to age 73).
    As of 2003 I hd been sparingly using compounded testosterone cream in various bases, last in 2007 in a Veribase, most effective for prenetration. Had long known that I had no testosterone supply to count on for all its wonderful effects on woman, libido, arousal, bone health, vitality, etc.
    Reading Rako's: ""the Hormone of Desire"" and Klaiber's ""
    the Hormone of the MInd"" in 2002/3 started trying to find a physician to get help with testosterone supplementation..
    Persued news on testosterone patch for women, killed by the FDA.
    Initially was given Estratest HS tablet 2003/April - August on top of my Estraderm 0.05mg by one physician. Small results for libido. Over-estrogenization produced larger outer labiae. No testosterone side- effects.
    Had in 2007 excellent results with compounded testosterone 0.03% in Veribase, if I did not dare enough for my own good. Used too sparingly, much below prescription, but physical sensitivity, excellent blood supply in vulva and lubrication (estrogen), improved response to fantasy, masturbation, of course a person, need for all, unexpectedly positive, lively personal radiation. Intimate relationship mainly by written reinforcement and communication, ocasionally in person. But my growing feeling of potential as a woman, as a very young 68 yr old woman, as compared to the now Dec. '08 new state, post lumpectomy (11/2007), post radiation (1/08-3/08), now since 4/08 on Arimidex, to prevent re-currance, so special.
    A month after being off estrogen (12/2007), 2 months after testosterone use: vagina hollowd out and lubrication non-spontaneous, arousal getting difficult. Now a year later, clitoris cannot be resurrected to any feeling, no sexual consciousness or need to pursue, vulva bloodless, vagina, even with KY jelly unable to plump up. No more body sensitivity, i.e. breasts, for 3/4 yr.. No fantasy or physical contact has been able to bring anything back.
    I am healthy, but my ability to feel as a woman has been taken away by the lack of hormonal supplementation and the Aromatase Inhibitor medication preventing any conversion from iffy remaining androgens (male hormones) into estrogen (since breast cancer was estrogen receptive) is gone.
    My oncologist (male- forty-ish) is not in tune with any of this and provides no help. Gynecologist sympathetic and commended for trying, but feels restricted. Astra-Zeneca (Arimidex pharma co.) has taken note, but not responded yet with any other research on side effects or resources.
    I. with good humor still intact, feel condemned to a healthy body, but without any further sexual capability to feel alive with potential.
    I am not willing to give up. But don't know where and how far to go to get help. So much more detail to be given.
    Any professional comment? Or resources. Not interested in anything but reality. No gushing general testimonials.

  •  
    Submitted by John White on
    November 24, 2008 - 6:21am

    John,
    This is an interesting article, but I think you are mistaken about the baseline production of testosterone in aging males and females.
    I am a 64 year old male who uses a compounded cream to boost my testosterone. Without the cream my total testosterone would be below 300, and my free testosterone would be close to zero.
    Using the analogy of a coffee cup, and thinking of free testosterone as coffee spilling over the edge, I would first have to fill the cup to get it to spill over the edge.
    You can consider the spillover as free testosterone. There must be enough total testosterone to first fill the cup. 300 pg/ml simply isn't enough, no matter how many herbs you use (I do use saw palmetto and nettle root and these alone wouldn't reduce SHBG enough to make the difference).
    As to women, my wife's sexual desire was completely gone. We restored her DHEA levels to that of a youthful female, and in a few months, she regained her desire.
    Personally, I don't believe in large doses of testosterone for women because they don't need that much. The DHEA does convert (partially) to testosterone, and this should be sufficient.
    As to testosterone causing cancer, there is no evidence of this, and if it were involved at all in the case of these women, it was probably because it was in part aromatized into estradiol which is carcinogenic.
    John

  •  
    Submitted by Frank on
    September 6, 2013 - 3:43pm

    HI I have read with interest your article on the immune system and you describe how this "Immune Tonic" can cure most problems Associated with the immune system. I have two questions:

    1) where can I purchase this immune tonic from and what is the cost?

    2)Will this tonic cure Hpylori?

  •  
    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    September 7, 2013 - 1:57am

    Hi Frank,

    All formulas that Jon Barron recommends are listed on the "Products" link above with a list of companies that sell them.  I would do a search on our site for H. pylori on the site and see what Jon has to say about it, it may surprise you.  For instance, here is one article:  http://www.jonbarron.org/article/wiping-out-h-pylori-can-backfire

  •  
    Submitted by Wendy on
    March 23, 2016 - 5:49pm

    I had a total hysterectomy in 2010 where they removed everything. I have been from doctor to doctor trying to get help and no one listens to me. My sex hormones are pretty much non-existent, dhea - 86. I am taking a natural progesterone cream and wonder if the Women's Formula would be good for me? I am 45 years old now.

    Here's a few of my symptoms: My eyes are very dry and it feels like there is a film behind them, ears pop/crackle all the time, swollen hands, exhausted, have gained about 25 lbs. I sleep great at night and have energy to get what I need to do done but I yawn all day. My legs also feel like they are buckling, like I'm going to fall over. Not faint, but I feel weird like if I try to go hiking.

    I was told I have Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue. My LDL Cholesterol is 167.

    I also had five silver fillings removed in 2011-2013 and not sure if I still have mercury in me.

    Thank you!

  •  
    Submitted by koven on
    July 9, 2016 - 11:53am
    kolken , Iowa

    Good article, cancer needs more attention

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