In my page on Testosterone and Cholesterol, I discuss the fact that the studies on TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) are somewhat mixed: some show decreases in total cholesterol and some show no change and a few show increases. However, the best study to date shows that in the long term TRT does indeed significantly lower LDL-C, which is closely tied to total cholesterol.
However, a 2011 book called The Magic of Cholesterol Numbers by Dr. Dzugan found a way to turbocharge these results and apparently even exceed that which is seen with standard TRT. It may also make results even more consistent.
The importance of Dr. Dzugan's works is incredibly profound, and I think, unfortunately, largely ignored. I believe that implementing his ideas could save literally tens of millions of lives every year and billions in health care costs on top of that. That is how important this is, and so I hope, after you read this article, you will spread the word. Dr. Dzugan's protocol can greatly lower cholesterol levels even with no changes in your diet. (I highly encourage you to improve your diet if you have not of course! Check out my pages on Penile Arterial Plaque Regression.)
Here is a summary of what he Dr. Dzugan did in a couple of studies from the above (must-read) book:
1. He measured pregnenolone, testosterone, DHEA-S, cortisol, vitamin D and progesterone. (p. 170)
2. He then made sure all particpants were in the "upper one third of the standard laboratory range for individuals in the age bracket of 20-30 with optimal health. This range is for al steroid hormone levels with the exception of estradiol or total estrogen levels for men." (p. 170.)
3. He only used bioidentical hormones, i.e. hormones identical to the ones the body naturally produces.
Hormonodeficit Hypothesis of Hypercholesteremia. Now why does he concentrate on the above hormones? Why not melatonin or T3/T4 or prolactin., etc.? The answer lies in the following "Hormone Production Lines:"
Cholesterol ==> Pregnenolone ==> DHEA ==> Testosterone ==> Estradiol and DHT
Cholesterol ==> Pregnenolone ==> Progesterone ==> Cortisol
Note that both of these hormonal pathways start with cholesterol at the top. Now let's say that, for whatever reason, one of the downstream hormones resulting from cholesterol is low, i.e. pregnenolone, DHEA, testosterone, progesterone or cortisol. The Hormonodeficit Hypothesis of Hypercholesteremia posits that the body will do what it needs to do to try to boost that hormonal deficiency, i.e. it will boost cholesterol production in order to try to jack up all downstream hormones. .
So how could one test this theory? Well, Dr. Dzugan did so in several studies by putting higher cholesterol individuals on protocols involving #1-3 above, i.e. getting all their hormones to acceptable values. If the Hormonodeficit theory is correct, the body should say to itself, "Hey, all hormones are okay now - we can relax and lower cholesterol production again."
Check out the results of his two studies:
1. Study on Adults of All Ages with High Cholesterol. The above protocol dropped cholesterol levels 30% in men from 253 mg/dl to 191! (p. 171)
2. 2002 Study. This study looked at 12 early senior aged men and found their total cholesterol dropped an average of 22% from 228 to 177 mg/dl.
Study #2's results were particularly profound, because HDL remained unchanged. Statins will lower both HDL and cholesterol, but by restoring hormones, you appear to get nothing but benefits.
This may partially explain some of the very impressive results that we have seen in the TRT cardiovascular studies lately. The most recent study showed that in men that were low testosterone and had severe heart disease, TRT lowered cardovascular incidents by 80%! This is much better than a statin, although statins are given to those with any testosterone level. For details, see my on The Latest Testosterone Therapy Cardiovascular Studies. I would add that cholesterol-lowering is not the only cardiovascular benefit from TRT, something I cover in depth here: Testosterone and Heart Disease.
CONCLUSION: Current standards of practice are often decades behind the research and Dr. Dzugan's work is one example of this. Patients with cardiovascular issues are typically prescribed statins and maybe a baby aspirin and sent on their way. Of course, lifestyle changes are the most important, but, clinically, it is clear that checking for certain hormonal deficiencies is nearly as critical. Again, I recommend reading Dr. Dzugan's book above and checking out the details of his protocols and findings. He methodically and thoroughly describes the underlying issues and solutions.
One interesting and practical story having to do with with all of this is the famous low fat plant-based plaque regresser Dr. Esselstyn, who I cover on this page: Physicians Reversing Arterial Plaque. Dr. Esselstyn commented that his diet will almost always lower cholesterol below 150 mg/dl but there are a certain percentage of men that he has to give a statin to in order to achieve that target cholesterol value. These men may very well be deficient in one of these hormones and just need bioidentical hormone therapy in order to avoid having to take a statin. (They could also be hypothyroid which wil artificially raise total cholesterol levels.)
This, by the way, is not is not a criticism of Dr. Esselstyn, whose work has undoubtedly saved literally tens of thousands of lives. I am just pointing out that some men have stubborningly high cholesterol and hormonal issues is probably often the problem. Why is this important? Because statins are rife with side effects, something I cover here: The Potential Risks of Statins.