Welcome to Part 3 of our comprehensive hormone replacement therapy (HRT) series (click for index).
We are going over the second of two primary hormone replacement therapy protocol that I've used over the past 10 years.
In the previous section, I discussed the "Super High Testosterone, Fast Metabolism" HRT 'cruise' protocol that I used from 2005-2009, in-between steroid cycles. It resulted in a testosterone level that was consistently over 1000 ng/dl and a super fast (but in-range) metabolic rate.
Sometime in early 2009, I began to slowly convince myself that "more testosterone, more thyroid hormone - is not necessarily better". It was right about the same time that I got really serious about my sex life. The gym was no longer a priority since I already had a good body and excess testosterone would only cause bloat and body acne and the excess thyroid hormone would cause anxiety and irritability.
In this section, I'm going to discuss the "High-Normal Testosterone, High-Normal Metabolism" HRT protocol that I started in 2009 and use right up to this very day.
The bloodwork below is from "generic" testosterone, not US pharmaceutical grade testosterone - which is 2x stronger. I have recently been prescribed 50-100mg/2 weeks of Testosterone Cypionate which is likely fairly equivalent to my 250mg/10day dose of "generic testosterone"
#2 High-Normal Testosterone, High-Normal Metabolism Protocol (2009-current)
This protocol is similar to the other protocol but there are 2 changes -
What Does This Protocol Do For Your Testosterone Levels?
This protocol keeps my testosterone between 700-900ng/dl.
Testosterone levels can spike as high as 1000ng/dl within 12 hours of taking HCG.
They won't drop below 650ng/dl unless I miss an injection.
What Did This Protocol Do To Your Blood Lipids? (Cholesterol)
As can be expected, my blood lipid numbers are considerably better when I maintain high-normal testosterone levels instead of high (out-of-range) testosterone levels.
My total cholesterol (155), HDL (63) and LDL (92) are perfect.
* notice the triglyceride level (it's fantastic) - that is what a low-carb lifestyle will do
Although cholesterol (especially total cholesterol) is an exaggerated component of cardiovascular health, let's just say - I like these numbers better. Even though it's mainly a genetic thing, HDL helps keep the arteries clean. My Dad has a total cholesterol level of over 300 mg/dl but his HDL (100+ mg/dl) has helped keep his arteries spotless. Both of his parents had a total cholesterol level well over 300 mg/dl but lived beyond 100 years.
It's always troubled me to see single-digit HDL when I was using oral steroids, but obviously it doesn't matter that much. Some guys take orals 8-10 months out of the year.
What Did This Protocol Do To Your Thyroid Levels? (Metabolism)
Sometime in late 2009*, I decided to exchange T3 for T4 in an effort to lower morning T3/caffeine irritability levels and force more stable TSH levels (T4 has a significantly longer half-life) since missing several days of T4 will not leave you feeling sluggish and awful.
* I don't remember exactly when I switched from Cytomel to USA pharma-grade T4, it may have been in 2010. For simplicity purposes, I included it with my 'high-normal' protocol. The T4 bloodwork below is from 2015.
I moved over to a 50mcg dose of T4, which is theoretically nearly identical to a dose 12.5mcg of T3.
(divide your T4 dose by 4 to see the comparable T3 dose)
Here is bloodwork from taking 50mcg of T4 daily -
As you can see, my metabolic rate is no longer the rocket-fueled "Asian kid in 6th grade" (0.7) that it used to be on 12.5mcg T3.
Although I like that I can miss a dose or three of T4 if I'm traveling or waiting to fill or renew my script, T3 (at a comparable dose) was better for increasing my metabolic rate and therefore - better to keep excess fat and water away.
That is a reason that bodybuilders use T3 and not T4.
T3 is better for fat loss since the body doesn't have to convert it into T3. That's not a myth.
(you can still lose considerable amounts of excess body fat on T4 though)
At the same time, I have no plans to go back to T3 or returning to my super fast (0.7 uIU/mL) metabolism.
On T3 (artificially fast metabolism) - I sweat too much, I want to eat like a pig and I can't miss too many doses.
In terms of irritability, however, I didn't notice T4 being any better or worse than T3.
Irritability is mostly dependent on your metabolic rate (especially TSH) more than which compound you are taking - in my experience.
What Did This Protocol Do To Your DHT Levels?
Like I mentioned in the previous section, I've always tried to keep DHT under control because it eats on my hair.
I try to keep it as low as possible, while not going out of range.
Taking 2.5mg of Finasteride every other day consistently shows the same exact DHT value (30ng/dl) as on the previous protocol -
What Did This Protocol Do To Your Estrogen Levels?
Just as there's more to testosterone than "total testosterone", there's more to estrogen than just 'estradiol' (E2).
For simplicity, however, we are just going to highlight estadiol.
My estrogen level (26.5 pg/mL) is neither high nor low. No anti-estrogens required.
This is good news because I keep my DHT levels pretty low to protect my hair.
When testosterone goes up and DHT goes down - estrogen can flourish.
Unlike it's somewhat suggested on the MEN'S side of the Internet, you definitely do not want super low (<5 pg/mL) estrogen levels. You need estrogen to function and you will feel terribly sick without it.
That ends our look at my old 'High-Normal Testosterone, High-Normal Metabolism' HRT protocol.
Our series on hormone replacement therapy continues here -
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