The High Testosterone, High Metabolism HRT Protocol
(and the Bloodwork That Confirms It)
Welcome to Part 2 of our comprehensive hormone replacement therapy (HRT) series (click for index).
Over the past 10 years, with variations (e.g. different dosages/esters/anti-DHT/anti-estrogens) and some inconsistencies in between, I have largely stuck to 2 similar HRT protocols -
In an effort to organize, simplify and cover a lot of significant data, I'm going to lay out the protocols individually and go over the impact of each compound.
In this section, I'm going to discuss the "High Testosterone, High Metabolism" HRT protocol that I used from 2005-2009 to keep my total testosterone over 1000, my thyroid (metabolism) in the 'fast' range and the benefits/side effects I experienced.
All my bloodwork is from "generic" testosterone, which is likely 50% less potent than prescription gear.
I have recently been prescribed 50-100mg/2 weeks of Testosterone Cypionate.
As a general rule, Testosterone from a US pharmacy is 2x as strong as "underground" Test.
50-100mg of brand-name Testosterone is equivalent to 150-250mg of 'generic' testosterone.
The High Testosterone, High Metabolism Protocol (2005-2009)
This is the first HRT protocol I used during most of my gym-rat days.
I mainly used it as the "cruise" protocol between anabolic steroid cycles in my early and mid-20's.
It was sometimes the 'base' of an oral-only cycle.
It was meant to keep my testosterone and metabolism as high as possible without being too far out of range or inducing an over amount of side effects or risks to my cardiovascular health.
Here is the protocol -
What Did This Protocol Do For Your Testosterone Levels?
This protocol usually kept my testosterone levels between 975-1200ng/dl.
Temporarily, my testosterone levels could spike as high as 1350ng/dl within 12 hours of taking HCG.
They would virtually never drop below 950ng/dl unless I missed a dose of testosterone or HCG.
Here is bloodwork from the 'High Testosterone, High Metabolism' era.
By virtually every doctor's scale, my testosterone is high and out of range.
But while 'high testosterone levels' aren't necessarily a "bad thing", when levels are out of range it will usually have a negative impact on cholesterol (blood lipid) levels.
That's why it's a good idea to get your cholesterol (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides) tested until you know exactly which HRT dose you are going to settle in at.
What Did This Protocol Do To Your Blood Lipids? (Cholesterol)
Like I said -
When your testosterone or any sex hormone is very high or out of range, especially when you take super-physiological doses (aka "do steroids"), your HDL "good cholesterol" will go down and your LDL "bad cholesterol" will go up. While the rest of the world is finally catching up to the reality that high cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease, it's also not a great idea to blindly live with your HDL in the single digits for prolonged periods of time.
(although most competitive bodybuilders do and most of them are fine)
On this protocol, with my testosterone registering 1121 ng/dl, my total cholesterol was fine (161), my LDL was fine (122), but my HDL was slightly lower than recommended (25) -
Most doctors would immediately try to force Lipitor down my throat.
My doctor, however, had very few concerns (he knew what I was doing) but encouraged me to try and keep my HDL at least above 20 (diet, fish oil, niacin, cardio) if I wanted to live with a super high testosterone level for my HRT and "athletic pursuits".
In my experience, when my total testosterone level exceeds 1000 ng/dl for over 4 weeks, my HDL will likely be below 35 mg/dl. In my non-medical opinion, confirmed by every physician I have asked, this is not a big deal at all so long as you are eating a good diet and exercising at least a few times a week.
It's a trade-off.
If you want to maintain super-high testosterone level, you'll have to sacrifice some HDL.
My goal was always to live with my testosterone above 1000 ng/dl and my HDL above 20 mg/dL - which I accomplished with the protocol above.
I used this exact HRT protocol for over 4 years anytime I was taking larger doses of steroids.
What Did This Protocol Do To Your Thyroid Levels? (Metabolism)
From 2005-2009, I took 12.5mcg of Cytomel (T3) every day.
Sometimes I would raise it if I wanted to burn some fat off or shed excess water.
Here is bloodwork from taking 12.5 mcg of T3 daily -
My thyroid level (TSH) was 0.7 mIU/L.
(remember: the lower the number - the faster the metabolic rate is)
At only 12.5mcg of T3 (this is more than enough if you are getting it from a USA pharmacy), I could eat 4000+ calories and not gain unwanted fat (I was way more active back then however) and I always had plenty of energy and my sleep was unaffected.
(not all T3/T4 is the same, we'll discuss that later...)
The downsides included - random massive hunger strikes, high body temperature (sweating) and bouts of moderate anxiety or irritability.
Remember though, my TSH was high but still IN RANGE. This is not hyperthyroidism.
Once you get to super fast out-of-range TSH speeds at 0.1 to 0.5, it can be very uncomfortable. You don't want to go much lower than 0.6 or 0.7 if you value your social life or normal sleeping hours.
Many competitive bodybuilders live in a constant state of hyperthyroidism however. Many of them are totally nuts.
What Did This Protocol Do To Your DHT Levels?
I've always tried to keep DHT to a healthy minimum because it eats on my hair.
I'm not prone to gynocomastia (excess estrogen turning to male breast tissue), so I've never been too concerned about decreasing my DHT to the lowest reference range.
(DHT kills estrogen, therefore - lowering DHT will usually raise estrogen)
Taking 1.25mg (or 2.5mg of Finasteride every 2 days) on virtually any HRT protocol has almost resulted in -
This is the same exact DHT result the 'High-Normal Testosterone, High-Normal Metabolism' (see part 3) protocol gives me too.
Although the subject will always be debated at-length, you definitely can maintain a high total testosterone level and a low DHT level at the same time if you use Finasteride or RU58841 [for your research subject].
You just don't want to knock your DHT into the single-digits - you will not be able to function. I've done that before and found that keeping my DHT 30-35ng/dL is ideal for me to keep hair loss to a minimum and still live a vibrant life.
Even with deliberately low DHT and Kratom, my sex drive is only slightly lower than otherwise and erectile dysfunction medications always work, if I need it.
That ends our look at my old 'High Testosterone, High Metabolism' HRT protocol, we'll take a look at my current protocol in the next section.
Our series on hormone replacement therapy continues here -
Non-medical questions and comments on in-depth subjects such as hormone replacement therapy are best left in our forum, blog comments have been disabled.