Alternative Medicine|March/April 2020
You hear a lot of buzz nowadays about low testosterone, now known colloquially as “low T.” Lots of guys assume they have low T because their symptoms appear to match the condition. They’re tired. Their libido is in the toilet. They’re worried about brain fog.

To be clear, I believe in hormone-replacement therapy. I use hormone replacement therapy for low T. But it’s expensive, and it’s a big, life-long commitment. The good news is that you can try other things before taking the plunge. Symptoms associated with low T can also come from nutritional deficiencies, lack of sleep, stress, or a number of other causes that you should address before reaching for a testosterone injection.

Wait, is that a zebra?

One of the most practical pieces of advice I got in grad school was from a professor who said, “If you hear hoofbeats outside your window and you don’t know what they’re coming from, don’t start by assuming they’re coming from zebras.” In other words, always start with the simplest explanation. Before jumping straight to the zebra hypothesis, rule out the possibility that a horse got loose from the barn!

In the same way, some men experience symptoms associated with low T and immediately assume they need hormone- replacement therapy. And they might. Just as hoofbeats might be from zebras. But the more logical explanations are also the simplest. (In science, it’s called the principle of parsimony, which basically means start with the easy stuff.) If you’re tired, it may be because you don’t sleep enough. Instead of looking for a pharmaceutical solution, first try improving your sleep by getting 7 to 8 solid hours each and every night.


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March/April 2020