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Hormone Replacement for Men

Turning back the hands of time for men. A Chicago doctor says he has the answer in the form of a hormone, but is it healthy?

It comes in a cream, a gel and a shot - giving the body back what nature provided in youth.

Dr. Mark Rosenbloom, Lifeforce Medical Institute: "What happens with men, from the time they are about 30 and on, they lose about 1 to 2 percent of their testosterone levels every single year."

As testosterone fades so too does performance.

Ralph Picker, 62-year-old testosterone therapy patient: "I was having some sluggishness, and I didn't have the vigor that I normally have."

His doctor suggested hormone replacement.

Dr. Rosenbloom: "What we found out is if we replenish hormones at the level they were at when we were 30, that people basically feel as good as they did decades previously, sometimes better than they've ever felt in their life.

But just like with hormone replacement for women, there are benefits and potential risks.

That's why it needs to be monitored closely. One thing it does do is it increases your hemoglobin, so it makes your blood thicker.

That means there are implications for the heart. And some worry about testosterone's effect on the prostate.

Testosterone does not cause prostate cancer, period. That was something we believed in the `80`s, its not something we believe now. It does not cause prostate cancer.

But it does improve functioning throughout the body and mind.

Dr. Rosenbloom: "Testosterone is very important. It helps to increase muscle mass and decrease fat and increase power, cognitive functioning, libido certainly and increase clarity of mind."

Ralph has a clear picture of how life changed. Here on his Dexa scan -- bone and muscle mass increases.

Ralph Picker: "I have very little muscle pain, and I'm able to attack the stairs very quickly, and I'm just so delighted, so very delighted."

And he shares that joy with his wife.

Janice Goldman-Picker, Ralph's wife: "We're 60 and 62 and recently married, and we're really just like newlyweds, we're very interested in having a personal life together and a sensual life together and it's very exciting to be at this age and to be feeling young, and to have a zip in your step."

Ralph Picker: "I feel about the same as I did when I was in my 20's"

Northwestern is currently enrolling patients in a study to measure not just improvements with testosterone therapy but also gauge potential long-term side effects. So far 800 men, 65 or older have enrolled here and at 11 other participating hospitals across the country. If you want more information, call 877-300-3065.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun