TRT and Increased Strength—The Method of Treatment Matters
One of the telltale symptoms of low testosterone (hypogonadism) is a loss in lean muscle mass and overall physical strength, a condition known as sarcopenia.
Studies have shown that one of the primary benefits of restoring healthy testosterone levels through Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is slowing or reversing this decline, with many patients experiencing a steady increase in muscle mass and strength over the course of consistent treatment for Low T.
However, scientific research reveals that one method of treatment is potentially superior to others when it comes to delivering this important benefit.
Recent studies indicate that testosterone injections likely achieve better results than topical medications (gels, patches, or creams), particularly related to maintaining or regaining muscle mass and overall strength in patients suffering from chronically low testosterone levels.
The magnitude of muscle mass/strength increases varies widely between studies, with gains in lean body mass ranging from 3.6 lb to 13.7 lb. Actual strength increases were similarly inconsistent.
The studies reviewed used different testosterone preparations and methods of delivery. As a result, it is likely they achieved far different elevations in testosterone levels for varying durations. This likely explains the differing magnitudes of muscle gains and strength gains.
What the Data Show
Performing an overall analysis of reliable studies examining various TRT delivery methods led researchers to conclude that all forms of supplementary testosterone are not equally effective.
The results of those studies specifically showed:
- Testosterone injections produced a 5.7% increase in lean body mass and a 10–13% increase in total body strength, leg strength, and arm strength.
- Testosterone gels only achieved a 1.7% increase in lean body mass and only a 2–5% increase in total body and arm strength.
These numbers indicate that testosterone injections are superior to popular topical medications when restoring or maintaining physical strength and lean muscle.
These studies further reveal that the increases in lean body mass and muscle strength improvements were not limited to younger men.
Comparable benefits from receiving TRT were seen in men aged 60 years of age or older.
TRT Is Not Steroid Abuse
When discussion of TRT and increases in muscle mass and physical strength arises, many people jump to the false conclusion that receiving supplementary testosterone to treat clinically low testosterone levels is the same as using performance enhancing “steroids.”
While increases in strength and mass are benefits of restoring healthy testosterone levels, TRT is intended to bring you to a normal condition—to where you would be without the debilitating effects of Low T.
The explosive, unnatural gains and serious health risks that come with illegal and unethical steroid abuse differ greatly from this medically recognized and approved medical treatment.
Read our comprehensive post on the differences between TRT and steroid abuse for facts and answers to the most common concerns.
Many thanks for your informative post.
All the best to you and to yours!
Thank you for the feedback, Ed!
Augie Galindo MPAS, PA-C
Testosterone Centers of Texas | Managing Partner