Combat Veterans, PTSD and Low Testosterone

I’ve been doing a lot of my own research on this topic for about 8 months off and on. For sake of not having a long title I kept out Police, Fire and EMT. Don’t think for a minute that our local 1st responders are not prone to this problem as well. Let’s dig in.

I’m not going to cite a bunch of references so take all this with a grain of salt. I will, however, post some links. This is my explanation of what the heck is going on. Years ago, 2010ish, I had my first experience with injectable testosterone. It was more for performance enhancement due to the line of work I was in running around combat zones on different places on the globe. It worked, I felt like a young rhino and looked like one too. It was awesome. Fast forward to 2018 and I realized I just felt like crap in general. Having dealt with extreme ups and downs in my mood, along with injuries and surgeries over the years, I needed to figure something out. I was 43, my mind was foggy, memory horrible, body felt rotten and libido was low. After spending 10 years doing CrossFit and 7 years working for Uncle Sugar contracting I realized something had to change.

Back in February 2017 I attended Boulder Crest Retreat to get my heart turned back online after falling into a pit of depression with suicidal thoughts taunting me weekly. I was being a good soldier and rucking up anyway to Charlie Mike (Continue Mission). August 2018 a friend of mine recommended getting on some testosterone pellets. I didn’t hesitate. I had a full blood work up done at the first appointment. A week later we sat down and went over my numbers. My T level was at 538. Now, that seems right in the range of normal for my age. Keep in mind that the scale goes from 250 to 1100 for men 18-95. That number wasn’t working for me so they lanced open my hip and crammed in 8 “bio identical” pellets. It didn’t feel awesome but I figured it was worth it. The pellets are “slow release” and last about 5 months. About 6 weeks later my T was running at 1105. I felt amazing!!! Like I was in my 20’s again. Did I conduct my own research as to the pro’s and con’s? Absolutely. Many docs will tell you that you run the risk of prostate cancer being on TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy). What they don’t tell you is that NOT having dialed in your endocrine system and hormone levels may cause you to want to suck start your pistol. We run the risk of catching something, falling, getting hit and dying some way every single day. With proper nutrition and good social, spiritual and personal decisions and influences you can live a nice long life.

I’ve been taking my Kyani “Triangle of Health” nutritional supplements for 2 years now. The doc was amazed at how good all my other levels look. However, my estrogen, estradial, testosterone and other hormonal levels were not optimal for me. After 5 months my the pellets were gone and I began to crash again. I felt it in my body and my mind. I knew at that time that there was something to the whole TRT thing. I needed to get back onto it. So, I decided to go back to shooting it with a syringe like I did many years ago. Why not go back to pellets? Because I often carry a gun and the lump on my hip from the pellets made it extremely uncomfortable to carry a gun. Honestly, that’s the main reason why.

On the science side of things, we are not made to run in the red for extended periods of time. Meaning, being in a combat zone for months at a time, running and gunning causes our adrenaline to stay at peak levels. The same can be said for a cop’s daily routine or a fire fighter’s daily routine. Not normal. That’s what happens to so many folks when they get home. It has rocked our system and now it takes more to get that feeling once again. That’s why so many veterans get involved in adrenaline junky activities, get in fights, turn to alcohol and drugs. We need that feeling once again. Adrenaline is one of the greatest highs a person can experience. You feel ALIVE!!! Our endocrine system has been fried spending months on end redlining and now, here we are, back into a civilized society trying to play nicely with the sheep. That doesn’t go well. There are many studies that have been conducted to back this up. Here is a great article written by The Havok Journal on the subject.


It’s important that our communities understand the prevalence of hormone imbalance among veterans because of symptom overlap with TBI/PTSD. This overlap of symptoms could lead to an exacerbation of symptoms or even misdiagnosis. Veterans presenting with mood swings, weight gain, irritability, apathy, sleeplessness, depression, or low sex drive should have hormone levels checked to ensure that an imbalance is not masquerading as a brain injury or mental health disorder, or simply making symptoms of TBI/PTSD worse.
https://havokjournal.com/fitness/the-signature-injury-of-the-war-on-terror-might-not-be-ptsd-it-might-be-low-t/

The following is a short write up on findings posted on PubMed.

Plasma testosterone levels in patients with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

Spivak B1Maayan RMester RWeizman A.

Author information

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

An abnormal level of androgens has been reported in various psychiatric disorders and the important role of androgens in the regulation of human sexuality, aggression, cognition, emotions and personality have been described. Previous studies in the area of stress and the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) system in humans indicate that circulating testosterone levels are suppressed by physical and psychological stress. However, there is also evidence that plasma levels of testosterone can increase during potentially stressful events and may be elevated in combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (CR-PTSD) in comparison with normal subjects and major depressive disorder patients.

METHODS:

The aim of the present study was to examine the possible involvement of the HPG system in chronic untreated CR-PTSD. To this end, we assessed the morning plasma levels of testosterone and cortisol in never-treated chronic CR-PTSD outpatients compared with normal healthy controls.

RESULTS:

There were no statistically significant differences between the CR-PTSD patients and healthy control subjects in morning plasma testosterone (547.8 +/- 152.2 ng/dl vs. 565.6 +/- 122.4 ng/dl; p = 0.7) and cortisol (19.0 +/- 8.5 microg/dl vs. 15.4 +/- 5.1 microg/dl; p = 0.1) levels. However, a significant correlation between plasma testosterone level and avoidance symptom scores of the Impact of Events Scale (IES) was found in the CR-PTSD patients (r = 0.43, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings of plasma testosterone levels comparable with normal controls in CR-PTSD patients may indicate that the previously described reduction in testosterone levels in normal subjects under stressful conditions may reflect the acute stress response of the HPG axis, in contrast to an adaptation of the HPG axis under chronic psychological stress.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12707485

The following is another article I found on the subject.

A recent study follows a 29-year-old male Marine veteran with PTSD from two blast concussions and brief loss of consciousness. He suffered from insomnia, emotional detachment, intolerance of crowds, hypervigilance, self-isolation, traumatic memories, hyperacusis, irritability, and explosiveness. These symptoms had persisted despite years of cognitive therapy and even psychopharmacologic trials, including an ongoing sertraline and prazosin combination.

The patient, who weighed more than 200 lb, was started on testosterone. Within weeks of treatment initiation, he reported improved sleep, energy levels, sexual function, concentration, strength, and endurance. Importantly, his irritability and explosiveness were ameliorated and replaced with a sense of increased “calm” and tolerance for others. He even began going to the grocery store during peak hours, which he had previously avoided doing until after 1:00 a.m. These improvements have persisted for more than 1 year with continued testosterone supplementation, which maintains his circulating total testosterone concentrations near the middle of the reference range.
https://combatveteranstocareers.org/testosterone-therapy-for-veterans/

And another one.

The impact of PTSD on testosterone levels.

Blood and saliva samples were taken from our participants to examine the concentration of a variety of hormones and markers in the body, including testosterone. The findings show that Vietnam veteran participants with PTSD tended to have an increased history of diagnosed low testosterone – 14.8% versus 6.6% for those without PTSD. Endocrinologist A/Prof Christopher Strakosch, one of our primary investigators, had observed that many of his veteran patients suffering from PTSD had low testosterone levels, which is the reason this particular hormone was examined in the study.
https://www.gallipoliresearch.com.au/2016/09/29/understanding-the-research-ptsd-and-testosterone-deficiency/

The University of Texas posted a short article here.
https://news.utexas.edu/2017/03/07/ptsd-risk-can-be-predicted-by-hormone-levels/

I could go on and on and on about this. I believe a viable avenue to investigate by the VA is TRT for combat vets. There is definitely something here and all my combat vet buddies who are also on a TRT program, like me, will agree that it has played a significant role in our overall physical and psychological well-being. One caveat I will add is that I am highly against young men jumping into the TRT realm. Throughout our society there is an overwhelming amount of young men beginning testosterone therapy due to low T or just because they want to be all Jersey Shore, or whatever. You know what? Make better decisions. Improve your diet, lift weights, get off the couch and be active. Granted there are some who truly need it due to health issues but the I believe the overall decline in T in young men these days is because of the societal differences between now and 30+ years ago. Get out and cut some wood, build something, stop texting to talk to girls and actually man up to have a conversation. Burn/sell your gaming consoles and get outside. Go be conquerers, hell…join the military!! Seems like kids don’t play “King of the Mountain” anymore. We need to allow our young men and boys be themselves and stop deprogramming them into complete pussies. Here are more articles on that.
– https://bigthink.com/sex-relationships/men-have-less-testosterone-today
– http://www.returnofkings.com/101400/why-fighting-is-good-for-men-and-boys
– https://average2alpha.com/why-you-need-to-fight/
– https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/why-we-should-allow-boys-fight
– https://average2alpha.com/our-schools-teach-our-boys-to-be-pussies/

I’d love to hear some feedback and opinions of others on this subject. Please Like, Share and Follow my blog!!!! Thank you for reading and I hope this has shed some like and given some hope to those who are looking for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s