Synthetic or Bioidentical? Which Is the Better Low Testosterone Therapy?

July 1, 2021
In the medical community, there is much debate about the difference and efficacy of different types of low testosterone therapy—namely, the difference between synthetic testosterone and bioidentical/naturally derived testosterone.

Synthetic vs. Bioidentical—What’s the Difference?

The major difference between these two forms of low testosterone therapy is pretty straightforward: one form has a different chemical makeup than the other, affecting how easily and quickly your body can use the testosterone once it enters your body. While both are created in labs, synthetic testosterone is not immediately bioavailable, which means your body can’t use it right away. Synthetic testosterone often relies on a molecular form of testosterone called methyltestosterone. This altered form has to be broken down by your body before using it, and your body may not as easily tolerate it. In contrast, bioidentical testosterone is exactly what it sounds like: testosterone that is identical molecularly to the testosterone your body naturally produces. It’s generally made from plant-based sources, like soy, and it’s immediately available for your body to use. That means that you may be able to see improvement in your symptoms sooner. When deciding the best low testosterone therapy, we've also found that many patients tolerate bioidentical testosterone better than synthetic testosterone.

Why Bioidentical Is Superior

It doesn’t take a scientist to see why bioidentical may be better for low testosterone therapy than synthetic testosterone. Why change what the body can naturally create? Why put something into your body that your body has to break down to use when there’s an alternative that gives your body immediate access to the hormones it needs? For so many men and women, the symptoms of low testosterone can be severe. Spending money on low testosterone therapy that may not be as effective when a better alternative exists doesn't make sense. Another major benefit of using bioidentical testosterone over synthetic testosterone is how the medications are created. When given synthetic testosterone, you’re getting a product from a regular pharmacy that has been standardized for the masses. Meaning you’re not getting something specific to your body and your needs—you’re getting something that’s manufactured with the specific purpose of being generally useful to many people.

How Is Low Testosterone Therapy Administered?

There are a few different types of medications for low testosterone and several different ways they are administered. After talking to your doctor and listening to your partner's preferences, you’ll be able to choose the type of low testosterone therapy that’s right for you. Here are a few different methods for applying low testosterone therapy: A Gel Different gels are available, and each will have instructions on how they should be applied. Most brands will have you rub the testosterone into your upper arm or shoulder, while some will have you rub it into your thigh. A Patch Every night the patient will apply a testosterone patch to their thigh or torso. One possible side effect is that it may cause a rash. An Injection Testosterone enanthate and testosterone cypionate are administered through an injection. Depending on the number of injections, symptoms may vary. Testosterone undecanoate is a type of low testosterone therapy injected deep into one’s muscles and can have serious side effects, and should be administered at a medical provider's office. If you have difficulty giving yourself the injection, your partner or a family member can learn to administer the shot at home, or you can have a doctor or nurse give the injections. Gum and Cheek This form of low testosterone therapy comes in a putty-like substance that is pressed against your gums inside your upper lip (called the buccal cavity). The putty is applied three times a day, allowing the testosterone to seep into your bloodstream. Possible side effects include gum irritation. Nasal is a type of delivered testosterone gel or spray that is pumped into the nose. This kind of low testosterone therapy must be administered twice in each nostril, three times a day.

Learn More About Hormone Replacement as a Form of Low Testosterone Therapy

When you work with a hormone replacement clinic, you’re working with experts who partner directly with compounding pharmacies to create exactly the right type of medication specific to your body and your needs. You’re getting a medication created especially for the kind of low testosterone therapy that’s right for you. When you consider the fact that these medications are created with bioidentical testosterone, you have a recipe for success. Learn more about how bioidentical hormone therapy works here.