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

August 15, 2022

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.

It is normal for both men and women to undergo hormone changes as they age. As men reach their late 30s/early 40s, it is common to experience a slight drop in testosterone production each year. Only about 15% of the male population experiences a drop that is significant enough to require treatment, but for those that do, there are many testosterone products that can help alleviate symptoms of low testosterone.

Some symptoms of low testosterone (low T) include:

●      Depression

●      Mood swings

●      Loss of muscle mass

●      Weight gain

●      Decreased stamina and energy

●      Low motivation

A blood test is recommended to confirm that these symptoms are the result of low testosterone. If this is the case, there are two main types of low testosterone therapy.

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. This affects 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 your body can use it, and it may not be as easily tolerated by your body.

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 or yams, and it’s immediately available for your body to use.

That means that you may be able to see improvement in your symptoms sooner. We’ve also found when deciding on the best low testosterone therapy 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 a better kind of 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 in order 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. It doesn’t make sense to spend money on low testosterone therapy that may not be as effective when a better alternative exists.

Another major benefit to using bioidentical testosterone over synthetic testosterone has to do with how the medications are created.

When you are given synthetic testosterone, you’re getting a product that comes from a regular pharmacy and has been standardized. This means you’re not getting something that’s 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. Synthetic testosterone has a slightly different chemical formula than testosterone that is naturally created by the human body. Sometimes this is so pharmaceutical companies can patent their own designed structure.

Synthetic testosterone does have its benefits when administered in certain forms, such as an injection 3 or 4 times a year vs. more regular testosterone therapy administrations. However, because bioidentical testosterone perfectly mimics the natural chemical formula of testosterone (C19H28O2), there is less potential for adverse side effects.  

How Is Low Testosterone Therapy Administered?

It is possible to find testosterone products online, over-the-counter, via your pharmacy, and products to be administered by a physician. There are dozens of different types of medications for low testosterone and several different ways in which they are administered. After talking to your doctor and listening to the preferences of your partner, 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

Gels are the most popular form of testosterone product, at least in terms of sales. 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, armpit, or shoulder, while some will have you rub it into your thigh or abdomen.

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

Injections are the second most popular form of testosterone treatment.

Testosterone enanthate and testosterone cypionate are administered through an injection. Depending on the number of injections, symptoms may vary.

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. Testosterone undecanoate is a type of low testosterone therapy that is injected deep into one’s muscles and can have serious side effects. This kind of injection must be administered at a doctor’s office.

Gum and Cheek

This form of low testosterone therapy comes in the form of 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.


This is a type of nasal-delivered testosterone gel 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

If you are considering treatment for low testosterone, it is important to consult with your provider to determine what form of testosterone therapy is ideal for you. Some forms of treatment are better suited to certain signs or symptoms, and the decision to go with synthetic testosterone or bioidentical testosterone solutions is unique to a person’s own health and personal needs.

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 take into account 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.