Even back then it was understood that the substance in the testes supported strength, stamina, recovery and muscle mass. Even with contemporary analysis we are still unsure it is testosterone provided by the orchic glands, when consumed orally, so it may be other factors that provide benefit.
Jumping forward a few thousand years to the 1930’s we discover that the extracts from the glands of animals, in particular cows, oxen, pigs and sheep, has become popular and is referred to as glandular therapy, or organotherapy. These animal tissues were used to support the natural healing processes. It was commonplace at this time for medical doctors to be recommending glandulars and there are several acclaimed US practitioners who emphasised the importance of supplementation with glandulars including Henry Harrower, MD, Francis Pottenger MD and Royal Lee DDS.
During the 1940’s and 1950’s, with the advent of antibiotics and the isolation of vitamins and hormones, glandulars declined in their clinical use in the American and European medical communities. However, with recent research, the mechanisms of action are better understood and there has been growing application in the use of glandular products in nutritional therapy.
Glandular Production and Composition
If vital importance is the way the glandular material is processed to preserve its innate materials, as well as the age of the animal Handled and selected correctly means any adverse aging related effects are avoided. Whilst different companies employ different methods, Biotics Research from Houston, Texas, use low temperature drying and the mildest of solvents to preserve the naturally occurring enzymes, proteins and polypeptides. They do this in order to maintain the traits of the original glandular in as natural a state as possible. Choosing a source from the youngest animals means there is as little lipid oxidation as possible.
Glandular products provide a balance of multiple factors to promote growth and maintenance of organs and glands rather than provide a supraphysiological excess of a single hormone or factor, in the way that pharmaceuticals do. Instead of being entirely digested and broken down in the gut, the short proteins from the glandulars, known as peptides, remain intact and serve a function specific to that organ. Although not commonly known about 50% of the amino acid load from food proteins are absorbed as di- and tripeptides. Additionally, a variety of biologically active peptides released from protein digestion can be distributed all over the body.
In addition to peptides and polypeptides, glandular preparations may provide organic and inorganic cofactors, and lipid factors that may enhance cellular activity in a particular tissue of the recipient. Among the vital building blocks, phospholipids are essential for cell membrane formation and function. Other lipids can serve as biosynthetic intermediates. As an example, dolichol phosphate is a transporter of glycosyl moieties for glycolipid and glycoprotein synthesis. The contribution of lipid fractions from the pituitary, pancreas, spleen, adrenals, thyroid and gonads to the activity of glandular preparations has been recognised.
Clinical use of Glandulars
Although I have heard and read about much scepticism of the effects and benefits of glandulars, having used such supplements, specifically from Biotics Research, for over 25 years in clinical practice with hundreds of clients and witnessed consistent positive results, I can only attest to their positive efficacy, when used appropriately.
Typically, glandulars work best when there is an under-functioning of the associated gland, or the individual is in a fatigued state. They are not to be used when there is an evident hyper-function. The most common use has been for the thyroid, adrenal and pancreas, and less commonly the use of ovarian and orchic glandulars. The latter may be needed for those with temporary infertility or for those in middle age experiencing menopause or the ‘male andropause’.
The Cytozyme-Orchic by Biotics Research has provided more than useful support for a number of my middle-aged male clients who experience chronic stress related depletion of both their cortisol and testosterone levels. Of importance is that these clients had tried multiple other avenues and supplements to support their health, strength, muscle function, cognitive function as well as libido and erectile dysfunction previously and only when they took the Cytozyme-Orchic did their signs and symptoms and general sense of well-being improve. With no end in sight to the challenges of modern life, I can’t see myself reducing the use of this historical practice of using orchic glandulars.