The term sublingual translates to ‘under the tongue’. This method is characterized by a system of absorbing substances into the bloodstream by placing them under the tongue. The passage from here onto the blood vessels is rapid as opposed to absorption through digestion. These substances may include drops, tablets, vitamins, hormone supplements or herbal extracts.
The idea behind Sublingual Testosterone is that the system of absorption of the substance bypasses the gastrointestinal system and hence the liver. The compound (buccal testosterone tablet) is placed in the appropriate position in the mouth until it is softens and dissolves as it is absorbed. The appropriate dosage may be replaced after the prescribed period of time or according to the needs of the individual.
Previously, a certain select number of drugs and substances were administered using the sublingual method of delivery. These included certain barbiturates, steroids and enzymes. The list now includes vitamins, minerals and cardiovascular drugs.
The method of absorption of Sublingual Testosterone, as well as other substances that may be administered by way of this method, may be comparable to diffusion: the mucosa, just as in the case of absorption through the skin which acts as a barrier and an agent of the absorption process. The area in the mouth where the sublingual absorption is to take place displays a litmus paper-like effect as it soaks up the hormone.
How Does Sublingual Testosterone Differ From Oral Testosterone?
Substances taken orally go through the normal route of digestion. This is the ordinary method of swallowing and entails substances passing through the liver to be broken down by the body before later on being absorbed into the blood stream.
Testosterone ingested orally has been known to cause certain side effects. This usually is as a result of enzymes in the liver that come into play as the body attempts to break down substances that have come through this process of digestion. Such side effects may lead to damage of the liver when the liver is overwhelmed by the process of ingesting certain compounds.
Thus, the sublingual method employs a system of diffusion into the blood vessels located under the tongue via tissue that the hormone, or other substance, comes into contact with.
How Does Sublingual Testosterone Compare To Creams And Gels?
Testosterone administered via creams and gels is absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin. The process of absorption is not as straightforward as that of Sublingual Testosterone as most of the testosterone from creams and gels will mainly pass, first into the fat cells. The process then repeats itself until these fat cells in the body are saturated and a form of ‘dumping’ of the hormone is undertaken where the substance is passed into the blood stream.
This method thus displays a level of unpredictability as timings for saturation and dumping may be difficult to anticipate. Other disadvantages that gels and creams may exhibit over Sublingual Testosterone method of delivery includes side effects such as a heightened level of hostility and irritability, periods of depression as well as bursts of wild mood swings.
Benefits of Sublingual Testosterone
The Substance or compound being administered gets a more rapid and direct medium of transfer to the blood system through the blood vessels located under the tongue. The buccal mucosa which is highly vascularized offers a pathway to the blood circulation in a more systematic method that is as close as possible to being instantaneous as practicably possible.
The body does not have to break down the substance in the liver as this is by passed in this mode of direct absorption, thus, in certain cases, complications that would otherwise occur, such as risk of tumors or liver damage, are avoided.
Sublingual Testosterone is therefore a much preferred mode of absorption for most hormonal supplements as laboratory tests have proven over the years to the extent that oral testosterone has been banned in most countries in the west except for those in North America.
The predictability or possibility of forecasting the levels of absorption when testosterone is administered by way of buccal or sublingual methods of delivery is much higher than other methods as the ‘life-cycle’ of the compound within the body is about 48 hours where it is used up and then excreted.
That said, the best method of testosterone production is the natural method. Hormone therapy methods are the preserve of those whose bodies do not produce the hormone naturally. Under such circumstances, Sublingual Testosterone may be recommended as the most appropriate or efficient for hormone absorption and one that carries the lowest chance of occurrence of side effects.
Sublingual Testosterone also demonstrates an advantage over oral methods of delivery since the by passing of gastro-intestinal processes avoids complications that may be brought about by interference with existing conditions such as coelic disease, a defective digestive system, ulcers or a hyperactive gut. All this are in addition to complications that may exist in the liver which is also bypassed in sublingual method of delivery. Furthermore, there are nutritional benefits that will be gained by those who may otherwise suffer adversely if the gastro-intestinal route were to be chosen.
Drugs administered through swallowing or the more popular methods of oral ingestion may suffer from ‘first-pass effect’ or ‘first-pass metabolism’ where their concentration is significantly lowered by the absorption through the gut wall and the liver. This occurs gradually while travelling through the gastrointestinal digestive system reducing such a compounds concentration before it is eventually poured out into the systemic circulation. Hepatic as well as bacterial enzymes also play a part in the lowering of the eventual effectiveness or concentration of the original substance. Research has portrayed first-pass metabolism as being selective in its effect on different substances thus adding to the unpredictable effects of oral methods of delivery of hormones.
Other Forms of Testosterone Delivery
Other than the oral and Sublingual Testosterone methods of administration of testosterone there are various creams and gels that can be applied to specific areas of the body from where they are absorbed into the bloodstream and then take effect as required.
Pure, crystalline testosterone has, not so long ago, been discovered to be effective as a ‘subcutaneous testosterone pellet’. This is relatively new form of delivery of testosterone where the compound is implanted immediately beneath the skin in the abdominal area or the buttocks. The procedure usually entails a patient being placed under local anesthesia and the pellet, which is about the size of a grain of rice, being inserted in the appropriate region.
Effects of all these methods may differ from individual to individual and careful consideration and consultation is always advised before settling on any particular one.
Where to Obtain Sublingual Testosterone
Though ‘compounding pharmacies’ may be referred to as a ‘dying tradition’, they serve as a popular source of Sublingual Testosterone in addition to the common chemists shops and pharmacies. An example of Sublingual Testosterone that can be purchased over the counter is the sustained-release buccal testosterone known as “Striant”. This is a Sublingual Testosterone tablet that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States in 2003. Though a patient’s particular needs are of utmost importance, the recommended normal dosage is to replace the tablet every 12 hours or alternatively, as advised.