Fact or Fiction: Can Testosterone Shorten My Lifespan?
November 21, 2019
Testosterone plays a role in many areas of a male’s life. Most people consider it to be solely responsible for sexual performance and enhancing mood, but it also plays a vital role in promoting life longevity… to a point.
Testosterone promotes muscle building which increases metabolism (the rate that muscle burns calories) which can ward off the fated metabolic syndrome that encompasses the big three: cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure), high blood sugar (often leading to diabetes), and a waist diameter greater than 40 inches in men (indicating obesity).
Testosterone levels in men slowly decline with age. Levels typically decrease by 1% each year beginning at the age of 40. Furthermore, levels can drop even more quickly due to medical illnesses such as stroke, trauma, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, obesity, heart attacks or medications.
It’s been emphasized by testosterone specialists that this is a highly influential hormone, but there are some downfalls you must consider.
Testosterone – A Double-Edged Sword
Although testosterone can be protective in metabolic syndrome, bone health, and cardiovascular health, studies conducted by specialists have shown that testosterone may also cause an expenditure of energy that actually may shorten the lifespan of men.
Much more research is needed to be clear, but the evidence is emerging that testosterone might be a double-edged sword. A 2014 study noted that older men taking testosterone through a low t clinic or urologist were more likely to experience an acute, non-fatal heart attack 90 days after initiating testosterone therapy when compared prior to treatment.
Testosterone specialists have considered that although higher testosterone is beneficial for muscle growth, other organs in older men may not be able to tolerate the metabolic burden.
Another thumbs down for testosterone is a hypothesis that’s forming in animal studies suggesting testosterone suppresses immune function. One limited study that points to this case was performed in 2005. Testosterone specialists conducted a study in Honduras that found that testosterone levels were lower in men with malarial infections compared to men that were free of infection. When infected men were treated, their testosterone levels rebounded back to normal levels of uninfected men.
Although new information about testosterone and it’s potentially negative effects on longevity is somewhat disheartening, the information gathered is largely untested on humans and, at best, a hypothesis.
Overall, research that includes large studies on men over a significant period of time has established testosterone providing more benefits vs. risks. So although new theories are being presented, don’t discount the protective and quality of life benefits that are well studied regarding testosterone.
Interested in learning more or finding out how you can go about getting your testosterone levels tested? Give us a call at 512-537-3565 or schedule an appointment here.