High Testosterone Levels In Elder Men, How It Protects Muscle Mass

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In a recent study to be published in the journal of the Endocrine’s Society, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM), it has been reported that higher levels of testosterone among men were associated with decreased loss of lean muscle mass among elder men. This is true especially among men who were losing weight. For these men, higher levels of testosterone were also linked to lesser loss of lower body strength.

Decrease in muscle mass and body strength leads to physical weakness among the elderly and these occurrences are associated with risk for falls, limitations in movement, and eventually fractures. Men tend to lose more muscle mass and physical strength as they age, as compared to aging women. This suggests that sexual hormones and steroids, particularly testosterone, may contribute to body composition and physical function changes. The recent study aimed to have a better understanding of the relationship between testosterone levels and healthy aging among older men. The study also found out that higher levels of testosterone may aid men in preserving their muscle mass and slow down the risk of frailty as men age.

“Our study finds that men, aged 65 years and older, with higher testosterone levels lost less muscle mass, especially in their arms and legs, than men this age who had lower testosterone levels,” shared Erin LeBlanc, MD, of Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, OR. LeBlanc, who is also the lead author of the study said that, “Men who had higher testosterone levels before they lost weight also lost less leg function and could stand up more easily from a chair than men who had lower testosterone levels before they lost weight.”

In the study, the research team made use of data from 1,183 males aged 65 years and above. They tested the hypothesis that higher baseline levels of the steroid testosterone are associated with lower decline rates in lean mass and in the maintenance of physical performance. The researchers followed the participants for an average of 4.5 years.

Using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA, the body compositions of the participants were measured. Their physical performances were also measured using a series of exercises that assessed grip strength, lower limb strength, walking speed and the ability to get up from a chair without using the arms to support the body.

“The amount of testosterone men have in their bodies may contribute to how much muscle and strength they lose as they get older,” shared LeBlanc. “Our study adds evidence to the growing body of literature that suggest higher levels of endogenous testosterone may be favorably associated with some key components of healthy aging in men.”

According to Mayo Clinic, “testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testes. For men, testosterone helps maintain Bone density, Fat distribution, Muscle strength and mass, Red blood cell production, Sex drive and Sperm production.”

“If you have an unusually low level of testosterone (hypogonadism), your doctor may prescribe a synthetic version of testosterone. You may be able to choose from testosterone injections, patches or gels.”

 

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