Testosterone is a hormone that has hundreds of functions throughout the body. As we age, testosterone decreases and some research suggests declining testosterone levels could be linked with lower quality of life and even mortality.
In this essential article, we break down the current clinical research on testosterone, longevity and quality of life.
Does testosterone kill men early, or make them stronger?
It’s well established that women live longer than men (just ask your mother-in-law). Testosterone has been associated with poorer survival, meaning the more you have in advanced age, the earlier you’ll die.
However, this doesn’t mean that testosterone levels alone dictate mortality. Other lifestyle factors that may modulate or be related to testosterone need to be taken into account, and it’s been difficult for scientists to tease out how much testosterone levels alone play a role in survival.
Testosterone and clinical treatment
While it has been difficult to assess the need for testosterone treatment amongst all aging males due to a lack of large-scale randomized control trials, it’s well understood that in men, testosterone has important actions on muscle, bone, blood, brain, and reproductive organs. Therefore, substantial declines in testosterone could impact the well-being of men of advanced age.
This is particularly true if older men present with clinically low levels of testosterone. In individuals who have chronically low levels, therapy may improve metabolic health, such as in the case of men who have type 2 diabetes and received testosterone therapy. As an added benefit, this treatment may also improve cardiovascular function.
It’s also important to note that men receiving testosterone therapy may be susceptible to an increased risk of prostate cancer, though it’s unclear if testosterone only exacerbates the risk of men who may already be at higher risk of developing the disease in the first place. There is still some debate and further well-controlled research is needed.
Quality vs. Quantity
We typically confuse life span with healthspan or quality of life. It’s still unclear as to whether testosterone alone is a primary driver of men having lower life expectancies. Some studies with cohorts of men with low testosterone demonstrated that treatment was associated with decreased mortality.
What does seem clear is that treatment of testosterone to boost testosterone levels in men who have clinically low levels has demonstrated improvements to their quality of life, including preventing the decline of muscle mass and cardiovascular endurance.
Your optimum health takeaway
There are countless factors related to life expectancy, but the priority should always be overall wellness and quality of life. A lifestyle that’s conducive to improving quality of life through proper wellness practices will in turn optimize the chance of living longer with the bonus of being able to enjoy the time alive.
Working with a team of health and wellness experts can have a substantial impact on improving the quality and quantity of life, and part of that is determining what kind of interventions are necessary to increase testosterone levels be it naturally or through medical intervention.
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