Perhaps the greatest anti-aging discovery in recent years is testosterone therapy. But, testosterone therapy may sound like the next big breakthrough. Yet the numerous health benefits of testosterone therapy, particularly for age-related decrease in testosterone, are not clear. Testosterone is an androgenic hormone produced mainly in the testes. It has many roles in the body function:
The cardiovascular system is one area that appears to benefit from testosterone therapy. Men in the Testosterone Therapy for the Treatment (TMT) group showed a significantly lower incidence of stroke and coronary artery disease. The researchers were able to provide evidence that this was not due to a “healthy lifestyle” but rather the implementation of TMT. Other research has provided similar results, with some research indicating a significant effect on high blood pressure and diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease is a well-known consequence of testosterone deficiency. Testosterone deficiencies can result in increased LDL cholesterol levels, which have been associated with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Testosterone therapy may reduce the severity of cardiovascular risk and may improve survival after cardiovascular disease. A meta-analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) demonstrated that testosterone replacement during menopause improved the metabolic syndrome, which may reduce the likelihood of heart disease and other fatal diseases. This was the first investigation to show a consistent association between testosterone therapy and cardio vascular disease.
Low testosterone levels in women can also lead to osteoporosis and reduced bone density. Testosterone replacement therapy is recommended for women on hormone replacement therapies to help prevent estrogen from interacting with testosterone in ways that may increase cardiovascular risk and osteoporosis. A meta-analysis of female health showed that there was a strong but statistically insignificant effect of testosterone replacement therapy on low bone density, which suggests that it is not effective for the treatment of low testosterone levels in women. However, this study did not take into consideration the effects of testosterone on the hormone-binding protein, which is an important indicator of calcium absorption and metabolism.
The International Journal of Oncology reported the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis that evaluated the effect of testosterone replacement therapy on breast cancer, gallbladder disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and several gastrointestinal diseases. The analysis found that there was a consistent positive association between testosterone replacement therapy and one of the conditions, but the association was very weak when comparing the results of studies that used different methods of evaluation. One of the gastrointestinal conditions was identified as acne, which usually accompanies low levels of testosterone. In the systematic review and meta-analysis, there was no significant effect of testosterone therapy on acne.
Age and the state of bone loss in older men are factors that play a role in how well a patient responds to therapy. In the systematic review and meta-analysis, there were no significant relationships between testosterone replacement therapy and improvement in sexual functions, libido, or energy, but there were some improvements observed in older men with low testosterone levels.