Testosterone – it’s more than just a “sex hormone”. Today we learn about the nonsexual benefits of testosterone therapy. We have over 80 articles on this website that discuss the importance of testosterone for men and women. We will zero in on just five nonsexual benefits of testosterone replacement therapy.
Frequently thought of as just a male sex hormone, testosterone is much more than that. We have discussed the symptoms of low testosterone including the sexual and nonsexual symptoms, benefits of testosterone therapy, treatment options for low testosterone, and the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy.
Nonsexual Benefits of Testosterone Replacement
Testosterone is a hormone produced in the testes in men, in the ovaries in women, and in the adrenal glands in both men and women. Like all hormones, testosterone has effects on all parts of the body; the brain, the heart, the muscles, the bones, the skin, the blood vessels, and so on.
5 Nonsexual Benefits of Testosterone Replacement
These are the five nonsexual benefits of testosterone replacement for men and women that we discuss today. There are more, though.
- Testosterone improves endothelial function.
- Testosterone improve insulin sensitivity.
- Testosterone improves bone density.
- Testosterone improves sleep.
- Testosterone improves cholesterol control.
First of all, what it endothelial function? The endothelium is the one cell thick inner lining of our blood vessels. Surface area wise, it represent the largest organ in the body, even greater surface area than skin.
The endothelium regulates blood flow and thus blood pressure in response to chemicals/molecules/messengers in the blood that sweep over it or pass it as blood is being pumped throughout the body. Thus, the endothelium is responding to an ever changing internal environment.
The endothelium is subject to injury from toxins in the blood, high blood pressures, oxidized LDL cholesterol, trans and saturated fats, and more. Therefore, it constantly needs to be repaired or regenerated.
Testosterone stimulates endothelial progenitor cells (stem cells) in the bone marrow to be produced and released. Endothelial progenitor cells repair/replace damage or old endothelial cells.
Insulin in released during meals and facilitates the movement of glucose (sugar) from the blood into the various cells of the body where it is used to energy. Any excess glucose not immediately needed for energy is either stored in muscles in the from of glycogen or converted and stored as fat.
When insulin is in high levels in the blood the release of calories from fat is blocked. Thus, insulin is often referred to as the fat hormone. As we gain weight or overtax our pancreas (which makes insulin) by consuming too many sugars and carbohydrates the body can become desensitize to insulin which means the body needs to produce more of it to drive sugar into the cells and that leads to obesity.
Testosterone improves the sensitivity of cells to the effects of insulin. This lessens the chance for the development of diabetes and obesity. Coupling this improved insulin resistance along with testosterone effects on muscle testosterone improves lean body mass and body fat composition especially when coupled with an exercise program.
Decreased bone density leads to osteoporosis which is a significant problem for women but also men. Hip fractures that occur as the result of low bone density (insufficiency fractures) are associated with a high mortality rate. About 25% die within one year of a hip fracture.
Screening for osteoporosis with periodic bone density studies can decrease the frequency of hip fractures and its mortality.
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone which means it helps to build tissue including muscle and bones.
Perhaps nothing is more overlooked than the need for quality sleep when it comes to improving our health. Sleep is essential for optimal function physically, mentally, and emotionally. Everyday stresses are more difficult to manage when we are tired.
With aging there is typically a decline in both the quality and quality of sleep. Older individuals tend to sleep less – many times only getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night, and they get less deep restorative sleep.
Testosterone improve sleep quality. In fact, in many cases it is one of the first thing patients receiving testosterone replacement therapy notice. The day begins the first second after midnight, not when you wake up. Starting the day off with energy and alertness starts at night by getting quality sleep.
Cholesterol forms the basic structure of our sex hormones including testosterone. When sex hormone decline, cholesterol levels go up. Basically the body makes more cholesterol as an attempt to compensate for declining sex hormones. It is a defense mechanism if you will.
Studies frequently show an improvement in cholesterol when low testosterone levels are optimized with testosterone replacement therapy. By lowering cholesterol couple with its positive effects on endothelial function, testosterone replacement helps to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
So there you have it. Five nonsexual benefits of testosterone replacement therapy.
Article update 1/15/23. Originally published 9/23/19.