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October 13, 2021

Little Known Benefits of Testosterone

Updated: July 2022

There are plenty of benefits of testosterone and by that, we mean an optimal testosterone level. Today we will focus on a handful of little-known benefits of testosterone. Since there are testosterone receptors throughout the body, it follows that testosterone would have wide-range effects on human physiology going well beyond the better-known sexual and anabolic (muscle building) effects of testosterone.

Did You Know These Benefits of Testosterone?

Did you know that testosterone affects cardiovascular health, blood sugar control, cholesterol control, sleep, bone density, and strength?  These benefits many times get lost in the bigger discussion of testosterone. Let’s look at these additional benefits of testosterone.

  • Cardiovascular health.
  • Blood sugar control.
  • Cholesterol or lipid control.
  • Sleep.
  • Bone health.

Cardiovascular Health

Testosterone improves endothelial function and also stimulates endothelial regeneration. What is the endothelium? Believe it or not, the endothelium is the largest organ in the body. What is the endothelium?. The endothelium is a single layer of cells that line the inner lumen of blood vessels. It regulates the constriction and dilation of blood vessels in response to several stimuli, thus regulating blood flow. The endothelium produces nitric oxide, the key molecule, that regulates blood flow.

The endothelium becomes injured by chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. Testosterone helps to repair the endothelium lessening the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Blood Sugar Control

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar. The risk for diabetes and testosterone deficiency is bidirectional meaning that diabetes increases the risk for low testosterone and low testosterone increases the risk for diabetes. Insulin is the key hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin facilitates the movement of blood sugar out of the blood and into the cells where it is used for energy. Many people become insulin resistant with time. This means it takes more insulin to move sugar out of the blood and into the cells. Insulin is a fattening hormone. Therefore, the risk for obesity goes up with insulin resistance as do heart attacks. About 70% of heart attack victims have insulin resistance. High insulin levels are inflammatory and chronic inflammation leads to chronic disease.

Guess what testosterone does to insulin?  It makes it more sensitive. Testosterone makes insulin more effective reducing insulin levels in the blood, and thus inflammation, lessening the risk for chronic disease.

Cholesterol Control

Did you know that there is an inverse relationship between testosterone levels and cholesterol levels? As testosterone levels drop, as they invariably do as we age, cholesterol levels go up?  Why is that?  Cholesterol is the skeleton structure of our steroid hormones, one of which is testosterone. This means cholesterol is needed to make testosterone.  As testosterone levels drop as men age, cholesterol levels tend to increase. This can be reversed via testosterone replacement in men with low testosterone levels. By raising testosterone levels it is possible to lower cholesterol levels and minimize the reliance on statin (cholesterol-lowering) medications.

Sleep

Good sleep is vital to achieving optimal health. High-quality sleep is associated with increased longevity. Optimal testosterone levels are associated with improved sleep.

It is during sleep that our body repairs itself. Any disruption in sleep for any reason adversely affects our health. Sleep quality tends to decline with aging. One common benefit men see, that they did not necessarily expect when they start testosterone replacement, is an improvement in sleep quality. Men feel more energized upon awakening and have less need for napping during the day.

If you struggle with sleep, try these tips.

Bone Health

We typically think of decreased bone density being associated only with women. But, the bones of men become more brittle with aging, too. Maintaining healthy testosterone levels lessens the decline in bone density and strength. There is a high one-year mortality rate among men and women who sustain a hip fracture related to declining bone density.

Bone constantly turns over. Old bone is being resorbed as new bone is being laid down. As we age, more bone is resorbed than made and our bones become less dense.

Bone health is related to sex hormone levels in men and women. Testosterone builds bone. Estrogen is found in men and women. Estrogen helps to prevent the resorption of bone. Even men want a certain amount of estrogen to maintain healthy bones. But, testosterone is the more important hormone for building bone in men and women.

So there you have five benefits of testosterone that you may not have expected.

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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