Average Testosterone Levels Decreasing Over Time Among Younger American Men

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on November 2nd, 2020
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You may not realize it, but there may be a Hormone Deficiency Epidemic on the horizon. Due to several factors, many of which we do not fully understand, men are producing less Testosterone than ever clinically measured. Testosterone is the key to sexual function and is critical to fertility. Testosterone is also responsible for promoting strength and healthy body composition, along with numerous other functions that support vitality and quality of life.


Over the last generation, men of the same age and circumstances are producing less Testosterone than they did even 20 years ago. A recent presentation at the American Urological Association showed that Testosterone Production in men dropped noticeably between the years of 1999 and 2016. This change even held firm when the data was corrected for BMI.

Why Are Men Producing Less Testosterone?

In addition to decreasing Testosterone Levels, men are also increasingly troubled by other conditions which contribute to declining Testosterone, such as Diabetes. There are also concerns regarding BPA, microplastics, and other environmental factors which may disrupt Hormone Balance. Suppressed Testosterone Production appears to be an issue across the board. Suppressed Testosterone Levels are not only more common among older men, but evidence suggests that younger men are also struggling to match the T-Levels of the previous generation.

While there has been a lot of research investigating Testosterone Levels in older men, there have been few studies conducted to explore changes in Testosterone Expression among younger males. A recent study by Patel, Fantus, Lokeshwar et al. sought to fill this gap in knowledge.

Investigating the Prominence of Low Testosterone

It's estimated that 10%-40% of adults have low Testosterone Levels. Between the ages of 15 and 39, around 1 in 5 males have underperforming Testosterone Production. Researchers collected data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in order to assess changes in Testosterone Level over time among cohorts. They looked at annual data from 1999-2016 to reach their conclusions. The data from 4045 men were scrutinized in this study.

Testosterone Levels Lower Even When Accounting for BMI

Researchers controlled for various factors when comparing Serum Testosterone Levels, including activity level, comorbidities, BMI, race, and age, along with smoking and alcohol use. After accounting for confounding factors, they found that patients from 2011-2016 had significantly lower Testosterone Levels than men from 1999-2004. The data clearly showed that increased average BMI contributed to lower Testosterone Levels, but even men from the same weight class had lower Testosterone than their previous cohorts.

What Could Have Caused Testosterone Levels to Change Over Time?

Dr. Lokeshwar believes that many variables may be responsible for these changes in Serum Testosterone. More men are overweight or obese than a generation ago, for example. They may also be less active. There's also concern that young men are exposed to more phytoestrogens and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. Increased use of Marijuana may even play a role. Dr. Lokeshwar also notes that differences in Testosterone Assay Configuration/Design could contribute to some of these differences, so the study should be replicated with different data sets.

Dr. Lokeshwar is concerned that younger men may not be properly evaluated for Testosterone Deficiency. He also notes that it's important to establish a baseline for Low Testosterone that accounts for declining Testosterone Levels in younger populations. In the future, growing numbers of younger men will likely turn to Testosterone Replacement Therapy and other treatments and strategies designed to boost Testosterone.

Reference

  1. Patel P, Fantus R, Lokeshwar S, et al. Trends in Serum Testosteron Levels Among Adolescent and Young Adults Men in the United States. Presented at: 2020 AUA Virtual Experience; May 15, 2020. Abstract MP78-01.

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