Declining Testosterone an Effect of Behavior, not Aging

Written by Dr. Michael White, Published on June 26th, 2012
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It is common to believe that as men get older, their production of the male hormone, testosterone, becomes less and less. That this is part of normal aging, and the only way to keep up their hormone levels is to take supplements. A new study has found out that this is not the case. Aging itself does not result in lower testosterone levels. The drop is caused by changes in a man's behavior and health.

The study was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and presented at the Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston. The authors analyzed testosterone levels in more than 1,500 men. The measurements were taken five years apart and all were sampled at the same time using the same method.

The men used in the study ranged from 35 to 80 years old. Men who were taking medications or had conditions which affected their hormones were excluded from the study.

Over the five years, testosterone levels did not decline significantly, only one percent per year. However, after analyzing subgroups of men, certain patterns began to emerge.

For example, men who became obese or were depressed over the five years were more likely to lose testosterone. Also, they found that men who quit smoking had a greater drop in testosterone. Most would agree, however, that the benefits of not smoking outweigh the slight drop in testosterone.

Unmarried men had greater drops in testosterone than married men. This may be due to the finding that married men tend to be happier than unmarried men. Plus married men tend to have more regular sexual activity which tends to increase testosterone levels.

From this study, it is possible for men to maintain a healthy, high testosterone level by making certain behavioral adjustments. Besides providing a greater libido, testosterone has other positive health effects such as regulating blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Declining Testosterone an Effect of Behavior, not Aging

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