Adequate Testosterone Boosts Men's Longevity

Thursday, 21 Nov 2013 04:40 PM

By Nick Tate

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Call it the "Goldilocks Effect." New research has found that older men whose testosterone levels are "just right" — neither too high nor too low — tend to live longer.
 
The finding, slated for publication in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, suggests optimal levels of the male sex hormone are key to health, vitality, and longevity.
 
"Older men who had testosterone in the middle range survived longer than their counterparts who had either low or high levels of the hormone," said lead researcher, Bu Beng Yeap, of the University of Western Australia, based in Fremantle Hospital, Western Australia.
 
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"When the body metabolizes testosterone, it produces dihydrotestosterone [DHT], which is tied to a lower risk of dying from ischemic heart disease. Having the right amount of testosterone and higher levels of DHT might indicate these men are in better health overall, or it could help them maintain good health as they grow older."
 
Testosterone is involved in sex drive, sperm production, and bone health. Physicians have long known that "low T" can signal health problems, but the new study found health risks also increase when hormone levels rise too high.
 
For the study, researchers analyzed the mortality rate of 3,690 men between the ages of 70 to 89 in Perth, Western Australia, whose testosterone and DHT levels were measured between 2001 and 2004.
 
The results showed men with the lowest testosterone levels had the highest death risks, followed by the men with the highest testosterone levels. Men with circulating testosterone levels in the normal range tended to live longer than those on either extreme.
 
"Sex hormones are an important predictor of mortality in older men, but we haven't determined if treatments to change testosterone and DHT levels can alter these outcomes," Yeap said. "Additional research into these findings, including randomized clinical trials, could help identify ways to leverage this information to improve health in older men."

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