Should your Guy be Taking Testosterone

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Testosterone prescriptions for men have increased almost 4-fold over the last decade. It’s marketed to treat everything from low libido, depression and middle-aged weight gain to improved cardiovascular health. Is it safe? Does it work? Should your guy be taking testosterone?  Here is the research.

Testosterone Treatment

Trials in older men with low testosterone levels have shown beneficial effects, such as increased strength, muscle mass, bone mineral density, insulin sensitivity, and libido. However, in elderly men, the treatment effects were short-lived (<6 months).

An observational study of over a 1000 male veterans aged >40 years compared mortality rates between those treated with testosterone and a group of controls with low testosterone. The treatment group showed almost half the rate of mortality, all causes, and lived longer compared to the control group.  Other research shows that testosterone replacement lowers HDL levels but only in younger men taking supra-physiological doses (anabolic steroids).

In contrast, a recent research trial with frail, elderly men (>65 years of age) was stopped early due to a greater occurrence of cardiovascular-related events in testosterone treated men.

Conclusion: The Jury is Still Out

Although some testosterone treatment trials report positive results, there is ongoing concern about the risk of incident prostate cancer or prostate cancer mortality because studies have not been large enough or long enough to address this. The report of adverse cardiovascular events associated with treatment highlights the need for further data on the risks and benefits of testosterone treatment in older men, particularly given the large numbers of older men who are prescribed testosterone. And data supporting the libido boost is still out with only some studies reporting benefits.  Should your guy be taking testosterone- the jury is still out.

 

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Chandler Marrs, PhD

Chandler Marrs MS, MA, PhD spent the last dozen years in women’s health research with a focus on steroid neuroendocrinology and mental health. She has published and presented several articles on her findings. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the UNLV Maternal Health Lab, mentoring dozens of students while directing clinical and Internet-based research. Post graduate, she continued at UNLV as an adjunct faculty member, teaching advanced undergraduate psychopharmacology and health psychology (stress endocrinology). Dr. Marrs received her BA in philosophy from the University of Redlands; MS in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University; and, MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology/ Neuroendocrinology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

3 Comments

  1. I have a mother who took DES for all four of
    her successful pregnancies, and suffered five
    miscarriages between each of the four live
    births. I think we four children are all very
    damaged, biologically by the drug. Problems
    with body weight and sexual appetite have affected us all as a direct result.

  2. My mother, who just died at age 88 on Tuesday morning, was given DES for her four successful pregnancies. But she also had five miscarriages. My late father was a pathologist and mother was a trained R.N.
    I have never gotten married, nor had children due to a low male sex drive. My
    two sisters have each had one child. My
    brother had three children. I think the
    drug has damaged all four of us, medically.

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