Low testosterone levels linked to higher risk of dying early, new research suggests

A female doctor listening to the heartbeat of a male patient.
Testosterone may be a key indicator of men's heart health and longevity, new research suggests.andreswd/Getty Images
  • A study of 24,109 men found that low testosterone was linked to a higher risk of early death.

  • The findings suggest the hormone is an important indicator of health and longevity for men.

  • It's not clear whether hormone therapy boosts longevity, but diet and exercise can help.

Testosterone levels may be an important indicator of longevity for men, new research suggests.

A study of 24,109 men from around the world found that low testosterone was linked to a higher risk of dying early, according to a report published May 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia worked with a global team of scientists to compare baseline testosterone levels with health outcomes using data from previous studies on older men, ranging in age from late 40s to mid-70s on average.

They found a higher risk of dying early, from any cause, among men with a low baseline testosterone level — defined as below 213 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). A urologist previously told Business Insider that healthy testosterone levels could range from 260 to 900 ng/dL, depending on age.

The analysis also found that men with very low testosterone levels (below 153 ng/dL) had a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

The findings are observational, which means the researchers found a pattern but didn't directly show that low testosterone caused a higher mortality rate.

Still, an independent researcher wrote in an editorial published alongside the study that it helped to shed light on mixed research around longevity and the hormone, particularly when it came to boosting low testosterone with hormone therapy.

Testosterone is a big deal in the longevity and biohacking field

The new study focused on endogenous testosterone, the kind naturally occurring in the body, not hormone therapy. But understanding how testosterone may help or hurt longevity could make big waves in the booming hormone-therapy market of products and services advertised to help men reclaim their youth with pills, patches, injections, or gels.

Many of the entrepreneurs touting testosterone as an antiaging panacea are also involved in biohacking, using science to try to optimize health and extend lifespan.

But it's not clear yet whether supplementing testosterone will boost longevity, and there's some evidence to the contrary. The US Food and Drug Administration previously issued a warning that testosterone-boosting treatments may raise the risk of heart attack or stroke, although subsequent research has since found no significant increase in heart problems.

Signs of low testosterone and what to do about it

Testosterone levels tend to drop with age and can also dip in response to health conditions and medications.

Low testosterone can cause symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and disruptions in mood and libido.

Lifestyle factors such as eating a nutritious diet, getting enough exercise, and managing stress are linked to healthy testosterone levels and can also play a role in preventing heart disease and other chronic conditions.

Treatments such as hormone-replacement therapy via pill, injection, gel, or patch can help raise testosterone to normal levels. But doctors previously told BI that medical supervision was key to avoiding any unexpected side effects of changing hormone levels.

Read the original article on Business Insider