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Testosterone Overrated for Healthy Aging

Testosterone and Men's Aging


Updated May 05, 2009

Testosterone levels in men drop as age increases. This has led to a recent increase in doctors prescribing "testosterone therapy" to counter the effects of aging. Well finally, research has been done to determine if these effects are true or just another hyped-up (and expensive) anti aging "cure."

Testosterone and Aging Research

The study, published in the prestigious medical journal JAMA, enrolled 237 healthy men aged 60 to 80. All men had a testosterone level below 13.7 nmol/L. The men were randomly assigned to be either in a group that received a twice daily oral 80 mg testosterone supplement or a placebo. The researchers measured hand strength, time to stand/sit, cognitive functioning (how well your brain is working), bone density, body composition, cholesterol, insulin, quality of life and other factors.

The results showed that the group who took the testosterone did not improve (compared to the placebo group) in mobility, strength or quality of life. This group also tended to have a higher rate of metabolic syndrome after 6 months. The group taking the supplement did have increased lean body mass and reduced fat in the body after 6 months taking the supplement.

So Is Testosterone Supplementation as Anti Aging Disproven?

Somewhat. Supporters (and manufacturers) of testosterone supplements will argue that the study period was too short and that the type of supplement (oral) was not as effective as other forms (injection). But right now the evidence shows that testosterone supplementation is not a catch-all anti aging solution. It is certain that men with unnaturally low testosterone can benefit from supplementation. But remember, levels of testosterone naturally decline with aging. Right now, avoid testosterone supplementation unless you have a diagnosed deficiency.

More About Testosterone Supplements.


Marielle H. Emmelot-Vonk, MD; Harald J. J. Verhaar, MD, PhD; Hamid R. Nakhai Pour, MD, PhD; André Aleman, PhD; Tycho M. T. W. Lock, MD; J. L. H. Ruud Bosch, MD, PhD; Diederick E. Grobbee, MD, PhD; Yvonne T. van der Schouw, PhD. Effect of Testosterone Supplementation on Functional Mobility, Cognition, and Other Parameters in Older Men A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA. 2008;299(1):39-52.

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