Older Men With Higher Testosterone Levels Lose Less Muscle, Strength As They Age
Testosterone may help senior men preserve muscle and delay frailty; men lose more muscle and strength than women as they
2011 - A recent study of men 65 and older finds elderly men with higher levels of testosterone lost less lean muscle mass, especially if they
were losing weight. In these men, higher testosterone levels were also resulted in less loss of lower body strength. Loss of muscle mass and
strength contribute to frailty and are associated with falls, mobility limitations and fractures.
Men lose more muscle mass and strength than women as they age, suggesting that sex steroids, and testosterone in
particular, may contribute to body composition and physical function changes.
This study sought to better understand the relationship between testosterone levels and healthy aging in older men and
found that higher testosterone levels may help older men preserve muscle mass and delay frailty as they age.
"Our study finds that men, aged 65 years and older, with higher testosterone levels lost less muscle mass, especially in
their arms and legs, than men this age who had lower testosterone levels," said Erin LeBlanc, MD, of Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland,
OR and lead author of the study.
"Men who had higher testosterone levels before they lost weight also lost less leg function and could stand up more
easily from a chair than men who had lower testosterone levels before they lost weight."
In this study, accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM),
researchers used data from 1,183 men aged 65 years or older and tested the hypothesis that higher baseline measures of sex steroids are
associated with lesser declines in lean mass and maintenance of physical performance over an average follow-up of 4.5 years.
Body composition was measured using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans and physical performance was measured
through a series of exercises that assessed grip strength, lower extremity power, walking speed and the ability to rise from a chair without
the use of arms.
"The amount of testosterone men have in their bodies may contribute to how much muscle and strength they lose as they get
older," said LeBlanc. "Our study adds evidence to the growing body of literature that suggest higher levels of endogenous testosterone may be
favorably associated with some key components of healthy aging in men."
Other researchers working on the study include: Patty Wang, Christine Lee, Lynn Marshall and Eric Orwoll of Oregon Health
& Science University in Portland; Elizabeth Barrett-Connor and Gail Laughlin of the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA; Jane
Cauley of the University of Pittsburgh in PA; and Andrew Hoffman of Stanford University in CA.
The article, "Higher testosterone levels are associated with less loss of lean body mass in older men," appears in the
December 2011 issue of JCEM.
Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on
hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit
Testosterone therapy: Key to male vitality?
Considering testosterone therapy to help you feel younger and more vigorous as you age? Know the risks before you make
The possibilities of testosterone therapy are enticing — increase your muscle mass, sharpen your memory and
concentration, boost your libido, and improve your energy level. As you get older, testosterone therapy may sound like the ultimate anti-aging
formula. Yet the health benefits of testosterone therapy for age-related declines in testosterone aren't as clear as it may seem. Find out
what's known — and not known — about testosterone therapy for normal aging.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testes. For men, testosterone helps maintain:
● Bone density
● Fat distribution
● Muscle strength and mass
● Red blood cell production
● Sex drive
● Sperm production
If you have an unusually low level of testosterone (hypogonadism), your doctor may prescribe a synthetic version of
testosterone. You may be able to choose from testosterone injections, patches or gels.
What happens to testosterone level with age?
Testosterone peaks during adolescence and early adulthood. As you get older, your testosterone level gradually declines —
typically about 1 percent a year after age 30.