Skip to content

How Low Testosterone Affects Health,
Mood, and Sex

Font Size
A
A
A

Low Testosterone and Your Health

Researchers are unlocking the mysteries of how low testosterone is related to men's overall health. Along the way, they're uncovering connections between low testosterone and other health conditions.

Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and high blood pressure have all been linked to testosterone deficiency. Low testosterone isn't known to cause these health problems, and replacing testosterone isn't the cure. Still, the associations between low testosterone and other medical conditions are interesting and worth a look.

Recommended Related to Men

On the Death of My Father

My father lived with me and my family during the last two years of his life while he sank ever deeper into Alzheimer’s disease. His behavior was frequently bizarre. He might emerge from his bedroom with three of my son’s baseball caps piled on top of his head but wearing no pants. When trying to participate in a conversation, he might blurt out passionate pronouncements that made no sense at all. “Ya see, the individualism is something that’s not already formed,” he would bellow. “You gotta fight...

Read the On the Death of My Father article > >

Does Low Testosterone Indicate Poor Health?

In recent years, researchers have noticed general links between low testosterone and other medical conditions. One showed that in 2,100 men over age 45, the odds of having low testosterone were:

Experts don't suggest that low testosterone causes these conditions. In fact, it might be the other way around. That is, men with medical problems or who are in poor general health might then develop low testosterone.

Research into the relationship between low testosterone and several other health conditions is ongoing.

Diabetes and Low Testosterone

A link between diabetes and low testosterone is well established. Men with diabetes are more likely to have low testosterone. And men with low testosterone are more likely to later develop diabetes. Testosterone helps the body's tissues take up more blood sugar in response to insulin. Men with low testosterone more often have insulin resistance: they need to produce more insulin to keep blood sugar normal.

As many as half of men with diabetes have low testosterone, when randomly tested. Scientists aren't sure whether diabetes causes low testosterone, or the other way around. More research is needed, but short-term studies show testosterone replacement may improve blood sugar levels and obesity in men with low testosterone.

Obesity and Low Testosterone

Obesity and low testosterone are tightly linked. Obese men are more likely to have low testosterone. Men with very low testosterone are also more likely to become obese.

Fat cells metabolize testosterone to estrogen, lowering testosterone levels. Also, obesity reduces levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that carries testosterone in the blood. Less SHBG means less testosterone.

Losing weight through exercise can increase testosterone levels. Testosterone supplements in men with low testosterone can also reduce obesity slightly.

1 | 2 | 3
Next Article:

Why are you concerned about low testosterone?