Hormone therapy for 'low T' may not be safe for all men
Boosting testosterone levels with hormone supplements may not be safe or appropriate for all men with low testosterone (low T), according to new research. Recent findings will be presented today at the American Physiological Society's (APS) Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Diseases: Sex-Specific Implications for Physiology conference in Knoxville, Tenn.
Low T—also called hypogonadism—occurs when the body does not produce enough of the male sex hormone testosterone. Hypogonadism can occur at any age. In adult males it can be caused by obesity, the use of certain medications and normal aging. Long-term testosterone supplementation normalizes hormone levels and has been found to reduce risk factors associated with heart disease, such as high cholesterol, insulin resistance and systemic inflammation.
Researchers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, however, found that long-term testosterone therapy may not be beneficial for some populations with low T. In an animal model of hypogonadism, obese rats showed an increase in blood pressure with testosterone supplementation. This blood pressure spike occurred even while other factors, including cholesterol and inflammation, improved. These results—in conjunction with 2018 Endocrine Society clinical guidelines that state men with low T and heart failure, or those who have had a recent heart stroke or heart attack should not undergo testosterone supplementation—suggest that hormone therapy may not be safe for men with heart disease risk factors. "More research is needed to elucidate the complex effects of testosterone upon cardiometabolic risk factors across different populations," the research team wrote.