4

votes

Is low testosterone a normal part of aging in men?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 03, 2012 at 8:17 PM

A new drug is being promoted to help boost testosterone in older men. However, a Slate article argues lower testosterone is just a normal part of aging for men. I'm skeptical. I wonder if this happens less dramatically in men with a health diet and lifestyle?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:54 PM

*hence .

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:54 PM

I agree with Mr. Welch, hense, my username :)

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:41 PM

@ Nandalal- Yes I think testosterone levels in men would be positively correlated with liklihood of successful copulation. Why? Well because I don't think women are much attracted to guys with low testerone the personality and physical characteristics that would accompany that.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:37 PM

@ Nandalal- Yes, I would say it is because I don't think women are attracted to guys with low T and the characteristics that would produce.

Medium avatar

(1029)

on April 10, 2012
at 03:22 PM

around 700 is the upper range the low range permissible I think is around 400

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 09, 2012
at 10:30 PM

I hope not ! ! !

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on April 05, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Better than premature aging and loss of quality of life. To me, quality of life is more important than length of life. To paraphrase Sisson, "I want to live as long as I'm supposed to then just drop dead." Not an exact quote, but it's how I feel. But quality of life is vital. If one is aging and losing quality of life (rather than length), then one should use medications to improve that. And testosterone is in fact, a naturally occurring hormone that we are supposed to have.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:31 PM

http://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/news/20100416/statins_may_lower_testosterone_libido

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:29 PM

I think that low testosterone is a normal side-effect of statins.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:32 PM

Better living chemistry?

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:12 PM

As a man who's lived with a naturally high level in my youth (baseline over 1200), a man who lived with a naturally low level in my 30's (dropped to 252 AND LIFE SUCKED)... now with treatment and it's back to 1200 again. More is definitely better. And if one is eating right, elevated LDL (the only risk of high testosterone) simply is not an issue. You are eating paleo and that should take care of your LDL. :)

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:10 PM

Not necessarily. However, with lower testosterone copulation ability and opportunity will decrease. Interestingly enough, men with very high levels of testosterone i.e. those who take it exogenously have testicular atrophy from not producing their own testosterone, and along with this usually comes a lowered sperm count. Not enough to be a sure fire method of male birth control though.

7d01d86c539003eed77cf901bf037412

(1076)

on April 03, 2012
at 10:48 PM

If I could suggest another target for skepticism: is the so-called normal level in fact an appropriate level? I'm thinking about the article in my answer below, but also about things like Sapolsky's work on stress hormones in baboons. We have to be careful about how we see testosterone level. Culturally we are predisposed to see testosterone as THE driver of maleness and an unmitigated good thing, a signifier of masculinity, but the link to health/muscle/strength etc isn't directly proportional and more may not always be better.

284213562569be43dfda0ad40914da6f

on April 03, 2012
at 08:54 PM

but is low total testosterone concentration necessarily correlated with poor sperm quality/likelihood of successful conception?

284213562569be43dfda0ad40914da6f

on April 03, 2012
at 08:44 PM

I don't know if they have studied SAD-diet men vs. non-SAD diet men longitudinally, so the science on which the Slate author's question rests I cannot comment on substantively, but the article itself is of a piece with that of anabolic steroid alarmists and, frankly, the HCRV/fruitarians you see on youtube proclaiming the benefits of a disappearing libido. Carb/Protein ratios affect total concentrations http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0024320587900865 low-fat, high-fiber diets lower total concentrations: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0022473183901176

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12 Answers

5
7d01d86c539003eed77cf901bf037412

(1076)

on April 03, 2012
at 08:55 PM

"Unlike American men, the Tsimane men did not see a drop in baseline testosterone with age."

http://news.discovery.com/human/men-testosterone-tribesmen-120328.html

The article says that American men had a higher baseline level though, and that this was associated with a stress response. Perhaps the real reason for a drop in older years is withdrawing from the stresses of competition with other men...

3
095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:08 PM

The real reason for the drop is that it's just part of getting older. World wide...happens to everyone.

That's what injectable testosterone is for.

If you want to be truly paleo though...live until your useful reproductive lifespan is over, then die. That's what cave dudes did.

But in reality, we do have modern medicine, we do have TRT available. It's made this 42 (nearly 43) year old feel 18 again. :)

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:32 PM

Better living chemistry?

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on April 05, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Better than premature aging and loss of quality of life. To me, quality of life is more important than length of life. To paraphrase Sisson, "I want to live as long as I'm supposed to then just drop dead." Not an exact quote, but it's how I feel. But quality of life is vital. If one is aging and losing quality of life (rather than length), then one should use medications to improve that. And testosterone is in fact, a naturally occurring hormone that we are supposed to have.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:54 PM

*hence .

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:54 PM

I agree with Mr. Welch, hense, my username :)

2
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:55 PM

I suspect the drop in US men is due in part to xenoestrogens in the environment, cleaning products, etc.

Don't know if there are any studies, but found this: http://www.drjosephkaye.com/2011/10/14/xenoestrogens/

2
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on April 03, 2012
at 08:47 PM

I agree with your suggestion.

I think the drop in production would be less dramatic, as well as potentially set in later in life, for men with a healthy diet and lifestyle. It certianly seems plausible that nature would select those who are stronger, and more healthy to have a longer reproduction window than those who are weak and display undesireable health traits.

095ef76482234d3db444b77d7ed01c29

(2755)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:10 PM

Not necessarily. However, with lower testosterone copulation ability and opportunity will decrease. Interestingly enough, men with very high levels of testosterone i.e. those who take it exogenously have testicular atrophy from not producing their own testosterone, and along with this usually comes a lowered sperm count. Not enough to be a sure fire method of male birth control though.

284213562569be43dfda0ad40914da6f

on April 03, 2012
at 08:54 PM

but is low total testosterone concentration necessarily correlated with poor sperm quality/likelihood of successful conception?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:41 PM

@ Nandalal- Yes I think testosterone levels in men would be positively correlated with liklihood of successful copulation. Why? Well because I don't think women are much attracted to guys with low testerone the personality and physical characteristics that would accompany that.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on June 20, 2012
at 07:37 PM

@ Nandalal- Yes, I would say it is because I don't think women are attracted to guys with low T and the characteristics that would produce.

1
9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e

on April 04, 2012
at 01:22 AM

There is at least some evidence that gluten consumption might lower androgen receptor sensitivity, at least in those with Celiacs.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=androgen%20receptor%20gluten

Total serum testosterone follows androgen receptor activity. Therefore, there is some chance that the drop in testosterone as males (and females) age, might be actually triggered by long time gluten consumption.

1
8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

on April 03, 2012
at 10:44 PM

0
7550959f8a4a685094702d7951433a17

on May 09, 2013
at 05:11 AM

It’s true that testosterone begins to decline as men get older, typically at the rate of 1% every year, after the age of 30. Signs of low testosterone may include fatigue, poor metabolism, weak bones and muscles, low sex drive, extra flab, etc. Often, such signs are considered a normal part of aging, because they occur when a man is poised to enter middle age. This doesn't mean every man suffers from these signs. Those who’re in good health, follow a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and use nutritional supplements don’t get affected by testosterone deficiency. Testosterone boosters are specially formulated to boost dwindling testosterone levels in men who follow a healthy lifestyle. So what you say is true. The effects of low testosterone aren't so apparent in men who keep themselves in top shape!

0
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on June 20, 2012
at 07:20 PM

In paleolithic times men with low T would have likely died sooner than their more masculine counterparts, and therefor evolution would favor men who suffered less of a decline in T as they age. However, this could also mean that we are pushing the limit as to when male andropause sets in, because now if you have low T now you can get HRT or take viagra, and there also aren't as many predator threats as there probably once was in our past. One way to delay the onset of this male aeropause further would be to set a minimum age ate which men can have children- say 50. As time passes, the genes of the males who cannot bear children at 50 will fall out of the pool. Additionally, after some time, the minimum age bracket could be steadily increased, such that in 250 years time the minimum age at which a man can have a child is 75 years old. This is similar to the Medawar theory, and could also be beneficial at increasing longevity of the species.

Personally I would be in favor of this as long as protected sex and birth control methods are not banned, because population control and overcrowding is becoming a problem.

That being said, I do also think that lifestyle significantly contributes to testosterone production in men, and I suspect that staggering amount of men with the testosterone levels of 65 year old women is a result of poor dietary, excersise, and sleep habits.

0
C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on April 09, 2012
at 10:23 PM

I'm thinking of having mine tested when I have my annual checkup next week. What would be an optimum level for a 50-year-old dude?

I'm a little leery of TRT, though. I have a friend who's a F2M transgender man, and the T really made the body hair sprout like mad while depilating his head. Is that a common side effect? I suppose the answer would be to tackle it per the link above at Sisson's place before considering TRT.

Medium avatar

(1029)

on April 10, 2012
at 03:22 PM

around 700 is the upper range the low range permissible I think is around 400

0
2a0f1afde303eadc422d015fc22f7512

(1118)

on April 04, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Cortisol is the biggest problem with low testosterone. The key to limiting it and optimizing testosterone is...sleep well, avoid stress, lift heavy, sprint, get some sun, eat primal.

Mark Sisson talks about it here: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-increase-testosterone-naturally/#axzz1r5ibzWDj

0
Medium avatar

on April 04, 2012
at 04:37 PM

Hormone levels decline with age, generally, for both men and women. Symptoms of aging (different from Mere chronology of aging) go up as hormone levels decline. Causal relationship? Advocates of bioidentical hormone replacement say yes. Are there risks to BHRT? Yep. How high are the risks? The data are mixed. Supplementing testosterone makes sense, but increased T in men can increase estrogen too. Not desirable. Exercise of right kind and right amount can boost T levels "naturally." N = 1 is the way to go.

0
E4f858a9178422502c42b9719690e52c

(603)

on April 04, 2012
at 02:02 PM

Edit:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2265.2012.04432.x/abstract

A new observational study suggests low testosterone is not a normal part of aging: "Serum T, DHT and E2 displayed no decrease associated with age among men over 40 years of age who self-report very good or excellent health although obesity and ex-smoking status were associated with decreased serum androgens"


For what it's worth Art De Vany's is 660 at the age of 72.

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