Gentlemen, let's face it: Growing older can be a little tough on the ego.
Your hair thins... your muscle strength isn't what it used to be... and your "steam" in the sack may even wane.
For all of these insults to your manhood, you can blame plunging levels of testosterone.
This "manly" hormone peaks when you're about 20 years old, and it only goes downhill from there.
And according to a new study, more than just your ego suffers when testosterone plummets -- because having a deficiency of this hormone can raise your risk of a laundry list of chronic diseases!
In the study, published in Scientific Reports, researchers compared the testosterone levels and medical histories of over 2,000 men of all ages.
After crunching the numbers, they found that both young and older men with low total testosterone had a GREATER chance of having multiple chronic health conditions (a.k.a. "multimorbidity") than those whose testosterone levels were normal.
We're talking about everything from cardiometabolic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke... to pain conditions like arthritis... to mood disorders like depression… and more.
Now, I should note that packing on a few too many extra pounds can drive down your testosterone levels AND up your risk of these chronic conditions. So, it's reasonable to wonder if obesity was actually causing both low testosterone AND the chronic conditions seen in the study, especially among the younger guys.
But even AFTER the researchers controlled for obesity, the link between low testosterone and multimorbidity still held true.
Now, we know that testosterone plays a key role in many of your body's functions, including building muscle, forming bones, and ferrying sugar into your tissues in response to insulin .
So, it stands to reason that when T takes a nosedive, everything from your heart muscle to your skeleton to your blood sugar can suffer.
Translation: It's a good idea to have your testosterone levels checked out by your doc -- no matter what your age -- especially if you're on the heavy side.
And if they're too low, you may want to consider replacing some of what’s missing.
Just make sure it’s the bioidentical kind -- because it’s the closest thing to what your body would produce on its own. It's also safer and more effective than the synthetic versions.
But even if your testosterone hasn't yet declined far enough to meet the criteria for testosterone deficiency, that doesn't mean that you're in the clear -- because in the study, men whose testosterone levels were "moderate" ALSO had a higher likelihood of multimorbidity!
As is often the case, I’d prefer to get my patients to optimal levels, rather than settle for “good enough.”
Besides hormone replacement therapy, there’s something else you can do: drop some pounds.
Previous studies have shown that cardio exercise can not only help you lose weight… but also boost your stores of this manly hormone, too.
For more on what can make your testosterone levels drop and your machismo disappear, see the March 2018 issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter.