In a major new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, testosterone therapy was found to improve physical ability and mood as well as sexual function. The study was a collaboration of researchers from 12 medical centers spanning the United States.
Mark E. Molitch, MD, an endocrinologist, was one of the authors of the study. Dr. Molitch is the Martha Leland Sherwin professor in medicine-endocrinology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“In recent years, talk about low testosterone and its treatments have become part of the public discussion,” explained Molitch. “Yet questions have always lingered about the treatment’s effectiveness and safety. I believe the results of this large, nationwide study will provide doctors and patients answers and guidance they’ve been looking for.”
The team’s purpose was to determine the link, if any, between testosterone levels and the mood, libido, and physical ability of men over the age of 65. It is a well-established fact that a man’s testosterone levels and production decrease as he ages. Many men also experience lowered sex drive and energy levels as they become older, tiring and fatiguing more easily. For the first time, low testosterone has been established as the cause of these symptoms.
Previously, the Institute for Men reported that there was insufficient evidence of testosterone therapy’s beneficial effects, if any. A grant from the National Institute on Aging and National Institutes of Health funded the new study to determine low testosterone could be the cause of what many consider the normal effects of aging.
The subjects of the study were 790 men, all of whom were over the age of 65 and tested for low blood testosterone, as well as suffering from decreased sexual desire and physical function. Some participants in the study were given testosterone treatments in the form of a gel to apply directly to the skin. The medication increased the subjects’ testosterone levels to the normal range for men aged 19-40. The treatments and study of their effects lasted for over a year.
The study participants who received the testosterone treatments did not report increased energy, but their mood, libido, and physical function did improve. By measuring the distance walked in six minutes, the researchers were able to determine a small increase in the physical abilities of men in the study. There was also a decrease in symptoms of depression, such as feelings of sadness and listlessness.
“Men in the study experienced an increased sexual desire and small improvements in their mood and physical function,” explained Molitch. “Importantly, there was no evidence of an increase in heart or other cardiovascular issues in those who received testosterone compared to a placebo. And we monitored the men in this study for at least a year after receiving treatment.”
The study is expected to lead to further research in the potential applications of testosterone therapy in treating many of the problems that come with age. By firmly showing the link between low testosterone and decreased sexual activity, mood, and physical capabilities, the door is open to developing treatments for these common ailments.
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Posted In: Testosterone Therapy