Testosterone, often described as the primary male hormone, is an important part of men’s health, including cardiovascular wellness. Sadly, according to recent research, various factors such as aging and increase exposure to environmental toxins have resulted in a significant decrease in average testosterone values among men. This has contributed to a greater occurrence of testosterone deficiency and subsequent increase in cardiovascular disease. To best combat this issue we must become better acquainted with the function of testosterone, how it influences heart health, and learn how men can safely improve their testosterone values.
Why is Testosterone so Important?
Testosterone as an essential element of overall male wellness. The hormone influences many factors of health including muscle building, endurance, fat regulation, regenerative ability, mental well-being, and sex drive. In men, testosterone also protects against hypertension, arthritis and other age-related illness. But, of its many responsibilities, perhaps its most important is protecting against cardiovascular disease.
For even more information on the importance of testosterone, watch this video from Dr. Wayne Wightman:
The Impact of Testosterone on Your Heart
Heart disease is one of the greatest threats to men in the United States. Studies show that men are consistently more at risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular disease than women. In 2017, heart disease was the leading cause of death among men killing nearly 348,000. This accounts for nearly one quarter of all male deaths that year!
Researchers believe that gender-specific sex hormones, like testosterone, are a major determining factor regarding the greater occurrence of heart disease in men. One study, focusing on the development of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, found that the lower a man’s testosterone values were the greater their chance for atherosclerosis. Conversely, higher levels of testosterone were associated with reduced risk of atherosclerosis and heart issues. Research such as this strongly suggests that testosterone values have significant influence over male cardiovascular health.
The cardiovascular influence of testosterone is enforced even more by research showing the impact of testosterone on myocardial ischemia. Myocardial ischemia is a cardiovascular condition wherein blood flow to the heart is inhibited by plaque that partially or completely blocks the arterial pathway. This often results in angina, or chest pain, that can occur seemingly at random and is often a precursor to more serious cardiovascular issues such as a heart attack.
The results in question found that testosterone values influenced arterial health. Individuals with higher testosterone values were much less likely to suffer from myocardial ischemia and atherosclerosis.
Perhaps the best evidence we have regarding the importance of testosterone for preventing heart disease comes from the well-known 2002 Rotterdam Study. This study was composed of 1,032 nonsmoking men and women aged 55 and older with aortic atherosclerosis. The data collected showed that men who maintained appropriate testosterone values had a 60% lower chance of developing coronary artery disease. Findings such as this show that keeping testosterone at the right level is critical for male cardiovascular wellness.
How to Maintain Healthy Testosterone Levels?
With such significant influence over the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, men should prioritize maintaining healthy testosterone values. But how? Besides medical intervention such as hormone therapies and supplementation, there are several lifestyle improvements that a man can make to encourage greater testosterone values.
Keep a Healthy Weight
Research shows that belly fat and obesity are prominent detractors of testosterone. Because testosterone plays an important role in weight management, declining values due to obesity can create a cycle of falling testosterone level and greater weight retention. Men who want to boost their testosterone should focus on improving their diet by eliminating highly processed and sugary foods and replacing them with nutrient-dense whole foods.
Get Sufficient Sleep
Sleep deprivation has a prominent impact on all hormones, including testosterone. Without adequate good quality sleep, hormone activity becomes erratic and their values drop. This can be resolved by improving sleep quality and duration. To improve testosterone values, men should focus on getting a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Avoid Hormone-Harming Environmental Toxins
Endocrine disruptors such as phthalates, parabens, and BPAs are common inclusions in personal care products and plastics. Exposure to these substances can disrupt the production and function of multiple hormones, including testosterone. Avoiding these and other hormone-inhibiting substance can notably improve testosterone values. Men who want to support their testosterone levels should take stock of the products they use and focus on using natural alternatives.
Regarding hormone production stress is an exceptionally influential factor. In men, the adrenals are a key producer of testosterone. However, they are also responsible for producing the stress hormone cortisol. When we become stressed, physically or mentally, the adrenals release cortisol to start the stress response. When sustained for a short time, this is entirely healthy. However, if the stress response is maintained for an extended period, the adrenals will continue to produce cortisol to the point of exhaustion, making them incapable of producing essential hormones like testosterone.
Besides exhausting the adrenals, chronic stress also increases the production of aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase. These two enzymes break down testosterone into other components which can further contribute to deficiency. Men wanting to restore their testosterone values should consider implementing stress-reducing strategies.
Monitor Key Nutrients
Vitamins A, E, D and the minerals zinc, magnesium and selenium are very important for testosterone production. Unfortunately, modern western diets are often devoid of these important micronutrients. Men wanting to boost their testosterone should work with a qualified physician to create a diet or supplement plan to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to maintain appropriate testosterone values.
Make Testosterone a Priority
Testosterone is one of the most important factors of male health. This is because testosterone has significant influence over the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Sadly, many men are low or dangerously deficient in testosterone, making them at risk for cardiovascular issues. Fortunately, by taking proactive action and making appropriate lifestyle changes, men can increase their testosterone values and limit their risk of heart disease.
At the Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to provide you with cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to find the answers you deserve and a treatment plan that is built to suit your specific condition. If you are a man experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, call us at 877-508-1177!
1. Wang, Christina et al. “Low testosterone associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome contributes to sexual dysfunction and cardiovascular disease risk in men with type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care vol. 34,7 (2011): 1669-75.
2. Hackett, G et al. “Testosterone deficiency, cardiac health, and older men.” International journal of endocrinology vol. 2014 (2014): 143763.
3. Kelly, Daniel M, and T Hugh Jones. “Testosterone: a vascular hormone in health and disease.” The Journal of endocrinology vol. 217,3 R47-71. 7 May. 2013.
4. Morris, Paul D, and Kevin S Channer. “Testosterone and cardiovascular disease in men.” Asian journal of andrology vol. 14,3 (2012): 428-35.
5. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Low Testosterone and Longevity.” Holtorf Medical Group.
6. Hak, A Elisabeth et al. “Low levels of endogenous androgens increase the risk of atherosclerosis in elderly men: the Rotterdam study.” The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism vol. 87,8 (2002): 3632-9.
7. Nettleship, J et al. “Testosterone and coronary artery disease.” Frontiers of hormone research vol. 37 (2009): 91-107.