There is no denying the importance of testosterone in regulating muscle mass, bone density, and libido. But did you know that testosterone might impact your heart health as well? At least, that is what recent trends in testosterone studies suggest.
Is there any scientific evidence backing this statement, or is it just some theory blown out of proportion? Let’s analyze the available research to find out!
What role does testosterone have in regulating heart health?
The primary connection between testosterone and heart health involves red blood cells. In-depth research shows how testosterone levels have a direct correlation with red blood cell production.
While this poses no issues under normal T levels, any deviation from this normal can be problematic.
Higher than normal testosterone levels can cause erythrocytosis; a disease in which your body produces more red blood cells than normal. Severe erythrocytosis can, in turn, show symptoms like blurred vision, headaches, and high blood pressure.
On the other hand, testosterone deficiency can slow down red blood cell production. This reduces the concentration of oxygen in your blood and can cause anemia.
Another way testosterone impacts heart health is through a process called vasodilation. Testosterone acts as a vasodilator and expands your blood vessels, which improves blood flow. These effects are most noticeable during exercise, where improved blood flow makes the workout easier and less tiring.
Low testosterone and heart health
Excluding the connection with red blood cell production we established earlier, the effects of low T on heart health are not as clear as we’d hoped.
Two 2018 studies by Corona G et al. and Chunhua Deng et al. both show men with testosterone deficiency have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular issues. These studies also mirror the findings of an earlier 2013 review by M Kelly et al., which also showed a link between low T and increased risk of ischaemic cardiovascular diseases.
The issue is none of these studies were able to determine if low testosterone levels were the cause of this increased risk or just an indication.
Other issues with low testosterone
Testosterone deficiency can lead to a number of health problems, including:
Decreased Muscle Mass
Testosterone plays a critical role in regulating muscle mass by increasing muscle protein synthesis in men. Testosterone deficiency throws off this delicate balance and can lead to reduced muscle mass and strength.
High testosterone and heart health
According to a 2019 study by Shan Luo et al., high T levels are also linked with an increased risk of major heart issues like myocardial infarction or complete heart failure. Unfortunately, this study does not include evidence of whether high T levels are the definitive cause of these issues or just an indication.
Other issues with high testosterone
Testosterone excess is just as detrimental as its deficiency. The most common symptoms of high T include:
High testosterone levels increase the concentration of dihydrotestosterone which is the primary cause of baldness. Constant testosterone excess can accelerate baldness and do irreparable damage to hair follicles.
How do testosterone boosters impact heart health?
The effects of testosterone supplements on your heart health are a bit mixed.
Some reports claim that taking T boosters increases the risk of heart disease, while others state that T boosters can actually improve heart health. The reality of the situation is there is no scientific evidence to back either of these claims.
Testosterone boosters shouldn’t have a direct impact on your cardiovascular health. Some of them even contain ingredients that help improve it.
Still, in severe cases of testosterone deficiency, supplements might not be enough. There’s also the question of continuous use and the possibility of going into overproduction of testosterone. None of these options seem to be likely, but users should monitor their testosterone levels so they can control their intake.
On the other hand, anabolic steroids, which are usually injected directly into your blood, are a whole different ball game.
To put it bluntly, Androgenic Anabolic Steroids are not good for cardiovascular health. Studies show that AAS use can lead to major heart issues like ventricular hypertrophy, reduced left ventricular function, pulmonary embolism, and sudden cardiac death.
The researchers at the University of California San Francisco also recommend against the use of AAS. According to their findings, these steroids are linked with a significantly higher risk of heart attack and serious liver damage.
Yes and no. The natural testosterone produced in your body is unlikely to cause a heart stroke. Some reports claim that testosterone replacement therapy can increase the risk of a stroke, but studies on the matter find contradicting results.
That said, boosting testosterone with Androgenic Anabolic Steroids does increase the risk of a stroke alongside other major issues like a heart attack or cardiac arrest.