Misconceptions and myths surrounding testosterone are numerous, especially when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone’s effects on heart rate have been studied heavily over the last few decades, but the results are still unclear.
You’ll find people who claim that testosterone increases heart rate and those who claim it doesn’t. So let’s find out what facts we can rely on and what claims are still not fully confirmed.
Testosterone Does NOT Increase Heart Rate
Many early studies seem to indicate that testosterone increases heart rate. However, new research hasn’t backed this up.
A report from Harvard found that men athletes who abused testosterone had an increased risk for cardiovascular issues, including increased heart rate, stroke, and blood pressure. However, these individuals had testosterone levels that were far higher than normal. You can’t compare abusing testosterone with hormone replacement therapy.
In contrast, another study by the National Center for Biotechnology found that older men with decreased testosterone lowered their risk for cardiovascular issues when they started testosterone therapy. In other words, when these men got their testosterone into normal ranges, their risks decreased.
Testosterone Does Impact Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
There are many studies indicating that testosterone improves heart rate variability. When someone’s heart rate varies, they may be more prone to cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and high blood pressure. Therefore, improving one’s HRV may decrease cardiovascular risk.
One specific study looked at men with testosterone deficiency. Many of these men had high HRV levels, which could indicate increased cardiovascular risk. After testosterone therapy was started, many showed improvement in HRV in only nine weeks. However, their HRV did not reach the numbers seen in healthy men.
The testosterone helped, but it didn’t remove the risk altogether.
Testosterone and Blood Pressure
Testosterone has a complicated relationship with blood pressure. Traditionally, testosterone is thought to increase blood pressure. It does this by affecting the system in the brain that controls the cardiovascular system.
Testosterone does seem to be higher in men with hypertension. However, we don’t know which comes first–high testosterone or hypertension. We know that testosterone can also prevent fats from building up in arteries, which may improve hypertension.
Similarly, another study found that there is a link between high blood pressure and low testosterone levels. Low testosterone may increase high blood pressure risk, according to this study.
Cardiovascular Health and Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Low testosterone can lead to various health problems, including cardiovascular issues. However, across the board, testosterone replacement therapy lowers men’s risk for cardiovascular issues when it is used appropriately. In other words, testosterone replacement therapy can be beneficial when used to improve low testosterone.
It still can increase the risk of cardiovascular issues for those who abuse the hormone.
With that said, the research on testosterone replacement therapy and cardiac risks is still ongoing. It will probably be another decade before those results are fully available and accurate. For now, many testosterone therapy drugs still have warnings of potential heart attack risks on the label.
Safe Ways to Get a Testosterone Boost
There are many ways to get a testosterone boost without undergoing replacement therapy, such as:
Resistance training has been shown to increase testosterone. Doing this sort of training regularly can increase testosterone over time, with the biggest boost being right after the workout. However, these effects aren’t strong enough for everyone’s condition. Only about 21% of men respond to weightlifting in this way. HIIT training is another training option that has been confirmed to increase testosterone.
On the other hand, excessive cardio may decrease your testosterone levels.
A healthy diet can raise your testosterone levels. However, dieting or overeating can have the opposite effect. Protein is vital for testosterone levels, so be sure you’re getting enough daily. You should also consume plenty of healthy fats, which are necessary for hormone production. A low-fat diet can negatively affect testosterone.
Some supplements can also improve testosterone levels. Usually, these supplements help by combating deficiencies. We’ve already discovered that a healthy diet is vital for testosterone production therefore, to increase testosterone, filling in the nutritional gaps is essential.
Furthermore, some particular ingredients have been shown to affect T levels directly. For instance, ashwagandha is a great example of an ingredient that can help with T production.
Having healthy testosterone levels is vital for decreasing your risk for cardiovascular problems. Your testosterone levels mustn’t be too low or too high, as both extremes can cause issues. Therefore, many studies show that men’s cardiovascular risk decreases if they take testosterone replacements when they have low testosterone.
However, the same replacements can increase cardiovascular risk if athletes abuse them.
Therefore, you should take steps to keep your testosterone levels where they need to be – not too high or too low. For those with deficient testosterone, undergoing testosterone replacement therapy may be necessary, but it can be managed without TRT through supplementation, dieting and/or supplements in low to mild deficiency cases.
Testosterone doesn’t seem to increase heart rate when kept at normal levels. Therefore, it shouldn’t increase heart rate either long- or short-term if you’re raising it naturally or undergoing replacement therapy. However, some studies have shown that abusing testosterone can increase heart rate.
Many studies have shown that testosterone may even out the heart rate in deficient subjects. Decreasing irregular heartbeats can decrease the risk of other cardiovascular issues, too. Therefore, testosterone usually doesn’t cause irregular heartbeats.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Testosterone can lead to sleep apnea, which can cause irregular heartbeat.