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Is There A Link Between Testosterone and Hearth Health?

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 10, 2022

Testosterone is widely known for regulating sex drive, muscle mass and strength, and bone health. But in recent years, studies found that testosterone may affect the heart.

However, the connection isn't entirely clear. So, we read tons of published articles and studies and asked a cardiologist to shed light on this matter.

This article will explore how testosterone is linked to heart health, how low and high T levels affect the heart, and heart risks related to testosterone boosters.

Quick Summary

  • Having very low or high testosterone levels is linked to an increased risk of heart diseases.
  • Studies have shown testosterone supplementation may also have specific cardiovascular benefits.
  • Exceeding the recommended dose of testosterone boosters may cause heart attacks, stroke, and other risks.

The Role of Testosterone in Heart Health

cardiovascular system vector

Testosterone has several vital functions in the cardiovascular system. First, testosterone helps the body create more red blood cells [1].

Healthy levels of red blood cells are essential for adequate oxygen in the body [2].

Low red blood cells result in anemia, which can cause fatigue and weakness. Studies also show that testosterone may help improve anemia [3].

Several studies also demonstrate that testosterone has a vasodilatory effect on blood vessels.

It means it can widen blood vessels, improving blood flow [4]. Improved blood flow to exercising muscles helps you perform the same work with less effort [5].

In a 2004 study, ten men with hypogonadism (low testosterone) and angina (chest pain caused by poor blood flow) were given testosterone treatment or a placebo.

After a month, men treated with testosterone could walk 74 seconds more on the treadmill, have improved mood, and reduce symptoms altogether [6].

Let's dig deeper into how low and high testosterone affects the heart.

Does Testosterone Supplementation Have Benefits for the Heart?

Some studies show that testosterone boosters may also have benefits for cardiovascular health.

One study involving low testosterone and heart condition showed that testosterone supplementation significantly increased healthy arteries' blood flow and boosted heart contractions. However, it did not improve angina symptoms and reduced HDL levels [7].

Testosterone therapy may also help some men avoid heart attacks [8].

Furthermore, some studies also say that T therapy has beneficial effects on men with testosterone deficiency, including increased exercise capacity, improving symptoms of myocardial ischemia (blockage of the blood flow to the heart muscle), and coronary heart disease [9].

Low Testosterone and Heart Problems

man holding his chest in pain

Normal testosterone range fall between 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) [10].

Testosterone reading below 300 ng/dL is considered low testosterone [11].

And based on several studies, men with low testosterone can be at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases [12].

In a 2013 review study, researchers looked into studies about testosterone levels and cardiovascular diseases. The results showed a link between low testosterone and heart diseases and how low testosterone increases heart risks [13].

High Testosterone and Heart Problems

The research found that high testosterone levels, typically beyond 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), are linked to heart risks.

One study shows that men with naturally high testosterone are highly at risk of heart failure and thromboembolism (blood clots in the veins).

But, like other studies, the study is not proof of the cause-and-effect relationship of high T and heart risks [14].

Though the study focuses on men with naturally high testosterone, experts suggest it can have implications on the effects of testosterone supplementation on heart health.

However, it's good to note the results of studies on T booster's impact on the heart are mixed; some data even suggests they may have more cardiovascular benefits [15].

However, it's good to note the results of studies on T booster's impact on the heart are mixed; some data even suggests they may have more cardiovascular benefits [15].

Testosterone Supplementation and Linked Heart Risks

vitamins and syringes

Testosterone supplements and therapies are considered safe when taken in prescribed amounts, but they may have their risks.

The Food and Drug Administration says teenagers and adults, including athletes and bodybuilders, can easily abuse testosterone supplements and related androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS). These supplements in amounts higher than recommended can cause serious risks, including a heart attack [16].

Some studies also link testosterone therapy to increased risks of a heart attack in older men or those with a history of the heart condition.

"The potential cardiovascular risk of [testosterone therapy] should be weighed against the perceived and expected benefits among aging men." —Dr. Christel Renoux, Neurologist with expertise in multiple sclerosis and stroke and Epidemiologist

It's crucial to discuss the benefits and risks of testosterone therapy with your doctor before proceeding with the medication.

Other Risks Of Too Much Testosterone

shirtless man and a man sleeping with mask on

High levels of testosterone may have other risks, too, including:

FAQs

Can Testosterone Injections Affect Your Heart?

Testosterone injections can affect the heart, as they are a form of testosterone therapy. People with heart conditions who took testosterone injections had improved their exercise capacity and symptoms. However, there is not yet enough evidence to prove these claims.

Final Thoughts on Testosterone's Connection to Heart Health

Testosterone has a crucial role in cardiovascular health: it creates red blood cells and improves blood flow in the body. Research suggests keeping testosterone at optimal levels is best for heart health as having either low or high T levels can increase the risk of heart diseases.

Though studies on testosterone supplementation's effect on heart health remain mixed, T boosters may have shown certain cardiovascular benefits.

It may help increase exercise capacity and improve symptoms of heart diseases, including myocardial ischemia.

However, it’s crucial to consume T boosters in recommended dosage as abuse of these supplements has potential risks. Testosterone therapy has its adverse effects, too, so we recommend consulting your doctor before taking any medication.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4022090/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2263/
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2604139
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3828782/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4666933/
  6. https://heart.bmj.com/content/90/8/871
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002914907021297
  8. https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(18)30944-5/fulltext
  9. https://www.ecrjournal.com/articles/testosterone-and-heart
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1472884/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4255853/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5512682/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23549841/
  14. https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l476
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5512682/
  16. https://www.fda.gov.ph/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305865/
  18. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191031204628.htm
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430812/\
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051853/
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562258/

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