Dramatic testosterone drop speeds up aging

Drastic experiences like defeat in battle or the death of a wife can result in dramatic drops in testosterone equal to aging ten years, a new study has found. But even less traumatic lifestyle changes, like putting on weight, sedentary habits, or excessive alcohol use can result in rapid loss in the male sex hormone and faster aging.

That’s the message from recent research which shows rapid testosterone loss can make men at higher risk for diabetes, loss of muscle and bone mass, more risk of falls and sexual dysfunction. Doctors first noticed sudden loss of testosterone while treating soldiers who had experienced defeat in combat – a condition they dubbed “defeated army” syndrome.

But a 17-year study of 1600 men in the Boston area – published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and was led by Thomas G. Travison of the New England Research Institutes in Massachusetts – observed that it’s not just major grief or battle distress that speeds up the ‘normal’ loss of testosterone that occurs as men age.

Even a small increase in the BMI (body mass increase) can cause sharp drops in testosterone. With other “unhealthy” factors like too much booze and too little exercise you can put an extra ten years on you age in a short time. (At ‘normal’ rates, after the age of 40, men lose testosterone at the rate of about 1 per cent per year, from a peak at the age of 18.)

The good news , the doctors say, is that rapid loss of testosterone is not inevitable and good life choices – like losing weight, taking regular exercise, reducing alcohol intake, getting more sleep and regular sex – can help contain testosterone loss.

 

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