Testosterone levels in men decline with age. But are there other factors that influence this decline? That is what researchers from the New England Research Institutes wanted to find out. And they did identify other variables besides age involved with the hormone.
To better understand how much of the decline in testosterone over time is due to aging and how much might be related to health and lifestyle changes, the researchers looked at data for 1,667 men 40 to 70 years old followed from 1987-1989 to 2002-2004. They were able to gather data for the entire time period on 35 percent, or 584, of the men.
Sharper declines in testosterone occurred among men who developed a chronic illness during the course of the study, those who lost a spouse, those who began taking six or more medications, and those who quit smoking, the researchers found.
And adding 4 to 5 points to one’s body mass index (BMI) — a tool used to determine how fat or thin a person is — resulted in a drop in testosterone levels similar to that seen over 10 years of aging.
Although I’m not sure how many of these men with the ranges of 40 to 70 years old were contemplating fatherhood at the time, these findings have importance to fertility. Being mindful of health and also not gaining too much weight are all things that men can monitor to help keep any additional decline of the testosterone hormone at bay. Of course, some things cannot be helped, such as aging in general or developing illnesses or losing a spouse, but there is some aspect of control.
The definition of testosterone according to Medterms is
Testosterone: A “male hormone” — a sex hormone produced by the testes that encourages the development of male sexual characteristics, stimulates the activity of the male secondary sex characteristics, and prevents changes in them following castration. Chemically, testosterone is 17-beta-hydroxy-4-androstene-3-one.