Testosterone defines masculinity. It’s only rational that most people looking for a testosterone boost are likely doing so to grow muscle, increase strength and perhaps boost their libido. So heart health will perhaps not be top of mind. But as researchers have found out over the years, testosterone does impact many other facets of your health.
The heart is the second most important organ in the body (after the brain). I would imagine wanting to know how testosterone impacts heart health is an important conversation for anyone contemplating increasing their free testosterone levels. So let’s get to it.
What role does testosterone have in regulating heart health?
If you are not a healthcare professional, the first testosterone connection you might make to heart health is the hormone’s assumed contribution to pumping more blood ‘down there’ in the heat of the moment.
Guess what. While, that lurid point of view seems plausible but in reality stronger erections have more to do with cardiovascular strength and blood sugar normalcy, and less to do with testosterone. Read here if that sounds a little confusing.
Going back to the science, testosterone does stimulate the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Perhaps to best understand how testosterone impacts heart health, it helps to look at the effects of too little or too much testosterone in the blood.
1. Low testosterone and heart health
Experts have long suspected testosterone as the reason men develop heart diseases about a decade before women on average. Men have 6-10 times more testosterone than women so the assumption would be that it is due to the higher amounts.
Counterintuitively though, studies suggest falling testosterone as a risk factor. As men age, their free testosterone concentration progressively declines. This decline is implicated in the deterioration of cardiovascular health among men. These medical conditions include heart inflammation and the buildup of cholesterol in artery walls.
Other issues with low testosterone
2. High testosterone and heart health
Studies have shown that testosterone supplementation among older men can trigger or exacerbate cardiovascular illnesses such as heart attack, stroke and a buildup of plaque on artery walls. High testosterone can cause a reduction of good cholesterol (HDL).
Bodybuilders and pro athletes that have abused testosterone supplementation show a dramatically higher risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Studies have also found that an increase in androgenic hormones like testosterone among women is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Even animals subjected to testosterone supplementation have exhibited heart enlargement.
How do testosterone boosters impact heart health?
To avoid some of the misunderstanding around them, testosterone boosters should probably be called testosterone production boosters. Yes, it does not roll out the mouth as easily but it is as close as you can get to giving them a name that describes exactly what they do.
Testosterone boosters do not contain synthetic testosterone. They do not directly increase the testosterone in your bloodstream in the same way as testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) does. Instead, they rely on natural ingredients used ingredients to stimulate the body’s own production of testosterone.
This indirect approach means they are unlikely to affect heart health. It is in contrast to the dangers if hormonal imbalance and the risk of cardiovascular problems that’s associated with the use of TRT.
Testosterone’s impact on heart health is still not fully understood. Want to see how divergent opinions can be? The FDA warns of the cardiovascular risk associated with synthetic testosterone but the European Medicines Agency found there is not enough data that links testosterone to heart disease.
So what should you do? I’d leave specific advice on how to best improve your testosterone levels to your doctor. At a general level though, I’d advise you go (or start of) with the more conservative approach – in this case, testosterone boosters. They do not directly tinker with your testosterone and therefore have minimal impact on heart health.