Low Testosterone and Cholesterol: Is there a Connection?
Posted: December 9, 2020
Low testosterone and high cholesterol often go hand-in-hand. Both these conditions can put your health at risk. High cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Fortunately, research suggests that testosterone replacement therapy may help bring your cholesterol and triglyceride levels back into healthy ranges.
Can Low Testosterone Lead to High Cholesterol?
There’s a lot of evidence out there that links low testosterone levels with high cholesterol. According to Harvard Health Publishing, low testosterone may contribute to cardiovascular disease and research suggests that as testosterone increases, cholesterol decreases. However, why might this be?
First, it’s important to understand what cholesterol is and what it does. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. It’s a waxy substance that your liver makes. You also get some cholesterol from your diet. Cholesterol isn’t inherently bad. In fact, it’s the building block for creating healthy cells. It also helps your body make testosterone. Cells in your testicles, called Leydig cells, take cholesterol in your blood and turn it into testosterone.
With age, your Leydig cells might start to produce less testosterone. Researchers are still studying the connection between testosterone and cholesterol. However, one theory on why low testosterone is associated with high cholesterol is because your Ledyig cells are using less of the cholesterol to do things like create hormones.
How Cholesterol & Triglycerides Affect Your Health
When the cholesterol in your blood becomes too high, it can increase your risk for heart disease. That’s why cholesterol screening and reducing your risk for high cholesterol is so important.
When we talk about high cholesterol, we are actually talking about high low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Also known as “bad” cholesterol, LDL cholesterol is the type that can build up and clog our arteries. This can increase the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
By contrast, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol. It carries LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver to be broken down. Healthy HDL cholesterol levels may help reduce your risk for heart disease.
Together, these two types of cholesterol make up your total cholesterol, which is the full amount of cholesterol circulating in your blood. Our doctors test these levels with a simple blood test to help screen for high cholesterol.
Another concern is high triglycerides. Like cholesterol, triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. In fact, it’s one of the most common types of fat in your body. It stores any unused calories from the food you eat. High levels may contribute to being overweight or obese.
Because these levels are so important to your health, it’s vital to do everything you can to prevent high cholesterol and reduce cholesterol if you have high levels. That’s why research on the link between low testosterone and cholesterol is so interesting. Even more, studies suggest that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to help with low testosterone may also be linked to healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Research Suggests Low Testosterone Treatment May Help Reduce Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Several studies have evaluated cholesterol and triglycerides in men with low testosterone after starting testosterone replacement treatment. Many of these studies have found that TRT may help reduce total cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
A study from 2013 looked at long-term effects of testosterone and the risk for metabolic syndrome. One factor of metabolic syndrome is high cholesterol levels. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and excess belly fat. This syndrome can increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes and is associated with low testosterone levels.
As part of the study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, researchers looked at the link between testosterone therapy and cholesterol. The researchers followed 255 men who had low testosterone levels and symptoms of low T. At the beginning of the study, all of the participants had elevated triglycerides and about 22% had low HDL cholesterol levels. One group received testosterone replacement therapy while the other received a placebo.
Over the five-year study, those in the TRT group saw a significant decrease in total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. Also, the testosterone replacement group saw a small increase in their HDL cholesterol levels.
The researchers did note that some other studies have found that both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels decreased after starting low testosterone treatment. However, they pointed out that most of those studies involved larger doses of testosterone than necessary to bring hormone levels into healthy ranges. In this study, the researchers brought average testosterone levels to the middle of a healthy range for testosterone levels. Therefore, the researchers suggested that this could be one potential reason for the difference between their study and previous studies.
Another Recent Study on the Link Between Testosterone and Cholesterol
Another study, published in 2017, also looked at testosterone’s effect on factors of cardiovascular disease, including cholesterol. This retrospective study looked at 788 men with low testosterone. They were divided into a TRT group and a placebo group. The testosterone replacement group saw improvements in lipid levels after one year. The men in the testosterone group had lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Therefore, this study also suggests there’s a link between testosterone and cholesterol.
Testosterone Replacement From Low T Center
Could you be suffering from low testosterone levels? If you’re experiencing symptoms like low energy, low libido, fatigue, or other symptoms, our team at Low T Center is here to help you feel like yourself again. Low testosterone can impact your health and your quality of life in many different ways. We offer convenient, affordable, and simple treatment plans customized to your lifestyle. Make an appointment today at a location near you to take the first step toward feeling better!
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.