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Testosterone Therapy More Effective With Exercise

Exercise offers more benefits than supplements do.

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Man exercising in lieu of testosterone therapy

If clients ask about the benefits of supplemental testosterone therapy, you can share that circuit training provides more health benefits, particularly for vascular health, than testosterone cream for men with low-to-normal testosterone levels, according to a recent study.

Researchers from The University of Western Australia in Perth conducted the study in response to growth in testosterone sales. “Previous studies are mixed as to whether replacement testosterone is beneficial or not, or whether it provides additional benefit over and above the effects of an exercise program,” said principal investigator Daniel J. Green, PhD, professor and cardiovascular exercise physiology researcher.

Investigators randomized 78 men ages 50–70 with no history of cardiovascular disease, higher-than-normal waist circumference and low-to-normal testosterone levels, into four groups: testosterone with exercise; testosterone with no exercise; placebo with exercise; and placebo with no exercise. The exercise program featured a supervised circuit of cardiovascular and strength exercises, which the men performed two to three times a week for 12 weeks.

Data analysis revealed that exercise training increased testosterone levels, but exercise plus cream further boosted the hormone. More importantly, arterial function and health improved only in groups that received exercise training—with or without testosterone supplementation. Those who received testosterone therapy but did not exercise showed no arterial health improvements.

“Testosterone therapy may have some benefits, for example in increasing muscle mass in the legs; however, we didn’t find any benefits in terms of artery function, which is a determinant of future cardiovascular risk,” said Green. He advised doing additional research on more subjects. The study is available in Hypertension (2021; 77 [4]).

See also: The Top 10 Reasons Your Clients Have Low Testosterone

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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