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 ).
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