Over the years several studies have been released that involve the benefits of testosterone supplementation. These studies have discussed benefits such as increased libido, increased muscle strength, decreased fat and weight loss, and a decrease in depression. A new study conducted by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute located in Salt Lake City may be adding one more benefit to the list: reduced heart attack risk and heart disease risk for men.
The study observed elderly men with low testosterone and pre-existing coronary artery disease over the course of three years. In total there were 755 participants aged 58 through 78 with severe coronary artery disease, divided into three groups receiving varying doses of testosterone through injection or gel. The Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute developed this study in response to new mandate issues by the FDA, in which all approved testosterone products must include labels detailing the coronary risks of the supplement. The understanding of the FDA at the time of the mandate was based on previous research, but as new research become available that confirmed the findings described below, the mandate may be reversed.
The study, while not conclusive, presented evidence supporting the hypothesis that testosterone supplements are actually beneficial to preventing negative cardiovascular events. As stated, 755 patients who had pre-existing coronary issues were given varied levels of testosterone supplements by either injection or gel. Of those test patients, 64 who were not taking the supplements suffered a major negative cardiovascular event such as a stroke or heart attack after one year. Alternately, those taking a medium dose of the supplement and nine taking a high dose had a cardiovascular event.
In the third year of the study, 125 patients not taking the supplement suffered a severe cardiovascular event, while 38 on a medium dose and 22 on a high dose had such an event.
The doctors involved in the study admit that it was purely an observational study and more evidence would be needed to conclusively justify any change to recommendations currently given for treatment of cardiovascular issues. However, this study did corroborate a previous study testing the same issues. It should be noted that these studies were conducted with men who already had a low testosterone count and already had some type of coronary issue. Prior studies, like the one conducted by William Finkle in 2014, showed slightly varied results. Mr. Finkle's study tested 55,000 men and found that one in 167 patients over 65 years old suffered a heart attack, while one in 100 men under 65 with a pre-existing cardiovascular condition may have a heart attack on the supplement.
Unfortunately, there are still too many variables left unanswered to conclusively determine whether testosterone supplements are helpful in preventing cardiovascular events or not. The study has not done any testing relating to patients without low testosterone or those with no pre-existing issues. In addition, the same study may not be applicable to women. Other age ranges may not be affected by the addition of testosterone affecting cardiovascular conditions. It is likely these tests are next on the agenda to help reverse the FDA findings, if, in fact, science can prove that testosterone is actually more beneficial than harmful for these health issues.
At Baza Medical we look at the whole person before prescribing testosterone. We do a cardiovascular profile that includes carotid ultrasound, Berkeley Heart Labs advanced cardiac labs, inflammatory markers and discuss risk vs benefit in detail. We do our homework!