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Endocrine Society Examines Testosterone Heart Disease Risk

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Heart disease is one of the leading killers of both men and women in the United States, and experts across several medical fields have spent entire careers studying the direct or indirect causes of this destructive and chronic illness.

In a recent study conducted by leading endocrinologists, researchers have uncovered a possible link between the presence of testosterone and the development or aggravation of heart disease. In examining the apparent prevalence of heart disease in men versus pre-menopausal women, endocrinologists began to wonder whether either the presence of testosterone and/or estrogen may play a role in advancing heart disease or, alternatively, protecting against its development.

Testosterone heart disease risk

At the 97th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, the results of a ground breaking study were revealed, showing a possible correlation between the presence of testosterone, the absence of estrogen, and the development of deadly heart disease. In a discussion lead by Elaine Yu, MD, MSc, of Harvard University Medical School, the details of the study were presented to a group of highly-trained endocrinologists, general practitioners, researchers, nurses, and students – all of whom comprise one of the oldest medical societies in the United States.

Dr. Yu began by explaining the details of her test subjects, which included 400 men receiving medication to suppress both testosterone and estrogen levels. Then, about half of the test subjects began receiving either testosterone replacement drugs or placebo pills for a period of four months. Of the men receiving actual testosterone treatment, the dosage of the hormone varied from very low to high-normal.

The second half of men also received the same pill regimen as the first, however the second group was also given a drug to completely suppress and eliminate estrogen from the bloodstream. In most healthy men, a certain percentage of testosterone is naturally converted by the body into estrogen, however this group was given a total estrogen suppression.

As a result of the study, the group with the suppressed estrogen levels experienced a worsening of heart disease symptoms, whereas the group with a small amount of estrogen alongside testosterone treatments fared much better. At the conclusion of the study, men were tested for several signs of heart disease, including cholesterol numbers, body fat ratio and blood pressure.

In her presentation, Dr. Yu opined that the apparent disparities in heart disease diagnoses along gender lines is possibly related to the body’s natural regulation of sex hormones, and that estrogen may play a pivotal role in protecting the heart from the deadly inflammation and breakdown associated with the onset of heart disease.

Research funded by top testosterone replacement manufacturers

The research study was funded both the National Institute of Health and drug maker AbbVie, which is responsible for the manufacture and marketing of the drug AndroGel. AndroGel is a relative newcomer to the marketplace, and is marketed to men experiencing low testosterone levels,which can result in decreased libido and fatigue. “Low T” supplements like Androgel and others have also been tied to an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events and stroke in certain populations of men, according to several published studies. This reported heart attack risk from testosterone therapy has been the topic of escalating litigation against various manufacturers of the drugs.

Other industry participants having donated medications free of cost to the study include AstraZeneca, donor of estrogen-blocker anastrozole and Zoladex, maker of the testosterone suppressant goserelin.