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Do guideline-based exercise thresholds improve testosterone deficiency?

In a nutshell

This study investigated if physical activity (PA) improves testosterone deficiency (TD). They found that men with adequate PA levels were less likely to have TD.

Some background

Testosterone deficiency (TD) is low levels of testosterone (male sex hormone). This can cause a number of symptoms. They include decreased energy, erectile dysfunction, and infertility. Low testosterone is more common with advancing age. It is associated with several conditions. There is an increased risk of cardiac events and obesity with TD.

Lifestyle modifications are recommended for men with TD. Exercise and weight loss are associated with higher testosterone levels. This also reduces the risk of developing other conditions. Guidelines suggest that 500-1000 MET minutes of exercise should be performed each week. MET is the metabolic equivalent task. This measures the energy required for types of exercise based on intensity. It is unclear if this guideline-based exercise (GBE) improves testosterone levels. 

Methods & findings

This study included 7372 men. Men were requested to complete a physical activity (PA) questionnaire. Testosterone was also measured in blood samples. PA thresholds were set using the PA guideline advisory committee (PAGAC). Below 500 MET minutes were considered underactive. PA above 1000 METs was considered to exceed target PA levels.

28.5% of the men had TD. Overweight and obese men were 2.33 times more likely to have TD compared to men with normal weight.

Men that met the PAGAC PA target were 23% less likely to have TD. Men that exceed the PA target were 47% less likely to have TD. The effect of exceeding PA targets on testosterone levels was greater in obese men compared to normal or overweight men. Obese men who exceeded the PA target were 48% less likely to have TD compared to those who did not.

Methods & findings
The bottom line

The authors concluded that men with adequate PA levels were less likely to have TD.

The fine print

This study suggests an association between exercise and testosterone levels. A number of factors could also affect this. A controlled study is needed to confirm the findings. 

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Published By: Andrology
Date: Nov 11, 2020
Original Title: The Association Between Guideline-based Exercise Thresholds and Low Testosterone Among Men in the United States.

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