A study by the Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascular Research in Sweden followed 2,400 men in their 70's and 80's for five years, comparing their testosterone levels with incidents of cardiovascular events the men experienced, such as heart attacks and strokes....
Though the study is ongoing, the research so far indicates that men with higher levels of testosterone were less likely to experience heart-related events or illnesses, but not by that much. Though only 16 percent of those men who had the highest testosterone levels in the beginning of the study (606 men) had experienced heart attack, severe chest pain, or strokes in the succeeding five years, just 21 percent of those with the lowest testosterone levels (604 men) suffered these cardiovascular events.
Testosterone levels start to lower after the age of 30: image via coachmefit.com
Since higher testosterone levels tend to be found in persons who lead healthy lifestyles, including regular exercise and low fat diets, it is more difficult to suggest that high testosterone levels are the reason for lower incidence of heart disease, than it is to observe that the two correlate.
Though high testosterone levels do correlate with lower risk of cardiovascular events, the researchers warn against taking testosterone replacement therapy for this reason. There is no evidence that testosterone replacement has the same effect as natural testosterone on heart health. Remember that it was once thought that women using hormone replacement would be protected against heart disease and osteoporosis, when a large study actually showed them to have higher risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer than those given placebos.
For now, the researchers are suggesting that men with low testosterone levels attempt to raise those levels naturally, through exercise and a healthy diet. Those actions lower the risk of heart disease in their own right.
Update: You can test your level of testosterone with this handy testing kit.
This study is reported in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
sources: Reuters, Journal of the American College of Cardiology