Testosterone supports muscle gain, increased libido, and loss of visceral (internal belly fat). Obese men generally have lower levels of testosterone and more erectile dysfunction than men of normal weight.  Men who have low levels of testosterone may have more heart disease.

So, these researchers thought it might help elderly community-dwelling men, 65 years of age or older, withlimitations in mobility (209 men, mean age, 74 years)…

Alas, their new study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that supplementing testosterone in elderly men with limited mobility produced INCREASED rates of heart complications, causing them to halt the study.

A totalof 23 subjects in the testosterone group, as compared with 5in the placebo group, had cardiovascular-related adverse events.The relative risk of a cardiovascular-related adverse eventremained constant throughout the 6-month treatment period.

As compared with the placebo group, the testosterone group had significantly greater improvements in leg-press and chest-pressstrength and in stair climbing while carrying a load….

The small size of the trialand the unique population prevent broader inferences from beingmade about the safety of testosterone therapy.

Previous studies have shown that frail elderly patients in nursing homes can benefit from strength training – this may improve their functioning and reduce their chances of falling and/or breaking bones should they fall.

Bottom line: it’s never too late to do strength training!  And it’s probably safer than using testosterone.

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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