Ten healthy men aged around 24 years old spent 1 week sleeping for 8 hours per night at home, they then spent the next 11 nights in a lab. They slept for 10 hours per night for 3 nights, followed by 8 nights of restricted sleep, when they slept for only 5 hours. Doctors checked their blood every 15 to 30 minutes during the last night that they slept 10 hours, as well as on the sleep-restricted session.
Studies have demonstrated reduced testosterone levels in men with heart failure as well as other endocrine changes (Tappler and Katz 1979; Kontoleon et al 2003). Treatment of cardiac failure with chronic mechanical circulatory support normalizes many of these changes, including testosterone levels (Noirhomme et al 1999). More recently, two double-blind randomized controlled trials of testosterone treatment for men with low or low-normal serum testosterone levels and heart failure have shown improvements in exercise capacity and symptoms (Pugh et al 2004; Malkin et al 2006). The mechanism of these benefits is currently unclear, although a study of the acute effects of buccal testosterone given to men with chronic cardiac failure under invasive monitoring showed that testosterone increased cardiac index and reduced systemic vascular resistance (Pugh et al 2003). Testosterone may prove useful in the management of cardiac failure but further research is needed.
The effects of testosterone in humans and other vertebrates occur by way of multiple mechanisms: by activation of the androgen receptor (directly or as DHT), and by conversion to estradiol and activation of certain estrogen receptors. Androgens such as testosterone have also been found to bind to and activate membrane androgen receptors.
Zaima, N., Kinoshita, S., Hieda, N., Kugo, H., Narisawa, K., Yamamoto, A., ... Moriyama, T. (2016, September). Effect of dietary fish oil on mouse testosterone level and the distribution of eicosapentaenoic acid-containing phosphatidylcholine in testicular interstitium. Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports, 7, 259–265. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5613343/
When you're under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone,6 presumably because, from a biological standpoint, testosterone-associated behaviors (mating, competing, aggression) may have lowered your chances of survival in an emergency (hence, the "fight or flight" response is dominant, courtesy of cortisol).
And the ads have been working: The number of prescriptions written for testosterone have skyrocketed by more than 300 percent since 2001, reaching 7.2 million in 2013, according to a report published in 2016. Another study, published in JAMA in 2017, found that between 2009 and 2013, testosterone testing and treatment rose substantially in areas of the U.S. where such ads were very common.
Testosterone may strengthen your heart. Research on testosterone’s relation to heart health is split. Some scientists have found that men with higher testosterone levels have an increased risk of heart disease, while recent studies have shown that men with below-normal T levels are more at risk for heart problems. The research is still on-going, but many doctors find the evidence compelling that optimal testosterone levels can help prevent cardiovascular disease.
The potential downside of this positive feedback loop, Coates argues, is that testosterone levels can eventually surge past optimal levels and have the opposite effect – leading to overconfidence and poor decision-making. When this happens to animals, Coates, observed, they “go out in the open, pick too many fights [and] patrol areas that are too large…Risk taking becomes risky behaviour.”
Although some men believe that taking testosterone medications may help them feel younger and more vigorous as they age, few rigorous studies have examined testosterone therapy in men who have healthy testosterone levels. And some small studies have revealed mixed results. For example, in one study healthy men who took testosterone medications increased muscle mass but didn't gain strength.