The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) released the findings from their recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In this study, researchers artificially induced the kind of hormone deficiency usually seen in aging men to provide a controlled model. The results? Men need estrogen to maintain their sex drive as they age.
Men Need Estrogen Study Findings
Prescriptions for low testosterone treatment have increased 500 percent, from 1993 to 2000, and continue to climb. Although low T has been understood to be a problem for men, especially as they age, little has been studied on what levels of testosterone are needed to support some of the affected functions. While trying to provide answers to this important question and studying the effects of reproductive hormones and their effects on age-associated changes, the MGH Endocrine Unit came across a startling discovery.
“This study establishes testosterone levels at which various physiological functions start to become impaired, which may help provide a rationale for determining which men should be treated with testosterone supplements,” says study author Joel Finkelstein, MD “But the biggest surprise was that some of the symptoms routinely attributed to testosterone deficiency are actually partially or almost exclusively caused by the decline in estrogens that is an inseparable result of lower testosterone levels.”1 The study also found:
- Sexual desire decreased with decrease in testosterone levels.
- Erectile function remained until the participant's testosterone levels were extremely low.
- ALL levels of sexual function were decreased, when estrogen was suppressed, no matter what the levels of testosterone.
The implications for treatment for low testosterone are significant. Not only does it help quantify the levels of testosterone needed for certain functions, but it also indicates the forms of testosterone used for therapy should be capable of being aromatized into estrogen to be truly effective.