Testosterone Therapy and Mental Health: What’s the Relationship? Written by Arv Buttar, NP

testosterone therapy mental health benefits in men

Did you know that our testosterone levels decline as we age?

Several mental health issues may arise with this decline, such as mood changes, an increased risk of developing a major depressive disorder, and increased anxiety.

However, clinical research and placebo-controlled trials on testosterone therapy (also known as testosterone replacement therapy) suggest potential benefits in mood and overall mental health in men. Let’s discuss what we (including members of the scientific community) know so far about the psychological benefits of testosterone therapy.

1. Testosterone therapy may improve mood and the symptoms of diminished production of sex hormones in men.

A clinical research study investigated testosterone replacement therapy’s effects on mood changes in 51 hypogonadal men. During the 60-day study, participants were withdrawn from their testosterone therapy for at least six weeks before the study. They were then asked to respond to a questionnaire one week before the start of treatment and one week before their scheduled visits to the clinic.

The questionnaires assessed different mood parameters including feelings of anger, alertness, irritability, lack of energy, sadness, tiredness, friendliness, nervousness, and overall wellness. When compared with the baseline data, analyses showed significant positive correlations between testosterone levels and friendliness, as well as a sense of well-being. Furthermore, the results uncovered significant negative correlations with feelings of irritability, nervousness, and tiredness.

What can we learn from this study? It concluded that testosterone therapy in hypogonadal men heightened positive mood parameters (i.e. energy, feelings of wellness) and lessened negative mood parameters (i.e. irritability and anger).

2. Testosterone therapy may lower the risk of developing depression.

A recent quantitative, epidemiological study and systematic review drew a clearer relation between testosterone treatment and its impact on reducing depressive symptoms in men. The study included 1890 male participants and 27 randomized clinical trials relevant to the effects of testosterone therapy on depression.

When compared to a placebo, testosterone therapy was shown to be “effective and efficacious” when used to treat and reduce the signs and symptoms of depression. When testosterone was administered in high doses, the study noted a pronounced beneficial effect. Also, the least depressed adult male participants experienced the most benefits from testosterone treatment.

Clearly, a further definitive answer with other clinical trials to the testosterone treatment-depression conundrum is needed. In the meantime, medical professionals and researchers continue to believe that testosterone therapy benefits are impressive.

3. Testosterone replacement therapy may improve the quality of life. Research has shown that symptomatic low testosterone levels are linked with fatigue, which contributes to poor psychological health and quality of life.

In a review published in The journal of gender specific medicine, researchers examined androgen deficiency in ageing males. The results summarized that there is increasing evidence that the replacement of testosterone in hypogonadal elderly men may lead to improved quality of life.

The study mentioned that while there is less information available on testosterone’s role in women within the postmenopausal stage, testosterone therapy might contribute to treating conditions such as sarcopenia (the decline of skeletal muscle mass and function) which occurs during menopause.

Researchers concluded that the benefits of testosterone replacement may improve libido, bone strength, muscle mass, and cognition — all of which may occur when the quality of life improves.

Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Right for You?

Research is uncovering the pros and cons of testosterone therapy on men’s psychological health, which must be noted since testosterone levels decline as we age. Did you know that testosterone therapy may also encourage weight loss? (Read our past post “Understanding Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Men and Weight Loss” here.)

To see if testosterone replacement therapy is right for you, please contact our clinic to learn more. Arv Buttar, NP, has partnered with Dr. Amauri Caversan, ND at Dr Amauri Wellness Centre to offer a fully integrative functional medicine program to patients. Their Personalized Men’s Health: Testosterone Replacement Therapy program is specially designed to help men balance testosterone to optimal levels. Call 416-922-4114 to book your appointment.

References:

Akerman J, Kovac JR, Lipshultz LI. Testosterone therapy improves well being and psychological health. Curr Opin Urol. 2017;27(6):519-524. doi:10.1097/MOU.0000000000000440.

Does using testosterone to treat depression work?” by Tim Newman, fact checked by Jasmin Collier, Medical News Today, published November 17, 2018, viewed on July 17, 2020.

Morley JE. Testosterone replacement in older men and women. J Gend Specif Med. 2001;4(2):49-53.

Walther A, Breidenstein J, Miller R. Association of Testosterone Treatment With Alleviation of Depressive Symptoms in Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(1):31-40. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2734.

Wang C, Alexander G, Berman N, et al. Testosterone replacement therapy improves mood in hypogonadal men–a clinical research center study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996;81(10):3578-3583. doi:10.1210/jcem.81.10.8855804.