Benefits of Testosterone Therapy for Bone Health

Testosterone Therapy for Bone Health

Osteoporosis has long been viewed as an aging woman’s health issue – but that is just not true. Men have a significant risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis as they age – especially if they are suffering from Low T.

The use of testosterone therapy for bone health and increased density might surprise you at first, but it is not new or untested.

Low testosterone is one of the primary risk factors of osteoporosis in males. [1]

A report presented at the American Urological Association 2015 Annual Meeting brought to light the seriousness of this issue, especially since the average age of the men presenting for this research was around fifty years old.

Of the 235 patients treated for clinical hypogonadism at Albany Medical Center in New York, where the study was conducted, here are the numbers:

  • Normal bone density levels – 56%
  • Diagnosed osteopenia – 39%
  • Diagnosed osteoporosis – 5%

Remember – the average age here was 50.7 years. These men still have decades of life ahead of them, and if left untreated, their conditions would continue to worsen, and the numbers would climb.

What does testosterone do for bones that makes it so important to maintain at a certain level?

Here are three surprising ways that testosterone benefits the bones:

  1. Testosterone slows down bone turnover rate – just like other cells die and require replacement, so do bone cells. If old bone cells are reabsorbed too quickly, before enough new cells are ready to take their place, the bones become thinner and brittle.
  2. Indirectly, through the conversion of testosterone into estradiol (estrogen), testosterone aids the preservation of bone density.
  3. Testosterone helps signal the pituitary gland to produce growth hormone which then supplies the liver with the stimulus to secrete insulin growth factor 1 which works with GH to stimulate the production of new cells needed by the bones.

Why is testosterone good for bones for men in the latter years of their lives?

Although osteoporosis does not show as early as with women, or in as high a percentage of the population, the mortality and morbidity rates for male hip fractures are higher for men. [2]

Why Low T Weakens the Bones

As people age, they have goals for their future, and one such goal is the maintenance of health – including keeping the body strong and flexible.

Low T weakens the bones over time. The androgen receptor has been found expressed in the following bone cells:

  • Osteoblasts (bone deposition) – direct and indirect effects
  • Osteoclasts (bone resorption) – indirect effects
  • Osteocytes (bone homeostasis) – direct effects
  • Pluripotent mesenchymal bone marrow stromal cells (progenerators)

Why does testosterone weaken bones through its impact on these cells?

In a direct manner, testosterone decreases the function of all of these bone cells. Indirectly through the aromatase conversion of testosterone into estrogen, it reduces bone density.

Bone structure in females and males does differ, as does the way they lose bone associated with osteoporosis. While females are likelier to experience fractures at an earlier age than males, the fact that this condition often goes undiagnosed and untreated more in men makes their risk factors for serious fractures increase.

The importance of testosterone therapy for bone health should not be downplayed or overlooked when faced with a possible diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis. Testing for Low T is essential for proper treatment.

How to Strengthen the Bones with Testosterone Therapy

In a 36-month study of 108 hypogonadal men over the age of 65, wearing either a placebo or testosterone patch, ninety-six of the subjects completed the protocol. The results showed that men with lower testosterone concentrations had an increase in lumbar spine bone density from testosterone therapy. [3]

Male osteoporosis is almost always associated with low testosterone levels. The doctor – a hormone specialist – will run diagnostic blood tests to measure testosterone, estradiol, insulin growth factor 1 (for growth hormone deficiency), and other crucial blood levels to determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

How does testosterone help bones heal?

In a study conducted on mice, the following results were found: [4]

  • Estrogen contributed to accelerated fracture healing in female mice by 25%
  • Estrogen and testosterone enhanced the biomechanical stability of fractures in eugonadal female mice
  • Testosterone enhanced healing of fractures in eugonadal male mice
  • Short-term estrogen use could overcome deleterious effects of estrogen deficiency for fracture healing

It is crucial to realize that estrogen therapy, when given alone without testosterone for someone with Low T, will lead to a condition called estrogen dominance that further lowers testosterone blood levels in the body. Since testosterone conversion can increase estrogen levels, this is often a safer route to take for strengthening the bones and correcting low testosterone levels.

The use of testosterone therapy for bone health results in significant gains in bone density in a relatively short time.

To learn more, or to inquire about hormone blood testing and treatment options, contact HT Medical Center for a free consultation.