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Low Testosterone Levels and Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease in Men

Low Testosterone Levels and Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease in Men

Alzheimer’s Disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear after age 60. In some people, symptoms can appear much earlier.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older people. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning, thinking, remembering, and reasoning, to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s. Some experts believe that the extensive use of statin drugs to lower cholesterol may result in an increasing incidence of Alzhemer’s Disease due to the blocking of cholesterol.

Decreased testosterone levels have been reported in men with Alzheimer’s Disease compared with age matched control subjects. In a recent study published in the journal Neurology, researchers followed 574 men for 19.1 years. Because serum was used, Free Androgen Index (FAI) levels were monitored. (The Free Androgen Index is a ratio that divides total testosterone by the sex hormone binding globulin level and multiplied by 100 to approximate the amount of free testosterone in the serum.) The researchers state that “the FAI is more highly correlated with bioavailable testosterone.”

*A significant reduction in the risk for Alzheimer’s Disease was associated with a higher FAI (more free testosterone).
Numerous studies have supported the concept that testosterone has a neuroprotective effect on cognitive and brain function. In rat models, testosterone has been shown to decrease ß-amyloid secretion from rat cortical neurons and reduce ß-amyloid induced neurotoxicity in cultured hippocampal neurons. In humans, testosterone suppression for management of prostate cancer resulted in a two-fold increase in plasma ß-amyloid concentrations in elderly men, suggesting that endogenous testosterone might reduce plasma amyloid concentrations in humans.

Results of the current study suggest that in aging men, maintenance of free testosterone concentrations in the higher part of the normal range may decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

Testosterone is of course a major heart factor in that low levels are associated with heart disease. At NBH Lifetime Health, we have found that most men over 40 have less than optimal levels of free testosterone. More and more, we are finding the younger males can also have these difficulties. Heart disease is still the No.1 killer of men (and women).

*Declining Testosterone, Fat Mass and Heart Risk
A growing body of research suggests that an age-related increase in fat mass, or obesity, can be attributed to a fall in free testosterone and growth hormone levels. Moreover, studies report a connection between abdominal obesity and increased cardiovascular mortality and Type II diabetes mellitus. A study conducted at Harvard University concluded that essentially all type II diabetic males had low levels of testosterone. This is not surprising to us as we have been treating overweight males for years and testing their free and total testosterone levels.

*Conclusion: Protect your mind, your heart and your weight with Testosterone.

By NBH, Director of Education & Research
NBH Lifetime Health Weight Loss & Hormone Clinics, Medline South

Credit for the Alzheimer’s section research to Labrix Labs.

Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. U.S. National Institutes of Health National Institute in Aging. 1/3/2011.
Gandy S, et al. Chemical andropause and amyloid-beta peptide. JAMA 2001;285:2195-2196.
Gouras, G.K. et al. Testosterone reduces neuronal secretion of Alzheimer’s beta-amyloid peptides. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000; 97:1202-1205.
Moffat, S.D. et al. Free testosterone and risk for Alzheimer disease in older men. Neurology 2004; 62:188-193.


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