Low Testosterone And Heart Disease

More men than women seem to be affected by cardiovascular illness, and the reasons have been manifold. At one time work stress was cited for the prevalence of heart disease in men. Other lifestyle factors, lack of exercise, being overweight, poor dietary choices and smoking have been found to play significant roles. The risk for cardiovascular disease increases with age, as does the likelihood for hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels and glucose intolerance.

Some attention has been paid to the fact that hormones can also play a role, and research has now shown that testosterone has some direct cardiovascular effects. Testosterone has been found to dilate blood vessels. The effect can be likened to the calcium channel blocker Nifedipine. It has also been substantiated that males with coronary artery disease and heart failure tend to have low levels of testosterone. If testosterone deficient men receive replacement therapy, vasodilatation (dilation of blood vessels) has been demonstrated in males who have received testosterone replacement for a few months. Male hormone replacement therapy has also been found to relieve the symptoms of angina in patients with heart failure. The question, how testosterone fits into the concept of disease prevention, comes up in this context. Researchers have found enough evidence that a low testosterone blood level has an independent association with accelerated atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).

Low Testosterone And Heart Disease

Testosterone in men prevents heart disease

Animal experiments have shown that the development of fatty streaks in blood vessels happens at a higher rate in castrated animals. The more encouraging finding is the fact that this condition is reversible by replacement of testosterone. Male hormone therapy has received a lot of bad press in the case of overtreatment with androgens to achieve muscle growth in body building. However, in this case there was no testosterone deficiency and athletes and their coaches were using doses that were too high. This type of administration entails grave health risks and has nothing to do with good medicine. In case of hormone deficiency replacement the normal body function of a younger male is restored with bioidentical testosterone, which can be a tool to better health for the aging male. Anti-aging physicians are very familiar with this treatment modality.

More on the heart vessel protecting effect of bio-identical hormones:

Journal of Men’s Health – Volume 5, Issue Suppl (September 2008)

Last updated Nov. 6, 2014


Fat Cells Secrete Hormones That Raise Blood Pressure

Fat cells are known to secrete a number of substances that affect the lining of the arteries and that are also known to be associated with the metabolic syndrome. One of the observations that physicians were aware of for some time is that aldosterone, a hormone from the adrenal glands, is often elevated in patients with high blood pressure and obesity or people who are overweight.

Dr. Ehrhart-Bornstein and her group from the University Medical Center, Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf in Germany investigated this interaction between fat cell metabolites and the cells of the adrenal cortex in more detail. They used a tissue culture model with human adrenocortical cells (NCI-H295R). To their surprise they found two separate hormone factors that were produced by fat cells and that showed in the tissue culture system a 7-fold increase in aldosterone hormone release. As aldosterone is a mineralocorticoid hormone they called these new releasing hormones mineralocorticoid-releasing factors. Further characterization of these factors demonstrated that one was of a higher molecular structure and was heat-sensitive, the other one was smaller in size and was more heat resistant. Each factor alone lost much of the aldosterone releasing activity, but when recombined they had 93% of the original action. Synthesis of messenger RNA inside the adrenocortical cells was stimulated by a factor of 10-fold from the action of the mineralocorticoid-releasing factors. Other hormones were also somewhat stimulated such as release of cortisol by a 3-fold increase and DHEA by a 1.5-fold increase. Other known substances from fat cells were entirely ineffective in this testing system.

Fat Cells Secrete Hormones That Raise Blood Pressure

Adipose cells secreting aldosterone releasing factor

When asked how this new research might fit in with the observation that loss of fat through calorie restriction has a beneficial effect on high blood pressure, the authors commented that with less fat storage in fat cells during weight loss the production of mineralocorticoid-releasing factors would go down significantly and aldosterone would be released at a much lower rate thus decreasing blood pressure through the aldosterone/angiotensin/renin mechanism.

Nov. 12, 2003 paper on which this write-up is based:

Last edited October 26, 2014