The Fascinating link between COVID-19 and Testosterone
COVID-19. The word that most sane people are sick and tired of hearing. COVID-19 Fatigue may be more appropriate.
Few words in recent memory have come with such baggage, and with so many words that we have been bombarded with for so long with seemingly no let-up in sight.
Mask-up...social distancing...lock-downs...variants...new strains...vaccinations...vaccine resistors...Wuhan...censorship...vaccine mandates...political divisions so entrenched that half of the country does not speak to the other half...the list goes on and on and on.
Regardless of how you feel about the effectiveness and/or safety of the types of COVID vaccines available, virtually everyone agrees that it is better to not have the virus than to have it.
A healthy lifestyle is always our first line of defense from any affliction, including COVID. Nutrition, hydration, fitness, sleep, supplements, and stress control are good ideas under any circumstance, and especially now with COVID hanging around like scenes from a horror movie that just keeps repeating.
But a healthy lifestyle may not stop this monster; more may be needed.
Did you know: Low testosterone levels (“Low-T”) have been found to have a direct connection to COVID-19?
That’s right. A new recent study from Italy concluded that men with low testosterone levels have a significantly greater risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
The research included nearly 300 male COVID-19 patients who arrived at the emergency department and were admitted to San Raffaele University Hospital in Milan during the first wave of the pandemic that occurred between February and May of 2020.
The men who were found to have low testosterone following admittance to the hospital were more likely to become severely ill and die from the disease. In fact, they were an incredible six times more likely to die than men with the same disease that were not suffering from Low-T.
Also, the Low-T men had an increased likelihood of needing intensive care, incubation, and longer hospital stays.
The more severe the illness, the lower the average testosterone level. Here are the numbers:
- Mildly symptomatic and discharged home (3.9 nmol/L)
- Admitted into the internal medicine unit (3.0 nmol/L)
- Admitted to the ICU (1.0 nmol/L)
- Deceased because of COVID-19 (0.7 nmol/L)
"This study outlines that testosterone levels in men with COVID-19 deserve clinical attention, although it remains to be established whether testosterone is simply a marker of health or measuring it may help to target a very high-risk population while establishing counteractive therapeutic measures," reported Paolo Capogrosso, MD, of Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, during a presentation at the European Association of Urology virtual annual congress.
"At the start of the COVID pandemic, we were seeing far more men than women coming to the hospital and suffering very severe forms of the disease. We immediately thought this might be related to male hormone levels, particularly testosterone," said the study’s senior author Andrea Salonia, MD, of University Vita-Salute San Raffaele and a urologist at the IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele.
Salonia then added that "But we never expected to see such a high proportion of COVID patients with these extremely low levels of testosterone, in comparison to a similar group of healthy men. The relationship is very clear: The lower the testosterone, the higher the severity of the condition and likelihood of death. I've never seen anything like it in my 25 years in the field,"
Which came first: COVID-19 or Low-T?
The unexpected results of this study beg the question: are men with low testosterone levels more susceptible to COVID-19 or did the virus lower testosterone in otherwise healthy men? Dr. Salonia stated that the answer to that chicken-or-egg question was uncertain based on the results of the study.
"Testosterone does play a role in protecting men from disease," he said. "However, it's also possible that the virus itself is able to induce an acute reduction in testosterone levels, which then predisposes these men to a worse outcome. We're now following up these patients over a longer time period, to see how their hormone levels change over time, so we can try and answer these questions."
"We simply don't have the data to know which came first in these patients, the low testosterone levels or the COVID," Salonia added.
This was not the only study that established the Low-T/COVID link
Dr. Salonia’s study was one of several studies that discover a connection between low testosterone and COVID-19 severity. In a small study published recently in JAMA Network Open, men with severe COVID-19 had significantly lower levels of testosterone than men with mild cases (53 vs 151 ng/dL).
And a 2020 study in The Aging Male determined that among 221 men hospitalized with COVID-19, low testosterone levels significantly increased the risk of ICU admission and mortality.
The San Raffaele University Hospital study included nearly 300 patients with symptomatic COVID-19 admitted to the emergency department who were compared with 281 healthy men as well as 24 men with asymptomatic COVID-19.
All patients in the study were checked for levels of male hormones, including testosterone, which was considered low if less than 9.2 nmol/L (hypogonadism).
Testosterone is measured in nanomoles per liter (nmol/l) and 9.2 or below is deemed the threshold for low testosterone, termed hypogonadism.
Nearly 90 percent of the patients had testosterone below this level, compared to just 17 percent of the healthy volunteers.
Furthermore, testosterone levels in the patients were also significantly below the threshold, averaging around 2.5 nmol/l.
Those patients who had mild symptoms or were admitted to the hospital had slightly higher testosterone levels (between 3-4 nmol/l) than those admitted to ICU or those who died of the disease (just 0.7-1.0 nmol/l).
Even when age, obesity, and pre-existing conditions were factored into the equation, the differences in testosterone levels and COVID recovery were still significant.
The researchers didn't have data on the COVID-19 patients' testosterone levels before they contracted the disease, so they couldn't determine whether low testosterone was a pre-existing condition that made the disease worse or whether the coronavirus infection caused low testosterone.
Data and conclusions presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The COVID-19 nightmare is far from over.
Vaccination rates have increased, and the severe, austere lock-downs have been eased, so it is easy to think that the virus is on its last legs, right?
WRONG! The COVID-19 variants and mutations are still surviving in a Rasputin-like manner. The virus seems to keep staggering forward, impervious to our efforts to deliver the final death blow. This is not the time to let our guards down.
Now that you know the proven link between lower testosterone and COVID-19, let’s review the symptoms of Low-T. The American Urology Association (AUA) identifies low testosterone symptoms as the following:
- Low sex drive
- Reduced lean muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
The AUA adds that: "There are many other possible reasons for these symptoms, such as opioid use, some congenital conditions (medical conditions you are born with), loss of or harm to the testicles, diabetes, and obesity (being overweight).
Professor Jens Sonksen, an executive member of the EAU (Europe’s biggest urology conference), said: “The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on global health since the virus first started spreading in early 2020. We have learned a lot about the virus and possible health consequences from COVID-19 since those early days, but there is much still to learn. "This is highlighted by this new research, which found a surprisingly low level of total testosterone in men with COVID-19 compared to healthy controls.
"Symptomatic COVID-19 patients with low testosterone were also more likely to become critically ill from COVID-19. Additional research on potential impacts from COVID-19 on men’s health is definitely needed.”
And this is where we come in
Our hormone replacement clinics specialize in restoring your testosterone to a more youthful level. Our treatments will have you looking and feeling like you did a few decades ago. The fat will melt, the muscle with firm, and your energy levels will explode and make you feel like living again...not just existing.
But Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) will do more than give you a more youthful appearance. Read the facts from the studies and let this sink in: low testosterone can make a lifesaving difference in the battle against COVID-19!
We have the experience. The know-how. The most modern hormone treatment regimens and technology. You owe it to yourself to add one more barrier to your moat of defenses against this dreaded killer virus.
You don’t need to be a sheep waiting in the slaughter line. Take action as if your life depends on it...because it does!
Contact us for a FREE, no-obligation discussion of the benefits hormone replacement can deliver.
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Welcoming You To Our Clinic, Professor Tom Henderson.
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