Borderline T Levels Linked With Depression
Depression rates are high among men referred for borderline testosterone according to research presented at the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting (March 2015, San Diego).
Michael Scott Irwig MD, and colleagues analyzed men with borderline testosterone levels. They looked at 200 men aged 20 to 77 referred with testosterone levels between 200 to 350 ng/dL (6.9 to 12nmol/L) although what values are assigned as ‘borderline’ still remains controversial.
Using a validated Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) they identified that 56% of the men has significant depressive symptoms and/or a depression diagnosis and/or antidepressant use. The general population has a rate of between 6 and 23%.
Dr Irwig commented that these men are a ‘select sample because they probably had some symptoms that prompted them getting tested’. The question remains how this translates to the general population or those men who do not seek medical attention.
Of the men studied with borderline testosterone, 78% reported erectile dysfunction, 69% low libido and 52% low energy. There was also a high prevalence of men that were overweight (39%) and obese (40%) and physical inactivity was common.
It is well known that testosterone replacement therapy will help alleviate the symptoms described above and also increase energy levels. With the boost in energy and some exercise, weight loss occurs. The combination of feeling energized, losing weight and increase in libido certainly improves overall mental health.
More studies are required to identify which patients with borderline T levels should be given testosterone replacement therapy and how for how long? Antidepressants are widely prescribed however for some men there may be an underlying cause of the depression – low testosterone levels.
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