Testosterone treatment didn’t improve older men’s memory or mental function in the latest results from landmark government research that challenges the anti-aging claims of popular supplements, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Associated Press.
While testosterone use for one year appeared to strengthen bones and reduce anemia, it also showed signs of worsening artery disease and questions remain about other potential risks. Researchers said more studies are needed to determine long-term effects — the kind of research the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already asked supplement makers to conduct.
The results are from the final four studies in a seven-part project mostly funded by the National Institute on Aging, involving nearly 800 U.S. men aged 65 and older with low testosterone levels. The goal was to see if rubbing testosterone gel on the skin daily for a year could treat problems linked with low levels of the male hormone, which declines with age. Half the men in each group used the real thing and half used fake gel.
Prescription testosterone products including gel are approved only for men with low levels of the hormones caused by various medical conditions. Benefits and risks are unknown in men whose levels are low due only to aging, the FDA says. The agency requires testosterone labels to include possible risks for heart attacks and strokes, based on some previous studies.
A separate study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that men using prescription testosterone gel, patches or injections had fewer heart attacks and strokes during about three years of follow-up than non-users. But this was only observational data in men aged 40 and up, not rigorous research testing the hormone against a placebo.
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