Testosterone And Your Bone Health
Abnormal testosterone levels not only affect your sexual health but can also alter your physical social and mental health. Are you aware that poorly managed hypogonadism or low levels of testosterone can make your bones weaker and fragile; thereby leading to a condition called osteoporosis?
Although, osteoporosis has long been believed as a female related aging problem, but men can also develop this serious bone mineral density deficit issue. According to latest estimates, nearly 2 million American men suffers from osteoporosis and the reason is low T levels.
What Is Pathophysiology Of Osteoporosis In The Setting Of Hypogonadism?
With physiological aging, old bone and cartilaginous elements undergo wear and tear changes as part of regular changes in the metabolism. As a result, old and worn out bony elements are replaced with new bony matrix under the influence of various hormones and growth factors. Unfortunately, in males with low testosterone levels, the process of bone remodeling may be impaired, which may result in low bone density and increased risk of osteoporosis.
What Can You Do To Maintain Your Bone Health?
Reduction in serum testosterone levels is a natural process which happens gradually as a man age. To keep your bones strong and healthy one should follow these simple tips:
- Consume Calcium Enrich Diet:
Calcium rich diet is essential for healthy bones and optimal muscle functions. Men over 50 years of age requires 1000mg of calcium per day, says National Institute of Health (NIH). Foods such as dairy products, sardine with bones, vegetables like kale and broccoli and calcium fortified food such as cereals, bread and oatmeal are helpful in fulfilling the calcium needs of the body. Moreover, caffeine and salt can have a negative impact on your bones and therefore, limiting the intake is suggested by most healthcare professionals.
- Vitamin D:
Normal serum levels of Vitamin D are necessary for the absorption of calcium from dietary sources. The best way to get this vitamin is through sunlight. Direct exposure to sun for 10 to 15 minutes each day is sufficient to synthesize body’s own vitamin D. Besides sunlight, this vitamin can also be obtained from different dietary sources such as orange juice, milk and some cereals. Fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon are also enriched with vitamin D. A person should take 400 IU of vitamin D per day, says the National Osteoporosis Foundation. If sunlight and dietary sources are not enough to fulfill the bodily demand, supplements can be obtained.
- Spend Some Time In The Gym:
Weight lifting exercises helps in strengthening the bones by promoting bone remodeling processes. Activities like walking, hiking, jogging, playing sports like basketball and racquet are very helpful in promoting bone and muscle remodeling. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society 2013, men who work out for less than 33 minutes each day are at 70% higher risk of developing bone fractures as compared to those who engage in regular physical activity for more than 33 minutes per day.
- Cut Off Alcohol:
Healthy diet and limited use of alcohol can greatly improve your bone health. Several research studies suggest that chronic alcoholism can affects the formation of new bone cells. Moreover, alcoholism is associated with malnourishment which may further deteriorate your bone health. As per NIH recommendation, men should not drink more than 2 alcoholic drink per day.
- Quit Smoking:
Tobacco or cigarettes are highly obnoxious for bone health. With age the activity of bone cells deteriorates naturally but smoking accelerates the bone loss. For better and healthier bones, one should quit smoking as soon as possible.
- Lose Weight:
Although there is no such established link between excess weight and osteoporosis but, various research studies suggest that obesity aggravates the risk of wear and tear related bone damage; thus, making a person more vulnerable to bone fractures. In addition, weight reduction or monitoring is also helpful in improving overall physical health.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone therapy does increase the bone mass density but, does it protect your bone from being fractured?
So far there is limited data to support this claim. Moreover, testosterone replacement therapy is not for everyone. Therefore, ask your doctor before opting for it.
Stick To Your Treatment
Men who have chronic low testosterone levels or those who are at high risk of developing osteoporosis should get bone density screening on regular basis and take appropriate drugs as per doctor’s direction. There are certain medications that can decrease risk for bone fractures in men with osteoporosis.
- Shores, M. M., Smith, N. L., Forsberg, C. W., Anawalt, B. D., & Matsumoto, A. M. (2012). Testosterone treatment and mortality in men with low testosterone levels. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 97(6), 2050-2058.
- Gaffney, C. D., Pagano, M. J., Kuker, A. P., Stember, D. S., & Stahl, P. J. (2015). Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mineral Density in Men with Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome. Sexual Medicine Reviews, 3(4), 298-315.
- Orwoll, E. S., Lapidus, J., Wang, P. Y., Vandenput, L., Hoffman, A., Fink, H., … & Lorentzon, M. (2016). The limited clinical utility of testosterone, estradiol and sex hormone binding globulin measurements in the prediction of fracture risk and bone loss in older men. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.