Have you heart these commercials about “Low T?” The first time I heard one several years ago I was taken aback now they are commonplace and I think we all understand that there is an issue with low testosterone that some men have. While it is great that people have found an answer for Low T, my questions has been why? Why do men have low testosterone levels? Is is a byproduct of aging or is something else to blame. A new study has found Low T linked to ibuprofen use.
Testosterone levels can decrease as men age but according to the American Urological Association only about 2 out of 10 men older than 60 years have low testosterone. That increases slightly to 3 out of 10 men in their 70s and 80s. The majority of men will have testosterone levels within the normal range throughout their life. Since it appears that low testosterone levels appear to not be the norm, then would could be contributing to it.
This study might up us understand the issue a little bit. This study was published January, 9 2018 online ahead of it being published in print. The authors investigated what connection might exist between pain medication such as ibuprofen and male reproductive health. The title of their paper is: “Ibuprofen alters human testicular physiology to produce a state of compensated hypogonadism.” The authors concluded
“ibuprofen use results in selective transcriptional repression of endocrine cells in the human testis. This repression results in the elevation of the stimulatory pituitary hormones, resulting in a state of compensated hypogonadism, a disorder associated with adverse reproductive and physical health disorders.”
The authors studied the effects of ibuprofen on 31 men aged 18-35. 14 of these men were given a daily dosage of ibuprofen that many professional and amateur athletes take: 600 milligrams twice a day. (This 1200-mg-per-day dose is the maximum limit as directed by the labels of generic ibuprofen products.) The remaining 17 volunteers were given a placebo. What they measured in the blood work of the 14 was a hormonal imbalance that produced a state of compensatory hypogonadism, a condition associated with impaired fertility, depression and increased risk for cardiovascular events, including heart failure and stroke. The placebo group was found to have no statistically significant difference in hormone activity. What is most concerning is the risk for impaired fertility.
We already know that pregnant women should not take ibuprofen due to the risk for birth defects, including, testicular defects and sterility. What this study, albeit a small sample size, shows is a risk for impaired fertility when adult males take ibuprofen. While it only is applicable to young men, it is not a far cry to extrapolate these results to older men and assume that taking ibuprofen could be a trigger for low T. So those commercials about taking a daily ibuprofen so you can play with the grandchildren, there may be a price to pay for that daily drug. That price could come in the form of an increased risk for heart attack, increased risk for kidney disease, and now perhaps an increased risk for low testosterone.