Testosterone replacement therapy does not affect Caucasian men and Mexican-American men the same. In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, shows Caucasian men may be at risk of brain damage from the treatment.
Over the past decade, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has continued to attract new patients, as well as controversy.
Testosterone deficiency is a real disease. It’s just there’s little consensus on what levels are considered abnormally low, and which patients actually need supplements. And while testosterone therapy has been shown to provide small improvements in lean body mass and body fat, libido, and sexual function, it also has serious risks, such as heart attacks or blood clots.
Now, a study from the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth is calling attention to a new risk associated with testosterone replacement therapy – cognitive impairment, or dementia. And the risk isn’t the same for all men.
Your Brain, Stress And Testosterone
“Mexican American men probably won’t have detrimental effects with respect to cognition but Caucasian men may have detrimental effects from the testosterone if they have high oxidative stress,” says Rebecca Cunningham, PhD and Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience.
Cunningham explains high oxidative stress seems to be associated with these detrimental effects of testosterone. So what is oxidative stress?
“It’s a byproduct of oxygen consumption in the cells,” she says. “And it’s fine, but in high levels it can damage the cells, especially brain cells and it’s also involved in a lot of neuro-degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.”
Cunningham’s study shows Caucasian men with the combination of high oxidative stress and high testosterone levels were more likely to have dementia. While Mexican American men, who tend to have lower oxidative stress, she says, had no higher levels of dementia associated with higher testosterone.
Most testosterone replacement clinics don’t test for high oxidative stress levels.
“What we’re saying is, maybe you should add another test in there, especially with the Caucasian men to be sure they really are good candidates,” Cunningham says.
The good news is that if the oxidative stress levels are too high, there are a number of ways to bring them down. A healthy diet, Cunningham says, high in antioxidants can help.
Foods Packed With Antioxidents
- Red Beans
- Wild blueberry
- Red kidney bean
- Red Delicious apple
- Russet potato
Source: WebMD Public Information from the United States Department of Agriculture