Testosterone Replacement & Brain Health
Posted: July 9, 2020
We’ve all been in a situation when we’ve forgotten something important, such as a client’s name or where the car keys are. These common situations are frustrating, but understandable. However, frequent issues with concentration or memory could be a sign that you could benefit from testosterone replacement injections.
Men with hypogonadism, or low testosterone, often notice they have difficulty with thinking clearly. However, often they don’t realize this could be a symptom of low testosterone. Generally, people attribute these issues to normal aging, but this may not be the case. Testosterone levels naturally start to decline around age 30, but some men experience a significant drop below the healthy range. This can lead to life-altering symptoms, one of which is “mental fog.” However, testosterone replacement therapy has been shown to help with many of the symptoms of low T, including difficulty concentrating or remembering. Therefore, it’s important to have your testosterone levels checked to determine if you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone and whether you’re a good candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.
Low Testosterone and Cognition
Men with low testosterone commonly experience cognitive issues, often described as “brain fog.” For example, you might realize that it’s difficult to focus or think clearly, or you might have a harder time remembering things. In fact, many studies show that men with low testosterone perform lower than average on cognitive tests for verbal fluency, visual-spatial processing, memory, attention, and executive function. But what exactly does this mean?
Essentially, if you have low testosterone, you might have trouble forming sentences or finding the right words while you speak. You might notice you bump into objects more often than normal or have difficulty with depth perception. Also, you might forget important things or notice you have difficulty focusing on certain tasks. In addition, you may have issues with organizing and setting schedules or even notice it’s hard to control your emotions. Each person is different, but these are common signs of the brain fog that you might experience with a testosterone deficiency.
However, studies show that testosterone replacement can help increase your memory and concentration. Many men with low testosterone achieve higher scores on cognitive tests after starting a testosterone replacement regimen. Therefore, testosterone may play a role in brain health and cognitive function. There are a few ways to explain this benefit of TRT.
How Does Testosterone Replacement Affect Brain Health?
It’s no secret that testosterone plays a pretty significant role in your body. It helps with red blood cell production, sex drive, fat distribution, muscle mass, and many other functions. Therefore, it’s no wonder that it can also have a huge impact on your brain and ability to focus, recall, and think clearly. Low testosterone may affect cortisol levels, which impact your brain. Also, many of the other symptoms of low T can also indirectly affect your cognition.
Testosterone and Cortisol Levels
One explanation of why low T levels can have such a strong impact on cognitive function is that testosterone helps regulate cortisol levels. Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone,” and it’s responsible for the fight or flight mode. High levels of cortisol can affect how your brain functions. Most of us have experienced issues concentrating when we’re stressed. However, chronically high cortisol levels can make it difficult for your brain to function, which could cause issues with memory, mental clarity, concentration, and other processes.
How does this relate to testosterone? Well, many scientists believe that testosterone and cortisol work against each other. High cortisol levels are often associated with low testosterone, and many believe that testosterone can help counter the negative effects of the stress hormone. Therefore, if you have low testosterone, you may benefit from testosterone replacement to help reduce cortisol levels which may cause the “brain fog” so many men report with low T levels.
Low T Symptoms that Affect Your Brain Health
However, like many other conditions, hypogonadism can also have indirect influences on your brain health. Let’s look at some common symptoms of low testosterone:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Low libido
Each of these symptoms could also make it difficult to remember, concentrate, and think clearly. Low energy levels and poor sleep health can make it difficult to think properly, as anyone who has had a bad night’s sleep knows. Feeling tired or worn out can make it difficult for your brain to perform at its best.
Also, mood changes like irritability, depression, and anxiety can impact your ability to concentrate and remember important details. Often, these changes make it difficult to focus on anything else. For example, when you’re feeling anxious, it may be difficult to focus on a large project at work if your anxiety levels are through the roof as you deal with low T.
What about sex drive? Does that really have anything to do with cognitive function? Once again, it may have an indirect effect on your overall quality of life, which can also make it difficult to focus on everyday tasks. For example, low libido can affect your relationships, which can cause a significant amount of stress and worry. As we know, this can cause some of the mental fog many men notice with low T. However, testosterone replacement therapy can help reduce these symptoms by bringing your testosterone levels back up to baseline levels.
Gaining Optimal Levels with Testosterone Replacement Injections
As we’ve mentioned, testosterone replacement may help improve cognitive function for men with low testosterone. However, that doesn’t mean taking high doses of TRT every day will make you a super genius. While testosterone may have a positive effect on mental function for men with low testosterone, studies show that these benefits may only appear within optimal hormone ranges.
Research shows that while cognition test scores tend to be higher for hypogonadal men on TRT, they are lower when levels are below or above optimal levels. Therefore, testosterone replacement should be used as a way to bring your hormone levels up to normal, healthy ranges. Too much or too little testosterone could negatively impact your brain health and overall wellness.
However, what are normal testosterone levels? In healthy men, testosterone levels are generally between 350 ng/dL and 1000 ng/dL. If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, a blood test helps us determine if your levels are lower than normal. For low testosterone, our provider may prescribe testosterone replacement injections. The goal of this therapy is to help raise your testosterone to baseline levels. Throughout your TRT regimen, our provider monitors your T levels. This allows us to make adjustments as necessary to your testosterone replacement dosage to help you achieve and maintain healthy hormone levels.
Studies Show Testosterone Replacement May Also Help with Alzheimer’s and Other Conditions That Affect the Brain
Low testosterone may also increase your risk for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment. Several studies link hypogonadism with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. However, recent studies show that testosterone replacement may help reduce this risk. Researchers looked at the effects of TRT on patients with mild cognitive impairment and noticed improvements for patients who had low testosterone levels after they started testosterone replacement therapy. Several scientists also believe that testosterone may have a protective effect on cognitive functions, potentially slowing the rate of cognitive decline. While further studies must be done, testosterone replacement may offer even more advantages for hypogonadal men.
If you’re experiencing low energy levels, decreased libido, mental fog, or other symptoms of low testosterone, it’s important to have your hormone levels checked. At Low T Center, we offer comprehensive men’s health care to help you feel your best. We take a broad view of your health to address underlying causes of your symptoms. Our goal is to help you take control of your health and achieve your health goals. Our providers work with you to find customized treatment solutions that fit your lifestyle. Book an appointment online today for a comprehensive health assessment to talk to one of our providers about your symptoms and health concerns.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.