Many people view cholesterol in a negative light, and rightfully so. This waxy substance can build up in your arteries and lead to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
However, while many people view cholesterol as “bad” for health, there is good cholesterol—namely high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol—that helps remove bad cholesterol (LDL) from the body.
That said, some research has suggested that low testosterone levels may be associated with high cholesterol levels in men. Another study found that testosterone deficiency increased serum testosterone levels, however, the underlying mechanism behind the phenomenon is still unclear.
The connection between low testosterone and high cholesterol is still a subject of debate among medical professionals. Let’s review what the research says about this potential connection and what it might mean for your testosterone levels.
Cholesterol: Bad or Good? The Differences Between LDL and HDL
There are two primary forms of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), sometimes known as “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) is the cholesterol your body requires because it helps remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol from the blood.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is often referred to as bad cholesterol because it can build up on the walls of arteries and form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can block blood flow.
Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can lead to atherosclerosis, which causes narrowing and hardening of the arteries.
Atherosclerosis can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other problems such as erectile dysfunction due to the constricted blood flow that the body experiences.
The body needs HDL cholesterol to help remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. It does this by taking the LDL cholesterol to the liver where it’s broken down and passed from the body.
HDL cholesterol levels are often considered when looking at someone’s risk for heart disease. A high HDL level is thought to be protective against heart disease, while a low HDL level is a risk factor for heart disease.
Cholesterol and Testosterone Connection
Some studies suggest that there is a connection between cholesterol and testosterone levels. This is especially apparent in the case of Leydig cells.
Leydig cells in the testicles are crucial in the production of testosterone, being the primary source of androgen in the body. Leydig cells are sensitive to cholesterol levels and require this compound to produce testosterone. This is controlled by the pituitary gonadotropin luteinizing hormone.
When there are insufficient cholesterol levels in the body, it can lead to a shortage in testosterone produced in the body. As a result, men can suffer from symptoms of testosterone deficiency and low testosterone levels.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is important for sexual and reproductive development. The testicles produce testosterone, which is then circulated in the blood.
That said, many other factors can affect testosterone levels besides cholesterol, such as underlying health conditions. For instance, one study has found that men with cardiovascular disease who have high testosterone levels also have high HDL cholesterol levels.
It’s important to note that further research is needed to determine the exact relationship between cholesterol and testosterone levels. While some studies have shown a correlation, the causative factor between these two variables remains unclear at the present time.
Low Testosterone Signs and Symptoms
There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with low testosterone levels. Low testosterone can cause physical, emotional, and mental changes in men.
Some of the most common symptoms of low testosterone levels include:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bone loss
- Low sex drive
- Sleep problems
While some of these symptoms can be chalked up to normal aging, others may be indicative of a more serious problem. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor specializing in low testosterone to rule out any symptoms.
Low Testosterone Treatment
There are a few different ways to treat low testosterone levels. Here are some of the most effective ways to get treatment if you’re suffering from this condition.
Making lifestyle changes can help improve testosterone levels and reduce the risk of cholesterol buildup in the body.
Bad cholesterol build-up can be prevented or reduced by:
- Eating a diet with proper dietary cholesterol
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing stress levels
- Limiting alcohol intake
Making these lifestyle changes can help improve your physical, mental and sexual health, as well as increase healthy cholesterol and testosterone levels in the body.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Testosterone is a hormone that’s crucial for maintaining muscle mass, bone density, sex drive, and many other important functions in the body. Testosterone levels typically peak in early adulthood and then decline as men age.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a treatment option for men who have low testosterone levels. TRT involves supplementing the body with testosterone through injections, patches, gels, or implants.
For men with high cholesterol, testosterone replacement therapy can be beneficial in reducing the level of harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in the body.
One longitudinal study involving 255 men found that those who underwent testosterone therapy saw a significant reduction in the following compounds in the body:
- Total cholesterol levels
- LDL cholesterol levels
This proves that, in the long term, testosterone therapy can be an effective way to help reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health in men with high cholesterol.
Consult Medical Guidance from St. Louis’ Leading Low Testosterone Specialists
While high cholesterol doesn’t directly cause low testosterone levels, the two conditions are often comorbid. That is, men with high cholesterol are more likely to also have low testosterone levels.
There are a few different ways to treat both high cholesterol and low testosterone levels. These include making lifestyle changes, such as eating the right diet and living an active lifestyle.
If you’re concerned about your cholesterol or testosterone levels, it’s important to talk to a doctor. They’ll be able to help facilitate your treatment and help you get your levels back to normal, whether you’re 40 or 70 years old.
Contact the team at Paramount Men’s Medical Center in St. Louis now to schedule an appointment to have a consultation with an experienced and specially trained medical staff about male health issues. We are one of Missouri’s leading men’s clinics providing ED therapy, PE therapy, Acoustic Wave therapy, and much more.