A study of almost 4000 elderly men has drawn the strongest link ever between low testosterone and mood.
Low testosterone puts older men at significant risk of depression, says an Australian study which recommends those with abnormal levels consider getting injections of the sex hormone.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia tracked levels of both in men aged 70-plus and found those with the lowest testosterone were three times more likely to suffer depression than those with the highest levels.
This was true irrespective of a man's physical health, a finding researchers say is important because bad health is known to increase the risk of depression and decrease hormone levels.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands. It is the principal male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid.
In both men and women, testosterone plays a key role in health and well-being as well as in sexual functioning. Examples include enhanced libido, increased energy, and protection against osteoporosis. On average, an adult human male body produces about forty to sixty times more testosterone than an adult female body, but females are more sensitive to the hormone.However the overall ranges for male and female are very wide, such that the ranges actually overlap at the low end and high end respectively.