Washington: Elderly people who have higher levels of testosterone are less likely to suffer from muscle loss and could lead a much healthier life than those with low levels of the male sex hormone, a new study has found.
The four-year study that involved 1,183 men aged over 65 found that those who had higher testosterone levels lost less of their lean muscle mass, especially in their arms and legs, than men who had lower testosterone levels.
Additionally, it was found that men having higher levels of the hormone lost less leg function, and could stand up more easily from a chair, LiveScience reported.
"The amount of testosterone men have in their bodies may contribute to how much muscle and strength they lose as they get older," said study researcher Dr. Erin LeBlanc, of Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland.
"Our study adds evidence to the growing body of literature that suggest higher levels of endogenous testosterone may be favourably associated with some key components of healthy ageing in men," LeBlanc said.
According to the researchers, loss of muscle mass and strength contribute to frailty and are associated with falls, mobility limitations and fractures.
Men lose more muscle mass and strength than women as they age, suggesting that sex steroids, and testosterone in particular, may contribute to body composition and physical function changes, they said.
In the study, the researchers used dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans to measure the amounts of muscle and fat in the participants` bodies.
Physical performance was also measured using a series of exercises that assessed grip strength, lower extremity power, walking speed and the ability to rise from a chair without using its arms.
The study will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.