The Truth about Testosterone Therapy for Bone Health
It is a fact that bone density decreases as we age. This coincides with a natural decline in hormone levels, such as testosterone and growth hormone – two crucial chemical messengers that play leading roles in protecting and maintaining bone density.
The use of testosterone therapy for bone health is beneficial for both men and women diagnosed with Low T who are also worried about osteoporosis in later years of life.
Testosterone does not protect your bones by itself; it has help from the following four hormones:
- Human growth hormone
- Insulin growth factor 1
Just as women need testosterone in their bodies (in a lesser degree), men also need estrogen – although not in the same level as females.
How does testosterone affect bones?
Testosterone has a direct impact on osteoblasts and osteocytes:
- Osteoblasts – bone forming cells responsible for synthesis and mineralization of bone during formation and remodeling
- Osteocytes – derived from osteoblasts, osteocytes are the cell that lies within the fully formed bone – these are the most abundant form of mature bone cell
The importance of testosterone for bone health can also be seen indirectly in osteoblasts as well as osteoclasts:
- Osteoclasts – the cells that breakdown bone for resorption
When you maintain an adequate supply of testosterone, bone health strengthens and helps to prevent the onset of osteopenia and osteoporosis.
The Role of Testosterone for Building Bones
Testosterone gets its production signals from hormones secreted by the pituitary gland – specifically luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These chemicals, in turn, receive their production stimulus from the hypothalamus. The testosterone effect on bones begins with the hypothalamus receiving signals from testosterone that its levels are low. When that happens, the hypothalamus sends hormones out to the pituitary gland to initiate the process.
Another hormone that the pituitary releases is human growth hormone (HGH), which then triggers the liver to secrete insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This is where the process of utilizing testosterone therapy for bone health comes into play.
Testosterone helps to ensure that enough HGH and IGF-1 are available to stimulate the process of cellular regeneration – the growth of new cells to replace those that continually die off.
Why does testosterone affect bones if progesterone is an issue?
Progesterone is the source hormone for the production of testosterone. If you do not have enough healthy cholesterol in your body, progesterone production will decline, leaving you at a deficit for the manufacturing of testosterone.
Low testosterone levels accelerate the process of bone turnover – when old bone cells are reabsorbed into the body at a faster rate than new bone cells being produced.
How Low Testosterone Impacts Bone Density
It is necessary to have ample testosterone to increase bone density in the body. Although the effect of testosterone on bone density is seen as an indirect action, it is a vital part of the process.
Estrogen is the hormone that preserves bone density. One reason that there is a significant testosterone effect on bone density is that the body naturally converts some of the excess free testosterone in the bloodstream into estradiol (a form of estrogen). This conversion occurs when an enzyme called aromatase that is produced in the visceral belly fat targets the free testosterone.
One of the reasons that we see such positive changes from testosterone replacement and bone density is the fact that people dealing with Low T have less testosterone available for this conversion which can then lower estrogen levels in the bloodstream.
When you receive testosterone therapy for bone health, you increase the amount of this hormone available for conversion by aromatase into estradiol – the usable form of estrogen that preserves the bone mineral density that helps you avoid the risk of osteoporosis.
How to Help Strengthen Bones with Testosterone Therapy
For men, osteoporosis is almost always linked to low testosterone as that can also affect estrogen levels be decreasing how much is available to undergo conversion into estradiol – crucial for the maintenance of bone density.
While it is uncommon to see a prescription of testosterone therapy for bone health as the sole purpose of treatment, it is a natural to undergo testosterone supplementation when a diagnosis of Low T backs up the reason for weakened bones.
Since women naturally have more estrogen in their bodies, doctors tend to look to estrogen replacement as the first line of defense. That may not help if low testosterone is also an issue. That is why blood analysis is crucial when a person is faced with the prospect of low hormone levels.
To learn more about testosterone and strong bones, and how to get tested for hormonal imbalance or decline, please contact Kingsberg Medical for a free consultation with a clinical advisor to discuss your personal situation.Brian Leeber