Link between Cholesterol and Testosterone Levels
An examination of the link between cholesterol and testosterone levels turns up many similarities between the two, for example:
- Testosterone and cholesterol are both steroids sharing a similar chemical structure
- Cholesterol and testosterone are insoluble in blood and other water-based fluids
- Testosterone and cholesterol must bind to other compounds for transport in blood:
- Testosterone binds to sex hormone binding globulin for delivery to testosterone receptor cells
- Cholesterol binds to protein made by liver cells to form lipoproteins allowing cholesterol to reach the tissues and cells in the body by way of the bloodstream
The relationship between cholesterol and testosterone becomes even more apparent when you realize that cholesterol is the base substance for the production of testosterone.
Cholesterol is called a precursor – through a multi-step process, the body converts it into pregnenolone which is the basis for progesterone. Progesterone is the source hormone for the production of testosterone, estrogen, glucocorticoids, and other hormones.
The cholesterol and testosterone link is crucial to maintain because, without enough cholesterol in the body, testosterone and other hormone levels could plummet, creating widespread physiological breakdown and adverse reactions.
The Importance behind Cholesterol and Testosterone in the Body
Two problems that occur with frequency as people age are high cholesterol and low testosterone levels. If the body needs cholesterol for testosterone production, why would this be a problem?
First off, there are two different types of cholesterol:
- LDL – low-density lipoprotein – the “bad” cholesterol that clogs your arteries with dangerous fatty deposits
- HDL – high-density lipoprotein – the “good” cholesterol that carries extra blood cholesterol to the liver for removal
Now, forget everything you know about LDL and HDL cholesterol for a moment – there is no such thing as bad cholesterol. Without a proper supply of LDL cholesterol, testosterone conversion from progesterone may not occur.
The biggest issue with high LDL levels is that oxidation in the bloodstream is what can irritate the blood vessels. That is why vitamin C and E consumption is crucial – it prevents free radical damage resulting from oxidation.
To ensure proper cholesterol and testosterone production, the body must consume healthy supplies of dietary cholesterol. In fact, diets higher in healthy cholesterol and lower in sugar lead to a decline in LDL cholesterol levels. It turns out that sugar, and not cholesterol, is the body’s enemy.
Maintaining healthy cholesterol and testosterone levels are crucial for proper physiological, mental, and emotional health of the body.
Why Cholesterol Increases When Testosterone Levels Decline
The high cholesterol testosterone connection can be further illustrated with this explanation:
As testosterone levels decline, they interfere with the function of HDL cholesterol to remove any excess LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. This includes the LDL cholesterol attached to the arterial walls.
The connection between cholesterol and testosterone can be seen as LDL cholesterol forms a substance called plaque that builds up on the arterial walls, creating a narrowing effect that makes it hard for blood cells to pass through. *Remember – testosterone and other hormones are also circulating in the bloodstream trying to get through these narrowed and sometimes blocked arteries. Too much buildup of plaque can result in a heart attack if it occurs in a coronary artery.
High levels of LDL bad cholesterol and testosterone decline can happen when testosterone signals cannot get through to do their job and deliver crucial messages. These receptor sites need testosterone for proper physiological functions, cognition, memory, mood, and well-being.
As the levels of cholesterol affect testosterone, another issue becomes apparent – body fat.
Cholesterol comes from healthy fat, something the body requires. Low-fat diets, once viewed as the healthy choice, resulted in people getting heavier and heavier. That is why people who consume daily portions of calorie-laden nuts lose weight and have lower LDL and higher HDL cholesterol and testosterone levels.
How Testosterone Therapy Decreases Cholesterol Levels
For some people, changes in diet and exercise may be all that is necessary to make the difference between cholesterol and testosterone levels.
Other adults may need to take more dramatic steps to lower cholesterol, and testosterone replacement may be the answer. While too much testosterone can actually increase LDL cholesterol and lower HDL levels in some people, the right dosage can bring the essential balance that is necessary for a properly functioning body.
Increasing testosterone levels safely can help HDL cholesterol transport any excess LDL cholesterol away from the arterial walls and to the liver for safe removal from the body.
For individuals currently using statins to lower cholesterol, testosterone levels may be a significant problem. Please contact Kingsberg Medical for more information on the link between cholesterol and testosterone levels and to find out if you are a candidate for hormone replacement therapy.Brian Leeber