Even Borderline Low Testosterone can Cause Depression

by Dr. Paul Thomas

In a study presented March 7, 2015, at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, over half the men with borderline testosterone levels were suffering from depression. They studied 200 adult men between 20 and 77 years of age whose testosterone levels were borderline (200 – 350 ngm/dL) and found 56% of the study participants had significant depressive symptoms.

These rates of depressive symptoms were higher than the 15 to 22% in an ethnically diverse sample of primary care patients and the 5.6% among overweight and obese US adults. Other findings in these borderline and low testosterone men were:

  • Overweight (39%)
  • Obesity (40%)
  • Physical inactivity (51%)
  • Erectile dysfunction (78%)
  • Low libido (69%)
  • Low energy (52%)

I am glad to see the endocrine society sharing this awareness that low testosterone is both prevalent and causing a lot of distress in our male population. Current guidelines being used by many insurance companies won’t pay for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) unless a man has two levels below 300 ng/dL. Hopefully this will change as awareness increases that more and more men (both young and old) are suffering from low testosterone.