Testosterone may be good for the health of older women, evidence shows. Women with higher levels of testosterone were linked to a lower risk for disease, according to a new study.
The oldest women in a study of more than 6,000 had significantly more testosterone than the younger women, it found.
The study suggested higher testosterone may give women “a survival advantage,” said Susan Davis, a professor in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Australia.
“Testosterone in older women comes predominantly from hormones released by the adrenal glands, which are then converted into testosterone in cells like fat and skin,” Davis told Considerable.
“Having higher circulating blood levels of testosterone may either confer a health/survival advantage or be a surrogate marker of better health and aging,” she said.
The research measured sex steroid levels in women ages 70 to 95, noting that the levels of the female hormone estrone and male hormone testosterone varied widely. Levels of both naturally decrease as women age.
Women ages 80 to 84 had average testosterone levels some 9% higher than women ages 70 to 74 years, and in women over 85, the level was more than 11% higher.
Also, testosterone levels in women age 70 and older were the same as levels in healthy women ages 18 to 39, Davis said.
“It appears that women as they age, if they survive, tend to have higher testosterone levels,” she said.
Another recent study from Davis’ team found testosterone boosted libido in older women.
The findings could add to the debate over testosterone treatments for postmenopausal women.
Testosterone is prescribed by some doctors to treat depression in older women. It also is prescribed to build bone mineral density, body composition or muscle strength.
The study on libido said it found no such benefits, but Davis noted the study was small, the data was inconclusive and future research may show otherwise.