The whole world has been taken by storm by the rapid spread of coronavirus. While society has, for the most part, been turned on its head, most people are starting to recognize that we need to take more care of our most basic needs – especially our health.
Normally, one of the most important things as a bodybuilder or athlete to keep in check is your testosterone levels. This becomes increasingly important when you realize that some research suggests that there is a link between low testosterone and coronavirus.
In this article, I’ll explain all of the available information surrounding testosterone and corona virus.
If there is a link between low testosterone and corona virus, understanding it could help keep you in good shape throughout the pandemic.
How COVID-19 affects humans
The COVID-19 crisis has affected everyone across the globe. Understanding how COVID-19, also known as the novel corona virus, affects people is important. Especially if you want to know about the link between low testosterone and corona virus.
COVID-19 is a disease that specifically attacks the respiratory system. It can be fatal in a significant number of cases. It causes fatalities by leading to heavy amounts of mucus forming in the lungs. This mucus can solidify and make it difficult to breathe.
As of yet, there is no known cure for the corona virus.
Medical care can certainly help people manage some of the most difficult symptoms and can lead to an improvement of the condition in many cases.
Unfortunately, since the virus is new, humans have no inherent immunity to it. This is one of the reasons that it can spread so quickly and so easily.
Many different parts of the human body interact with our immune system. Various hormonal systems, neurotransmitters, enzymes, and other biological processes relate to the way that our body handles viruses and illnesses.
Some research has been done on the link between corona virus and testosterone, the male hormone. It suggests that people with certain levels of testosterone may be more at risk of developing issues with COVID-19. Let’s dig deeper.
Testosterone and COVID-19
Most bodybuilders and athletes are concerned about the effects of low testosterone.
Low testosterone is associated with issues like a decrease in muscle mass, lower energy, and lower libido. In other words, things that most men don’t want.
However, research seems to be suggesting that low testosterone might make it easier for the body to cope with coronavirus. Here’s how.
Low testosterone and coronavirus
Most men will probably be surprised to learn that low testosterone is linked to an improvement in their ability to cope with the corona virus.
According to a study published by Columbia University Irving Medical Center, people who lower the amount of testosterone in their body may develop some extra defenses which can help them prevent the corona virus from spreading so quickly.
While these findings don’t replace the need for a vaccine, they are significant enough for researchers and medical professionals to decide to run a clinical trial on the effects of testosterone reduction therapy in order to reduce COVID-19 symptoms.
The test is designed to help measure the effects of lowered T-levels for people struggling with corona virus in New York, L.A., and Seattle. Study subjects will either be given a placebo pill or a medication that helps to remove testosterone from the bloodstream.
This has led to the belief that lower testosterone levels will lead to a decrease in coronavirus symptoms. And, while research is still in the earliest stages, this could be a viable option to help people who are struggling.
However, there has also been some conflicting information that seems to suggest that low levels of testosterone may make older men more likely to die from corona virus.
In other words, people who don’t have enough T might have a worse time when it comes to COVID.
So what is it: Is it better to have low testosterone or high testosterone?
I’ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s look closer at how coronavirus affects men and women differently.
Men, Women, and COVID-19
According to Vito A. Giagulli, MD, Ph.D., and author of the study linked to above, men are generally more likely to experience COVID-19.
He seems to believe that this has something to do with the natural levels of testosterone present in a man.
Whether it’s higher testosterone levels when compared to women (who are less likely to become ill from COVID-19) or because of low T levels occurring later in life, a condition which is often related to decreased immunity.
This rings true all across the globe. One of the first studies regarding COVID-19, published in regards to the corona virus outbreak in Wuhan, revealed that about three-quarters of all people hospitalized with COVID-19 were men.
At first, this led people to think that men were more likely to contract the virus. However, this recent research seems to suggest that men aren’t necessarily more likely to contract the disease itself.
Instead, they are just as likely to contract the disease as women – but they’re more likely to experience serious symptoms and hospitalization.
Whatever the case, men are certainly more at risk than women. In Lombardy in Italy – the country that was initially hit hardest by the outbreak – 82% of the region’s 1591 ICU patients were male between the dates of Feb. 20 to March 18.
Men and coronavirus
According to some of his research published in the journal Andrology, Giagulli revealed that men who have significantly worse symptoms of COVID often struggle with hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism, the opposite of hypergonadism, is a condition in which men struggle to produce the necessary amount of testosterone.
Further research also seems to suggest that another compound related to COVID-19 is produced in the testicles.
This compound, known as ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) is required for the coronavirus to enter the cells of the human body, suggesting that COVID-19 might infect the male testes.
Because of this, the research suggests that men with lower testosterone might be more at risk for having a weaker immune response. This can make them more likely to develop serious COVID-19 symptoms.
So far, this idea has only been tested in a single small study that focused on 31 men. These men all struggled with COVID-19 pneumonia.
Men who struggled with pneumonia, as well as hypogonadism, were more likely to experience a fatality than men who had higher levels of testosterone.
Several studies have revealed that men who struggle with male pattern baldness – a condition that is generally linked to high testosterone levels – are more likely to develop COVID-19.
Some 79% of men admitted to three Madrid hospitals for COVID-19 had male pattern baldness.
High testosterone and coronavirus
Really understanding the reasons why low testosterone might be beneficial in battling the coronavirus requires some further understanding of how the virus works in the first place.
The COVID-19 virus primarily makes use of two proteins found in the human body. These proteins are known as TMPRSS2 and ACE2.
The corona virus latches onto these proteins, which draws them into the cells of the human body.
Research has revealed that testosterone can help reduce the amount of TMPRSS2 molecules in the human body, therefore lowering the capability of COVID-19 from entering human cells.
This is in stark contrast with the information gathered in the previous study, which seems to suggest that men with low testosterone are more likely to deal with corona virus.
One thing is clear, and that is that much more research is needed in the area.
More Research Required
As you can see, there is still a great deal of controversy surrounding the link between the corona virus and testosterone.
Some research seems to indicate that testosterone is necessary for COVID-19 to enter host cells.
The body contains certain proteins, which COVID-19 can attach to before entering and infecting the cells of the human body. These cells rely on testosterone to function, so without testosterone, you won’t be as vulnerable to COVID-19.
But on the other hand, some research seems to indicate that high levels of testosterone can also help to minimize coronavirus.
This other research shows that men who have hypogonadism – that is, men who produce less testosterone – are generally more susceptible to symptoms of coronavirus.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that we simply don’t know enough about the link between corona virus and testosterone. However, research seems to indicate that testosterone levels are important regarding the dangers caused by the virus.
Testosterone-lowering therapy is being considered as a potential cure for helping people reduce the risk of COVID-19 symptoms.
Considering that the development of a widespread vaccine is still a while away, this is a promising potential treatment for the time being.