Muscle Sport Magazine

4 Myths About Testosterone Debunked

Testosterone has got to be one of the most misunderstood molecules in physiology. If popular media and the zeitgeist would be believed, it is responsible for toxic masculinity, along with being solely responsible for the things that give masculinity its definition. You probably think that testosterone is the sole provider to men in their quest to build things like muscles, aggression and six-pack abs. This hormone molecule, however, probably isn’t responsible for as much as you might think. Let’s examine four popular myths and the truth behind them.

Myth: Testosterone is a Male Hormone

Testosterone is responsible for the development of many aspects of a male’s physiology. It spikes in production during puberty and contributes greatly in that transition from boy to man. It’s incredibly important for males in sexual and reproductive development. That part is absolutely true. It is, however, also incredibly important to females too.

It plays a critical role in the female reproductive cycle, being responsible for helping support ovulation. Receptors are found in tissues for both men and women and it assists and contributes to things like lean body mass, moods, cognitive and brain function, and bone health, along with a number of other things.

Myth: Testosterone Causes Aggression

There are a good number of studies that claim that individuals that exhibit signs of higher aggression, when tested, will have a higher testosterone level. One such study was conducted as recently as 2012 and published in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. But that just isn’t the end of the story. Many studies, including very thorough studies that involve placebo-controlled trials where participants are given testosterone supplements or placebos often show that there is no direct link between the amount of testosterone and the level of aggression.

From here it gets quite a bit more complicated but just as gray. Studies in this area are often poor quality or don’t have enough strong evidence linking testosterone to the correlation of violence or aggression.

Myth: Higher Testosterone Levels Increase Your Sexual Performance

And now for a myth that is just outright untrue. There is no evidence of any correlation between testosterone levels and sexual prowess, despite what many dubious product’s marketing campaigns might try and get you to believe. Many of these adverts and pseudo-studies claim that the higher your testosterone levels, the higher your sex drive or performance is, or even go as far as claiming that you’ll last longer in bed.

Scientifically, there is just no truth to this. That’s because a relatively low level of testosterone is actually necessary for a normal level of sexual performance and function. In fact, some studies even say that sexual activity can increase testosterone, and not the other way around.

Myth: Better Athletes Have Higher Testosterone Levels

There have been many cases where claims about the level of testosterone in an athlete’s body is directly related to their performance as an athlete. This has gone as far as banning athletes like South Africa’s Caster Semenya from competing in women’s athletics without decreasing their testosterone levels. The truth is much more muddled than that, however, with many studies stating that there is no hard evidence to predict the speed or strength of an athlete based on their testosterone level. Some even, after consulting with a wellness professional, might use it as a supplement.

As you can see, testosterone, the humble hormone molecule that begins with the letter “T”, and is sometimes referred to by this shortened name, really does get a bad reputation that it likely doesn’t deserve. Like many of our body’s self-produced hormones and nutrients, it plays a vital role in our development and function, and that’s just about all that it does.

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