Testosterone supplements reduce the risk of heart attack risk in men with low testosterone levels and existing coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study from the Intermountain Medical Centre Heart Institute in Salt Lake City. The study presented at the 65th Annual Scientific Session of American College of Cardiology on April 3 revealed that non-testosterone therapy patients were 80 percent more likely to experience cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart attacks, and even death.

“The study shows that using testosterone replacement therapy to increase testosterone to normal levels in androgen-deficient men doesn’t increase their risk of a serious heart attack or stroke,” adds the Intermountain Medical Centre Heart Institute’s co-director and cardiologist, Brent Muhlestein.  “That was the case even in the highest-risk men — those with known pre-existing heart disease.”

The researchers investigated 755 severe CAD male patients from ages 58 to 78 years at the Intermountain Healthcare hospitals. The researchers divided them into three groups, all of which got different doses of testosterone through injection or gel.

Study finds testosterone supplementation reduces heart attack risk in men with heart disease. Photo from HealthiNation

Study finds testosterone supplementation reduces heart attack risk in men with heart disease. Photo from HealthiNation

A year later, 64 non-testosterone therapy patients suffered from the cardiovascular events. Twelve of those who took medium doses and nine who took high doses suffered the same.

One hundred twenty-five patients who did not receive testosterone suffered major adverse cardiovascular events three years later. Only 38 of those who took medium doses and 22 who took high doses suffered the same adverse events.

The study echoes an earlier study in 2015 that showed testosterone supplements do not increase stroke or heart attacks in men with low testosterone levels and without heart disease. Muhlestein insists that this does not have enough proof to change current treatments. More clinical trials are needed to verify the benefits.

The researchers point out that the FDA required the use of labels that showed the supplements’ coronary risks in 2015. However, their study provides new insights that could change this.

“The FDA’s warning was based on the best clinical information available at the time,” adds Muhlestein. “As further information, like our research, becomes available — and especially after a large randomised clinical outcomes trial can be accomplished — hopefully the FDA will be able to change its warning.”