A 2019 study conducted by the University of Western Australia Medical School has discovered a link between men with higher levels of the sex hormone estradiol, a hormone produced by testosterone, and slower aging. This study is the largest of its kind to investigate the relationship between hormones and aging in older men.
As you may know, testosterone plays a critical role in male sexual function, including erectile function, sperm production and libido. But you may not have known that testosterone is converted into estradiol; and higher levels of estradiol are associated with longer telomeres, which are proteins that protect chromosomes from damage.
Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome whose primary function is to prevent the chromosome from fraying when cells divide. Researchers have compared them to the plastic caps at the ends of a shoelaces, protecting the tips of chromosomes when cells divide. Longer telomeres offer greater protection to chromosomes, which in turn slows cell aging. But telomeres become shorter each time cell division occurs.
Previous studies suggest that telomere shortening is associated with ill health, including heart disease, cancer, dementia and a shorter lifespan. In short, telomeres may determine overall health, lifespan, and the rate at which we age.
"The research suggests higher testosterone levels in older men, which is then converted to estradiol, might sustain youthfulness."
University researchers collected data from more than 2900 men between that ages of 70 and 89 and measured the testosterone and estradiol levels in their blood. They also measured the length of telomeres in DNA from their white blood cells.
The study’s lead, Professor Bu Yeap from the UWA Medical School, said that researchers found a clear correlation between higher estradiol levels and longer telomeres. He went on to say that chromosomes protected by longer telomeres slowed the aging process. "The research suggests higher testosterone levels in older men, which is then converted to estradiol, might sustain youthfulness," Professor Yeap said.
"We know from the study that testosterone, estradiol and telomeres are linked, however further research is needed to explore how this relationship works.”
The study was supported by the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia and is published in Clinical Endocrinology.
Source material: http://www.news.uwa.edu.au/2019013011200/could-higher-levels-testosterone-hold-key-slower-ageing