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Testosterone Levels in Men Decline Over Past Two Decades

(especially albumin); as its name implies, it is available to tissues to support various functions within the body.

The NERI team carefully analyzed the data to compare men of similar ages during each phase of the study. After accounting for age and additional factors such as obesity, smoking, and medications, the researchers found that, each year, the subjects’ total and bio-available testosterone decreased an average of 1.2 and 1.3 percent, respectively.

For men 65-69 years of age in this study, average total testosterone levels fell from 503 ng/dL (nanograms/deciliter) in 1988 to 423 ng/dL in 2003. A normal, healthy adult male usually has blood total testosterone concentrations that range anywhere from 300-1000 ng/dL.

Travison acknowledged that hormone concentrations in the blood are difficult to measure, primarily due to normal daily fluctuations. To ensure these changes did not bias the results, two samples were obtained at each visit, and all were taken early in the morning, when testosterone levels are at their highest.

In addition, each MMAS data collection period utilized the same laboratory and the same technology to analyze subjects’ blood.

“Nevertheless,” said Travison, “time and technology march on, so it’s impossible to completely rule out the influence of subtle changes in the way the samples were obtained or processed. That being said, our results appear to be consistent across the various waves of the study.”

The researchers point out that, although subjects’ current health was taken into account as part of the analysis, it is impossible to account for certain health or environmental influences that may have impacted the subjects’ testosterone levels prior to enrolling in the study.

“This analysis deals with men who were born between 1915 and 1945,” said Travison, “but our baseline data were not obtained until the late 1980s, when the elder subjects were about 70 y
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