Men with low testosterone levels may be more likely to have severe Covid, a small new study suggests. In the previous research, it was found out that men tend to develop more severe Covid than women, but the reason was not clear. On average, men produced higher levels of testosterone than women. According to one theory, men with a higher level of testosterone face severe Covid than women. But the new research findings are different than this.
To understand the relationship between testosterone and Covid severity, blood samples were gathered from 90 men and 62 women by the researchers with symptoms of Covid and tested positive for the virus. Among those, 143 were admitted to the hospital. Blood samples were taken from the patient by the researchers who were still hospitalized on the 3rd, 7th, 14th, and 28th day. The testosterone level of those patients was measured, a form of estrogen known as estradiol and a growth hormone IGF-1. In women, there was no link between the severity of Covid and hormone measured.
In men, estrogen and IGF-1 levels didn’t predict disease severity, but testosterone levels did. Men with severe Covid admitted to hospital had an average testosterone level of 52 nanograms per deciliter whereas those with less severe disease had an average of 151 nanograms per deciliter of testosterone. The other known risks factor for severe Covid was controlled by the researchers like BMI, comorbidities, smoking, and race.
On the 3rd day of hospitalization men with severe Covid, the average testosterone level had dropped to 19 nanograms per deciliter. Total 37 of the patient died during the study, of which 25 were men. Lower testosterone levels in men caused higher levels of inflammation in the body.
According to Dr. Sandeep Dhindsa, the lead author and an endocrinologist at Saint Louis University, “Those men with COVID-19 who were not severely ill initially, but had low testosterone levels, were likely to need intensive care or intubation over the next two or three days. Lower testosterone levels seemed to predict which patients were likely to become very ill over the next few days.”
It is still not clear due to severe Covid testosterone level dropped or due to lower level of testosterone caused more severe Covid in the first place, the authors wrote.