While men’s bodies actually turn some of their male sex hormones (testosterone) into estrogen, both levels decline as they get older, and researchers had no way of discerning which hormone was responsible for complaints of diminished strength, energy and libido until a new study led by Dr. Joel Finkelstein of Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that “low T” may actually be “low E.”
“A lot of things we think are due to testosterone deficiencies are really related to the estrogen deficiency that accompanies it,” he stated, after exploring the effects of the two hormones on 400 men between the ages of 20-50.
Trial subjects were given shots of a drug to reduce production of testosterone temporarily, then given testosterone gel or a placebo gel to use. 50% of the men were also given a drug to prevent the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. After four months, Finkelstein and his team saw that the size and strength of muscles depended on the male sex hormone, while body fat mass relied on the estrogen. It was also found that a lack of estrogen decreased desire, while a low level of testosterone impeded erectile function.
Note: Full details of Finklestein's report can be found in the September 11th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.