Depression Higher In Men With Borderline Testosterone Levels

An article that appeared in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reports the findings of researchers at George Washington University of a greater risk of depression and depressive symptoms in men with borderline testosterone levels.*

“In an era where more and more men are being tested for ‘low T’—or lower levels of testosterone—there is very little data about the men who have borderline low testosterone levels,” observed lead researcher Michael S. Irwig, MD.


Dr. Irwig and his associates analyzed data from 200 men between 20 to 77 years of age who were referred for tertiary care for testosterone levels ranging from 200 to 350 ng/dL. Patient Health Questionnaire scores were used to determine the presence of depressive symptoms.

The study results showed that, compared with the general population, men with borderline testosterone levels had a significantly higher rate of depression than the general population (56% versus 23%). Analysis showed that the study participants had higher rates of obesity and lower rates of physical activity than men in the general population. Study subjects also suffered from erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, fewer morning erections, low energy, and sleep disturbances. Rates of depression were 62% for study participants in their 20s and 30s, 65% for those in their 40s, 51% for those in their 50s and 45% for those age 60 and over.

Editor’s Note: “Clinicians should consider screening for depression/depressive symptoms and overweight and unhealthy lifestyle risk factors in men referred for tertiary care for potential hypogonadism,” the authors conclude. Life Extension has long urged aging men to consider maintaining total testosterone levels in the range of 700-900 ng/dL, which is where younger, healthier men normally are.