- A 2023 study found that people with arthritis had lower testosterone levels, and people with low testosterone were more likely to develop arthritis.
- Healthy testosterone levels support weight management and muscle mass, which could protect against arthritis.
s men get older, low testosterone and arthritis can be a natural—but debilitating—aspect of aging. Now, research suggests that the two health conditions could be closely linked.
A new study in the journal Scientific Reports looked at over 10,000 men and women who had previously recorded their medical history in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1). Researchers found that adults with arthritis had lower serum testosterone levels, They also found that having low testosterone was associated with a higher risk of developing arthritis. (This link is closer in women and overweight people.)
The reverse also appears true: Researchers discovered that The group with the highest level of testosterone was 51 percent less likely to develop arthritis, which suggests that having higher T levels could protect against arthritis.
How Could Testosterone Protect Against Arthritis?
Researchers suspect that testosterone is protective against osteoarthritis—a common type of arthritis that causes the soft tissue at the end of your bones to wear down—because it supports muscle strength and weight management. Weakening muscles and obesity are major risk factors for developing osteoarthritis (2).
“Increasing testosterone levels will promote the building of muscle and will protect against the breakdown of muscle,” says family medicine doctor Jim Staheli, D.O. “This will lead to the promotion of muscle growth.”
A 2019 clinical review found that preserving your muscle can help support your bones and joints by absorbing impact, which may protect against osteoarthritis symptoms (3).
About the Expert:
Dr. James R. Staheli, D.O., is the Medical Director for Broad Health, Hone Health’s partner organization, and a family medicine doctor in Atlanta, Georgia.
How to Increase Testosterone
More research is needed before we have a final verdict on if arthritis alone can cause low testosterone—or if upping your T can stave off arthritis. But if you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone like muscle loss, fatigue, low libido, and depression, you should assess your levels to find out if they’re where they should be for your age.