our diet, exercise habits, age, and genetics can all contribute to your risk for low testosterone. But new research suggests that one unexpected lifestyle choice could be associated with even lower T levels: marriage.
A new meta-analysis of over 25,000 men published in Annals of Internal Medicine aimed to deduce if lifestyle factors are responsible for testosterone declines (1).
This finding suggests that lifestyle factors may be responsible for the dip in testosterone levels. Researchers identified a few no-brainer comorbidities like smoking, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer that were associated with lower testosterone levels.
But the research yielded a few surprises. The biggest: married men—independent of age—were significantly more likely to have lower testosterone than their single counterparts. Compared to other lifestyle factors that are linked to low T, marriage is surprisingly significant. Marriage was linked to a decrease of 16.4 ng/dL of testosterone on average. That’s a greater decrease in T than former smokers experience on average at 9.8 ng/dL.
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Researchers suspect that the link may be due to the stress of family life. Stress impacts testosterone levels because cortisol (the stress hormone) causes T levels to plummet (2). However, that’s just a guess. “Our study wasn’t designed to look further into this result,” study author Bu Yeap said.
Don’t worry. This link doesn’t necessarily mean that getting married will put you at risk for low testosterone. But if you’re experiencing symptoms—like fatigue, muscle loss, or low libido—and want to check your hormone levels, Hone’s at-home hormone test can give you insights into your free and total testosterone levels.