The Risk of Having Low T and COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted certain populations more significantly than others. With respect to gender, COVID-19 has more significantly affected men than women. In fact, researchers have found that men are twice as likely to contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus than females. Additionally, when they contract the virus, men are more likely to have a more severe course of COVID-19 illness and a higher mortality rate.
Recent research on the correlation between low testosterone levels and COVID-19 has shed light on why these gender differences exist and how men can potentially lower their risk of COVID-19.
How Testosterone and COVID-19 Are Related
At the onset of the pandemic, it was unclear to the scientific community why men were more affected by COVID-19 than women. Researchers in the United States and abroad hypothesized that male susceptibility to the SARS-CoV-2 virus might be related to the hormone testosterone, which is seven to eight times more abundant in men than in women. They found that men who had low serum testosterone levels were more likely to experience severe illness when they contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They were also more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit.
Testosterone and Immunity
An American and Saudi Arabian research team hypothesized that the mechanism that was driving the connection between low testosterone and COVID-19 illness was the upregulation of certain receptors on lung cells. To understand this connection, one must consider how the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the body. The virus enters through the mucous membranes—the eyes, nose, or mouth—and then binds to the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE-2) receptors on the lung’s alveolar epithelial cells. ACE-2 receptors are also expressed by the Leydig cells in the testes.
When a man’s testosterone levels drop, his body receives a signal to upregulate more ACE-2 receptors to compensate. A man who has low testosterone levels, then, will have more ACE-2 receptors not only on the cells of his testes, but also on his lung cells. This means that more entry points on his lung cells are available to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, making the lungs more vulnerable. Once the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters these vulnerable cells, men with low testosterone levels face a greater risk of lung damage and breakdown of their respiratory muscles, both of which can lead to a higher likelihood of needing to be ventilated.
How Improving Low T Levels Can Reduce COVID-19 Risk
Medical researchers suspect that because there is a correlation between testosterone levels and illness severity in men with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, correcting testosterone levels could have a positive effect. It has been demonstrated that when patients who have low testosterone levels are treated with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), their rates of hospitalization and all-cause mortality decrease. This indicates that correcting low testosterone levels with TRT may play a significant role in helping men who have COVID-19 illness.
How to Learn More
Men considering hormone replacement therapy in Los Angeles should look no further than Vitality RX®. As LA’s leader in TRT, the Vitality RX® staff can give men significant peace of mind when it comes to raising their testosterone levels and potentially lowering their COVID-19 risk. If you are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone or just want to know what your levels are, book an appointment at your convenience.