BY HANNA MALLETTE AND MEN’S FITNESS EDITORS
A new study shows that having a supportive social network is correlated with lower testosterone levels.
Ok, so you know there’s a correlation between testosterone and muscle mass. There’s some talk that testosterone could also help you to lose weight and ward off “manopause”. But, more testosterone isn’t always a good thing. When it comes to your romantic and family life, less may actually be better, research has found. In fact, men that maintain peaceful and loving relationships with women, especially while raising kids, have been shown to have lower testosterone levels than their more ill-tempered counterparts. The thinking is that lower testosterone helps men to be more nurturing.
This idea was the springboard for a new study out of The University of Notre Dame. Researchers wanted to find out if testosterone varies when guys have other types of supportive relationships, outside of the ones he has with his wife and kids.
The results: Yup. “When older men have emotionally supportive relationships with their siblings, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, they also have lower testosterone,” study author Lee T. Gettler, assistant professor of anthropology and director of the Notre Dame’s Hormones, Health, and Human Behavior Laboratory, said in a release.
And there are benefits to that outside of the sheer fact that you’ll have more friends and those friends will like you more. “We know that men and women with social support have much better health, overall, while testosterone affects risks for depression, cardiovascular disease, obesity and some cancers,” Gettler said.
So, as you get older and your testosterone levels naturally start to decrease, take solace in the fact that your social life will get a boost. If that’s not all that exciting to you, make sure to keep exercising—a sure-fire way to keep levels in check, and consider talking to your doctor about new testosterone replacement methods that won’t mess with your fertility.