Key Relationships Between Lifestyle and Men Sexual Health

Key Relationships Between Lifestyle and Men Sexual Health

Last Reviewed : 12/28/2020
Key Relationships Between Lifestyle and Men Sexual Health

  • Serum testosterone levels declined over the last 2 decades
  • Overweight, poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle are common risk factors of testosterone deficiency
  • Organic diet and intermittent fasting improves erectile dysfunction and hypogonadism


Press release


Lifestyle choices continue to be a leading risk factor for a wide array of health conditions, including lowered hormone levels and subsequent sequalae. The AUA will showcase three new studies exploring the impact of exercise and diet – as well as a review of declining testosterone levels in adolescent and young men – during a special event for media on Friday, May 15 at 1:00 p.m. Dr. Charles Welliver, a member of the AUA's Public Media Committee, will moderate this press session. The following abstracts will be highlighted during this important session:

Trends in Serum Testosterone Levels Among Adolescent and Young Adult Men in the United States (#MP-78-01): The prevalence of testosterone deficiency among American men is significant, with 10 to 40 percent of adult men and 20 percent of adolescent and young men (ages 15-39) having lowered levels of testosterone. Using serum testosterone level data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), researchers reviewed data for more than 4,000 men from 1999-2016, and found an overall decrease in testosterone levels over time. Though elevated body mass index (BMI) was associated with reduced testosterone levels, a decline in testosterone was identified even in men with normal BMI. In men with normal BMI, testosterone levels declined from 664.79 ng/dl to 529.24 ng/dl between 1999-2000 and 2015-2016.

The Association Between Exercise and Serum Testosterone Among Men in the United States (#PD25-03): Being overweight, poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are common risk factors for testosterone deficiency. In this study, researchers explored the association between clinically practical, guideline-based activity levels (as defined by the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee) and serum testosterone levels recorded in the NHANES database from 2011-2016. Of the 7,597 men that met inclusion criteria for the review, most (5,164, 68 percent) met or exceeded recommended activity levels, while 2,433 (32 percent) did not. Low testosterone levels were detected in nearly one-third of the subjects, with those whose activity levels exceed recommendations had a significantly decreased likelihood of low testosterone compared to those with lower than recommended activity levels. 

Can Organic Diet be Protective against Hypogonadism and Erectile Dysfunction? (#MP78-08): Organic diet may have a positive impact on hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction (ED), according to this study, which explored correlations between dietary habits (organic diet, consumption of processed foods and intermittent fasting) and symptoms of these conditions. Researchers reviewed data from five validated instruments, an expansive dietary survey and laboratory values for total testosterone, free testosterone and estradiol for 297 men. Hypogonadism and ED were less prevalent in men who adhered to an organic diet, and ED and lower urinary tract symptoms were less prevalent in men who performed intermittent fasting, suggesting that healthy dietary habits may be protective against these conditions.

"Our understanding of low testosterone continues to rapidly expand, and these studies highlight a variety of interesting relationships between low testosterone and modifiable factors like diet and exercise" Dr. Welliver said. "While pharmacologic options are the backbone of treatment for men with low testosterone, the safety of long-term use is still under investigation. Lifestyle changes have previously demonstrated to have a significant effect on testosterone levels in men and these findings further support those findings."


Source: American Urological Society

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