Testosterone memory

testosterone memory, does low testosterone cause brain fog

Could Low Testosterone Be Causing Your Brain Fog?

While it’s true that testosterone’s primary functions are sexual desire and sexual function, researchers are finding that testosterone affects much more. An additional potential role for testosterone is that of cognition or helping you think.

While testosterone isn’t the only hormone involved in cognition, research suggests the hormone may play a part in brain health. Keep reading to find out more about the connections between testosterone, brain fog, and thinking.

Here’s a quick summary of what researchers currently know about testosterone and the brain.

Testosterone is a type of hormone called an androgen. Researchers have identified that within the brain, there are specific androgen receptors. Think of these receptors as light switches that only androgen hormones can activate.

Researchers also know that testosterone can cross the blood-brain barrier. This barrier is a protective mechanism in your brain designed to keep substances that could potentially damage it out, and allow other substances in (including some medications). The fact that testosterone can cross the blood-brain barrier means that it could cause some changes in thinking or brain functioning.

Researchers have also found testosterone has protective effects on the brain. Examples include:

  • delaying nerve cell death
  • improving nerve cell regrowth after damage
  • reducing the effects of nerve damage
  • having anti-inflammatory actions on the nerves

These are just some of the potentially protective benefits to the brain that researchers think testosterone may have, and we’re sure to learn more in the coming years as studies continue.

Language matters

In this article, we use “male and female” to refer to someone’s sex as determined by their chromosomes, and “men and women” when referring to their gender, unless quoting from sources using nonspecific language. The studies cited within the article frequently do not delineate between sex and gender and can be assumed to have entirely cisgender participants.

Sex is determined by chromosomes, and gender is a social construct that can vary between time periods and cultures. Both of these aspects are acknowledged to exist on a spectrum both historically and by modern scientific consensus.

Cognitive decline tends to occur with aging. Testosterone levels also tend to decrease with aging as well. Some smaller studies also suggested that men with lower testosterone levels tend to have poorer cognitive function than men the same age with higher testosterone levels.

Sometimes, low testosterone levels cause symptoms such as difficulty maintaining an erection or low sex drive. People tend to connect these more with low testosterone, but it can also cause symptoms that don’t seem connected to testosterone at first. These nonspecific symptoms include:

If you have these symptoms, and can’t identify another underlying cause (like staying up late at night or a poor diet), low testosterone levels could play a role.

Most of the studies that connect testosterone with improving mental function are on older men, often because they may be more impacted by changes in memory function. However, researchers have actually found higher testosterone levels reduce the abilities to perform thinking tasks in younger males. For this reason, researchers tend to think low testosterone could negatively impact thinking specifically in older age.

What happens if low testosterone goes untreated?

Low testosterone can cause symptoms that include low sex drive, reduced lean muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, and fatigue. Those with low testosterone many have difficulty focusing and lower energy levels, yet don’t know their symptoms are related to low testosterone.

Low testosterone can certainly affect your life, especially your sex life, which can be an important part of your overall health and well-being. However, low testosterone doesn’t tend to cause many significant life threatening conditions. An exception is that low testosterone can cause weakened bones, which increases your risk for osteoporosis.

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