Evidence Strong Logo

Evidence Strong

Effects of moderate increase in testosterone levels in women

Summary of a study looking at the effect of moderate testosterone increase on performance in active healthy women.

Testosteronea hormone; males have 15 times higher circulating concentration of this hormone than females; normal female levels 0.1-1.8 nmol/L, normal male levels 7.7-29.4 nmol/L

Who

48 healthy physically active women (Sweden).

Testosterone group
24 women aged 28.4 (±3.2)
Placebo group
24 women aged 28.4 (±4.3)

Design

Randomised double-blinded (participants, assessors) controlled trial.

Testosterone group

  • Testosterone cream 10 mg (1 mL) (Andro-Feme 1) applied every evening to the upper outer thigh for 10 weeks

Placebo group

  • Placebo cream (1 mL) applied every evening to the upper outer thigh for 10 weeks

Main results

  • Serum levels of testosterone increased to 4.3 nmol/L in the Testosterone group (from 0.9 nmol/L).
  • Also, the Testosterone group had increased total lean mass, lower limbs lean mass, and running time to exhaustion when compared with the Placebo group.
  • No difference between the groups in haemoglobin concentration, fat percentage, spinal bone mineral density, oxygen uptake, average power in the Wingate test, squat jump, countermovement jump, and isokinetic knee extension peak torque.
  • Adverse events included increased acne, body hair growth, and menstrual disturbances (ie, prolonged cycles). Return to normal took 4 months after study completion.
  • All women finished the study and adherence to the treatment was good.

Take home message

For a clinician
Moderate increase in circulating testosterone caused a significant increase in aerobic running time, total lean body mass, and lower limb lean mass.
For a parent
Differences in performance between men and women in athletic performance are likely related to differences in testosterone hormone levels.
For an athlete
Differences in performance between men and women in athletic performance are likely related to differences in testosterone hormone levels.

Original article

Hirschberg AL, Knutsson JE, Helge T, Godhe M, Ekblom M, Bermon S, Ekblom B. Effects of moderately increased testosterone concentration on physical performance in young women: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled study. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2019 Sep 26:bjsports-2018.

Clinical trial registration NCT03210558.

© 2020, built by @ognus
To the top