supplements helped stable heart failure patients with moderate to severe
disease breathe better and exercise more, according to a review of four
None of the male
patients developed signs of prostate disease and there was no increase in
However, large clinical
trials are needed before being able to translate these findings to
April 17, 2012 – Testosterone supplements helped heart
breathe better and exercise more, according to research in Circulation
Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.
analyzed four randomized clinical trials of patients with moderate to severe
chronic heart failure. Patients were given commercial testosterone
supplements by injection, patch or gel.
the analysis of these studies, those who received supplemental testosterone
scored 50 percent better in a six-minute walking test than those receiving
two of the studies, the severity of heart failure as measured by the New
York Heart Association classification system
improved one to two grades in 35 percent of treated patients compared to 9.8
percent of those who didn’t receive the supplements. Researchers noted gains
in muscle and skeletal endurance that appeared quickly and lasted for a
least one year.
improvement in exercise capacity was consistent across all of the studies,”
said Justin A. Ezekowitz, M.D., M.Sc., study author and assistant professor
and director of the Heart Function Clinic at the University of Alberta in
Edmonton, Canada. “Compared to patients in placebo groups, the differences
findings are confirmed in larger clinical trials, testosterone therapy could
be one of the first heart failure therapies targeting the peripheral
(skeletal) muscle rather than the cardiac muscle, he said.
studies included 198 patients, 84 percent men, averaging 67 years of age.
One study exclusively in women who were taking lower doses of testosterone
than men, found similar improvements.
significant adverse events were reported, including treatment- or
exercise-related cardiovascular events, and there was no increase in
prostate cancer or abnormal prostate health parameters in the men.
results are encouraging, larger studies are needed as well as studies of the
various testosterone delivery methods, Ezekowitz said. “We don’t want
patients and their loved ones rushing to buy testosterone supplements
online, or physicians to misinterpret the findings. First the results need
to be corroborated in large clinical trials.”