Your health is one of your most substantial assets with testosterone being one of the contributors to good health. In fact, low testosterone can affect your memory and lead to brain fog. To keep healthy, it’s, therefore, critical we understand the close bond between testosterone and your brain.
While sometimes underestimated, testosterone’s wide reach and versatile interactions with other organs reiterate its significance. Being a key player in reproductive and prostate health, and impacting your bone health and muscles, testosterone remains a highly influential hormone.
This means that in hypogonadal men where testosterone levels have dropped below the expected average, symptoms can be felt as a response to dwindling testosterone.
These symptoms can include fatigue, depression, and declining bone density. However, patients who experience testosterone deficiency can also potentially feel its effects on memory. Not to forget that low testosterone can cause brain fog and impact your cognitive function.
Let’s explore how exactly testosterone can affect your brain.
Your Brain: A Complex Organ
Your brain is a highly complex and well-connected organ with countless functions within your body. Due to its immense interconnectedness, it can influence many distant body parts, control emotions, and regulate your endocrine system.
Here are some of the brain’s most significant roles:
- It controls your speech
- It regulates your emotions
- It stores and plays your memories
- It allows for thoughts and perception
- It supports your decision-making process
- It controls your body temperature
- It regulates your heart rate and breathing
- It influences your motor function
- It helps you maintain your balance
The brain’s echo is heard near and far as neurons are located all over your body — besides your brain and spinal cord. These neurons allow your brain to stay in control, regulate processes, and oversee many of your body’s everyday activities.
How Testosterone Impacts Your Brain Activity
Your testosterone levels are an essential factor impacting the activity in your brain. In fact, it’s so significant that it influences multiple areas within your brain. This also means that it plays into various functions, including memory and cognition.
Mood & Cognition
Research indicates there is a link between a natural decline of testosterone and the decline in mood and cognition as we grow older — both marking factors that heavily rely on age. This connection hints at testosterone being a significant modulator in cerebral functions.
Scientists also found that testosterone was responsible for activating a cortical network during spatial cognition and that adding testosterone led to improved cognition.
Emotions & aPFC Engagement
A recent study published earlier this year showed how testosterone is linked to the brain’s prefrontal cortex (aPFC). Brain imaging revealed a positive impact on the aPFC — despite the age of the subjects playing differently into the research (adolescence vs. adulthood).
The aPFC is particularly interesting as it strengthens emotional control and supports prompt selection of emotional tendencies. Testosterone, therefore, offers aPFC engagement during social interactions and social-emotional behaviors.
Testosterone Deficiency and Its Effects on Memory
Scientists have long been curious about a possible link between testosterone deficiency and memory — and while more research is needed to fully grasp this connection, some studies shed light on how memory may be impacted by your testosterone levels.
Researchers at the University of Washington investigated a small group of 11 men between age 52 and 79 and found significant improvements in verbal and spatial memory in individuals whose testosterone levels were bumped up to the levels of healthy young males.
Another study suggested that administering testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is not the only variable, but that dosage was imperative for seeing positive cognitive results. It found that moderate increases in testosterone levels showed significant improvements in verbal and spatial memory, while high or low increases did not.
Further research looked into data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that included more than 1,300 men over the age of 60. Results indicated that higher concentrations of total serum testosterone were associated with a better performance in cognition, based on various tests conducted.
The tests included the CERAD test (Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease), which is used as a measure of verbal memory.
Testosterone deficiency and its effects on memory remain a complex topic with more targeted research needed to explain the details surrounding a relationship between the two.
Low Testosterone Brain Fog
Your brain is responsible for many more tasks other than memory. Further aspects include cognition, your ability to process information, think, and make decisions. It also includes your ability to concentrate and focus your attention. Hence, low testosterone can potentially lead to brain fog and adversely impact your cognitive performance.
Here’s what science says.
Recent research suggests that testosterone can have a positive effect on cognition in older adults. The study, which marked the first to investigate the relationship between testosterone and social cognition in late adulthood, found that higher levels of testosterone correlated with higher social cognition in adults.
The study also determined that age was a moderator leading to opposite results in young males. In older males, however, where both testosterone and cognition were expected to have declined with age, testosterone appears to be exerting a neuroprotective effect, which can shield cognitive functions.
In addition, low testosterone appears to be associated with brain fog, causing confusion and affecting your concentration. However, symptoms of brain fog are typically linked to significantly low testosterone levels.
With testosterone levels further able to impact your sleep, fatigue can add to your inability to concentrate and make it harder for you to focus on tasks throughout the day.
Monitor Your Testosterone & Keep Your Brain Function Sharp
With your brain function controlling cognition, memory, and your ability to focus your thoughts, it substantially affects your everyday life. As testosterone levels and brain activity are interconnected, monitoring your testosterone for optimal performance is imperative.
Reach out to your healthcare provider to check your testosterone levels routinely and keep your brain function sharp, so you can continue to go about your daily activities even as you grow older.
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