Does Testosterone Affect White Blood Cell Count?
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
Does testosterone affect the white blood cell count? This article will discuss how testosterone affects the number of neutrophils and monocytes. Read on for some surprising facts about testosterone and its effects.
You may be surprised to learn that it can increase your hematocrit and neutrophil count. This article is not intended to be a medical reference, but a guide to help you decide whether or not testosterone is right for you.
Testosterone increases neutrophil and monocyte counts
Several studies have demonstrated that testosterone can increase the number of neutrophils in vivo. In a study using rats, the hormone increases the production of monocyte-specific chemokines and promotes neutrophil recruitment to sites of infection. These cells also have increased chemokine production and exhibit "N2-like" phenotypes, which decrease their ability to kill bacteria. In addition, they produce higher amounts of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Another study in rats found that testosterone impairs neutrophils' ability to kill bacteria. In this study, rats were orchidectomized and treated with two to ten mg/kg/day of testosterone for 7 days. They were then inoculated intraprostatically with E. coli. Testosterone-treated rats were less effective in killing bacteria and phagocytosis, while controls exhibited intact phagocytosis. In the presence of LPS, testosterone-treated neutrophils showed increased numbers of intracinar neutrophils. In contrast, control rats had no effect on bacterial growth after co-incubation with peritoneal neutrophils.
There is still an unclear relationship between low levels of testosterone and the development of cardiovascular disease. This is because testosterone acts as an immunosuppressive hormone by polarizing the immune response towards cell-mediated responses. Additionally, testosterone inhibits the production of antibodies by B lymphocytes. The effects of testosterone on neutrophil and monocyte counts are unknown, but they may be bidirectional. The hormone also plays a role in the prevention of osteoporosis. It also converts to estradiol, which is beneficial for the prevention of osteoporosis.
Testosterone increases hematocrit
Studies have shown that testosterone administration enhances hemoglobin concentration in both healthy and diseased men. However, how testosterone increases hematocrit remains largely unknown. One potential explanation may be that it inhibits the master iron regulatory peptide hepcidin. This is believed to lead to increased iron concentrations. This has been linked to an increase in erythrocytosis, an abnormally high rate of erythropoiesis.
Age is also a factor in the studies. Both men and women reached their highest hematocrit levels at ages 55 and 50. However, hematocrit concentrations were higher in men than women in both age groups.
How to increase testosterone naturally
There are risk associated with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) or any hormonal therapy, prescribed or not.
As such, it is often advised that you look to enhance your natural production of testosterone before seeking synthetic options.
Let's talk about lifestyle. If you want to maintain good immunity, or enhance your body's ability to fight infection and be healthy it starts with your lifestyle.
Getting adequate sleep will help your body recover from your daily activities and fight infection. A tired and exhausted person can be more susceptible to picking up cold's and other illnesses.
Research shows that regular exercise is capable of flushing the lungs of bacteria and also producing changes within antibodies that are capable of fighting infections. Resistance training is also an effective tool to help maximize testosterone secretion.
Diet and nutrition are of the highest importance. The British Nutrition Foundation outline the nutrients and their role in the immune system here.
Put simply, a diet which isn't high in nutrients can leave you open to infection and low immunity.
Nutrient deficiencies can also affect your hormonal status resulting in low testosterone. To maintain a healthy immune system and endocrine system you should ensure that you are consuming the micronutrients your body needs and avoid processed foods.
The available research shows that testosterone does have a positive impact on white blood cells.
Furthermore, testosterone can be influenced by lifestyle factors, as such, you should try to incorporate a healthy, balanced routine to your life to maximize immunity and testosterone.