Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Testosterone is often thought of as a man’s sex hormone contributing to muscle mass, improve sexual desire, performance, stamina and reducing. What people tend to overlook is the role testosterone plays in brain development, cognitive function, executive function and memory.
In several studies men with low testosterone invariably perform below normal on tests for verbal fluency, visuospatial ability, memory, executive function and attention. Studies have shown that testosterone replacement in men with Low-T improve cognitive functions and memory recall.
Testosterone has the following beneficial effects on the Brain:
The Cognitive Function Trial of the Testosterone Trials is one of the largest placebo-controlled studies conducted to date of the effects of testosterone supplement and its effect on cognition in men with Low-T. The trial detected a clinically significant improvement in verbal and memory performance in men on testosterone supplementation.
When testosterone is low, it can have a negative impact on a variety of cognitive functions, especially mood. When this happens, testosterone replacement therapy can help to improve cognitive functions and mood lability. However, testosterone therapy should not be considered as a primary way to treat conditions like depression.
Testosterone asserts its effect on brain development before a male is born. While a in the womb, testosterone acts to masculinize the developing fetus which eventually leads to permanent male features. As men age, and testosterone levels fall, a few small studies have shown that there has been a decrease in visuospatial abilities and cognition over time. There has been speculation that testosterone therapy may improve the symptoms of dementia, but it is highly unlikely that the therapy could reverse the condition. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that normal testosterone levels have a positive impact on memory and other cognitive abilities. Many men also report an increased desire for sexual activity while receiving testosterone treatment and effect testosterone exerts on the brain.
Men provided with testosterone replacement (TRT) usually will report having a better mood and better memory within 3-6 months after starting therapy. It is still not known if testosterone supplementation can prevent or slow down the effects of conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia; however, those who receive testosterone therapy do often see improvement in their energy levels and responsiveness. These types of clinical improvements are usually the benefits men obtain when on testosterone replacement therapy and desire. Men should always talk with their physician about their expectations of therapy and now understand that cognitive function may improve with therapy.