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Genetic variation may produce low testosterone levels

Category: Hormones and Metabolism

Testosterone testing is helping to reveal the true number of men who have low levels of the hormone. Medical professionals are finding that the number may be a good deal higher than previously thought. New research suggests that this may be largely the result of genetic differences.

The findings have important implications, as low levels of testosterone are associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. The fact that some men's genes put them at risk for hormonal imbalances suggest that many individuals may need to take steps to boost their hormonal levels.

After examining genetic data from more than 14,000 men, researchers from the University of Gothenburg found that the majority of individuals who had low testosterone levels also had one particular genetic variation on their X chromosome.

"This is the first large-scale study to identify specific genes for low serum testosterone concentrations," said lead researcher Charles Ohlsson. "It is very interesting that the genetic contribution of the identified genetic variants to testosterone concentrations is substantial."

A simple blood test may be able to determine if an individual has low testosterone.

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