One of many things new dads give up for their kids is, ironically, the sex hormone that got them into this mess to begin with. Testosterone dips are often synonymous with fatherhood, and that can cause postpartum depression, lower libido, and, shall we say, peak dad bod. But the research suggests Low T isn’t all bad, and there’s a growing body of evidence that the T-cup may be half full, after all.
Here are five scientifically-backed benefits of low testosterone:
Low Testosterone May Be Why You’re Such A Family Man
You can’t blame the baby for knocking out your testosterone completely — studies suggest that marriage facilitates a testosterone decline as well, and there’s additional evidence that as soon as you made a conscious decision to be a family man, your T started its gentle march downward. This may seem to add insult to injury, but scientists suspect that’s just nature’s way of helping you chill out around screaming babies (and spouses), and prevent you from running off with someone else.
Naturally, Your Wife Loves It…
Following childbirth, women are at lower risk of postpartum depression and report higher relationship satisfaction when their husbands’ testosterone levels drop. That’s good for the kids too — they’re at lower risk of mental health problems if their parents are in a loving, happy relationship.
…And So Do Your Friends!
Preliminary studies have highlighted a link between friendship and low testosterone. One study found that, when men in their 60s had two or more friends outside of their immediate families, they also had lower testosterone levels than lone wolves. “When older men have emotionally supportive relationships with their siblings, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, they also have lower testosterone,” study co-author Lee T. Gettler, of the Notre Dame’s Hormones, Health, and Human Behavior Laboratory said in a statement. Gettler suspects that the testosterone shift makes men more empathetic, nurturing, and an overall better buddy to grab a beer with. Cue “Friends in Low Places”.
Meanwhile, Low T Might Mean A Healthy Heart
Men with low testosterone may have more HDL cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol) according to research out of Harvard, and this may decrease their risk of cardiovascular problems in the long run. Indeed, subsequent studies have confirmed that men with higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of estrogen are at an increased risk of heart disease, which may explain why older men who are well past their marriage- and baby-induced testosterone dip are at higher risk of heart disease.
Ditto Regarding The Rest Of Your Body
Men with naturally high testosterone levels may have weaker immune systems, researchers from Stanford University suspect. Their study on the subject found that the more testosterone men naturally had, the less they responded to the influenza vaccine. Prior to this research it was known that men were, compared to women, more susceptible to infections and less responsive to other vaccines. This, however, was the first study to suggest that testosterone could be the common denominator. In a release, study co-author Mark Davis of Stanford raised the possibility that artificially boosting testosterone could have negative effects on the immune system.
“It could be food for thought to all the testosterone-supplement takers out there,” he said. And, indeed, food for thought for all the new dads mourning their lost testosterone — but not taking enough time to celebrate their healthier marriages, hearts, and immune systems.