Testosterone and emotions

Mental health and testosterone

Testosterone defines us more than it’s safe to say these days. It plays a significant role in gene expression in the specific areas of the brain that are fundamental in depression and anxiety1. In simple words- less testosterone correlates with higher depression and anxiety rates. Another study of eight experiments on mice has demonstrated that testosterone reduces anxiety in a clear dose-dependent manner. The more testosterone- the lesser is the anxiety (at least in mice)2.

Read on, by the end of this article; you will find out how testosterone controls our behavior and emotions throughout the life.

Sex drive

This well-known testosterone effect has been extensively documented throughout a plethora of studies performed over the past decades. In 1992, a study about testosterone effects on sexual mood and behaviour of a man with erectile dysfunction perfectly depicted the short-term effects of increased testosterone levels: it increases the frequency of sexual activity and ejaculation3. Although it’s 25 years old, scientific community extensively cites this paper today. 

While evaluating testosterone effects on the mood, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2004, concluded that increased testosterone effects, even after only one administration produces sexual mood and behavior changes- increased libido4.

Low sex drive


   Low testosterone level may be the cause of chronic fatigue! One of the first symptoms that vanish after substation of testosterone in patients with hypogonadism is fatigue. Patients report increased energy level, better mood and better tolerance of physical activity.  Hypogonadism is a condition in which the body cannot “achieve” the physiological level of testosterone- simply, there is not enough of it.  Over time, as the ageing processes take place in the body, testosterone levels slightly drop. After the age of 30, testosterone level gradually decreases which is a part of a normal ageing process.

Cognitive function test, memory, and learning5

   The male brain fed with enough testosterone is a proactive brain. Several studies have provided evidence that there is a strict correlation between testosterone levels and spatial and general cognitive function. These effects of testosterone are particularly apparent in men with lower levels of testosterone (ageing, natural, gradual decrease after the age of 30). An important experiment on rats in the maze proved that those with higher levels of testosterone found the exit faster. In addition, the group with increased testosterone learned and memorized the labyrinth much quicker so they could easily see the exit every time.


   The activation of androgenic receptors in the brain changes the levels of serotonin and dopamine in their pathways. In simple words, the brain centres that regulate mood are packed with androgen (testosterone) receptors. Once activated, these receptors cause serotonin and dopamine increase which, altogether, results in a better mood and the subside of depression symptoms. The effects of testosterone on depression are particularly measurable in the senior population.

Diabetes type 2 (DMT2)

A number of epidemiological studies found the correlation between the risk of developing DMT2. The analysis of a group of men aged 53-88 years with untreated diabetes compared to the age-matching group of men with a physiological glucose tolerance (individuals who do not have diabetes) revealed that lower levels of testosterone are associated with the presence of diabetes5. For some this conclusion may look like a random- illogical finding, but keep in mind that testosterone functions in the body go far beyond it’s well- known effects on libido.

Social hierarchy

Testosterone fuels the traditional aspects of a male personality. Males with high-level confidence almost always have a high level of testosterone in the blood. Protectiveness and competitiveness are other tools in the social skills toolbox of a male with an elevated testosterone level. Altogether, these characteristics ensure survival and success in the fast and stressful tempo of living. When the stress hormones kick in (which happens to all of us almost every day), high testosterone will give you enough strength to walk into the mindset of an assertive person5

Reader’s takeaway

Testosterone shapes the mind of a male throughout his entire life. Its levels start to drop early in life (after the age of 30 it gradually declines). This causes a subtle but in the long run devastating effects on the mood, behaviour, sexuality, and cognitive processes. Also, low levels of testosterone are a risk factor for diabetes type 2, the decrease of a bone density and many other health conditions. The cause of testosterone decline is not a deterioration of the body’s ability to synthesize it, but because of the decrease in the signals that stimulate its production. The booster can bring back testosterone levels back to normal quickly.  Bypassing side effects of excessive testosterone supplementation is another advantage of a booster.

1. McHenry, J., Carrier, N., Hull, E., & Kabbaj, M. (2014). Sex Differences in Anxiety and Depression: Role of Testosterone. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology35(1), 42–57.

2. Aikey J. L., Nyby J. G., Anmuth D. M., James P. J. (2002). Testosterone rapidly reduces anxiety in male house mice (Mus musculus). Horm. Behav. 42, 448–460.

3. Anderson RA, Bancroft J, Wu FCW 1992 The effects of exogenous testosterone on sexuality and mood of normal men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 75:1503–1507

4. Daryl B. O’Connor, John Archer, Frederick C. W. Wu; Effects of Testosterone on Mood, Aggression, and Sexual Behavior in Young Men: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Study, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 89, Issue 6, 1 June 2004, Pages 2837–2845

5. Testosterone and Aging: Clinical Research Directions. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Assessing the Need for Clinical Trials of Testosterone Replacement Therapy; Liverman CT, Blazer DG, editors. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2004.

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