This blog post was submitted by Dr. Lisa Sachdev
The information below came from BioTE, it was not written by Dr. Sachdev. It is being posted for the benefit of our patients and the general public.
Testosterone & Immune Function
Testosterone plays a well-documented role in regulating the immune response. Just like estrogen enhances the immune response, testosterone is essential in keeping this response in check. Without sufficient testosterone, many men are susceptible to overactive immune responses aimed at trying to fight infection. This response, termed a “Cytokine Storm,” can have disastrous effects on an already sick patient and may be fatal in some cases. A recent study conducted on 45 patients in Hamburg, Germany, discovered a link between low testosterone and patient susceptibility to COVID-19.
Testosterone is further important to the body’s ability to fight infection through its role in managing stress and promoting sleep. Imbalances in estrogen and testosterone may affect a patient’s emotional state, which can have a negative impact on the immune system. Moments of high stress can increase anxiousness and can make it difficult for patients to fall and stay asleep. Insufficient sleep can drastically weaken the immune system and undermine patient health. On the other hand, sufficient sleep can increase infection-fighting antibodies and other health-promoting cells.
As we age, andropause in men and menopause in women can cause hormone imbalance and make sleeping soundly a challenge. In men, balancing testosterone levels using Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) may help promote restfulness. During sleep, the body releases pro-inflammatory cytokine proteins, which are essential for fighting infection. Studies have shown that sleep plays a role in how these proteins promote the interaction between antigen-presenting cells and T helper cells and may play a role in the formation of immunological memory.
Estrogen, Progesterone, & Immune Function
Women have been shown to have a heightened immune system as compared with their male counterparts. This difference in immune response may be tied to estrogen levels. Estrogen interacts with immune cells, mostly through estrogen receptors. These receptors affect multiple aspects of immune cell function, including T cell activation and multiplication. T cells are especially important because they help the body fight infection. Estrogen is also responsible for helping to regulate and boost other cells in the immune system, including neutrophils and natural killer cells. Estrogens can also alter the function of macrophages, the white blood cells that help remove foreign particles, bacteria, and viruses from the bloodstream.
While vitamin D has long been known to be essential to immune response, there may also be a relationship between progesterone, vitamin D, and the immune system. Within the immune system, vitamin D helps regulate protective T cells. Progesterone may increase T cell reception of vitamin D. This increased sensitivity to vitamin D may boost the production of these protective cells, thus creating a more robust immune system overall.
IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT YOUR LEVELS ARE SCHEDULE A BLOOD DRAW TO HAVE IT CHECKED.