Low testosterone and your genes

While bodybuilding and athletes may come to mind with the word testosterone, it is actually an important hormone for all men and women. Balance is key - not too low and not too high. This article investigates testosterone and the genetic variants that influence your natural "T" levels. It concludes with Lifehacks to boost low testosterone levels.


In men, low serum testosterone levels are linked to an increased risk of:
  • metabolic syndrome
  • type-2 diabetes
  • atherosclerosis
  • heart disease mortality.[ref][ref]
In women, increased testosterone levels are a risk factor for:
  • fatty liver disease.[ref]
  • PCOS, insulin resistance and higher fasting glucose levels.[ref]
  • type 2 diabetes.[ref]

Genetics and testosterone levels:

While age, diet, and lifestyle choices play a role in testosterone levels, there is also a fairly strong genetic factor at play. Studies of male siblings estimate that the genetic component of testosterone levels is ~70%.[ref] Klinefelter syndrome is caused by having two X chromosomes along with the Y chromosome. It generally causes lower testosterone levels.  Men with XXY genotypes may have less body hair, lower body mass, and abnormal development of the testicles. Klinefelter syndrome is actually one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities with an estimated 1 in 500 men having the extra X chromosome. Genetic studies now can use the known variants linked to testosterone levels to see if those variants are related to other conditions.  For example, studies on the SHBG variants show association with facial characteristics such as jaw shape which is connected to testosterone levels. [ref] Other studies link the genetic variants impacting testosterone levels to increase risk of prostate cancer, increased bone mineral density, and decreased body fat. [ref]

Testosterone Genetic Variants:

Below are the genetic variants that have been linked in multiple studies to testosterone levels.

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