A new study confirms that an increase in testosterone levels in women’s bodies can improve their physical activity. In particular, research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine confirms that higher levels of this hormone can significantly increase the resistance and ability of young women to walk longer.
The same results also show that testosterone can increase muscle mass and not at the expense of body weight. This research therefore confirms concerns about the participation of athletes with high natural testosterone levels in athletics competitions and in sport in general. In particular, some believe that women with testosterone levels that fall within the range of male levels should not compete with women with normal levels.
According to an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulation, in order to compete, these women must reduce testosterone levels to less than 5 nmol per litre of blood in international mid-range competitions, a decision that has been criticised by many parties because they believe that we speak of a natural hormone level and therefore could be regarded as a natural dowry in itself and not as an artificially acquired advantage.
Researchers have tested the effects of increased hormone levels on aerobic performance, especially in women running on a treadmill. They also carried out the same impact tests for anaerobic performance, i.e. physical exercises that require only short energy bursts. The same researchers measured body fat and lean muscle mass at the beginning and end of the 10-week trial period. The women were divided into two groups: One group received a hormone cream, the other group an inactive cream.
The researchers found that in women who had been given testosterone, the training time before reaching the resistance limit increased significantly (21.17 seconds or 8.5%) compared to the control group. There were no significant changes in anaerobic performance or weight variation between the two groups from start to finish of treatment and experiment. However, women who received testosterone cream showed large changes in lean muscle mass compared to women in the control group with values between 923g and 135g.
Although this is a relatively small study with a relatively short study time, according to the researchers themselves1 this study shows that the discussion about whether women with well above average testosterone levels may or may not compete with other women is at least important and should be addressed.
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