Testosterone boosts young women’s running capacity

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Young women with a high level of male hormone testosterone are likely to perform well in physical events, a new study found.

A rise in the level of testosterone significantly boosts young physically active women’s capacity to run for longer, according to the study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The study titled ”Effects of moderately increased testosterone concentration on physical performance in young women” says testosterone also increases muscle mass and leanness, even though body weight doesn’t change.

”Our study supports a causal effect of testosterone on physical performance, as measured by running time to exhaustion, in young healthy women. Thus the ergogenic effect of short term moderately increased testosterone concentration seemed to apply for aerobic performance only. Testosterone also promoted a leaner body composition with an increase in muscle mass although body weight was unchanged,” researchers said.

The findings assumes in the wake of the announcement of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that it would impose an upper limit for testosterone levels on trans female athletes competing in middle-distance events.

The latest research confirmed that testosterone significantly increases endurance and lean muscle mass among young women, even when given for a relatively short period.

Study’s first author Angelica Hirschberg, a gynaecologist for the Swedish Olympic Committee based at Karolinska University Hospita, said the results were the first to show a causal effect of testosterone on physical performance in women.

“This has not been demonstrated previously because most studies have been performed in men,” she said. “Furthermore, the study shows the magnitude of performance enhancement by testosterone. Testosterone levels increased more than four times but were still much below the male range. The improvement in endurance performance by the increased testosterone levels was more than 8% – this is a huge effect in sports.”

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