Total testosterone is not associated with lean mass or handgrip strength in pre-menopausal females
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2021, 00:00 authored by Sarah AlexanderSarah Alexander, Gavin AbbottGavin Abbott, Brad AisbettBrad Aisbett, Glenn WadleyGlenn Wadley, Jill HnatiukJill Hnatiuk, Severine LamonSeverine Lamon
The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between endogenous testosterone concentrations and lean mass and handgrip strength in healthy, pre-menopausal females. Testosterone has been positively associated with lean mass and strength in young and older males. Whether this relationship exists in pre-menopausal females is unknown. Secondary data from the 2013–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used to test this relationship. Females were aged 18–40 (n = 716, age 30 ± 6 years, mean ± SD) and pre-menopausal. Multivariate linear regression models were used to examine associations between total testosterone, lean mass index (LMI) and handgrip strength. Mean ± SD testosterone concentration was 1.0 ± 0.6 nmol L−1 and mean free androgen index (FAI) was 0.02 ± 0.02. In pre-menopausal females, testosterone was not associated with LMI (β = 0.05; 95%CI − 0.04, 0.15; p = 0.237) or handgrip strength (β = 0.01; 95%CI − 0.11, 0.12; p = 0.926) in a statistically significant manner. Conversely, FAI was associated with LMI (β = − 0.03; 95%CI − 0.05, − 0.02; p = 0.000) in a quadratic manner, meaning LMI increases with increasing FAI levels. Handgrip strength was not associated with FAI (β = 0.06; 95%CI − 0.02, 0.15; p = 0.137). These findings indicate that FAI, but not total testosterone, is associated with LMI in pre-menopausal females. Neither FAI nor total testosterone are associated with handgrip strength in pre-menopausal females when testosterone concentrations are not altered pharmacologically.