Higher physiologic testosterone levels among community dwelling older men and women may protect against falls, and this benefit may be further increased among those taking additional vitamin D plus calcium.
Introduction: The aim of this study is to investigate sex hormone levels and fall risk in older men and women.
Methods: One hundred and ninety-nine men and 246 women age 65+ living at home were followed for 3 years after baseline assessment of sex hormones. Analyses controlled for several covariates, including baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D, sex hormone binding globulin, and vitamin D plus calcium treatment (vitD+cal).
Results: Compared to the lowest quartile, men and women in the highest quartile of total testosterone had a decreased odds of falling (men: OR = 0.22; 95% CI [0.07,0.72]/ women: OR = 0.34; 95% CI [0.14,0.83]); if those individuals also took vitD+cal, the fall reduction was enhanced (men: OR = 0.16; 95% CI [0.03,0.90] / women: OR = 0.15; 95% CI [0.04,0.57]). Similarly, women in the top quartile of dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) had a lower risk of falling (OR = 0.39; 95% CI [0.16,0.93]). Other sex hormones and SHBG did not predict falling in men or women.
Conclusions: Higher testosterone levels in both genders and higher DHEA-S levels in women predicted a more than 60% lower risk of falling. With vitD+cal, the anti-fall benefit of higher physiologic testosterone levels is enhanced from 78% to 84% among men and from 66% to 85% among women.