According to new research, a single hormone that persists in men at a constant level throughout their lifetimes can predict the development of several age-related diseases, including bone thinning, sexual dysfunction, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Puberty is when INSL3, the hormone, first manifests. After that, its levels only gradually decrease with age. INSL3 is useful to scientists and perhaps men’s health because of its constancy and the young age at which it first occurs.
Several age-related disorders, including bone weakening, sexual dysfunction, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, can be predicted by a single hormone that remains in men at a steady level throughout their lifetimes.
INSL3 hormone, first appears throughout puberty. The levels only progressively decline with age after that. Because of its consistency and the young age at which it initially appears, INSL3 is helpful to scientists and possibly men’s health.
The same cells in the testes that make testosterone also make INSL3, but INSL3 doesn’t change as a man ages like testosterone does.
Researchers collected blood samples from more than 2,200 males at eight different regional centers throughout Europe to track the level of INSL3 in the blood. The men’s INSL3 levels remained constant over time and varied greatly among individuals, allowing us to differentiate between various health concerns.
Less of these cells and less testosterone have also been related to a range of health problems in later life. Researchers hypothesize that INSL3 levels in the blood reliably correlate to the quantity and health of the Leydig cells in the testes.
According to molecular endocrinologist Richard Ivell of the University of Nottingham, “now that we are aware of the significant role this hormone plays in disease prediction and how it differs among men, we are turning our attention to determining what factors have the greatest influence on the level of INSL3 in the blood.”
According to preliminary research, early life nutrition may be important, but there are many other possible causes, such as genetics or exposure to certain environmental endocrine disruptors.
INSL3 was connected to an elevated risk of morbidity in eight out of the nine categories of morbidity that participants reported in questionnaires, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (only depression was not shown to be correlated in this study).
However, most of these relationships with INSL3 were lost after the researchers controlled for additional hormonal and lifestyle factors, such as BMI and smoking status, with the exception of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Lower hormone levels were linked to seven out of the nine comorbidity categories when researchers looked at whether INSL3 levels in blood samples from a subset of males could predict health outcomes around four years later. However, this was done without considering any further issues.
Given INSL3’s significant correlation with testosterone, one area the researchers are eager to investigate in follow-up studies is how it connects to sexual health. However, this topic wasn’t covered in depth in this particular study.
Future research should, according to the researchers, “concentrate on longer time periods to ascertain whether INSL3 assessed in younger or middle-aged males… is actually predictive of the later appearance of age-dependent health concern.”
If further research confirms the association between INSL3 and these health hazards and identifies the actual cause of the association, it will allow for the identification and prevention of a number of age-related health issues considerably sooner.
Reducing the fitness gap that develops as people age is the “holy grail of aging science,” according to Anand-Ivell.
The study was released in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.