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Effects of moderately increased testosterone concentration on physical performance in young women: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled study
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    Improvement in performance after exogenous testosterone supplementation does not prove that endogenous testosterone levels are associated with performance.
    • Luci Olewinski, Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville

    In their May 2020 article, Effects of moderately increased testosterone concentration on physical performance in young women: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled study, Hirschberg, Elings Knutsson, Helge, Godhe, Ekblom, Bermon, and Ekblom1 attempt to apply their findings of improvement in individual performance in women given exogenous testosterone to the topic of exclusion from sport of women with higher than average levels of endogenous testosterone. This is not a valid conclusion to make from the study they performed. While this study adds to the body of literature on the effect of exogenous testosterone on performance times and efforts in cisgender women, it is not reasonable or logical to extrapolate these results to the performance times and efforts of women with higher levels of endogenous testosterone. The authors previous work was unable to demonstrate a consistent association between endogenous levels of testosterone and performance2,3. Research on international and Olympic athletes has found wide variation in endogenous testosterone in males and females with no consistent association of endogenous testosterone levels with athletic success2,4,5.
    In the discussion section of this article, that authors state “the physiological effect of testosterone is the same whether the source of testosterone is exogenous or endogenous,” citing their own narrative review as the source for that statement6. The studies they cite in that review to support their st...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.