The principal male sex hormone (testosterone, bro), which is linked to full beards and muscles and stoicism and the ability to live in the mountains alone, is also associated with weak immune systems. A new study from Stanford University has found that higher testosterone levels give men a weakened immune response to illnesses: Muscly dudes whose veins seethe with testosterone are more likely to get the flu.
The researchers, who hailed from Stanford, France, and the University of North Carolina, examined blood from 37 men and 54 women of different ages and examined a variety of immune system proteins. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report detailed that people with higher testosterone levels are likely to have no response, or a weak one, to flu vaccines. This leaves them more vulnerable to illness.
Mark M. Davis, the Avery Family Professor of Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine told NBC News:
Men are suffering! They aren’t as resistant. Women are superior. There’s no way around it.
There is an evolutionary explanation for this difference in male and female responses: Testosterone functions as an anti-inflammatory, which is extremely helpful during trauma of the sort that could occur during hunting accidents or battles or some such thing men of old once encountered in their manly deeds. So while their immune systems were weakened, they were better able to fight off gross injuries.
So as you bundle up the testosterone-fueled beings in your life in the “cozy” blanket and make sure the soup cools off to a lame, lukewarm temperature, you can comfort him by noting that it’s simply all the ranging testosterone in his system. Just think of how quickly you would recover from a hunting injury, honey. Oh, sure, I’ll restart this episode of House of Cards, I know how hard it is to stay awake. You just concentrate on getting well.