A new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has shown that extra testosterone enhances the performance of female athletes by increasing their lean muscle mass and improving running endurance.
The report published last week sampled a group of 48 nonelite female athletes.
It remains unclear what this study means for elite female athletes such as South African Caster Semenya who has a condition that produces high testosterone.
Semenya, 28, has been barred from this year’s World Athletics Championships because of those levels and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has ruled that female runners whose bodies produce high levels of testosterone must take medication to lower those levels.
The IAAF also wants to ban Semenya from competing against other women. This has raised questions about transgender athletes who transition from male to female and are allowed to enter in female competitions without restriction.
Semenya, 28, who has been scrutinized since 2009 is not a transgender and has always identified as a woman.
However, critics of the recent study argue that that its experimental setup is not relevant to women like Semenya (because her condition changes the way testosterone affects her body). Others have stated that funding for the study comes from an IAAF-linked organization which makes it biased.