Low Testosterone May Be Linked to Weight Gain in Men
So what do you think when you see a middle-aged man who is overweight? Is he lazy, a couch potato? Does he eat too much, consume too much junk food? Is he a drinker, is that a beer gut?
Try this one on for size--maybe his testosterone levels are too low. Sound far fetched? Not necessarily.
At a presentation Tuesday at the European Congress on Obesity, researchers posited the theory that sub-optimal testosterone levels in middle-aged men cause weight gain.
It is known that obesity is linked to lower levels of testosterone in men. Earlier research showed that low testosterone in men over 45 is linked with twice the rate of obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension compared to age matched controls.
Dr. Farid Saad and his research team at the Medical Affairs Men's Health Care at Bayer Pharma AG in Berlin, Germany looked at middle-aged men with sub-optimal testosterone levels, and studied the effect of normalizing these levels with respect to body weight. All study participants received injectable testosterone every 12 weeks.
After five years of follow-up, participants lost an average of 16 kg (35 lbs). Average weight circumference dropped from 42 inches to 38.5 inches. The average body mass index dropped from 34 to 29, meaning that the average study participant went from being classified as obese, to considered overweight.
The researchers were careful to note that the study findings could be a result of other factors, other than simply testosterone levels in the body. It should be noted that increasing testosterone causes greater energy and motivation to undertake physical activity. Testosterone is also responsible for increases in lean body mass (muscle) which increases the body's energy levels.
The overall conclusion of this study is that normalizing testosterone levels in obese middle-aged males may lead to reduced body weight, decreased weight circumference, lower blood pressure, and an overall improved metabolic profile. No increases in the rates of prostate cancer were noted among the participants who used testosterone in this study.
In order to validate these findings, the next step would be to conduct a randomized, double-blind study in which one group of participants receives testosterone supplements, and the other receives a placebo injection.