Earlier research has shown that obesity and low testosterone levels are linked, but could managing testosterone provide a quick fix for obesity?
In a recent study of older, overweight or obese males with low testosterone, regulating their levels of the hormone was tied to significant weight loss.
The research, led by Farid Saad, MD, from Bayer Pharma AG in Berlin followed 251 men with an average age of 61. The subjects were given injections of testosterone after six weeks of observation, then regular injections every 12 weeks for at least two years.
The average weight of the subjects dropped from 234 pounds to 198 pounds, a 36-pound loss, and average waist measurements decreased from 42 inches to 38.5 inches. Furthermore, average body-mass index (BMI) fell from 34 (in the obese range) to 29 (in the overweight range). The researchers also found improvements in blood pressure and blood glucose control among the test subjects. LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) dropped from 163 to 109, and blood glucose measurements decreased from 103 to 94, on average.
The authors suspect that this connection between regulated testosterone levels and weight loss could be due to a number of factors. They propose that testosterone increases lean body mass, so perhaps the energy being utilized by the subjects was increased. Testosterone has been known to boost the urge to exercise, also potentially affecting subjects’ weight loss.
In an interview with dailyrx, Deborah Gordon, MD, and homeopath, preached caution when looking at these results.
“While it is known that obesity is associated with reduced testosterone, it is also true that obesity raises estrogen levels, even in men, which can also contribute to obesity. It has not been previously well documented whether testosterone alone can mitigate the estrogen effect,” said Dr. Gordon.
However, Dr. Gordon did affirm the benefits of testosterone regulation, saying, “It has been my clinical experience - where I use bio-identical hormone treatment topically - that testosterone-deficient men greatly appreciate a boost back to normal levels. Not only the parameters mentioned in this study, but general well-being and libido also benefit from normalized testosterone levels."
Dr. Saad’s study was presented May 8 at the 19th European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France. The research was conducted by employees of Bayer Pharma AG, a pharmaceutical company that produces testosterone replacement therapy.
Since the study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, other scientists have not had a chance to review the methods and data to ensure it passes their quality standards. Further research is needed to determine conclusively the link between testosterone levels and weight loss.
Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD
Review Date: May 17, 2012
19th European Congress on ObesityPubMed, "Obesity, low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction"