The Relationship Between Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Body Weight
Although body fat is essential in metabolism, excessive and abnormal accumulation of body fat, otherwise known as obesity, will have damaging effects. Obesity causes insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes (T2DM), and a slew of other comorbidities, making it a public health problem. Although lifestyle changes are highly recommended as an integral part of strategies for treating and managing excessive weight gain, such strategies are not always successful in the long run due to a high rate of recidivism in most patients, which is due in part to a lack of adherence to the prescribed regimen. Obesity treatment and sustained weight loss require evidence-based medical interventions like Testosterone Replacement Therapy(TRT). In this blog post, we will be going through what exactly testosterone is, its relationship with weight loss, the clinical challenges in treating obesity, how testosterone replacement therapy can help out, and the benefits of using testosterone replacement therapy to lose weight.
WHAT IS TESTOSTERONE?
Testosterone is primarily a male sex hormone that is generated in both men’s testicles and women’s ovaries. It also controls fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, and the synthesis of red blood cells. High or low testosterone levels can cause dysfunction in regions of the body that are normally regulated by the hormone. For example, when testosterone levels fall below healthy levels, it can cause hypogonadism or infertility. As people get older, their testosterone levels naturally decline. Low testosterone is diagnosed using a blood test that measures the level of testosterone in the blood. Because testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, it may take many measurements to determine if a patient has low testosterone. The highest levels of testosterone are generally in the morning, near 8 a.m. This is why doctors prefer to measure testosterone levels in the early morning.
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN TESTOSTERONE AND WEIGHT LOSS?
To understand the relationship between testosterone and weight loss, one must know that a major function of testosterone is the promotion of muscle growth and the suppression of fat gain. As a result, certain testosterone-deficient men are more likely to gain weight than their healthy counterparts. Muscle tissue consumes considerably more calories than fat tissue. People who are deficient in muscle are more likely to overeat and store the calories as fat. In fact, some studies believe that a lack of muscle mass is the major cause of male obesity. Low testosterone and obesity are frequently found together. Many overweight or obese males have low T levels. Furthermore, being overweight can impact testosterone levels. As a result, you may find it challenging to interrupt the cycle on your own. While changing one’s lifestyle can assist, many men require testosterone replacement to break this cycle.
Men struggle to build and retain muscular mass due to a shortage of testosterone. Your weight is influenced by the amount of muscle you have. Muscle demands more energy to sustain, thus, more calories are required. It assists in maintaining a healthy energy balance between how much you consume and how much you burn for fuel. You burn more calories if you have a higher muscular mass. Your muscle mass falls as your testosterone levels fall below normal, slowing your metabolism. This cascade effect leads to weight gain and stubborn fat that refuses to budge despite your best attempts to eat well and exercise.
Fat cells, formerly assumed to be inactive storage places, are now recognized to secrete chemicals, send messages, and influence other regions of your body, much like other organs. For example, fat cells contain an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen, and a testosterone-to-estrogen imbalance leads to increased body fat. It also has an impact on where fat is stored. Low testosterone leads to an increase in stomach fat, which is not only unsightly but also increases your risk of heart disease. Obese men had 30% lower testosterone levels than men of average weight, according to statistics. Male hypogonadism has been identified in more than 70% of obese males. This is a condition that is caused by low testosterone levels. Men’s belly fat has large levels of the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone to estrogen. Obese males have higher estrogen levels than normal guys because of this. The generation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone is reduced due to the high levels of estrogen and aromatase. Low levels of luteinizing hormone result, which lowers testosterone hormone production.
Another symptom of low testosterone in males is decreased energy. You might be fatigued or uninspired. You may experience difficulty sleeping or develop depression symptoms. All of these issues can make it tough to exercise in order to maintain a healthy weight.
HOW TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY HELPS LOSE WEIGHT
Testosterone Replacement Therapy, also known as androgen replacement treatment or hormone replacement therapy is a type of hormone therapy in which exogenous androgens, most commonly testosterone, are supplemented or replaced. Male hypogonadism is frequently treated with assisted reproductive technology (ART). It’s available as a supplement, a skin patch, a lotion, or an injection. There is some evidence that testosterone replacement therapy can help obese patients with testosterone insufficiency lose weight. In a 56-week study of 100 obese men on a low-calorie diet, injections helped them lose 6.4 pounds (2.9 kg) more than those who didn’t get any treatment. On a low-calorie diet, both groups lost muscle and fat mass, but testosterone promoted considerable muscle regrowth during the weight maintenance period. It promotes muscular growth, which increases the number of calories burned, resulting in weight loss. In males with lower-than-normal testosterone levels, testosterone therapy combined with moderate exercise results in considerable weight loss. Maintaining lean mass while losing body fat requires adjusting your testosterone levels. As your levels return to normal, your metabolism will speed up, allowing you to burn more calories and improve your fat distribution.
Weight loss is linked to testosterone therapy, whereas low testosterone levels are linked to obesity. Increased levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), low or inappropriately normal levels of luteinizing hormone, adipocyte dysfunction, androgen resistance, and insulin resistance are all plausible causes for low testosterone levels in obesity. The number of adipocytes and the formation of visceral fat increases when androgen receptor activity is lost. Normalization of physiological testosterone levels lowers the action of lipoprotein lipase and triglycerides, and low baseline testosterone predicts obesity in males. Treatment with testosterone improves insulin sensitivity, lipid oxidation, and fat mass loss while increasing fat-free mass. Weight loss is linked to higher testosterone levels, according to Camacho et al., a conclusion that Corona et al. corroborate. Increased testosterone levels are the result of intervention efforts like diet and exercise or surgical treatment of obesity.
MERITS OF OPTING FOR TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY FOR WEIGHT LOSS.
As opposed to natural methods of losing weight such as dieting or exercise, Testosterone Replacement therapy provides additional benefits such as:
Sustaining weight loss
Long-term testosterone replacement medication was linked to sustained weight loss in one long-term study by Traish AM(2014). It is believed that this element of sustainability is linked to its ability to make people have energy levels. In some people, low testosterone can cause weariness, low energy, and low motivation. Having a testosterone replacement therapy could lead to increased physical activity. Exercise is a typical lifestyle adjustment recommended to help people lose weight, but low testosterone symptoms might make doing the appropriate level of physical activity more challenging. Improvements in symptoms, according to some researchers, may make it simpler for persons with low testosterone to exercise frequently. Men with low testosterone were given testosterone replacement injections as part of the study. TRT participants lost 20 percent of their body weight on average. Those who did not get testosterone gained about 4% of their body weight throughout the course of the ten-year study. The findings imply that increasing testosterone levels to healthy levels may aid sustainable weight loss in men with hypogonadism.
Reduction of Waist Circumference and BMI
Traish AM (2014), in his study, found that 71 percent of hypogonadal males were obese, with 14.1 percent having obesity grade III, using a testosterone cut-off of 12.1 nmol/l in his study of 255 hypogonadal men. He noticed that testosterone levels are reduced with increased waist circumference and obesity, and approximately 40% of obese nondiabetic men and 50% of obese diabetic men aged above 45 years have low free testosterone. When TRT was used, a significant waist reduction was noticed, which contrasted with the group that did not receive testosterone replacement which experienced an average waist circumference increase of 1.8 inches and a 0.9-point increase in BMI during the trial. The researchers came to the conclusion that testosterone replacement therapy could assist men with hypogonadism lose weight, gaining muscle mass, and enhancing their body composition.
Increasing energy levels
Researchers who have studied the effects of TRT on weight loss suggest that some of the improvements may be due to increased energy levels. Low testosterone may lead to fatigue, low energy, and low motivation in some people. However, many men notice decreased fatigue and improvements in energy levels and motivation. This may contribute to higher levels of physical activity after beginning a testosterone replacement regimen. Exercise is a common lifestyle change prescribed to help people lose weight, but the symptoms of low testosterone can make it more difficult to get the recommended amount of physical activity. Some researchers have suggested that improvements in symptoms may help make it easier to exercise regularly for patients with low testosterone.
In order to counteract excessive weight gain, lifestyle changes are deemed essential. However, this is difficult to maintain over time, and the capacity to lose weight modestly through lifestyle changes is limited at best. Testosterone helps you maintain muscle mass, burn more calories, and stay motivated to stay physically active, all of which are linked to a reduced risk of weight gain and obesity. We believe that testosterone therapy for obese men with testosterone shortage is a safe and effective treatment that results in long-term weight loss.
Testosterone therapy increases LBM, decreases fat mass, and results in long-term weight loss, as well as a reduction in waist circumference and BMI.
Don’t let low testosterone hold you back from achieving your weight loss goals. At HRT Doctors Group Clinic, our specialists have extensive experience and knowledge in testosterone replacement therapy and can help you determine if it’s the right option for you. Take control of your weight loss journey and schedule a consultation with us today to learn more!
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Dr. Melissa VanSickle
Dr. Melissa Vansickle, MD is a family medicine specialist in Onsted, MI and has over 24 years of experience in the medical field. She graduated from University of Michigan Medical School in 1998. She is affiliated with medical facilities Henry Ford Allegiance Health and Promedica Charles And Virginia Hickman Hospital. Her subspecialties include General Family Medicine, Urgent Care, Complementary and Integrative Medicine in Rural Health.
- University Of Michigan Medical School