So does testosterone make you lose fat? There is no short answer
How much fat you get has a lot more to do with your genes and hormone levels than your behavior.
Hormones are responsible for determining how your body restores fat and builds muscle, and testosterone is one of these important hormones.
The prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes continues to increase sharply, posing a serious global health challenge.
The main causes of this worsening situation are thought to be changes in lifestyle, including greater consumption of energy-rich foods and increased sedentary behavior.
Insulin resistance caused primarily by visceral adiposity is recognized as the central pathological abnormality in the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Adipose tissue is highly metabolically active and produces numerous substances which mediate the links between obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and vascular disease as well as other conditions. These adipocyte-derived hormones are collectively known as adipocytokines and have redefined the adipose tissue as an important component of the endocrine system. The most abundant adipocytokines in humans are leptin, which is high in obesity, and adiponectin, which is low in the condition.
There is no convincing evidence that low testosterone is an independent risk factor for the development of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes in men.
There is also evidence that normalization of these low testosterone levels, improves obesity and has beneficial effects on other components of the metabolic syndrome as well as important parameters such as insulin resistance and glycemic control in type 2 diabetes.
Obesity is linked to insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome
The effect of testosterone on your body composition
A high testosterone level can have a major impact on your body composition. Testosterone levels are reduced in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Docs recognize low testosterone as an independent risk factor for these conditions.
Testosterone is a hormone that plays a key role in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. It has been known for some time that testosterone has a major influence on body fat composition and muscle mass in the male.
Testosterone is important to carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism.
Low testosterone guys have increased fat mass, reduced insulin sensitivity, impaired glucose tolerance, elevated triglycerides and cholesterol, and low HDL-cholesterol.
Testosterone at the molecular level controls the expression of important regulatory proteins involved in glycolysis, glycogen synthesis, and lipid and cholesterol metabolism.
Testosterone prevents muscle breakdown
Apart from enhanced muscle growth, one other reason why athletes with high levels of testosterone outperform their rivals is because the hormone prevents their muscles from being broken down during the day. As men age, they begin to lose the muscle tone they had in their youth. This is usually a result of the nutrition and lifestyle they have adopted. Boosting your testosterone levels helps your body to manage your muscles better.
Testosterone makes fat burning easy
If your testosterone levels are high, then you will find it easier to gain muscle mass and increase your metabolism.
These two factors will naturally collude to cut away the fatty tissue in your body.
If you don’t get issues with your metabolism and your testosterone levels are high, you can consume more food, but burn the excess fat cells rather than store them.
Men who are carrying around too much body fat have been shown to suppress testosterone levels.
Findings from men undergoing androgen suppression as a treatment for prostate cancer confirm that the hypogonadal state (low testosterone) increases body fat mass and serum insulin and there is a high rate of developing new diabetes. The data show reductions in body fat mass during testosterone replacement therapy. There are also trials showing improvements in insulin resistance and glycemic control with testosterone.
The relationship between testosterone and body fat is a cycle. Lower body fat leads to an increase in testosterone, which in turn leads to less body fat storage.
Boosting your testosterone levels helps keep your energy levels up
There are many signs and symptoms of decreased testosterone. Most of the symptoms that you will see here are synonymous with low energy, which is why most guys don’t do anything about them. That is why it is important to recognize the signs so that you can take the necessary action.
These are some of the symptoms of low testosterone in males:
• A reduction in sex drive
• Smaller or weaker erections
• Low energy/fatigue – You begin to feel lazy and sluggish, and even sleepy more than usual.
• Problems concentrating
• Mood swings
A study of 803 men showed a psychobiologic correlation between metabolic syndrome and associated sexual dysfunction.
Among the 236 patients (29.4%) diagnosed as having a Metabolic Syndrome (MS), 96.5% reported Erectile Dysfunction, 22.7% premature ejaculation, and 4.8% delayed ejaculation. Patients with MS were characterized by greater somatized anxiety. The prevalence of overt hypogonadism (total testosterone <8 nm) was significantly higher in patients with MS. Among patients with MS, hypogonadism was present in 11.9% and was associated with typical hypogonadism-related symptoms, such as hypoactive sexual desire, low frequency of sexual intercourse, and depressive symptoms.
Testosterone and Body Fat: Clinical Trial Data
We still don’t fully understand how testosterone controls all metabolic processes. Most of the studies on the effect of testosterone on obesity and fat distribution in men have been in relatively small numbers of patients and have included significant numbers of patients with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
Baseline testosterone levels and testosterone levels during treatment are critical factors in determining response to testosterone replacement therapy. Other important variables include duration of study treatment, age of participants, obesity at baseline, comorbidities, and any effect this has on testosterone availability.
The effect of testosterone on body fat mass has been reported in a number of studies.
The longest of these involved 108 men randomized to either transdermal testosterone patches or placebo for 36 months and showed 2.3 kg greater weight reduction in the testosterone-treated group versus placebo. Almost all these differences developed in the first 6 months of the study.
Other trials have been of shorter duration, but often show a similar magnitude of reductions in fat mass. This is confirmed by a meta-analysis of data from 16 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 970 men. Across these trials, testosterone was associated with an average reduction of 1.6 kg fat mass which corresponded to a 6.2% reduction in total body fat during an average testosterone treatment duration of 9 months.
Further analysis suggested that similar changes in fat mass could be expected in men with relatively normal baseline testosterone levels(greater than 10 mmol/l) as in men with lower baseline testosterone levels.
Testosterone helps reduce visceral fat
Randomized controlled trial data relating to the effect of testosterone replacement on different fat depots is less consistent. The epidemiological links between testosterone and central obesity led us to believe that testosterone could act preferentially to reduce visceral fat. There is some support for this within the evidence from clinical trials and a number of investigators have found reductions in central obesity reflected by waist-to-hip ratio or waist circumference in diabetic or obese men during testosterone treatment.
Furthermore, one of these studies demonstrated that transdermal testosterone caused a reduction in CT-assessed visceral fat without changes in other fat depots when given to centrally obese middle-aged men.
Conversely, other studies have shown different changes in fat distribution during testosterone. Testosterone patches given for 36 months to men over 65 years of age lead primarily to reductions in subcutaneous limb fat. A recent study showed that 24 weeks’ transdermal testosterone gel treatment in HIV-infected men with central obesity led to significant reductions in subcutaneous fat, including abdominal fat, but no change in visceral fat compared with placebo. Therefore, patient characteristics may be important in determining the pattern of fat reduction during testosterone treatment. The duration of the study may also be important as changes in visceral fat may be likely to occur more quickly than changes in subcutaneous fat due to greater metabolic activity.
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