Study Shows Testosterone Replacement Aids Weight Loss in Men
Ah, testosterone, the hands-down favored hormone among men. With the possible exception of Samson's hair, it is the snap, crackle, pop of maleness. If a fella wants more muscle, bring on the testosterone. If he wants more facial hair, it is testosterone to the rescue. There you have it then, the muscular, hairy, Hemingway model of manhood.
There is no doubt testosterone is important for men. Testosterone levels begin to drop in men between the ages of forty and fifty and can lead to erectile deficiency, fatigue and lack of energy. Low testosterone levels have also been linked to obesity.
Low Testosterone Levels and Weight Gain
A number of studies have shown that men with low testosterone levels have a higher percentage of body fat than men with higher testosterone. It is also known that men who take medication to depress testosterone levels as a treatment to combat prostate cancer gain weight, experiencing an increase in body fat.
Low testosterone is responsible for an increase in body fat, most especially in the midsection although the exact reason for this is undetermined. Body fat contains an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogens, which slows the body's production of testosterone. More belly fat is had when less testosterone is made. Fat then speeds up the breakdown of testosterone, causing a burn of already low levels of the hormone.
Testosterone Treatment and Weight Reduction
Farid Saad, Ph.D, and lead author of a study on testosterone replacement therapy, found that major weight loss occured in most of the men who participated in the study. The average loss was 36 pounds.
Testosterone levels were restored to normal in 255 testosterone-deficient study particpants who ranged in age from 36 to 83 years old. The average age was 61. Treatment lasted up to five years, and patients were given advice as to how to improve their lifestyles although they did not follow a controlled diet or standard program of exercise.
Study participants weighed an average of 236 pounds prior to testosterone treatment and 200 pounds following treatment. Weight loss was continuous, with an average of four percent of body weight lost after one year of treatment to more than thirteen percent after five years. An average of 3.5 inches was lost from around the waist.
Testosterone Relacement Therapy
Options available for testosterone replacement therapy are intramuscular injections about every two to three weeks, testosterone patches that are worn daily on the body or the scrotum, or testosterone gels that are applied daily to the shoulders, upper arms, or abdomen. Body patches can cause skin irritation in a significant number of men, which led to use of the patch to be discontinued.
Men who have prostate cancer should not take testosterone replacement therapy because the therapy may stimulate the growth of the cancer. Prostate screening is recommended prior to testosterone replacement therapy.
Potential side effects from testosterone therapy include acne or oily skin, stimulation of protate tissue, and decreased testicular size.
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