Testosterone Therapy and Weight Loss
Will Testosterone Therapy Help Me Lose Weight?
All those crunches in the gym may be going to waste if you have low testosterone, and if you think it’s uncommon, guess again. Approximately one in four men over the age of 30 has low testosterone, and many are completely unaware of it. If your libido has tanked and the scale continues to rise, low testosterone may be the culprit. The good news is, with proper diagnosis and treatment, you can lose weight and restore your vitality.
A Hormone With Versatile Effects
Testosterone exerts complex effects on your body that extend beyond regulating fertility and bone mass. It also plays a role in fat distribution and how much muscle mass you’re able to build and maintain. Low levels negatively impact you in various ways, some of which influence your weight.
Testosterone levels decline naturally as you age. If you’re in this situation, you may be an ideal candidate for hormone replacement therapy.
Testosterone And Muscle Mass
A lack of testosterone makes it difficult for men to build and maintain muscle mass. The amount of muscle you have plays a role in regulating your weight. Muscle requires more energy to maintain and therefore requires more calories. It helps keep the energy balance between how much you eat and how much you burn for fuel. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn.
When your testosterone levels fall below normal, your muscle mass declines, causing your metabolism to slow down. This domino effect paves the way for weight gain and stubborn fat that doesn’t seem to budge despite your best efforts at eating right and working out.
Testosterone And Fat Storage
Fat cells, once thought of as dormant storage spots, are now known to act like other organs, secreting chemicals, sending signals, and influencing other parts of your body. For instance, fat cells produce an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone to estrogen, and an imbalance in your testosterone and estrogen levels increases body fat.
It also influences where you store fat. Low testosterone increases stomach fat, and too much abdominal fat is not only aesthetically displeasing, it also raises your risk for heart disease.
A Vicious Cycle
Not only does low testosterone increase weight gain, make it harder to lose weight, and boost your belly fat, but it also sets off a vicious cycle. Low testosterone increases body fat. That excess fat impairs your body’s ability to produce and effectively utilize testosterone, further lowering your already lower-than-normal levels. Once you’re on this vicious hamster wheel, it’s difficult to break without correcting the testosterone deficiency.
How Testosterone Therapy Helps
Combined with moderate exercise, testosterone therapy produces significant weight loss in men with lower-than-normal levels. Correcting the amount of testosterone in your body helps you maintain lean mass as you shed body fat. As your levels normalize, your metabolism will increase so that you burn more calories, and your fat distribution will improve.
The Low Testosterone-Weight Gain Mystery
Low testosterone causes increases in body fat, especially in the midsection. But why does this happen? The exact biochemical mechanism by which testosterone causes this change is unknown.
However, it turns out that not only does low testosterone seem to cause weight gain in men, the reverse also seems to be true: Obesity is one of the risk factors for lower than normal levels of testosterone. Physiologically, the relationship between low testosterone and weight gain in men can become threatening to their well-being.
Body fat contains an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogens. Having extra estrogens triggers the body to slow its production of testosterone. The less testosterone you make, the more belly fat you accumulate, and so on.
For men who already have low testosterone, excess body fat can worsen the condition. Fat speeds up the metabolizing of testosterone. Therefore, the more fat you carry around, the faster you’ll burn through the already low testosterone levels in your body.
However, not all men with low testosterone are overweight, and the symptoms vary from man to man. Being overweight can worsen your ability to produce testosterone and can lower already low testosterone, but you don’t need to be overweight to be affected by low testosterone.
Regardless of weight, men with low testosterone are more likely to have less muscle than those with normal levels. Even in men with low testosterone who are not overweight, it is likely they will have an increased percentage of body fat.
Tips for Managing Weight With Low Testosterone
To fight weight gain with low testosterone, the advice is the same as for others trying to drop pounds: Eat less and exercise more.
Weight lifting or another form of resistance exercise is particularly important. This type of workout helps build more muscle faster and triggers testosterone production. Additionally, your body burns more fat for energy during resistance exercise, helping promote healthy weight and fat distribution.
Treating low testosterone can boost overall energy, easing fatigue and prompting you to get moving and lose weight. Although testosterone supplements shouldn’t be used to help men with symptoms of low testosterone drop pounds, if you have measurably low testosterone, treating it should make weight loss easier. Normal levels of testosterone encourage fat loss, increased muscle mass and strength, and stamina. Workouts are better, and men feel encouraged by this, so they do them more often.
If you suspect you’re suffering from low testosterone, our team at Integrative Telemedicine can help. For diagnosis and treatment, call our office or reach out to us by email to schedule a consultation today.