Obesity in Men and the Role of Androgen Hormones

Let us be clear of one thing. Obesity is a global epidemic now. It affects the overall health negatively. It gives rise to serious medical and lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart problems. Diet control may help in losing some weight. Exercising along with diet control may help in losing more weight and these two combined with hormone replacement therapy may result in significant weight loss.

Testosterone is a steroid hormone belonging to the androgen class. In pre-pubertal males, it is responsible for the development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics and later it is crucial for overall health and well-being in men.

Association of Low Levels of Androgens and Weight Gain

The general misconception is that this hormone starts depleting only after 40. The truth is far from it. The levels of testosterone may be low from as early as 20. This hormone is crucial for androgenic and anabolic functions. The anabolic function of the androgen includes growth of muscle mass and strength, stimulation of linear growth, bone maturation, and increased bone density and strength. The muscular development leads to increased insulin sensitivity and increase in metabolism which keeps the build-up of body fat under check.

Low levels of androgen may be seen as:

  • Decrease in muscle mass with an increase in body fat
  • Abnormal lipid profile
  • Loss of hair from head and body
  • Anaemia
  • Low libido, erectile dysfunction
  • Fragile bones

Low levels of the hormone is associated with an increase is the body fat and primarily along the waistline. The exact mechanism is still unknown, but it may be attributed to reduced metabolism and insensitivity of the cells to insulin.

Studies have shown that those men who are on testosterone depressing treatments due to prostate cancer gain weight and become obese.

In 2013, an observational study found that men who were on Testosterone therapy lost weight. They lost an average of 16.5 kg and 3.5 inches off their midline in a 5-year therapy.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The androgen replacement therapy in past was done only in case of serious medical problems but of late the advanced research and development in the pharmacology of this hormone has resulted in a boom in the testosterone replacement therapy. Medical practitioners are now prescribing low t therapy successfully for a variety of reasons like for the low levels of the hormone, to improve bone health, to increase sex drive, to elevate mood, energy and also for sleep deprivation. And the latest fads are its use in increasing muscle mass, toning muscles, and losing weight.

The therapy is available in many forms. These are as described below:

  1. Transdermal Patch: Applied externally on top of the skin. The dose is one patch a day.
  2. Gels: It comes as a gel and can be applied on the skin or inside the nasal cavity. These are called as AndroGel. It is applied once a day.
  3. Oral Patch: It is a tablet which is applied on the upper gums. It sticks there and is slowly absorbed. The dose is twice a day.
  4. Intramuscular implants or injections: The implants or injections are given directly into the intramuscular area where it is absorbed slowly into the bloodstream. It is taken two to ten weeks apart.

Even though the replacement therapy is becoming quite popular, it is not without risks. It has some serious side effects like an increase in prostate cancer, heart problems, and so on. Thus, it is advisable that it is taken only under medical supervision and should not be abused.

Author Box:

Tony Callison explains the connection between hormone levels in your body and weight gain. Though Testosterone therapy has become popular lately, he recommends consulting your doctor before taking your chance.