Published on May 31st, 2021 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.0
Overweight? Testosterone is Key to Male Weight Loss
by Warren Slaten
Obesity is an epidemic. Among adult men, 70 percent are overweight. When we are overweight, we are likely to have increased visceral fat around the liver, kidneys and intestines. This visceral fat can kill, because it generates inflammation, which leads to many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and dementia. Heart disease develops when clots form in the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Inflammation creates an environment in the blood vessels that promotes clotting. This leads to heart disease and strokes. Another result of increased visceral fat is the development of insulin resistance. This leads to diabetes and all of its medical complications. With the increased fat, testosterone production is reduced, so testosterone level falls.
The challenge with having increased fat is that a vicious cycle is started. Increased visceral fat leads to insulin resistance, so there is increased insulin circulating. The insulin leads to increased appetite and increased fat storage. As fat increases, insulin resistance worsens and testosterone level falls further, both of which lead to further increased fat. Unfortunately, this increased fat is a breeding ground for all those chronic diseases. We can use testosterone to break this vicious cycle.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, responsible for male sexual development and critical in maintaining erectile function, libido, normal energy levels and mood. Testosterone also controls a whole range of physiological functions throughout the body. As we reach our 40s, testosterone levels begin to decline, which leads to a reduction in energy and a slowing of metabolism. Thus, it is very common to develop a paunch in our 40s and 50s. This reflects the weight gain that occurs with decreased metabolism.
Multiple studies have shown cardiac benefit from testosterone replacement. It can improve lipids, raising the good HDL cholesterol while lowering the bad LDL cholesterol. Testosterone improves metabolism and reduces visceral fat, so insulin resistance starts to decrease, and that vicious cycle starts to get reversed. Testosterone converts fat to muscle. This cardiac benefit is why testosterone replacement can save a life.
When we are overweight, we may be in denial about the health risks because it feels like there is nothing we can do about it, or it’s too much work. Because overweight may be accompanied by low testosterone levels, a key factor for energy, we may have low motivation to take the steps to correct the problem. This is another reason testosterone can break the vicious cycle. By taking testosterone, we have improved energy and increased motivation to improve our health. That includes eating better and exercising more. As body fat gets converted to muscle with the use of testosterone, we have increased exercise capacity.
A common misconception is that testosterone causes prostate cancer. Multiple studies have shown that it does not. in fact, those with a low testosterone level are more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced prostate cancer because increased fat leads to increased inflammation, which is a breeding ground for cancer. Studies show that those with cured prostate cancer (PSA less than 1) that take testosterone replacement get the benefits of testosterone without increased cancer risk. Another misconception is that testosterone increases the risk for clots because our blood count increases with testosterone. But platelets do not increase, so the risk for blood clots is not increased. Also, testosterone will reduce fertility. When levels increase, this will tell the pituitary gland to reduce the hormones that lead to testosterone production. These same hormones lead to sperm production. Thus, there will be reduced sperm production and decreased fertility.
Warren Slaten, M.D., is a wellness physician in Ridgewood specializing in regenerative pain treatments and lifestyle counseling and certified in advanced bioidentical hormone replacement. For more information, call 201-882-1500 or visit GetMyHormones.com