Weight Management and Low Testosterone
Updated: Jul 23
Men, Why maintaining your Testosterone at optimum level is the key to weight management.
Men depend on the male hormone known as testosterone for a variety of essential functions. From aiding in muscle building and maintenance to stimulating facial hair and even the tone of their voice, weight control is also affected by testosterone levels.
In fact, testosterone plays a critical role when it comes to metabolism. Multiple studies have shown a clear link between low testosterone and weight gain. Men who have low levels of this hormone have a higher percentage of body fat than men who have higher levels. Additionally, men who take medications to suppress their testosterone levels for certain medical conditions such as prostate cancer see rapid weight gain and increased fat mass.
The connection between testosterone and weight also go the other way. A 2013 review found that weight loss was associated with increased levels of testosterone. Men who had low levels of testosterone and taking hormone replacement therapy saw a significant weight loss over time.
Low Testosterone Effects
There are a few reasons why men with lower levels of this hormone can expect to see weight gain. Since testosterone plays a role in metabolism, having lower levels produced decreases a man's metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight. Men who have lower levels also notice that they have lower energy as well. A combination of low energy and a slower metabolism can lead to significant weight gain. Additionally, men will also notice a decreased sex drive as a result of lower levels.
Not only does low testosterone lead to weight gain, the reverse is also true. Obesity is one of the risk factors for having low levels. This means that over time, low testosterone and weight gain can turn into a vicious cycle. Body fat is active tissue that actually plays a role in weight maintenance and weight gain. Fat cells contain an enzyme that can convert testosterone into estrogens. As the levels of estrogen rises, this stimulates the body to lower its production of testosterone. As your body makes less testosterone, fat mass increases and so on.
This means that men who already have low levels of this hormone can see their condition worsen if they gain weight. The fat mass that you have, the faster that your body will use up the testosterone in your body.
Keep in mind that not all men who have low testosterone are overweight. Even men who are fit and healthy with a low fat mass can be diagnosed with low testosterone levels. Men who have lower levels report that they struggle to maintain a healthy weight and have to be much more cautious of exercise and diet just to maintain a healthy weight. Since testosterone stimulates muscle production, men with low levels also struggle with muscle gains and may have lower fat-free mass even with a good training program.
Managing Low Testosterone
For men who have lower levels, there are a few steps that they can take to boost their levels and prevent weight gain. Resistance exercise is important as it can trigger testosterone production. Additionally, the body will burn through more fat during resistance exercise than cardio which will help with the effects of low testosterone levels.
Following a healthy diet can also play a role. Although diet will likely not change your testosterone levels, it can impact your body's ability to gain muscle mass and avoid weight gain. A diet that has adequate protein, low glycemic index carbohydrates, and lower in fat can provide benefits over time.
Treating low levels of testosterone can boot energy, reduce fatigue, and promote weight loss. If you fall beneath the recommended range, treating low testosterone can make weight loss easier. Once you're able to get your body within a normal range, you'll find that it's easier to stay active and lose weight or maintain a normal weight.
Although testosterone levels start to decrease after the age of 30, making lifestyle changes and treating a low testosterone may provide benefits. For men who have noticed significant differences in weight, libido, and energy levels, use this advice to avoid weight gain and stimulate testosterone production.