The link between obesity and low testosterone levels has been documented and some research has found that testosterone often increases with weight loss .
But what exactly does one have to do with the other? We explore the connection between testosterone and weight loss, and if testosterone replacement therapy can help men lose weight. Let's dive in.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men. It is a key part of development, particularly in the development of the penis and testes. It also plays a role in other aspects of physical development, including the growth of body hair, facial hair, the formation of body shape and muscle mass.
Testosterone plays an important role in sexual and reproductive function, with a vital role in fertility, sperm production, erectile function and libido.
Women also produce testosterone but this is largely converted into a form of oestrogen .
What's the deal with low testosterone?
If you're a man with low testosterone, you may see side effects in a number of forms. These can include:
- Increased body fat
- Reduced muscle mass
- Irregular sleeping patterns, including insomnia or poor sleep
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Issues regarding fertility
- Body hair loss
- Lower energy levels and motivation
- Mood swings
- Depression .
Having said that, depending on your actual testosterone levels, lower testosterone alone may not prove to be an issue. Healthy levels will change depending on your age, with testosterone production decreasing naturally as you get older.
The only way to know if your testosterone levels are low is through a medical assessment, including a blood test. If you're experiencing any of the above symptoms, have a chat with your doctor to see if it's worth exploring these tests and if needed, a testosterone treatment.
In Australia, testosterone or androgen deficiency is diagnosed by a GP.
Diagnosis may include:
- A blood test, which assesses the level of testosterone in the blood. (Ideally, two fasting tests should be taken on two separate mornings to accurately measure testosterone levels);
- A physical examination;
- An assessment of your medical history;
- Other tests to preclude any other potential illnesses or complications outside of testosterone deficiency .
There are many potential causes of testosterone deficiency in men, including conditions related to the testes and reproductive system or endocrine system, issues with the pituitary gland or other medical conditions, like diabetes or liver disease .
Low testosterone can also be a side effect of medical treatments for other illnesses, such as chemotherapy treatment for cancer .
If you have a testosterone deficiency, you may see some of the aforementioned side effects.
How does low testosterone affect your weight?
Hormones can regulate a number of human functions. Low testosterone production has a range of effects and can impact your wellbeing, physicality and activity. Lower testosterone levels can commonly be found in those who are overweight or obese .
When it comes to weight, testosterone deficiency is associated with reduced metabolism, energy imbalance, impaired glucose control, reduced insulin sensitivity and high cholesterol .
In particular, testosterone regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fat, which can affect your weight .
Does testosterone make you lose weight?
It has been found that increasing testosterone in men with low testosterone levels, particularly via testosterone replacement therapy, is a viable solution for weight loss. Long-term testosterone therapy provides can help you lose weight by resetting the metabolism, improving energy levels and avoiding short-term cuts.
It can improve any symptoms of metabolic syndrome (which can also include diabetes and high blood pressure) and manage obesity, even without significant lifestyle changes .
Studies unanimously agree that using testosterone therapy to increase testosterone levels also helps increase lean body mass and reduces total body fat mass in men with testosterone deficiency .
In some cases, testosterone replacement therapy has even been found to be more useful than weight loss surgery in sustaining long-term weight loss in men . Furthermore, testosterone levels are linked with energy levels and vigour in men, and a testosterone deficiency can result in fatigue.
An increase in testosterone via hormone therapy can improve energy, resulting in more spontaneous activity and exercise to help you lose weight .
How much weight can you lose by taking testosterone?
Testosterone replacement therapy can result in a 10 per cent loss of body weight over a period of 20 weeks. Over 76 per cent of testosterone therapy patients lost five per cent of their body weight .
After a year, the average patient saw a 12.1 per cent weight loss .
How can you increase testosterone levels?
Lifestyle changes may improve testosterone levels to a degree. In fact, eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting enough quality sleep have been shown to improve testosterone levels and overall health as well. However, the best way to increase testosterone levels if you're testosterone deficient is via testosterone replacement therapy.
If you aren't testosterone deficient and would simply like to support your testosterone levels, you might want to consider a supplement.
Given the important role testosterone plays within the body incorporating a supplement that supports the production of this hormone into your daily routine is a no-brainer.
Other ways to approach weight loss
While increasing your testosterone levels may help with weight loss, not everyone is suited to testosterone replacement therapy and some may simply benefit from a different approach to weight loss.
This is where Pilot comes in. Pilot's Metabolic Reset Program gets to the root cause of weight gain and uses a combination of modern medicine, lifestyle coaching and one-on-one health tracking to help you achieve long-term weight loss and improve your health.
The breakthrough weight loss medication prescribed by Pilot practitioners works to reset the body's metabolic patterns and helps to regulate the appetite, overhauls your 'hunger hormones' and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Clinical research from studies of these weight loss medications found that a quarter of users lose more than 10 per cent of their body weight after five months .
And, after a year, the average user lost 12.1 per cent of their body weight .
When combined with lifestyle changes and health tracking, this can help you achieve sustained weight loss and help you keep it off for good. To see if Pilot's Metabolic Reset Program is right for you, take our quiz below.