Testosterone reduced obesity by greater than 15% in 6 months. Doctors have beaten the beer belly, with the help of testosterone.
They doubled the blood level of the hormone in a group of patients and reduced their obesity by more than 15 per cent in just six months.
At the same time, cholesterol levels and blood pressure also dropped.
Belly’s gonna get you…
The treatment could pave the way for new ways of tackling the fat concentrated around the male abdomen – popularly known as the beer belly or pot belly.
A London conference on the male menopause also heard how higher testosterone levels may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, as well as having beneficial effects on bone health, diabetes and depression.
All fat can be a health risk, but it’s more of a problem when it builds up in and around the abdomen. Pound for pound, this kind of abdominal fat is much more likely to cause diabetes, heart disease and other problems.
Many men develop abdominal fat, especially in middle age. That is also the time when natural testosterone levels begin to decline, and the falling levels have been linked to the andropause (male menopause).
But younger men have problems, too, and the conference was given the results of a new Russian study into the link between testosterone and abdominal (visceral) obesity in men aged between 18 and 46.
Doctors gave patients two testosterone tablets a day for six months. The body mass index of the men – a measure of obesity which takes both weight and height into account – ranged from 30 to 34, with an average of around 31. All the patients had low levels of testosterone at the start of the treatment.
After one month of taking the tablets, the levels of the male hormone had doubled, and a positive link was found between body mass index and levels of testosterone.
After six months, the decrease of body mass was more than 15 per cent. The researchers also found that PSA concentrations – which measure the risk of prostate cancer – stayed the same. There have been fears that testosterone supplements would increase the risk of the cancer, or the likelihood of an existing cancer spreading.
Testosterone may also protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Oxford say they have found lower levels of testosteronein men with Alzheimer’s when they compared them with men who were disease-free.
Several studies have now shown that the female hormone oestrogen reduces the production of a toxic protein called beta amyloid which plays a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
Now, researchers believe testosterone can also reduce the levels of the compound in brain cells.
One study, the first of its kind, has shown that when testosterone production in animals was stopped, levels of the protein in the blood and the brain increased.
Men at risk of heart disease and stroke are candidates for testosterone therapy, too.
Doctors say the fact that testosterone levels decline at the time of life when the risk of vascular disease increases, may be more than coincidence.
Testosterone has been shown to be reduced in men admitted to hospital for stroke or myocardial infarction and to be significantly lower in men with coronary atherosclerosis.
Other research indicates that the risk of artery disease, poor bone density and diabetes can also be affected by testosterone levels.