Testosterone supplements may help obese men in weight loss
In a recent study, researchers have suggested that intake of testosterone supplements can help older obese men in weight loss.
During the study, hormone-deficient men were given testosterone supplements as HRT is given to older women.
On examination, it was observed that men lost an average weight of 16kg during five years when the level of testosterone was increased back to normal.
But use of testosterone supplements may not be safe due to possible risk of developing prostate cancer and heart disease, warned the experts.
"The notion that this is a quick fix for obese older men is, as always, simplistic. It is far more sensible and safer for men to reduce their food intake, reduce their obesity, which will then elevate their own testosterone," said Prof Richard Sharpe from the University of Edinburgh Centre for Reproductive Health.
The findings of the study were announced at the European Congress on Obesity and have also suggested that increasing testosterone levels may reduce the circumference of waist and blood pressure.
"We came across this by accident. These men were being given testosterone for a hormone deficiency - they had a range of problems - erectile dysfunction, fatigue and lack of energy? said Dr Farid Saad, lead author of the study.
"When we analysed the data we found that every year, for five years, they had lost weight. It may be that the increased testosterone restored their energy levels and led to a behavioural change of being more physically active," Dr Saad stated.
However, experts are still doubtful with the results. Some experts have related low testosterone levels to a male "menopause", that includes symptoms like changes in sleeping patterns, poor concentration, feeling worthless and anxiety, while the other group has found no such relation.
"This is interesting, but not absolutely convincing. We cannot say for sure that this is the effect of the drug rather than being involved in such a trial," said Prof Ashley Grossman, an endocrinologist from the University of Oxford.
"I will remain sceptical until I see a large scale study in a more robust fashion. The gold standard test would be to pitch the testosterone injections against a dummy drug in a controlled trial," he added
During the entire study, 115 obese men aged between 38-83 years with low testosterone levels were observed and were supplemented with the hormone every 12 weeks to increase the level of the hormone.
Bayer Pharma paid for the whole research, a manufacturer of testosterone replacement therapy and no such possibility of increased risk of prostate cancer were found in other studies.
However, there are several studies showing that obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is linked with low testosterone levels in men and a reduction in muscle. Thus, the relationship between both obesity and testosterone looks like a vicious cycle.
With growing age, especially after 40-50 years, testosterone levels starts declining gradually, which may lead to abdominal obesity that will then further lead to lower testosterone levels.
-With inputs from ANI
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