Testosterone is the hormone that men depend on for building muscle, growing facial hair, and having a deeper voice. When it comes to burning fat, research has shown that the same male hormone can also help in weight management. Most men are full of this particular hormone, but there are also others who suffer from testosterone deficiency. This problem can lead to excessive fat gain.
What Exactly is Testosterone?
As mentioned, testosterone is a male hormone, but it is not just any hormone. Testosterone is considered the most vital male sex hormone even though it is also found in women. The testicles produce this hormone in men, while the ovaries do the same work in women.
Hormones are actually molecules that have important roles in specific systems of the body. They are released into the bloodstream. From there, they are carried to certain cells. As they interact with cells that are compatible with them, these hormones eventually bind to receptors, and they affect the function of these cells. As for testosterone, the main role of this hormone is to promote characteristics associated with men, such as increased muscle mass, deeper voice, and stronger bones.
Having adequate levels of testosterone is essential for achieving sperm cell maturation. It also helps maintain male fertility. It is not surprising that men have more testosterone levels than women. However, the hormone is also essential for women. Both genders require enough testosterone for muscle growth, bone strength, and maintenance of muscle mass. As we grow older, our testosterone levels decline, which is part of the reason why bone and muscle loss are associated with age. Aside from this, testosterone deficiency may also lead to undesirable weight gain.
The Link between Low Levels of Testosterone and Weight Gain
Testosterone can help promote muscle growth, and it can also assist in weight control. Because it suppresses fat gain, some men who are deficient in testosterone tend to gain fat faster than those with high levels of the hormone.
Testosterone has an important role when it comes to the body’s metabolism. There have been several studies that show men with inadequate testosterone have a higher body fat percentage when compared to men who have enough levels of testosterone. Consequently, men who take medication that can affect testosterone production, such as treatments for advanced prostate cancer, tend to gain weight faster and have more body fat than their healthy peers.
The connection between testosterone and weight also goes the other way. In 2013, a review published in the European Journal of Endocrinology showed that losing weight can increase testosterone levels. Such methods of weight loss did not involve testosterone therapy.
Another 2013 observational study conducted in Germany found that weight loss was a welcomed side effect of those who had low testosterone levels but were undergoing testosterone replacement therapy. Men in that study took supplements for boosting their hormones for five years straight. At the end of the study, they lost an average of more than 35 pounds and almost four inches off their waistline.
How Does Testosterone Affect Weight?
A person with low testosterone levels can suffer from increased body fat, particularly in the midsection. The precise biochemical mechanism that explains how the hormone causes this change in the body is still unknown.
It also turns out that low testosterone does not just cause weight gain, but the reverse may also be true. According to research, obesity can result to lower than normal levels of the hormone. Physiologically, the link between this two is almost undeniable and can become a vicious cycle in men.
Fat in the body has an enzyme that converts the hormone into another hormone called estrogen. When there are extra levels of estrogen in the body, it triggers the slow production of testosterone. As you already know, low testosterone levels can cause more belly fat to accumulate in the body.
Do You Have Low Levels of Testosterone?
Men who already have a problem with their levels of testosterone can have worse problems if they are also overweight. Fat has the ability to speed up the breaking down of testosterone. What this means is that the more fat you have in your body, the more testosterone you will burn, which you may already be running low at.
However, it is important to note that not all men with low testosterone will gain excessive weight. In fact, the symptoms will vary from one person to another. What is worth noting is that being overweight can simply worsen the capacity of the body to produce the hormone. It can lead to lower testosterone levels but you do not have to be overweight for low testosterone to affect you.
Regardless of weight, if you have low testosterone, you could have less muscle mass than those who have normal levels of the hormone. This is why there are people who are not overweight, yet they have an increased percentage of fat in their bodies.
One of the symptoms of low testosterone is that it can take away the drive to exercise. Reduced motivation is a subtle signal that you are low on the hormone. Men often describe the feeling of becoming a couch potato almost all of a sudden even though they were not like that before. For this reason alone, it is without a doubt that low testosterone is indeed tied to unwanted weight gain in men.
Staying fit and managing weight through exercise requires determination, initiative, and energy. If these things are lacking, gaining weight is definitely easy. To fight weight gain because of low testosterone, the recommended method is the same as for other people. You need to eat healthily and exercise more to drop those pounds.