A new study conducted at the St. Vincent’s University Hospital states that weight loss can actually help boost middle-aged, pre-diabetic obese males low testosterone levels by 50 percent.
“Doctors should first encourage overweight men with low testosterone levels to try to lose weight through diet and exercise before resorting to testosterone therapy to raise their hormone levels,” said study co-author Professor Frances Hayes.
The US study involves the participation of 900 men around the age of 54 all with pre-diabetes, also called impaired glucose tolerance, who had participated in the Diabetes Prevention Program. The study showed that these people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes could delay or avoid developing the disease through weight loss.
Due to the fact that overweight men are more likely to experience low testosterone levels, Hayes and her colleagues studied the effect of weight loss on men’s testosterone levels.
“The results showed that low testosterone levels are common in overweight men with pre-diabetes.” Hayes said. At the beginning of the study, nearly one in four men had low testosterone levels.
With lifestyle modification, the prevalence of low testosterone levels decreased from about 20 percent to 11 percent after one year, a 46 percent decrease, the authors reported. The prevalence of low testosterone was unchanged in the metformin group (24.8 versus 23.8 percent) and the placebo group (25.6 versus 24.6 percent).
Men in the lifestyle modification group lost an average of about 17 pounds over the one-year study, according to the abstract. The increase in testosterone levels in that group correlated with decreasing body weight and waist size.
“Losing weight not only reduces the risk of prediabetic men progressing to diabetes but also appears to increase their body’s production of testosterone,” Hayes said.