March 28th, 2017

A Vicious Cycle: Low Testosterone and Weight Gain

If your testosterone is low you’re going to get fat.

There’s been increasing understanding between the connection of low testosterone and weight gain. Questions have remained such as, “which came first, the low testosterone or the weight gain?” It turns out they are interconnected. Low testosterone leads to weight gain, and weight gain leads to low testosterone. It’s a vicious cycle.

Unfortunately, most men who are gaining weight or becoming obese are not offered evaluation for low testosterone.

Amazingly, despite extensive medical research over the past 20 years demonstrating that low testosterone not only leads to weight gain and obesity but also prediabetes and diabetes, scientists are still repeating studies to prove what is already known.The percentage of overweight men is significant, particularly those who are middle age and beyond. And there’s a striking rise of increasing obesity.

A person getting progressively heavier

Long-term weight maintenance is a real problem after weight-loss programs. A review of more than 50 weight-loss clinical studies with over 2,000 people showed that less than 25 percent of people maintain significant weight loss after substantial lifestyle intervention. And then at five years, after an intentional diet and lifestyle change, the average individual only lost about six pounds.

Weight Watchers, which is known to be the most successful long-term weight loss program in the United States, conducted a study of 699 lifetime members and their relative success at weight loss over five years. The percentage of Weight Watchers lifetime members who maintained at least 5 percent of their weight loss for five years was 50 percent. That’s pretty good compared to other weight loss programs and speaks to the success of adhering to a successful program.

Drugs are an option to treat obesity and, in fact, are commonly prescribed by physicians much more often than prescribing testosterone for weight loss. But these drugs, unlike testosterone, are fraught with side effects and cannot be safely taken for a long period of time.

A man measuring his waistline

The bottom line!

If you are obese or have concerns regarding weight gain, consider testosterone replacement therapy. There is conventional wisdom that testosterone needs to be extremely low before a man is treated, but this is nonsense. There is no predictable laboratory value that predicts which men will respond to testosterone therapy and which will not.

There is no reason to wait until your symptoms are severe to treat something as simple as testosterone deficiency. It is not a healthy approach. Not treating low testosterone will lead to more heart attacks, more obesity, a lower quality of life and more deaths.

There are no adverse events or health risks associated with taking testosterone replacement therapy for men with low testosterone. There remains a bias with physicians to prescribe testosterone because it is commonly confused with anabolic steroids.

If you think you have low testosterone, or want to be screened for it, visit our office where you can have a blood test and fill out a questionnaire. The two can be correlated. Contact us at 586-992-8300, or schedule online now

Thank you,

Dr. Charles Mok

Authored by

Charles Mok, D.O.

Dr. Charles Mok received his medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Chicago, Illinois in 1989. His professionalism and personal attention to detail have contributed to the success of one of the first medical spas in Michigan.

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