Losing weight may help overweight men with low testosterone to increase their hormone levels, new research has found.
Overweight men are more likely to have low testosterone levels, the study, involving nearly 900 middle-aged Irish men overweight and prediabetes. People with prediabetes have blood glucose levels abnormally high, but levels are still not high enough to be considered diabetes.
The men were assigned to one of three treatments. One group was told to eat a diet with less fat and calories and to make 150 minutes of exercise a week, a second group took metformin, a diabetes drug, and the third group took a placebo.
Among the men in the group of healthy lifestyle, the rate of low testosterone levels decreased from 20 to 11 percent after one year. The low testosterone level did not change in the group of diabetes drug or the placebo.
The study was presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society (Endocrine Society) in Houston.
“Physicians should first encourage overweight men with low testosterone levels to try to lose weight through diet and exercise, before turning to testosterone therapy to increase levels of the hormone,” he said in a news release from the Dr. Frances Hayes society, a professor at the University Hospital of St. Vincent, in Dublin.
The group of healthy lifestyle lost an average of nearly eight kilos (17 pounds).
“Losing weight not only reduces the risk of pre-diabetic men progress to diabetes, but also appears to increase the body’s production of testosterone,” said Hayes.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, its data and conclusions should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. Experts say the study also found an association between weight loss and a higher testosterone, but did not prove that losing weight would cause that increase testosterone levels.
The American Diabetes Association provides more information about diabetes.