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Sunday, April 24, 2011

O2 HEALTH > The Ups and Downs of Obesity and testosterone

by Dr. Damigo; PhD

Testosterone is the major male hormone.

As such, it's responsible for the deep voice, large muscles, and strong bones that characterize our gender, for development of the male reproductive organs, for sperm production and libido, and for the typical male pattern of beard growth.


Obesity

After being converted to dihydrotestosterone, the hormone also spurs growth of the prostate, which is a much less welcome sign of manhood for older gents.
Testosterone levels surge at puberty and peak in early adulthood, and then after a few years of stability, the hormone begins a slow drift downward in early middle age. Because the drop in testosterone averages just 1% a year, most older men retain normal levels. But anything that accelerates the decline can nudge some men into testosterone deficiency.
Obesity lowers testosterone levels.

A study of 1,667 men ages 40 and above found that each one-point increase in BMI was associated with a 2% decrease in testosterone. IA further study of 1,862 men ages 30 and above found that waist circumference was an even stronger predictor of low testosterone levels than BMI. A four-inch increase in waist size increased a man's odds of having a low testosterone level by 75%; for comparison, 10 years of aging increased the odds by only 36%. All in all, waist circumference was the strongest single predictor of developing symptoms of testosterone deficiency. And if you doubt these two American studies, just consider Australian research that found almost one in every seven obese men could benefit from testosterone replacement, a rate more than four times higher than in nonobese men.
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