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The Connection Between Low T and Belly Fat

The Connection Between Low T and Belly Fat

By Mike Kocsis | 7 minutes read | Last updated: July 27, 2023
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  • Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos

    Evidence Based Research

    Testosterone is an essential hormone that plays numerous crucial roles in the body. Having its normal concentration in the blood is important for your overall health.

    Men should have 300 to 1,000 ng/dL testosterone levels. However, some men produce less testosterone than normal, leading to health problems such as low muscle mass and belly fat accumulation.

    Some studies show that men with testosterone deficiency are prone to obesity or belly fat gain, while others indicate obesity can cause testosterone deficiency. Although the exact connection between these problems is not clear, it is obvious that both are somehow linked to each other.

    In this article, we will discuss how low T influences body weight and how belly fat disturbs testosterone levels. We will also share effective solutions to these problems.

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    Low T and belly fat gain create a vicious cycle

    Weight gain and testosterone deficiency go hand in hand. It means one problem gives rise to the other, and the other also gives rise to the first, creating a vicious cycle.

     

    Low T causes increased belly fat

    Before we discuss how low T leads to belly fat accumulation, let’s first understand the testosterone production process.

    Testes produce testosterone after receiving signals from the brain. The hypothalamus (a small part of the brain) secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) that signals the pituitary gland (a pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain) to release luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones work together to produce and release testosterone.

    Testosterone production increases during puberty when this hormone works on transforming boys into men. Then its levels may decline by 1% per year after age 30.

    Testosterone is responsible for many functions in the body. It promotes lean muscle gain and fat distribution. So, when you do not have enough testosterone, you start losing lean muscle mass and gaining fat. Since muscles burn more calories, losing them further increases weight.

    Another way low T can cause fat gain is fatigue. When your testosterone levels decline, your energy and motivation levels may also go down. You may not feel like going to the gym anymore. Staying in bed looks more appealing than working out. Eventually, all these factors contribute to weight gain.

     

    Fat gain leads to testosterone deficiency

    Belly fat gain is also responsible for reducing blood testosterone levels. Data reveals that over 70% of morbidly overweight men have testosterone deficiency. Its exact cause is unclear yet, but some studies show that it might be due to the following reasons.

    Fat cells produce more aromatase, an enzyme responsible for metabolising testosterone into oestrogen (a female sex hormone). That is why men with excessive belly fat have higher serum oestrogen levels than men with normal body weight.

    High oestrogen levels signal the brain to stop releasing GnRH, resulting in low LH production and, eventually, low testosterone levels.

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    Now what to do?

    Men with low T experience many other negative health effects, including:

    All these problems can disturb your social, work, and married life in different ways. That is why you should seek a solution to get rid of them on time.

    Whether you are dealing with low T or excess belly fat, each problem has a solution.

     

    Solution: TRT to increase testosterone and lose weight

    If you have gained weight due to testosterone deficiency, you need to find ways to fix your testosterone levels.

    Although low T is a side effect of ageing, young men can also experience it due to a genetic disorder, injury to the testicles or another issue.

    Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a hormone therapy that increases testosterone levels in testosterone-deficient men. In this treatment, man-made testosterone is administered in your body in different ways, such as injections, gels, pellets, patches, and tablets.

    Testosterone gels are considered one of the most convenient forms of TRT as they are easier to apply, and you do not need to visit a clinic to apply them.

    You can administer testosterone injections on your own if you know how to do it and your healthcare provider allows it.

    Testosterone pellets require a minor incision. They are administered under the skin every 6 months.

    Each TRT form produces different effects. Hence, you must discuss them with your doctor in detail to choose the one that best suits your lifestyle and health goals.

     

    Solution: Lose weight to increase testosterone

    Testosterone deficiency can happen due to many reasons. If your weight is the culprit behind this issue, getting rid of those extra pounds may help you restore testosterone levels.

    You can try various natural ways to lose weight, such as:

    • Get more active and make exercise a part of your life. It will help you not only lose weight but also maintain it.
    • Eat plenty of green veggies and fruits as they are low in fats and calories.
    • Drink 3 to 4 litres of water every day.
    • Eat foods having high fibre content as they will keep you feeling full.
    • Reduce the intake of processed food items.

     

    Does testosterone help with weight loss?

    If the methods mentioned above fail to generate desired results, getting TRT may help you achieve a healthy weight.

    Evidence

    Some studies prove that TRT can help overweight testosterone-deficient men lose weight and restore testosterone deficiency.

    In a 2016 study, 100 obese men with testosterone deficiency received a low-calorie diet for a certain time period. By the end of research, men who had TRT lost more weight than those who did not receive the treatment. It was mainly because testosterone increased their muscle mass which helped them burn more calories.

    Other studies show that improved motivation and reduced fatigue also play their part in reducing weight in obese hypogonadal men.

     

    Other benefits of increasing your testosterone levels

    TRT can improve your quality of life in multiple ways. Some of its worth-mentioning benefits are:

    • It improves sexual health and performance. It may help get rid of erectile dysfunction and low libido.
    • It increases bone density, helping reduce the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.
    • It increases energy and motivation levels, helping you become physically more active and perform better in different areas of life.
    • It may improve your cognitive performance. Your memory, mental strength, reasoning and concentration may become better.
    • Your mood swings, depression, and anxiety may start subsiding.

     

    Do this if you want to fix testosterone deficiency

    If you are experiencing low T symptoms and they are influencing your life, you should reach out to a doctor to get rid of the issue on time.

    At Balance My Hormones, we evaluate the signs and symptoms of our patients and run a testosterone test to determine whether you have testosterone deficiency or not. If your testosterone levels are below normal, we may suggest TRT or another treatment based on your current health condition.

    TRT is a lifelong procedure, so we provide our patients with ongoing support to ensure their testosterone levels stay optimal throughout the treatment and they get the best possible results.

    You can contact us via phone or our LiveChat feature to discuss your symptoms with our experts. They will help you identify and treat the underlying cause to improve the quality of your life.

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    FAQs

    Will I regain weight after stopping TRT?

    As mentioned earlier, TRT is a lifelong commitment. It does not cure low T; it simply raises your testosterone levels. You can enjoy its benefits as long as you have it.

    Once you stop taking testosterone, your blood testosterone level will likely decline, and you will develop low T symptoms, including belly fat gain again.

    Is TRT for all?

    TRT is a widely used low-T treatment, but it is not for all. FDA approves it for men who have testosterone deficiency due to a medical condition. It is not recommended for men who have age-related testosterone deficiency.

    Doctors also do not prescribe testosterone to men suffering from prostate cancer, breast cancer, severe urinary tract problem, and uncontrolled heart failure as it may aggravate their health condition.

     

    Takeaway

    Testosterone deficiency can disrupt normal fat distribution and cause weight gain. Similarly, being overweight also increases your risk of testosterone deficiency. It means both obesity and low T are connected, and one can give rise to the other.

    You should maintain a healthy weight to restore your testosterone levels, and if that does not work for you, TRT might be what you need. It can bring your testosterone levels back to normal and help you relieve low T symptoms, including weight gain.

     

    References/Citations/Further reading/Scientific studies/Bibliography

    Traish, A.M., 2014. Testosterone and weight loss: the evidence. Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity21(5), p.313.

    Rebuffe-Scrive, M., Mårin, P. and Björntorp, P., 1991. Effect of testosterone on abdominal adipose tissue in men. International journal of obesity15(11), pp.791-795.

    Saad, F., Haider, A., Doros, G. and Traish, A., 2013. Long‐term treatment of hypogonadal men with testosterone produces substantial and sustained weight loss. Obesity21(10), pp.1975-1981.

    Saad, F., Aversa, A., M Isidori, A. and J Gooren, L., 2012. Testosterone as potential effective therapy in treatment of obesity in men with testosterone deficiency: a review. Current diabetes reviews8(2), pp.131-143.

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    Evidence Based Research

    This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.

    References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.

    Our team of healthcare experts and GMC registered doctors are licensed to UK GMC standards. We strive to provide you with the latest evidence based, researched articles that are unbiased, honest and provide you with accurate insights, statistics and helpful information on the discussed topic to ensure you gain a better understanding of the subject. You can read more about our Editorial Process by clicking here.

    We value your feedback on our articles, if you have a well-researched paper you would like to share with us please contact us.

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    About the Author: Mike Kocsis

    Mike KocsisMike Kocsis has an MBA with a focus on healthcare administration and is an entrepreneur and medical case manager for Balance My Hormones Ltd which offers medical services in the UK and Europe. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, much of that working with people who have hormone imbalances. Mike has appeared on podcasts and radio and is an expert speaker on the subject of hormone imbalance. He specialises in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has helped thousands of people suffering from hormone imbalances recover and regain control of their lives. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on the Balance My Hormones YouTube Channel.

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