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10 May 2010
Obesity lowers testosterone levels
by George Atkinson

Obesity, already linked to heart disease and diabetes, is also associated with an exclusively male health problem - low testosterone. The results of a study published in the journal Diabetes Care show that 40 percent of obese participants involved in the study had lower-than-normal testosterone readings.

The results for men with diabetes were even worse, said the University at Buffalo researchers who conducted the study. "The effect of diabetes on lowering testosterone levels was similar to that of a weight gain of approximately 20 pounds," said Sandeep Dhindsa, an endocrinology specialist. "In view of the fact that almost one-third of the U.S. is obese, these observations have profound clinical, epidemiological and public health implications."

The study is the first to compare the prevalence of low testosterone with obesity and diabetes both separately and together. Interestingly, it shows that obesity and diabetes may exert independent influences on testosterone levels.

"We published a report in 2004 on the high prevalence of low testosterone levels in men with type 2 diabetes and the Endocrine Society now recommends that all men with type 2 diabetes should have their testosterone levels measured," Dhindsa notes. "Our new study shows that obese men also have a very high prevalence of low testosterone levels, so physicians should consider screening obese non-diabetic men, as well, for low testosterone."

"With the rising prevalence of obesity in the U.S. and the rest of the world," says co-researcher Paresh Dandona, "it is imperative that the prevalence of low testosterone levels in obese men be defined. In addition, the magnitude of the contribution of obesity to subnormal testosterone needs to be quantified."

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Source: University at Buffalo

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