A new health study reveals that older obese men with lower levels of testosterone can lose weight immediately when levels of the male hormone are restored to normal, according to researchers.
But it might not be the testosterone itself. Rather, it could be that men undergoing the hormone therapy feel better and stronger so they exercise more and watch their diet, speculated experts not involved with the study.
“It [the study's conclusion] is overly optimistic,” said Dr. Bradley Anawalt, a spokesman for The Endocrine Society and chief of medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. “There is very little evidence that testosterone should cause weight loss in men obese or otherwise; it usually results in weight gain.”
Anawalt, who was not involved in the study, noted the study was sponsored by Bayer, which makes testosterone supplements.
The findings were to be presented Tuesday at the European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France.
The study was led by Dr. Farid Saad, from Bayer Pharma AG in Berlin.
For the study, the researchers followed 251 obese men aged 38 to 83 with low testosterone levels.
Among these men, 214 were followed for two years and 115 were followed for five years.
The men were given 1,000 milligrams of testosterone by injection when the study started, again at six weeks and then every 12 weeks until the end of the trial.
The men who were followed for five years lost an average of 35 pounds. Their average body-mass index — a measurement that takes height and weight into account — dropped from 34 to 29, moving them from the obese category into the overweight category.
In addition, they also saw improvements in their cholesterol and triglyceride levels, along with their blood pressure as testosterone levels returned to normal.