Obese young men have 50% less testosterone than lean peers


Obese males aged 14 to 20 have up to 50% less total testosterone than do males of the same age weighing a normal amount. This significantly increases their potential to be impotent and infertile as adults.

Grim diagnosis for overweight young men

“We were surprised to observe a 50% reduction in testosterone in this pediatric study because these obsess males were young and were not diabetic,” said Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine, chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the UB medical school and first author on the study. “The implications of our findings are, frankly, horrendous because these boys are potentially impotent and infertile. The message is a grim one with massive epidemiological implications.”

The admittedly small study of 25 obese young men and 25 lean young men tested for concentrations of total and free testosterone and estradiol, an estrogen hormone, in daily blood samples. The next study will use a larger number of subjects.

Obesity is powerful

“These findings demonstrate that the effect of obesity is powerful, even in the young, and that lifestyle and nutritional intake starting in childhood have major repercussions throughout all stages of life,” Dandona explained.

Also vulnerable to diabetes

This not only affects fertility, but the presence of low levels of testosterone will increase the abdominal fat and reduced muscle mass. Both conditions can leave boys vulnerable to diabetes.

Reversible with weight loss

“The good news is that we know that testosterone levels do return to normal in obese adult males who undergo gastric bypass surgery,” noted Dandona. “It’s possible that levels also will return to normal through weight loss as a result of lifestyle change, although this needs to be confirmed by larger studies.”

Source: University of Buffalo, MedicalNewsToday


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