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Is Testosterone a Lipid? (3 Main Issues Answered)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Last updated: November 1, 2022

As a personal fitness coach, I spend a lot of time working with nutritionists and doctors to come up with training programs for my clients. And in one recent discussion, my nutritionist friend kept referring to testosterone as a hormone and a lipid.

The interesting thing about sex hormones is what they are made of, and most people don’t know that there’s a lot more to this hormone when you take a closer look.

So, I spent about a day going through scientific literature with my nutritionist to provide you with a detailed explanation of this matter.

Quick Summary

  • Testosterone consists of lipids, and it’s one of the most important hormones for athletes and people on a weight loss regime.
  • While it’s classed as a hormone, it’s important to also understand how it’s unique at the molecular level.
  • Not only is it important to understand why testosterone is a kind of lipid, but it’s also interesting to see how it impacts the fat in your body.

Is Testosterone A Lipid Or Protein?

Pouring supplement on hand

The sex hormone testosterone is a lipid and not a protein [1].

This refers to the molecular structure and how the body actually creates it based on other molecules.

Let me explain.

One of the building blocks that form the basis for the body’s ability to create testosterone is cholesterol.

Yes, that lipid that you need to keep a close eye on for heart health reasons plays a key role here.

And because it’s a sterol lipid, it means that testosterone also remains a lipid, even once the body has added carbon molecules around it to transform it into the messenger hormone known as testosterone [2].

What that ultimately means is that testosterone is not water-soluble, which is important as you don’t want it to break down in your blood serum or muscle tissue.

One question that my nutritionist often gets is whether higher testosterone levels then also have a negative effect on overall serum lipid levels.

Let’s see what our research had to say about that.

Does It Impact Serum Lipids?

Person looking at his own muscle

Yes, testosterone can impact your overall serum lipids.

And studies have shown that it can do this in a negative way that you need to monitor carefully, especially when undergoing hormone treatment [3].

What researchers have found is that as testosterone levels increase, there can also be an increase in the bad cholesterol LDL and a decrease in the good HDL.

The matter is further complicated because, in the same study, scientists identified that the luteinizing hormone that stimulates testosterone production could further influence serum lipids and heart health.

It seems like high luteinizing hormone levels with low testosterone could still contribute to coronary heart disease. 

With all that in mind, it’s still important to highlight the symptoms of low testosterone levels can also have serious implications for certain health issues.

These include muscle wasting, low bone density, and even obesity [4].

And that leads me to the next question.

“The cause of low testosterone is classified as either primary or secondary and further categorized as functional or organic. Primary hypogonadism originates from a problem in the testicles, while secondary hypogonadism indicates a problem in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, which are the parts of the brain that signal the testicles to produce testosterone.”

- Mike Murray RDN at Examine.com

Does Testosterone Therapy Impact Body Fat?

A male body fat upper body

Yes, testosterone therapy can impact body fat.

But unlike the situation with serum lipids, testosterone can have a positive effect on how your body stores and metabolizes fat, as shown in several research studies and meta-analyses [5].

What the research has shown is that there seems to be a vicious circle. Low testosterone has been linked to increased fat storage.

An increasing volume of belly fat can then cause lower levels of the brain signals to produce more testosterone.

Essentially, the lower your testosterone goes, the fatter you can become and the less testosterone you’ll produce.

FAQs

Are All Hormones Lipids?

No, not all hormones are lipids. While testosterone would be classed as a lipid, other hormones fall into three categories, which are lipid-derived, amino acid-derived, and peptide hormones [6].

Is Testosterone Dangerous For Obese People?

No, testosterone isn’t dangerous for obese people. It is far more likely that low testosterone levels might be a contributing factor to obesity. And balancing sex hormone levels could be a significant solution for dealing with excess weight.

Control Your Serum Lipids And Body Fat

At this stage, you should have a clear understanding that testosterone is a lipid and that the body makes it by processing cholesterol.

It’s also important to understand that maintaining average testosterone level is key to achieving weight loss and bulking goals.

But that doesn’t mean you need to seek out medical testosterone treatment.

Our research and testing have shown great results for clients on a weight loss or bulking journey using natural testosterone boosters.

Try one of our recommendations and see how much of a difference it can make.


References:

  1. https://socratic.org/questions/human-hormones-testosterone-and-estrogen-are-considered-lipids-what-could-be-the
  2. https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Testosterone
  3. https://eje.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/eje/170/4/487.xml
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8954042/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25105998/
  6. https://bio.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Introductory_and_General_Biology/Book%3A_General_Biology_(Boundless)/37%3A_The_Endocrine_System/37.02%3A_Types_of_Hormones_-_Lipid-Derived_Amino_Acid-Derived_and_Peptide_Hormones
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