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Can Increasing Testosterone Help You Lose Weight or Make You Fat?

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 18, 2021

Testosterone deficiency is more common in men than most people would believe.

And while in most cases it’s a natural reduction due to aging, when those T levels go too low, they can have a significant impact on weight loss efforts.

Not only that, but it can slowly push your body towards unhealthy weight gain and even obesity.

To help you understand how this sex hormone is tied to body fat in men, we’ve gathered all the scientific info.

We’ll also tell you what to look out for and give you alternatives to testosterone shots.

Testosterone Impact on Body Weight in Men

man showing off his big belly, old man with his hand on his face

There are three main areas that medical professionals focus on when it comes to testosterone levels and weight loss.

1. The Psychological Effect

This may sound like a strange one to start with but bear with me.

Men with low testosterone levels are far more prone to mood swings, low self-esteem, and a lack of focus [1]. All of these can have a significant impact on eating habits, making it very difficult for men to stick to healthy diets.

And that’s often the first broken link that makes it very difficult for men to lose weight.

2. The Muscle Mass Effect

shirtless man working out with a dumbbell

What many men don’t realize is that the amount of muscle mass is directly tied to how much fat the body stores.

And with reduced testosterone levels, it’s very difficult to maintain, let alone gain more muscle mass.

The result is a slow move upwards in the body mass index, which causes increasing health and weight issues.

This can ultimately lead to a vicious circle where a higher BMI lowers testosterone, which then lowers muscle mass and increases BMI.

More on this below.

3. The Fat Storage Effect

Another thing scientists have managed to find out is that testosterone deficiency is also linked to increased fat storage.

Here’s what happens.

The more fat men store, the more those fat cells produce aromatase. This enzyme is directly tied to converting testosterone into estrogen. And that hormone imbalance then sends signals to store more fat.

It’s another factor where severely low T-levels make any weight loss efforts practically pointless.

Now let me show you how all this adds up to a vicious circle.

4 Side Effects of Low T-Levels

man using a measuring tape on his flexed biceps

Here is why men should never ignore low testosterone levels. Doing so can set off a self-reinforcing set of events that gradually make weight problems worse.

1. It Starts With Aging

In most cases, low testosterone is a side effect of natural aging. For most men, that means testosterone levels start to slowly decrease from as early as 30 years old.

Maybe there is a scientific reason for a midlife crisis.

2. Slow Increase In BMI

In some circumstances, testosterone dips significantly below ideal levels, and that can result in slow muscle wasting and increased fat storage.

It might go unnoticed at first because muscles weigh more than fat, but a typical symptom would be gradually increasing belly fat and waist circumference.

3. Further Testosterone Reduction

man seated at a park tired

Those increased fat reserves then cause a further reduction in testosterone by causing it to convert into estrogen.

And now, things can start to spiral quickly towards obesity.

An already low level of testosterone sinks even lower.

And that causes...

4. More Weight Gain

Now you’re back to storing more fat, and the vicious cycle continues.

It’s why obese men often have such a huge barrier when it comes to weight loss, ultimately leading to serious cardiac side effects through increased blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

In severe cases, the best option is testosterone therapy that involves medical testosterone shots, but we’ll get to some alternatives shortly.

4 Symptoms Of Low Testosterone

man exhausted while riding a bike, man with an annoyed face

Here are the most common things men with low testosterone will notice.

1. Weight Gain

If you notice a sudden change in waist circumference despite no dieting or lifestyle changes, then research suggests it could be linked to hormone levels.

2. Low Energy Levels

Not just obese men, but even otherwise healthy men will find that they feel constantly drained with no energy to focus on mental or physical tasks [2].

3. Mood Swings

A hormonal imbalance doesn’t just impact body composition but also your overall mood. Sudden fluctuations in mood are most often tied to sudden changes in testosterone.

4. Low Sex Drive

They don’t call it the sex hormone for no reason. Not only will testosterone lower sperm count, but men can often lose all interest in sex.

The good news is that it’s easy to determine whether low testosterone is one of the contributing risk factors for weight issues, including obesity.

“TD is more common in men who have diabetes or who are overweight. In one research study, 30% of overweight men had Low-T, compared to only 6.4% of those with normal weight. The same study found diabetes to be a risk factor for TD. In another study, 24.5% of men with diabetes had Low-T, compared to 12.6% of those without diabetes.” - Urology Care Foundation.

How Can You Test Your T-Levels?

medical nurse in surgical gloves holding a vial with blood inside

The easiest way to check your testosterone levels is to ask your doctor for a full blood test, including hormones.

This will provide detailed results about total and free testosterone in the body.

And that value, combined with general age-related ranges, will give you a clear understanding of whether the levels are too low.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to immediately seek out medical testosterone therapy unless you’re already dealing with morbid obesity and extremely low levels of testosterone.

In most cases, though, there are certain lifestyle, diet, and supplement changes you should try before hormone replacement therapy.

Let’s find out more.

2 Ways to Naturally Boost Testosterone

man eating a salad bowl shirtless, close up image of medicine pills

Before you head down the road of testosterone treatment, there are ways in which you can influence how much testosterone your body produces.

These are far less disruptive than testosterone injections and are often enough to reverse testosterone and weight issues.

1. Diet

Both testosterone and weight loss issues are often tied to a diet that is lacking in certain nutrients.

The most important micronutrients you need to focus on are zinc, vitamin D, and magnesium; all play a key role in producing and releasing testosterone.

Here are a few things you should consider eating more of:

  • Shellfish including oysters
  • Leafy greens
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs

These can also help create a more balanced diet to reverse obesity from a macronutrient perspective.

2. Supplements

People often turn to weight loss supplements to burn off some extra fat. But in situations of reduced T count, it’s often better to start with a natural testosterone booster or a vegan t-booster.

These are not the illegal types of drugs that professional athletes often get banned for. But completely natural products combining certain minerals, herbs, and vitamins to help your body naturally increase free testosterone.

For women, read our blog to see which female testosterone boosters we recommend.

FAQs

Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy Help With Weight Loss?

Yes, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may help with weight loss, but it shouldn’t be the first treatment option. It’s possible to boost testosterone with natural ingredients, which should be the preferred choice if levels aren't critically low.

Are Testosterone Boosters Illegal?

No, most testosterone boosters are not illegal because they don’t contain controlled substances. Some of the medical testosterone therapy options are classified as controlled, which means it’s illegal to administer them without a doctor.

Is Your Testosterone Level Affecting Your Weight?

Obesity and general weight issues are often tied to problems with testosterone, and a lot of study data has provided conclusive evidence of these effects.

But before you rush to talk to a doctor about testosterone therapy, start with a regular blood test and consider reversing the low levels with natural supplements.

It’s one hormone men can’t afford to ignore, so make sure you stay on top of yours.


References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/men/features/how-low-testosterone-affects-your-health
  2. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/l/low-testosterone

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