Obese men may have low sex hormone testosterone levels indicating less libido, according to a new research report.
A study conducted in 2,165 men in the age-group of 45 years or older found that 40 percent of obese participants involved in the Hypogonadism in Males (HIM) study had lower-than- normal sex hormone testosterone levels.
The study conducted by University at Buffalo (UB) endocrinologists has appeared in the journal Diabetes Care.
The level of testosterone hormone was found further lower – upto 50 percent –among obese men with diabetes.
The study was conducted from November 2003 to February 2004 in 95 primary care practices throughout the U.S.
The Buffalo researchers also found a direct relationship between a person’s body mass index (BMI) and testosterone levels. As a person’s body mass index increased his testosterone levels fell.
This study is considered the largest to examine the link between obesity and low testosterone. This is also the first study to compare prevalence of low testosterone with obesity and diabetes separately and together.
Obesity and diabetes have influences on the male sex hormone testosterone concentrations. But they may be having independent impacts.
The effect of diabetes on lowering testosterone levels was similar to that of a weight gain of approximately 20 pounds, study authors noted.
Another study conducted last year found that obese men who lost significant weight reported better sexual function.
Endocrinologists published the study in Diabetes Care in 2008 showing that more than 50 percent of men between 18 and 35 years old with type 2 diabetes had lower than normal testosterone levels.
In light of these studies, experts recommend that all men with type 2 diabetes have their testosterone levels checked.
The Buffalo researchers go one step further demanding that all obese men, even though they are young, should also get checked to find out if their testosterone levels are lower.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for normal growth and development of male sex and reproductive organs, including the penis, testicles, scrotum, prostate, and seminal vesicles.
Testosterone facilitates the development of secondary male sex characteristics such as musculature, bone mass, fat distribution, hair patterns, laryngeal enlargement, and vocal chord thickening. Additionally, normal testosterone levels maintain energy level, healthy mood, fertility, and sexual desire.
In men, testosterone is made in large amounts by the testicles. In both men and women, testosterone is made in small amounts by the adrenal glands; and, in women, by the ovaries.
Normally, the testes produce 4–7 milligrams (mg) of testosterone daily.
Low testosterone, or testosterone deficiency is also known as hypogonadism. Depending on age, insufficient testosterone production can lead to abnormalities in muscle and bone development, underdeveloped genitalia, and diminished virility.
Testosterone production increases rapidly at the onset of puberty and decreases rapidly after age 50 (to 20–50% of peak level by age 80).
A testosterone test checks the level of this male hormone (androgen) in the blood.