When you suddenly and unexpectedly gain weight, that could be a sign that something problematic is going on with your body, especially if you haven’t been eating all that much to warrant such a huge increase in your weight.
An underactive thyroid, for instance, could be causing your slowed metabolism. Testosterone deficiency may also explain your unintended weight gain. To learn about the relationship between weight gain and testosterone, continue reading.
An important hormone performing various functions, testosterone is usually associated with male characteristics, aggressive behavior, physical strength, and even male sexual performance.
Indeed, men who are low on testosterone often suffer from reduced sex drive, as well as impaired sexual function. In addition, low testosterone levels also negatively affect reproductive health, resulting in low sperm production and poor quality of sperm.
Aside from poor reproductive and sexual health, a deficiency in testosterone can also cause various physical symptoms such as reduced muscle mass, hair loss, gynecomastia or breast enlargement, as well as an increase in fat mass.
Why You Gain Weight When Your Testosterone Levels Are Down
A lot of people don’t typically associate testosterone with weight gain or weight loss. In truth, testosterone is also a key hormone when it comes to the body’s various metabolism-related processes.
For instance, testosterone is tied to muscle mass growth and development. However, aside from building muscles, testosterone also helps increase the metabolic rate in your skeletal muscles. In addition, testosterone also helps promote fat oxidation and increases the conversion of fat into energy.
Hence, when testosterone levels are below normal, it can cause you to burn fat more slowly and less efficiently, resulting in increased fat mass and weight gain. Because of these metabolism-related actions of testosterone, men with hypogonadism tend to experience significant weight gain.
In fact, obesity and testosterone deficiency are closely related. Research indicates that the link between low testosterone levels and obesity is actually bidirectional. This means that when you are testosterone-deficient, you have a high risk of becoming obese. And when you are obese, you will most likely have low testosterone levels.
The presence of excessive belly fat among obese men helps explain why they usually have low levels of testosterone. Belly fat actually poses a lot of health risks for you, not only because it’s linked to various diseases like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but also because belly fat interferes with your hormonal balance.
You can think of your belly fat as another endocrine organ that’s actively secreting enzymes like aromatase. Converting bioavailable testosterone into the female sex hormone, estrogen, is actually one of the functions of aromatase.
This means that the more belly fat you have, the more aromatase you produce. And high aromatase activities can deplete your store of free testosterone, causing your free testosterone and total testosterone levels to go down.
Can Increasing Your Testosterone Levels Help?
If you have hypogonadism and are overweight or obese, you should definitely consider ways to increase your testosterone levels. Numerous studies show that when men with hypogonadism undergo testosterone replacement therapy, they do tend to experience significant weight loss.
A 2014 scientific review of previous studies on testosterone therapy and weight loss listed 28 different studies showing similar results. In these studies, testosterone treatment in the form of a patch, gel, injectable testosterone undecanoate, and oral testosterone undecanoate consistently resulted in decreased fat mass.
Testosterone therapy resulted in reduced waist circumference and decreased body weight. Thus, even if reduced weight isn’t the primary reason why you want to increase your testosterone levels, that’s an unexpected benefit that you can also gain.
Natural Testosterone Boosters
For raising your testosterone levels, going natural is always a good idea. Instead of taking anabolic steroids, natural testosterone boosters are better for you because they promote your own internal production of the hormone.
Plus, natural testosterone boosters like Tongkat Ali are usually rich in antioxidants, so you also stand to gain various other health benefits. For instance, Tongkat Ali, which is known as an effective testosterone booster, is also widely used as a fertility enhancer.
Because of its positive effects on testicular cells, Tongkat Ali helps to increase both the synthesis of testosterone, as well as the production of spermatozoa. The herb has been shown to benefit men with low sperm counts and poor sperm quality. In fact, Tongkat Ali is highly recommended for men who are struggling with idiopathic infertility.
Just like Tongkat Ali, fenugreek is another herb that has a variety of health benefits, including boosting free testosterone levels. It’s also great for weight loss, thanks to its high dietary fiber content. In addition, fenugreek is also recommended for those with diabetes and high blood sugar levels.
Tongkat Ali and fenugreek actually work better when they are taken together. While Tongkat Ali stimulates testosterone synthesis, fenugreek helps to protect the bioavailable testosterone you have produced from being converted to estrogen. That’s because fenugreek has inhibitory effects on the actions of aromatase.
You can also take Tribulus Terrestris, another herb that’s widely popular not only as a testosterone booster but also as an enhancer of male sexual performance and athletic performance.
In fact, Tribulus Terrestris has been used in various studies involving men with erectile dysfunction. These studies have consistently shown that Tribulus Terrestris can indeed help improve erectile function, as well as raise testosterone levels.
You can also gain improvements in your reproductive potential when you take Tribulus Terrestris. The herb has been scientifically shown to improve sperm count and quality. Research indicates that due to the high antioxidant content of Tribulus Terrestris, it helps protect sperm cells from oxidative stress damage.
There’s also evidence that Tribulus Terrestris can help control blood sugar levels and reduce total cholesterol levels. Thus, Tribulus Terrestris is particularly helpful for men with hypogonadism, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Although herb-based supplements like Tongkat Ali, fenugreek, and Tribulus Terrestris are really helpful in raising your testosterone levels, you should also increase your intake of zinc. The mineral is actually essential for synthesizing testosterone, which is why men who are deficient in zinc also often suffer from low testosterone levels.