When we hear people talking about testosterone supplements, we automatically assume that they’re using testosterone because they want to build muscles. That’s understandable, considering that one of the main functions of testosterone has to do with muscle growth and development.
Aside from building muscles, testosterone is also often used to enhance male reproductive potential or sexual performance. However, there’s also evidence that the hormone can benefit people who are trying to lose weight. Learn more about using testosterone for weight loss.
Testosterone supplements generally refer to either anabolic steroids, natural testosterone boosters, or testosterone replacement therapy. Anabolic steroids include synthetic steroids, and they are often used by bodybuilders and athletes.
Unfortunately, anabolic steroids are often misused. When men with healthy testosterone levels take anabolic steroids to boost muscle growth, they run the risk of developing heart diseases, liver problems, and even sexual dysfunction. In addition, anabolic steroids can also hamper the body’s natural production of testosterone.
Testosterone replacement therapy, on the one hand, is typically used by patients who have been identified by doctors as having clinically low testosterone levels. It’s usually prescribed for those with hypogonadism or very low natural production of either testosterone or spermatozoa, or even both.
Just like anabolic steroids, long-term use of testosterone replacement therapy may also have risks such as testicular atrophy and impaired endogenous synthesis of testosterone.
Introducing synthetic testosterone into your body, either through supplementation or injections, makes your hormonal feedback mechanism think that you’re producing sufficient amounts of testosterone already since your testosterone levels appear normal.
This feedback mechanism then tells your testicular cells not to produce testosterone anymore, which is why long-term use of extrinsically-sourced testosterone is often associated with reduced testosterone production and even testicular atrophy.
This is one reason why many men prefer taking natural testosterone boosters which stimulate your testicular cells to produce more testosterone. Examples of natural testosterone boosters include herb-based supplements such as Tongkat Ali and Ashwagandha.
Testosterone and Weight Loss
Loss of muscle mass and increase of fat mass are common symptoms in men with abnormally low levels of testosterone. In fact, obesity and low testosterone levels often go together. Several studies have shown that for men with obesity and hypogonadism, testosterone supplements may actually aid weight loss.
For instance, in a 2005 study, significant reductions in both waist circumference and body weight occurred as a result of long-term testosterone replacement therapy. In this study, obese hypogonadal men were given injections of testosterone undecanoate after every 3 months.
The average weight of patients with class I obesity or a BMI of 30-34.9 decreased from approximately 102 kg to around 84 kg, accompanied by an average waist circumference reduction of more than 10 cm.
Those with class II obesity or BMI of 35-39.9, their average weight decreased from almost 117 kg to just around 93 kg, and their waist circumference also decreased by about 13 cm.
Patients with class III obesity or BMI of 40 or more saw the biggest weight loss. Their average weight decreased from 129 kg to just under 99 kg, and their waist circumference also got reduced by around 15 cm.
Similar results were shown in a 2013 study involving 255 men with testosterone levels below 12.13nmol/L. In this study, the participants also received injections of 1,000 mg testosterone undecanoate every 12 weeks.
The men participating in this study also experienced reduced body weight and reduced waist circumference. From an average of 106 kg, their average body weight dropped to 90 kg. Their waist circumference also dropped by an average of 9 cm. The participants’ average BMI also dropped from an average of 34 to 29.
In a more recent study, experts from the University of Melbourne also showed that testosterone treatment was effective in helping obese men lose body fat. A hundred obese men with very low total testosterone levels participated in the study.
At the end of the 56-week study period, the researchers observed that those who were given 10-weekly intramuscular injections of 1,000 milligrams of testosterone undecanoate showed significantly greater reductions in both fat mass and visceral fat than those who were given placebo.
Natural Testosterone Boosters
Although testosterone replacement therapy has been proven beneficial for obese or hypogonadal men who are trying to lose weight, the treatment is, unfortunately, not available for all men trying to lose weight or trying to increase their testosterone levels.
Testosterone replacement therapy requires a doctor’s prescription, and most doctors follow a strict diagnostic process before they determine that a patient is indeed qualified for testosterone replacement therapy.
For this reason, a lot of men opt for natural testosterone boosters instead. There are numerous herb-based supplements that can naturally help stimulate your internal production of testosterone.
Tongkat Ali, for instance, has been shown to help boost testosterone levels, especially among people who are highly stressed and suffering from high cortisol levels. Cortisol, more popularly known as the stress hormone, can actually inhibit your production of testosterone.
Tongkat Ali can help reduce your cortisol levels, as well as stimulate increased testosterone production. In addition, Tongkat Ali can also help increase your energy, which is helpful if you’re also exercising regularly for weight loss.
Fenugreek is another herb-based supplement that you can use to manage your weight, as well as to increase your testosterone levels. Fenugreek is, in fact, a popular weight loss supplement because it’s known to inhibit both glucose and lipid absorption.
This means that when you take fenugreek supplements, your body absorbs carbs and fats more slowly. This is also why fenugreek is often recommended for those with diabetes since the herb can help you manage your blood sugar levels better. Of course, aside from its weight loss benefits, fenugreek is also known to help increase bioactive testosterone levels.
Ashwagandha is another natural testosterone booster that has been shown to aid bodyweight management, especially among those who are chronically stressed. In a 2016 study, 52 chronically stressed adults were given either placebo or 300 mg of Ashwagandha twice daily.
Those who were taking Ashwagandha supplements showed great improvements in their stress levels, reduced cravings for food, lower cortisol levels, and improved mood. In addition, those who were treated with Ashwagandha also had an average weight loss of 2 kg after 8 weeks.