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Obese Teen Boys Have Up to 50 Percent Less Testosterone than Lean Boys
Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:40 pm Email this article
“A study by the University at Buffalo shows for the first time that obese males ages 14 to 20 have up to 50 percent less total testosterone than do normal males of the same age, significantly increasing their potential to be impotent and infertile as adults” according to a study from researchers at the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York, USA.
“A study by the University at Buffalo shows for the first time that obese males ages 14 to 20 have up to 50 percent less total testosterone than do normal males of the same age, significantly increasing their potential to be impotent and infertile as adults,” notes the news release.
After controlling for age and Tanner staging, obese males had a significantly lower total testosterone (10.5 vs 21.4 nmol per liter), lower free testosterone (0.22 vs 0.39 nmol per liter) and lower calculated free testosterone (0.26 vs 0.44 nmol per liter) concentrations as compared to lean males.
“The authors are the same researchers in the University at Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences who first reported in 2004 the presence of low testosterone levels, known as hypogonadism, in obese, type 2 diabetic adult males and confirmed it in 2010 in more than 2,000 obese men, both diabetic and nondiabetic,” according to the news release.
“We were surprised to observe a 50 percent reduction in testosterone in this pediatric study because these obese males were young and were not diabetic,” says Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine, chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the UB medical school and first author on the study.
“The implications of our findings are, frankly, horrendous because these boys are potentially impotent and infertile,” says Dandona. “The message is a grim one with massive epidemiological implications.”
“These findings demonstrate that the effect of obesity is powerful, even in the young, and that lifestyle and nutritional intake starting in childhood have major repercussions throughout all stages of life,” he says.
Implications of Low Testosterone
Low testosterone increases belly fat, reduces muscle, leading to insulin resistance, contributing to diabetes
“In addition to the reproductive consequences, the absence or low levels of testosterone that were found also will increase the tendency toward abdominal fat and reduced muscle, Dandona says, leading to insulin resistance, which contributes to diabetes.”
Weight Loss Increases Testosterone
Testosterone levels increase with weight loss in adults
“The good news is that we know that testosterone levels do return to normal in obese adult males who undergo gastric bypass surgery,” says Dandona.
“It’s possible that levels also will return to normal through weight loss as a result of lifestyle change, although this needs to be confirmed by larger studies.”
Subjects: 25 obese boys, 25 lean boys
The study looked at 25 obese males and 25 lean males, and was controlled for age and level of sexual maturity.
Mogri M, Dhindsa S, Quattrin T, Ghanim H, and Dandona P. Testosterone Concentrations In Young Pubertal And Post-Pubertal Obese Males. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2012; published on-line.
Author’s Contact Info
Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD
SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine,
chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
University of Buffalo School of Medicine
Buffalo, New York 14209, USA.
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