Was your New Year resolution doomed to failure, before you started?
‘New Year, New You’ is the mantra that a great many of us try to embrace as January begins. However, for a significant proportion of those who vowed to make changes to improve their health, those good intentions slip back in to old habits by the end of the month and the only pounds lost are those that have been invested in home fitness equipment, exercise apparel and gym membership* which remains largely unused.
For 20% of men over the age of 50** and an undetermined number of younger men trying to shed their ‘beer bellies’ this year, their chances of success will be greatly diminished, especially those with a waist size of 38 inches or over, because of a lack of testosterone.
The relationship between weight gain and testosterone appears to be a vicious cycle. There are numerous studies showing that obesity, in particular abdominal obesity, is associated with reduced testosterone levels in men and a reduction in muscle. Although after the age of 30 testosterone levels tend to decline slowly, a whole variety of life events and particularly stress, can push these levels down further which may predispose to abdominal obesity which will then further lower testosterone levels.
Research has linked low testosterone levels with heart failure, diabetes and osteoporosis. The changes that low testosterone create such as depression, reduced drive and energy, night sweats, brain fog, irritability, reduced libido and erectile dysfunction, are surprisingly often overlooked as the onset can be slow and because the man is so pressurised by the rest of his life that he assumes it is an inevitable part of growing older.
Dr Malcolm Carruthers, Chief Medical Consultant at the Centre for Men’s Health, who has treated over 2000 men across the past 30 years for testosterone deficiency, “There seems to be a shift in the body’s metabolism when there is this testosterone deficiency and men put on weight, in spite of trying to follow a diet or trying to exercise. The energy to exercise is gone and so they do put on quite a bit of weight, particularly around the middle. It can wreck the way that men feel, the energy drains away and generally they feel down, depressed, get quite confused and their memory goes, they’re often very irritable.
He added, “A simple trial of testosterone treatment over a couple of months can help reverse the majority of these distressing symptoms and studies show that prolonged testosterone treatment alongside lifestyle changes can make a significant contribution in helping men shed excess weight."
* Daily Mail 2013.
**Trinick T.R.,Feneley M.R. Welford H, Carruthers M. The Aging Male 2010 1-6 *International web survey shows high prevalence of symptomatic testosterone deficiency in men. A 10,000 Department of Chemical Pathology The Ulster Hospital Belfast, Institute of Urology & Nephrology University College Hospital London.