Does Being Overweight Cause Low T, or Is It the Other Way Around?—The Cycle of Male Hormonal Imbalance

Obesity is recognized by many medical experts as the most effective predictor of low testosterone in men, with obesity and poor hormonal balance frequently co-occurring to produce a state of poor health that significantly reduces their quality of life.

This correlation that exists between being overweight and the presence of low testosterone leads many to wonder:

“Does being overweight cause my Low T and my miserable symptoms, or does Low T cause me to be overweight and suffer the health risks that come with obesity?”

The answer is yes… To both questions. As with most health issues involving hormone balance, the problem is somewhat complex.

A man in a green shirt sits on a sofa with one head rubbing his brow and another touching his stomach. He may be wondering, "Does being overweight cause Low T?"

Does Being Overweight Cause Low T—What the Research Tells Us

The first thing that research tells us is that these conditions, obesity and chronic hypogonadism (the medical term for low testosterone), often come together as an unfortunate package deal. Data from both large-scale epidemiological studies and small population-based research studies suggest rates of co-occurring obesity and low testosterone to be somewhere between 45.0–57.5%—a significant number.

To take that a step further, population-based studies have found obesity to be the single most important factor indicating the likelihood of low testosterone.

Similarly, testosterone deficiency can cause rapid weight gain, commonly observed in men who can no longer produce testosterone naturally, such as men being treated with androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer.

Two Factors in a Self-Perpetuating Problem

“Does being overweight cause Low T?”

The answer isn’t a neat “yes-or-no,” but medical professionals have come to recognize that obesity and Low T are intertwined in a self-perpetuating cycle. Each condition significantly worsens the other.

Low T results in inefficient production of lean muscle mass by your body, and more fat tissue is produced instead.

Adipose (fat) tissue functions as an estrogen-producing organ, and the resulting estrogen-heavy balance in your system effectively drives down the levels of testosterone available for your body to use.

Whether the initial weight gain was caused initially by low testosterone or whether the low testosterone was brought on by excess weight gain, the result is a cycle of ill health—a damaging downward spiral that’s difficult to break out of.

Men trapped in this conundrum typically find that no matter how hard they exercise or how strictly they monitor what they eat and drink, they continue to gain more weight as they age. They feel less and less like themselves as the symptoms of Low T set in.

Being Overweight and Having Low T: The Solution

The answer to this critical health problem that affects so many men is to break the cycle.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, there are 2 options available:

  1. Significant weight loss that will drive up the balance of available testosterone to a healthier level
  2. Restoring testosterone levels through Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) to stimulate the body to produce more lean muscle and less fat tissue

The first option is difficult, because many men are unable to maintain the lifestyle changes—the rigorous diet and exercise—required to lose the amount of weight needed to improve their hormonal balance. Weight is often quickly regained, leaving men exactly where they started.

Furthermore, even sustained weight loss doesn’t guarantee that natural testosterone production will improve enough to have a noticeable impact.

Restoring and maintaining testosterone levels to normal through a regimented TRT program is likely a more feasible and effective way to treat obesity, break the cycle, and reduce the risk of associated life-threatening illnesses than lifestyle changes alone.

Learn more about the benefits of TRT and the specific treatment methods we use at Testosterone Centers of Texas in our comprehensive guide that answers the most common questions and provides the facts about the treatment of low testosterone.

Read the Guide


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(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.

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