Middle-aged overweight men worried about low testosterone levels have an alternative to hormone therapy: weight loss.

A new study involving about 900 men with prediabetes showed that weight loss through lifestyle changes reduced the prevalence of low testosterone levels significantly.

“Losing weight not only reduces the risk of prediabetic men progressing to diabetes but also appears to increase their body’s production of testosterone,” said a co-author of the study, Dr. Frances Hayes, a professor at St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin.

Researchers studied about 900 men with an average age of 54 who were randomly assigned to lifestyle modifications of exercise and diet, the diabetes drug metformin, or a placebo. The study excluded men with hypogonadism, a condition characterized by low testosterone levels, or men taking medications that could interfere with testosterone levels.

At the beginning of the study, nearly one in four men had low testosterone levels.

With lifestyle modification, the prevalence of low testosterone levels decreased from about 20 percent to 11 percent after one year, the authors reported. The prevalence of low testosterone was unchanged in the metformin group and the placebo group.

Source: The Endocrine Society

— Anne Aurand, The Bulletin

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