For the first time, medicos have measured testosterone levels in teens of different weights and found that obese males aged between 14 and 20 have up to 50 percent less testosterone, significantly increasing their potential to be impotent and infertile as adults. The study was conducted by researchers from the University at Buffalo and the findings appear in the journalClinical Endocrinology.
The study included 25 obese and 25 lean males and was controlled for age and level of sexual maturity. The concentrations of total and free testosterone and estradiol (an estrogen hormone) were measured in blood samples.
While the results need to be confirmed with a larger number of subjects, research leader Paresh Dandona said the implications of the findings are “horrendous,” and have “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 said.
In addition to the reproductive consequences, the low levels of testosterone that were found will also increase the tendency toward abdominal fat and reduced muscle, Dandona says, leading to insulin resistance and diabetes.
He added that it was possible that testosterone levels will return to normal through weight loss, and Dandona now intends to study whether weight loss accomplished either through lifestyle changes or pharmacological intervention will restore testosterone levels in young males.
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