Testosterone is an important hormone for the functioning of the male body. When testosterone levels decline, lean muscle mass and bone density levels decline. This combination causes loss of strength and eventual debility. Lower testosterone levels also affect sexual function and mental health. Many of the declines commonly associated with aging are predicted by declining testosterone levels.
Stress management and weight management are important in the realm of anti-aging or healthy aging based on the results of a new study.
A study published in the journal of Endocrinology followed 1600 men from the Boston area for almost twenty years. Testosterone levels were measured at three different time periods and the men were asked information about their lifestyles and health. Questions were asked about smoking, health of their spouse, whether the men had been diagnosed with medical problems and how many medicines they took. They also measured the men’s weight and assessed for changes over time. Aging twenty years caused a decline in the men’s testosterone levels; however, sharper declines were associated with certain lifestyle issues and events.
Significant drops in testosterone levels occurred in men who developed a chronic illness, took six or more medications daily, or who quit smoking. The first two make sense because the development of a medical disease or taking medication would seem likely to affect a man’s normal metabolic functioning and affect hormone levels.
Stopping smoking is oddly linked with a drop in testosterone, because we usually consider this to be a positive health behavior. I postulate the change in testosterone level due to quitting smoking could be explained by the fact that stopping smoking is often associated with weight gain. The authors indeed found that the most significant drops in testosterone levels occurred after men lost a spouse or gained 4-5 levels of BMI which equates to a 30-40 pound weight gain. Stopping smoking is often associated with weight gains in this range. The authors reported that losing a spouse or gaining 30 pounds caused declines in testosterone levels that approximated 10 years of aging.
The good news? Losing weight can help your testosterone levels normalize, which can help men maintain normal lean muscle, physical performance, and even lean bone mass. At bistroMD we are able to help men lose weight eating foods they enjoy, and we can develop a plan that fits into even the busiest schedules.
Please visit our mens weight loss program for more information.
Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism Vol. 92, No 2 549-555.