Obesity wreaks havoc on the sexual, reproductive, and hormonal systems of both men and women.
Extra fat, especially intra-abdominal (visceral) obesity, aka “beer belly” (or “soda belly”) is metabolically active and damages the body by ramping up inflammation. It also tends to convert testosterone to estrogen. Therefore, many obese men have low levels of testosterone. This also occurs because the high levels of estrogen produced tell the brain to stop producing sex hormones, including testosterone. Low levels of testosterone in men have been associated with heart disease, depression, low libido, low sperm counts and infertility.
How to break the vicious cycle of “feminization” of men:
1. Do resistance training to build muscle. This may also (especially lower body weight training) help to raise testosterone levels as the body seeks to repair the muscle that’s been worked.
2. Consume fewer simple carbohydrates (beer, soda, sugar added to almost all prepared foods) to reduce abdominal fat.
3. Get adequate sleep. That includes getting evaluated for and possibly treated for sleep apnea. Men with sleep apnea are particularly prone to having low testosterone.
Some physicians have prescribed testosterone therapy for men with documented low blood levels of testosterone. It can help reduce visceral fat and improve mood and improve erectile dysfunction. However, its long-term safety is unclear, and it can promote growth of some tumors. Prescribed testosterone can also make sleep apnea worse. I have lost weight without testosterone supplementation.