Hypogonadism And Low Muscle Mass
Testosterone is regarded as the most vital and useful male sex hormone that serves a number of functions in the human body. A lot of people believes that optimal testosterone levels only play a role during adolescence or puberty, which is not true. Normal T levels are required by human body at all times to maintain metabolic activities such as production of sperms, muscle remodeling, bone turnover, reproduction etc.
Muscle Remodeling And Testosterone
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone; or in simple words the hormone that is responsible for the production of proteins in the human body. Since muscles are mainly made up of proteins, high testosterone levels directly enhance the production of proteins and overall muscle mass in the body. The overall result is stronger looking physique, optimal stamina and high energy levels. No wonder, testosterone supplements are one of the most popular supplements for potential abuse in the United States and across the globe. Likewise, when testosterone levels go down, estrogen influence increases in the body that works in the opposite direction by negating the effects of testosterone (i.e. reducing deposition of proteins and converting muscle mass into fat especially around chest and belly area).
Why Does Low T Causes Loss Of Muscle Mass?
Signs of low testosterone levels are usually evident long before the loss of muscle mass and other negative changes in the physical appearance. For example, it has been observed that men begin to feel less energetic and fatigued all the time. The muscle loss or degradation of tissues is a delayed sign of persistently low testosterone levels. The cells in muscles possess receptors called androgen receptors which have binding affinity for testosterone. This binding is responsible for the maintenance of muscle remodeling processes. When there is little or no testosterone available for binding, muscles get degraded thus resulting in wear and tear of muscle mass.
As discussed earlier, low T causes fat depositions and these fat cells especially the ones located in belly produces an enzyme (also known as aromatase) that facilitates the conversion of already low testosterone into estrogen. That estrogen further promotes the deposition of fat in chest, hips and thigh region. The lethargy and depression due to low testosterone further adds up the problem as it doesn’t let men to work out or exercise to reduce fat and gain muscle mass.
How To Build Muscle Mass With Low Testosterone?
Fat deposition can be reversed by increasing basal testosterone levels. If testosterone is borderline low, it can be managed by adequate weight loss. Aerobics and muscle building exercises are found to be quite helpful in building lean muscle mass. Here are some simple tips to start with:
- If you are overweight, you should immediately start a sensible weight loss regimen. It is the best way to boost testosterone levels naturally and reverse loss of muscle mass.
- Start weight lifting and use weight training machines to help in building muscles. Activities like aerobics, cycling or brisk walk is a good start to reduce fat deposition. Strength building exercise twice a week and 150 minutes of aerobics per week is the latest recommendation by healthcare professionals.
- High calories are not good for health but so is insufficient calories. Optimal calorie consumption is helpful in maintaining healthy weight. Instead of having fatty meat, go for lean protein i.e. vegetables, fruits and grains. Cutting down caffeine and alcohol also helps too.
- To keep testosterone high, make sure you take enough sleep. Lack of adequate sleep is related to low testosterone levels. Moreover, being tired and sleepy also prevents men from physical activities and exercise; thus, leading to weight gain and low muscle mass.
Exercise and healthy diet is not enough in all the cases to regain testosterone levels. Some men will need more than that! Testosterone replacement therapy is a treatment which helps in reducing body weight, regaining energy to exercise more and gain back the lean muscle mass and restore normal biological functions in the body. Your doctor will decide whether you need testosterone replacement therapy or not. If you are experiencing symptomatic hypogonadism, schedule an appointment with your doctor to see if you are a candidate for testosterone supplementation.
- Saad, F., Haider, A., Doros, G., & Traish, A. (2013). Long‐term treatment of hypogonadal men with testosterone produces substantial and sustained weight loss. Obesity, 21(10), 1975-1981.
- Huhtaniemi, I. T., O’Neill, T. W., Finn, J. D., Pye, S. R., Lee, D. M., Bartfai, G., … & Han, T. S. (2012). Characteristics of Androgen Deficiency in Late-Onset Hypogonadism: Results from the European Male Aging Study (EMAS).
- Hackett, G. (2016). An update on the role of testosterone replacement therapy in the management of hypogonadism. Therapeutic advances in urology, 8(2), 147-160.