Testosterone decreases abdominal fat, and reduces risk of high cholesterol, diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Foreword
The effects of testosterone treatment of abdominally obese men have been assessed by evaluating the following parameters: The metabolic activity of different adipose tissue regions in vivo (using lipid label as a tracer) and in vitro (measuring lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity), the total and visceral adipose tissue mass, insulin sensitivity, fasting blood glucose, blood lipids, and blood pressure as well as prostate volume.
Middle-aged men with abdominal obesity were treated with transdermal administration of testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or placebo (P) during 9 months. The study was double-blind. Treatment with T was followed by an inhibited uptake of lipid label in adipose tissue triglycerides, a decreased LPL-activity and an increased turn-over rate of lipid label in the abdominal adipose tissue region in comparisons with the DHT and P groups. These effects on adipose tissue metabolism were not detected in the femoral adipose tissue region in any of the groups. T treatment was also followed by a specific decrease of visceral fat mass (measured by CT-scan), by increased insulin sensitivity (measured with the euglycemic glucose clamp), by a decrease in fasting blood glucose, plasma cholesterol and triglycerides as well as a decrease in diastolic blood pressure.
In the DHT group an increased visceral mass was detected. No other changes in these variables were found in the DHT and P groups. There were no detectable changes in prostate volume (measured by ultra-sound), prostate specific antigen concentration, genito-urinary history or urinary flow measurements in any of the groups. It is suggested that T substitution to a selected group of men results in general metabolic and circulatory improvements. The prostate area needs further careful attention.

Background:

The use of testosterone replacement therapy in obese men with low testosterone levels has been controversial. This review aims to analyze the effectiveness of testosterone therapy for weight loss and preventing cardiovascular complications in obese men with low testosterone levels.

Methods:

We will perform a systematic review according to Cochrane Methodology of randomized studies, including crossover studies, wherein patients are allocated into one of the two groups: testosterone therapy and control (no treatment or placebo). The primary outcomes analyzed will be: weight loss, adverse events, quality of life, improvement of libido, control of obesity complications, frequency of cardiovascular events, and deaths. Four general and adaptive search strategies have been created for the following electronic health databases: Embase, Medline, LILACS, and CENTRAL. Two reviewers will independently select the eligible studies, assess the risk of bias, and extract the data from included studies. Similar outcomes measured in at least two trials will be plotted in the meta-analysis using Review Manager 5.3. The quality of evidence of the effect estimate of the intervention for the outcomes that could be plotted in the meta-analysis will be generated according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) Working Group.

Results:

Although testosterone replacement seems to be an attractive treatment modality for obese men with low testosterone, its potential benefits has been refuted by some studies, whose results have not shown significant differences between treated and untreated patients.

Conclusion:

For obese men with low testosterone concentrations, the proposed systematic review aims to answer the following questions: When compared with no treatment or placebo: Is testosterone therapy safe? Is testosterone therapy effective in promoting weight loss, a sustained reduction in body weight and changes in body composition? Is testosterone effective in improving quality of life, libido, and erectile function? Is testosterone therapy effective in controlling obesity complications and in preventing cardiovascular events?

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