Testosterone supplements 'can help men lose their middle-aged spread'
Discovery made by 'accident'
by doctors treating men for erectile dysfunction
09:14 GMT, 11 May 2012
Middle-aged spread on older men could be banished by taking supplements of testosterone, according to research.
Injections of the male sex hormone can help men lose body weight if taken regularly and over a sustained period of time.
The discovery was made by 'accident' by doctors treating men who were receiving hormonal injections for erectile dysfunction.
Study: Injections of testosterone can help men lose body weight if taken regularly and over a sustained period of time
Scientists tested a group of 115 testosterone-deficient men with an average age of 61.
The average weight loss was 2.5 stone (35 pounds), according to a study presented to the European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France, this week.
The participants' waist circumference, meanwhile, fell from 42inches (107cms) to 38.5inches (98cms).
Lead researcher Farid Saad, of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer Pharma, said other benefits included reduced body mass index, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
He said: 'Raising serum testosterone to normal reduced body weight, waist circumference and blood pressure, and improved metabolic profiles.'
Dr Saad, from Gulf Medical University in the United Arab Emirates, said the improvements were progressive over the five-year period of the study.
'Testosterone increases lean body mass, increasing the energy used by patients'
He said: 'Increased testosterone levels improve energy and motivation to do physical exercise and more movement in general; testosterone also increases lean body mass, increasing the energy used by patients.'
But Sanjay Kinra, an obesity expert and researcher at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, claimed the weight-loss might have been a more natural result of an increase in exercise due to improved mood.
He told AFP: 'It is quite possible that a drug that is improving the mood of middle-aged people over a period of time will likely make them a bit more active and help them lose a little bit of weight, but it is a serious drug, testosterone, and it causes serious health effects.
'As a mass treatment of obesity testosterone is not meaningful because you are not going to trade off your risk of getting prostate cancer or heart disease for a bit of weight loss that is not going to be lifelong anyway, it will only remain for the time that you are on testosterone.'