Low Test Levels, Lipolysis and Fat Mass

What effect do low levels of natural T have on lipolysis and fat mass?

The exposure of fat cells to the male sex hormone, testosterone, does have an increasing effect in the number of androgen receptors.

Protein synthesis mediates this effect, which theoretically suggests that testosterone is responsible for the formation of new receptors.

Studies have discovered that those men who are suffering from low levels of natural testosterone (hypogonadism) also suffer from a dramatic decrease in the ability to break down fats and use for energy.

However, when hypogonadism sufferers are then treated to increase their levels of test, they have increased the lipolysis process which aids fat metabolism.

  • [Xu X, De Pergola G, Bjorntorp P. The effects of androgens on
    the regulation of lipolysis in adipose precursor cells. Endocrinology
    1990; 126: 1229 ± 1234.]

It is thought that testosterone has an effect on lipolysis due to increasing the b-adrenoceptors number, that of adenylate cyclase, protein-kinase A and of hormone sensitive lipase activity.

That may sound like a load of words jumbled together, and trust me, scouring through medical dictionaries and research paper’s nearly killed me.

However, one body of research lends a bit of practical light to the jargon…

When male rats were treated with cyproterone acetate in order to reduce their androgen levels.

The end result was that a healthy level of testosterone appears to produce heat and regulate body weight.

Whereas, those with lower levels of testosterone disrupted this process and reduced the activity.

  • [4 Xu X, De Pergola G, Bjorntorp P. Testosterone increases
    lipolysis and the number of b-adrenergic receptors in male
    rat adipocytes. Endocrinology 1991; 128: 379 ± 382.]

It seems that when the subjects’ androgen levels were reduced it had a knock on effect to the process of lipolysis which is stimulated by catechins which can be found in Green Tea.

In addition to this, any abnormal activity of the enzymes (lipoprotein lipase) which supply the fat cells with fatty acids can lead to obesity.

When tests were conducted with human fat tissue and testosterone it demonstrated a reduction in  lipoprotein lipase expression after just one week of intravenous testosterone administration.

When there is an over expression of lipoprotein lipase, it can lead to obesity…

Oral testosterone treatment over the course of six weeks also saw an inhibition of lipoprotein lipase in the abdomen.

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Furthermore, there showed to be more of an effect of the reduction of lipoprotein lipase expression for men treated with hypogonadism within the visceral fat of the abdomen than the layer of fat closer to the surface.

This then confirms the results from contemporary studies that suggest that there are more androgen receptors in a higher density within the visceral layer of fat cells than those in the subcutaneous layer which is closer to the surface of the skin.

  • [RebuffeÂ-Scrive M, Marin P, Bjorntorp P. Effect of testosterone
    on abdominal adipose tissue in men. Int J Obes 1991; 15:
    791 ± 795]

A further study involving obese men demonstrated that fat cell and lipoprotein lipase activity saw a negative relationship with testosterone.

Data from studies have unearthed further proof that a decrease in natural test levels is associated with an increase of body fat.

  • [Vettor R, De Pergola G, Pagano C, Englaro P, Laudadio E,
    Giorgino F, Blum W, Giorgino R, Federspil G. Gender
    differences in serum leptin in obese people. Relationship
    with testosterone, body fat distribution and insulin sensitivity.
    Eur J Clin Invest 1997; 27: 1016 ± 1024]

Testosterone has demonstrated its influence on fat cell growth and development. This has been solidified by castrated subjects’ showing an enlargement of fat deposits.

Testosterone treatment for those who have been castrated corrected the effects of castration did decreased the fat cell weight and count.

At this point, how testosterone has this effect on fat and lipoprotein lipase activity is not yet confirmed, however, it is thought that it is an effect at gene level.

These studies confirm that if you are lower on natural test levels you will experience less lipolysis activity due to not being able to respond to catechins, plus, a higher level of lipoprotein lipase activity.

This will lead to a higher accumulation of fat mass.

  • [18 Ramirez ME, McMurry NIP, Wiebke GA, Felten KJ, Ren K,
    Meikle W, Iverius PH. Evidence for sex steroid inhibition of
    lipoprotein lipase in men: comparison of abdominal and
    femoral adipose tissue. Metabolism 1997; 46: 179 ± 185]
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