Treatment with testosterone can help curb the gain in abdominal fat as well as the loss of skeletal muscle seen in non-obese ageing men, according to a new study.
"Though use of testosterone therapy as a means of defying the ageing process is gaining popularity, data from scientific trials have been very limited in this area," study chief Dr Carolyn Allan, from Prince Henry's Institute in Victoria, Australia, said in a statement.
"Our findings indicate that maintaining testosterone at 'young adult' levels may indeed prevent the adverse changes in body composition associated with the ageing process."
In the study, 60 healthy men who were at least 55 years of age with low-normal testosterone levels wore a testosterone patch or placebo patch for 12 months. The men underwent body composition assessment and metabolic testing at the beginning and at the end of the study.
Men taking testosterone experienced a 30 percent increase in serum testosterone levels. The control group, by contrast, saw their testosterone levels fall by 10 percent.
Men in the testosterone arm also experienced increases in fat-free mass and skeletal muscle and loss of thigh skeletal muscle was decreased.
Less abdominal fat
A drop in abdominal fat accumulation with no change in total body or abdominal subcutaneous fat mass was also noted in the testosterone group. Further analysis showed that the change in abdominal fat correlated with the change in testosterone levels, the report indicates.
These findings, the researchers conclude, suggest a role for testosterone in modifying the age-related increase in abdominal fat and possibly associated harmful metabolic changes.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, January 2007. – (Reuters Health)
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