Okay, not really, but Dr. Parviz Kavoussi of Austin Fertility & Reproductive Medicine says that the more fat cells a guy has, the more of his testosterone gets turned into estrogen.
‘It’s why hitting the gym and staying on top of your cardiovascular exercise is of paramount importance’ explains Dr. Kavoussi. ‘The more fat a guy puts on the more the testosterone is converted into estrogen, which essentially drops the testosterone levels, which then leads to it becoming more and more difficult to burn the fat mass, and then you’ve got a vicious cycle that ensues. There is an enzyme in fat cells called ‘aromatase’ which takes the testosterone produced by the testicles and turns it into estrogen.’
As men age, their testosterone levels decrease, but with regular exercise, the amounts of testosterone the body makes can be more effectively utilized, so in essence the exercising male has the ability to make better use of the testosterone he does have.
‘A fitness regimen can help a man maintain more of the testosterone that he produces’ explains Dr. Kavoussi. ‘But it isn’t just weight that men need to concern themselves with when it comes to testosterone.’ Men with low testosterone can suffer from all kinds of wonderful things like decreased muscle mass, decreased exercise tolerance, decreased bone mass, worsened erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, depression, irritability (big surprise considering the previous issues!) lack of motivation, sleep disturbances, decreased spatial cognition, hot flashes…the list goes on.
From the age of 35, men can lose between 1-2% of their testosterone a year. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study reported a prevalence of 481,000 new cases of low testosterone in American men between the ages of 40 and 69 each year. By the age of 50, 30% of men are already below the normal range and by age 60, 60% of men suffer from low testosterone. Carefully evaluating each individual and then appropriately raising his testosterone level can help improve each man’s quality of life by improving body composition and strength, exercise tolerance, increasing bone mineral density, modestly decreasing total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, improving sexual desire and erectile function, and improving energy levels and decreasing fatigue.
‘Fortunately, medical science has made leaps and bounds since the nineteenth century, when the French Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard claimed to have improved his own physical strength and intellectual capacity by self injecting “liquid testiculaire” prepared from animal testicles into his body,’ explains Dr. Kavoussi. ‘If exercise and diet aren’t doing the trick, you should get in touch with your doctor to address the problem.’
Dr. Parviz Kavoussi is fellowship trained in reproductive urology and andrology and practices at Austin Fertility & Reproductive Medicine with a focus on male infertility, sexual health, and microsurgery. He has published peer reviewed articles in journals, written chapters in urologic textbooks, given lectures and scientific presentations around the world, reviewed articles for publication in the Journal of Urology and Journal of Sexual Medicine, and sits on the American Society of Andrology public affairs and policy committee guiding the best clinical practices in male infertility and sexual medicine.