Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that may be related to obesity centered around the hormone-sensitive area of the belly.
High blood pressure, high levels of fat, glucose and cholesterol in the blood are the signature characteristics of metabolic syndrome, also called syndrome X.
These changes can lead to all kinds of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
A group of scientists led by Aksam Yassin, MD, PhD, chairman of the urology department in Norderstedt-Hamburg, Germany presented their findings from a recent study at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society on using testosterone to treat the cluster of health problems related to obesity.
The conclusion from their five year study was that long acting testosterone supplements given to 261 men with low levels of testosterone reduced the number of men with metabolic syndrome from 146 to 78.
Over that time period, all of the men had significant drops in average cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure and a four inch decrease in belt size.
Similar beneficial effects seen even in patients who did not have all of the characteristics of metabolic syndrome.
While the exact process isn't understood, there seems to be a relationship with stress, lower levels of testosterone, and the classic an apple-shape distribution of body fat.
Previous research has linked metabolic syndrome to testosterone deficiency, which can cause decreased muscle and bone mass, depression, low energy, and decreased sex drive and ability.
In addition, testosterone deficiency is also associated with the individual symptoms of metabolic syndrome, even when they are present without the other complications.
"When indicated, testosterone treatment is both essential and safe in elderly patients with symptomatic late onset hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency," said Dr. Yassin. "Further analysis is needed to confirm if our findings are due to a direct effect of restoring physiologic testosterone levels."
Study design followed 261 patients with low levels of testosterone given one gram of long-acting testosterone undecanoate every three months, recording data on each patient for at least four years.
Research findings presented at conferences should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Some funding for the study was provided by Bayer Pharma.