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Fat belly neutralises DHT

Those spare tyres around the middle are even worse for men's androgen levels than we thought. Enzymes in fat tissue not only convert testosterone into estradiol, but also transform the androgen DHT into inactive compounds.

Fat belly neutralises DHT
Overweight men more often have a shortage of androgen hormones than thin men do. In trials doctors have treated the problem with an anti-oestrogen like letrozole, and there are also cases of fat men becoming more healthy as a result of testosterone injections.

But fat men who put all their faith in testosterone therapy and do not try to lose weight may be making the wrong choice. The more fat men carry, the less they react to testosterone therapy. And what's more, fat men are also more likely to develop side-effects from testosterone therapy.

Canadian researchers at Laval University have shown that enzymes in fat reserves deactivate DHT and that they do this even more so, the bigger the fat layers. The more fat that men carry, the more DHT changes as a result into 5-alpha-androstane 3-alpha,17-beta-diol and 5-alpha-androstane 3-beta,17-beta-diol. Anti-estrogens are not able to hinder this conversion.









The researchers examined pieces of subcutaneous fat and abdominal fat from fat and thin men. They discovered that especially in subcutaneous fat there is a high level of conversion of DHT into 5-alpha-androstane-3-alpha,17-beta-diol. The enzymes that activated DHT were more active in mature fat cells [mature adipocytes] than in fat cells that had not yet reached maturity [pre adipocytes].

Fat belly neutralises DHT

Fat belly neutralises DHT

Fat belly neutralises DHT

So the more fat you have, the more DHT is deactivated in your body. But that's not the whole story, as you can see directly above here. If men put on weight, then by kg bodyweight, the DHT deactivating enzymes become more active.

For keen strength athletes who could do to lose a bit of fat, the take home message is clear.

J Endocrinol. 2006 Dec; 191(3): 637-49.