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01 Nov 2019

New research shows that fast food meals consumed by obese or overweight men have an immediate negative impact on testicular performance and testosterone production.

It is already known that obesity is associated with impaired testicular function, potentially resulting in androgen deficiency and sub-fertility.

But the latest research from Flinders University and UniSA has found that a high fat intake from fast food meals has a decisive negative effect on a man’s serum testosterone levels.

An investigation into the impact of dietary fat on testicular endocrine function showed some alarming results. Researchers found the ingestion of a high-fat fast food mixed meal, which is a common practice for obese men, produced a 25 per cent fall in serum testosterone within an hour of eating, with levels remaining suppressed below fasting baseline for up to four hours.

While many facts are involved in the underlying cause of obesity-related male hypogonadism, this study suggests that the passage of fat through the intestinal tract elicits a response that indirectly elicits a post-prandial fall in testosterone.

The study only investigated the impact on overweight and obese men.

“The observed falls in serum testosterone (25 per cent decline from baseline, 2–3 nmol in absolute terms) are likely to be clinically significant for the obese or older man with low baseline levels of testosterone,” Professor Kelton Tremellen from Flinders University said.

“These men are likely to be placed into a continuous hypogonadal state during waking hours if they frequently consume meals and snacks high in fat. This will clearly have an adverse impact on both their mental and physical wellbeing, plus possibly their fertility potential.

“Our results suggest that these men should minimise their fat intake and avoid inter‐meal snacking in order to optimise testicular function.”

Professor Tremellen undertook the research with UniSA’s Dr Karma Pearce

Their paper – Mechanistic insights into the aetiology of post-prandial decline in testosterone in reproductive-aged men – by Kelton Tremellen, Amy Hill and Karma Pearce, has been published in Andrologia journal

Published: 01 Nov 2019