Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 39, Issue 9, pp 967–981 | Cite as

Testosterone supplementation and body composition: results from a meta-analysis of observational studies

  • G. Corona
  • V. A. Giagulli
  • E. Maseroli
  • L. Vignozzi
  • A. Aversa
  • M. Zitzmann
  • F. Saad
  • E. Mannucci
  • M. MaggiEmail author



The concept of testosterone (T) supplementation (TS) as a new anti-obesity medication in men with testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS) is emerging. Data from placebo-controlled trials are more conflicting. The aim of this study is to systematically review and meta-analyze available observational and register studies reporting data on body composition in studies on TS in TDS.


An extensive MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane search was performed including the following words: “testosterone” and “body composition.” All observational studies comparing the effect of TS on body weight and other body composition and metabolic endpoints were considered.


Out of 824 retrieved articles, 32 were included in the study enrolling 4513 patients (mean age 51.7 ± 6.1 years). TS was associated with a time-dependent reduction in body weight and waist circumference (WC). The estimated weight loss and WC reduction at 24 months were −3.50 [−5.21; −1.80] kg and −6.23 [−7.94; −4.76] cm, respectively. TS was also associated with a significant reduction in fat and with an increase in lean mass as well as with a reduction in fasting glycemia and insulin resistance. In addition, an improvement of lipid profile (reduction in total cholesterol as well as of triglyceride levels and an improvement in HDL cholesterol levels) and in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure was observed.


Present data support the view of a positive effect of TS on body composition and on glucose and lipid metabolism. In addition, a significant effect on body weight loss was observed, which should be confirmed by a specifically designed RCT.


Testosterone Weight loss Body composition Obesity diabetes Hypogonadism 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the review.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Since this is a meta-analysis informed consent is not applicable.

Supplementary material

40618_2016_480_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)
40618_2016_480_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (274 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PPTX 273 kb)


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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Corona
    • 1
  • V. A. Giagulli
    • 2
  • E. Maseroli
    • 3
  • L. Vignozzi
    • 3
  • A. Aversa
    • 4
    • 5
  • M. Zitzmann
    • 6
  • F. Saad
    • 7
    • 8
  • E. Mannucci
    • 9
  • M. Maggi
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Endocrinology Unit, Medical DepartmentAziendaUsl Bologna Maggiore-Bellaria HospitalBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Unit of Metabolic Diseases and EndocrinologyConversanoItaly
  3. 3.Andrology and Sexual Medicine Unit, Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  4. 4.Department of Experimental MedicineSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of Experimental and Clinical MedicineUniversity Magna GraeciaCatanzaroItaly
  6. 6.Centre for Reproductive Medicine and AndrologyMuensterGermany
  7. 7.Bayer Pharma, Global Medical Affairs AndrologyBerlinGermany
  8. 8.Gulf Medical University School of MedicineAjmanUnited Arab Emirates
  9. 9.Diabetes AgencyCareggi HospitalFlorenceItaly

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