Obesity is hazardous to long-term health and longevity. Consider the fact that you never see anyone reach the age of 100 or more who is obese. Indeed, most such people who reach the centenarian mark or higher tend to be both lean and small in stature. Having excessive levels of body fat is linked to a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, digestive problems, and other problems. But what is it specifically that makes having too much body fat so dangerous? The answer is inflammation. For years body fat was considered an inert storage site for excessive caloric intake. But more recent studies show that fat is an endocrine organ, releasing over 100 proteins collectively known as Adipokines. Nearly all of them have potent inflammatory effects in the body, and this is the primary danger of having an excessive amount of body fat. Having too much body fat was considered not attractive in a society that values leanness. This results in outright prejudice against those who are obese. This could involve a lack of personal relationships, as well as a failure to get hired when seeking work. The negative effects associated with obesity can lead to depression, which in turn may result in excessive eating since food can promote the release of endorphins in the brain that impart a feeling of well-being. But that results in a vicious metabolic cycle, as eating more just perpetuates the obese condition.
One of the lesser-known effects of having an excessively high body fat level is hypogonadism, or simply "low testosterone." Obesity is also linked to impaired fertility caused by negative changes in sperm production and function. The incidence of obesity has been rising in recent years, alongside conditions related to obesity, such as the onset of type-2 diabetes. As the incidence of obesity rises, so does the extent of decreased male fertility worldwide. Many researchers believe this association is linked to low testosterone levels in obese men. But what causes low testosterone in the first place?
Men tend to show low testosterone levels as they age, usually starting at about age 40. In rare cases, low testosterone levels can appear sooner than that, but those cases usually involve either genetic defects or injuries to the testes, where testosterone is mainly synthesized. For example, having contracted mumps as a child can sometimes damage the Leydig cells in the testes, where testosterone is synthesized. George Washington, the first American president who is considered the father of the United States, was infertile. While there is no evidence that Washington was low in testosterone, the fact is that he never sired children. In Washington's case, the cause was thought to be either mumps that he acquired as a child, or his having been exposed to smallpox as a young man. It's ironic that the "father of our country" was infertile! The . . .