Men who suffer from low testosterone (Low-T) know the symptoms all too well. They include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, loss of muscle mass, increased body weight, osteoporosis, mood changes, depression and other symptoms. But what they don’t know is that there is also a conclusive link between Low-T and an increased risk of having type 2 diabetes.
Research confirms the testosterone-diabetes connection
Research shows that men with low testosterone levels tend to store fat in the visceral layer, which is stored underneath the skin. Visceral fat is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance and developing type 2 diabetes. The connection between Low-T and type 2 diabetes is strong. In fact, men with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have Low-T than men who don’t have diabetes.
A study conducted at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo found that low testosterone levels have a strong link to significantly decreased insulin sensitivity. Why is this important? Patients with insulin resistance produce insulin, but their body doesn’t use it correctly. Glucose builds up in their blood instead of being absorbed by their cells, which is why insulin resistance can lead to type diabetes and an increased risk for other health problems.
Additional research also found a correlation between low testosterone levels and obesity. In a study of more than 2,000 men, 33% that had type 2 diabetes also had Low-T, as did 25% of obese men who didn’t have diabetes. And here’s another finding: teenage boys who were obese had 50% less testosterone than their counterparts who were not obese. And another study found that as a man’s body mass index (BMI) increases, his testosterone level falls.
Other medical research is providing key information on the link between Low-T and diabetes. A study published in the BioMed Research International journal found that Low-T levels might be a predictor of whether a man will develop insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, as they grow older. But more studies need to be done.
What can you do?
First, consult with your doctor or health care professional to have your testosterone level tested and to be tested for diabetes. If you have Low-T and/or diabetes, there are some things you can do.
First, begin a heart-healthy diet and an ongoing exercise program. They will both help with low testosterone and diabetes. Here’s why: losing weight and getting exercise on a regular basis helped men significantly increase their testosterone levels, and were part of a diabetes treatment plan.
According to a study that was published in Diabetes Care, men who have both type 2 diabetes and low testosterone levels can gain significant benefits from testosterone treatment. The study found that testosterone didn’t change the men’s body weight, but they experienced a reduction in total body fat of more than six pounds, while their muscle mass increased by the same amount.
While many physicians often prescribe testosterone replacement therapy, doctors caution that some patients may not be candidates for it. Those would include men with prostate cancer or breast cancer. But when an experienced physician provides the therapy and monitors the treatment, it is found to be both safe and effective.