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Low Testosterone and
Diabetes Type 2

Hormonal health can have a significant impact on prevention and treatment of diabetes

Can Testosterone replacement therapy relieve type 2 diabetes?

Summary:

  • Being overweight is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes.
  • Visceral fat typically develops from middle age onwards and is often caused by the natural decline in testosterone levels, unhealthy diet, and a lack of exercise.
  • Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can combat the undesirable symptoms of low testosterone levels, particularly those associated with type 2 diabetes.

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What is type 2 diabetes?

  • Type 2 diabetes is a common condition where blood sugar levels (glucose) become too high.
  • Common symptoms include excessive thirst, needing to urinate frequently, and tiredness. It can also increase your risk of problems with your eyes, heart, nerves as well as  a disruption in blood flow; often causing erectile dysfunction.
  • Usually a lifelong condition, type 2 diabetes can affect everyday life requiring diet changes, daily medication, and regular check-ups.
  • Type 2 diabetes develops due to problems with a hormone called insulin. When you eat, your pancreas releases insulin, processing sugars in your blood and converting them into energy. When this conversion becomes disrupted by insulin resistance, this process stops causing blood sugar levels to spike.
  • Being overweight or obese increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. In this disease, the body makes enough insulin but your cells have become resistant to it. Your body, therefore, cannot use or store glucose for energy. Instead, the glucose stays in your blood.

How is testosterone linked with type 2 diabetes?

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is often called the “male sex hormone.” There is a significant link between low testosterone levels and type 2 diabetes mellitus (TD2M) in men, with many studies [1] proving the association. In fact, up to a third of all people with the condition are proven to have hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (H.H.), a condition where the testicles produce insufficient testosterone.

The link between testosterone and diabetes [2] is undeniable. There are countless studies showing that men with diabetes are also likely to have low testosterone. Men with low testosterone are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Fat: the biggest cause of type 2 diabetes

Testosterone, thyroid hormones, and cortisol significantly influence many bodily functions, from your appetite to sex drive and your metabolism’s efficiency. In particular, they control how fat distributes around your body. Fat is either stored subcutaneously under the skin or internally around your organs (visceral fat). Hormones, in particular testosterone, are negatively impacted by visceral fat.

Visceral fat also produces an enzyme called aromatase. This enzyme makes it even harder to lose weight. Aromatase takes testosterone (which enables fat burning and muscle growth) and converts it into estradiol. Ultimately this conversion slows down testosterone production, and if you already have low testosterone, this further reduces the hormone in your body.

Insulin resistance

Unlike type 1 diabetes which occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, type 2 diabetes develops due to insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance usually occurs in people who are overweight, but not always. When your body doesn’t respond to insulin in the way it should, you become insulin resistant. Problems then arise because the body starts producing more insulin, causing high blood pressure, hunger, and weight gain. Studies show that you can increase the body’s insulin sensitivity and counteract the problem by significantly reducing your calorific intake. However, when there is a hormone imbalance, particularly one associated with stubborn visceral fat, this becomes a roadblock that many find hard to overcome.

Take our free hormone assessment to see how Hormone Replacement Therapy can help you.

Metabolic syndrome

Visceral fat is associated with many risk factors commonly grouped under the umbrella “metabolic syndrome.” This group of conditions includes:
  • Abdominal (visceral) obesity
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Elevated triglycerides (high ”bad” cholesterol)
  • Low serum high-density lipoprotein (Low good cholesterol, HDL)
  • Insulin resistance (leads to type 2 diabetes)

These conditions often cause cardiovascular disease, in particular insulin resistance which causes type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes

One of the most significant benefits of testosterone therapy is how it can reverse type 2 diabetes and stop diabetes from developing in the first place. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020, states that 34.5% of adult Americans (88 million) have prediabetes.

Prediabetes is when your blood sugars are higher than they should be but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The raised blood sugar levels put you are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Often people with prediabetes have no symptoms.

The same factors cause prediabetes and diabetes, but it has not yet fully developed. For both, the solution is the same; reduce visceral fat by administering testosterone, exercising, and improving your diet.

How can BHRT help with type 2 diabetes?

With a combination of bioidentical testosterone therapy and lifestyle changes, type 2 diabetes is controllable and, in some cases, reversible. BHRT is also the most effective medication to help avoid prediabetes from becoming diabetes.

What can you do to avoid or even reverse type 2 diabetes?

  • BHRT: Fat is the most significant cause of type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat, or the ‘hormone belly’ as it is also known, is usually to blame. By readjusting your hormone balance using BHRT, studies show [6], you can ease many symptoms of type 2 diabetes. You will regain energy levels, increase testosterone, fat burning, and muscle-building powers. Along with exercise and a healthy diet, it is possible to improve symptoms and avoid type 2 diabetes and prediabetes altogether.
  • Regular exercise: Physically active men often have higher testosterone levels than those who are sedentary. Your exercise routine should include not only aerobic exercise but weightlifting as well. Although some studies [5] show overtraining can also cause adrenal fatigue and lower testosterone levels so it is important to keep a balanced routine.
  • Healthy diet: Try to eat a balanced diet high in protein as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, by reducing your sugar intake, you will promote a healthy weight. A diet high in saturated fats and processed food will decrease testosterone levels and increase visceral and subcutaneous fat, the most significant cause of diabetes. As previously stated, visceral fat will reduce your testosterone levels. Without the correct hormone balance significant weight loss will be much more difficult to achieve.
  • Reduce stress levels: Stress is bad for you. It increases levels of a hormone called cortisol which directly pushes testosterone levels down. It also facilitates fat distribution straight to your abdomen (visceral fat), reducing testosterone and increasing estradiol from fat. Testosterone replacement therapy will help reduce cortisol levels and aid your ability to handle stress.
  • Ensure you get enough vitamin D: In studies, vitamin D effectively increases testosterone levels in men, particularly if you are deficient. Vitamin D also improves insulin sensitivity – regulating blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance.
  • Check your thyroid function: Hormones produced in the thyroid are essential for regulating metabolism and are also critical for controlling weight and cholesterol. Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, slowing down metabolism. In conjunction with optimized testosterone levels, optimized thyroid hormones make it easier to lose weight, burn fat and even reverse insulin resistance.

BHRT addresses the direct symptoms that cause type 2 diabetes to develop, namely being overweight and the development of visceral fat. Crucially, BHRT also can help deal with the motivation and energy required to make effective lifestyle changes. The list of benefits for those on the Male Excel BHRT program displays the potential this therapy has for those suffering with or the potential to develop type 2 diabetes:

  • Healthy heart and blood: Improved cardiovascular health, reduced heart attack risk
  • Less fat and more muscle: Reduction of potentially deadly visceral fat and diabetes risk
  • Stronger bones: Reduced osteoporosis risk and risk of broken bones
  • Healthier mind: Better verbal memory, spatial abilities, and mathematical reasoning as well as reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk
  • Improved libido: Increased sexual function and energy
  • Improved mood: Reduced risk of depression

“Studies with testosterone therapy suggest significant benefits in sexual function, quality of life, glycaemic control, anemia, bone density, fat, and lean muscle mass.” Hackett G. Type 2 Diabetes and Testosterone Therapy. World J Men’s Health. 2019

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Studies and References:

[1] Hackett G. Type 2 Diabetes and Testosterone Therapy. World J Men’sMen’s Health. 2019;37(1):31-44. doi:10.5534/wjmh.180027

[2] Grossmann M, Thomas MC, Panagiotopoulos S, Sharpe K, Macisaac RJ, Clarke S, Zajac JD, Jerums G. Low testosterone levels are common and associated with insulin resistance in men with diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 May;93(5):1834-40. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-2177. Epub 2008 Mar 4. PMID: 18319314.

[3] Yassin A, Haider A, Haider KS, Caliber M, Doros G, Saad F, Garvey WT. Testosterone Therapy in Men With Hypogonadism Prevents Progression From Prediabetes to Type 2 Diabetes: Eight-Year Data From a Registry Study. Diabetes Care. 2019 Jun;42(6):1104-1111. doi: 10.2337/dc18-2388. Epub 2019 Mar 12. PMID: 30862651.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services; 2020.