How are low testosterone and low blood sugar levels linked?

Testosterone is a sex hormone that regulates a number of processes in the human body, including fertility, sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and red blood cell production. Testosterone levels generally decline with age, but for some people, these levels can drop too low and cause unwanted symptoms.

Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot process blood glucose, also known as blood sugar.

While a link between low testosterone and diabetes isn’t immediately apparent, researchers have found the two are linked. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to have low testosterone than people who don’t have diabetes.

Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas after you eat a meal. This hormone tells your cells to take up sugar from the blood.

Studies suggest: that low testosterone levels correspond to higher insulin resistance in humans assigned male at birth (AMAB)† Insulin resistance occurs when your cells stop responding to the insulin. This means that glucose (sugar) is absorbed much more slowly by the tissues.

Researchers are still trying to understand the role low testosterone plays in developing insulin resistance. Testosterone probably plays a role in a signaling pathway responsible for glucose uptake into cells.

Therefore, if you have a testosterone level that is below the standard, the blood sugar level rises after eating a meal and stays high for a longer period of time. In other words, for AMAB people, low testosterone can raise your blood sugar.

There is a clear link between low testosterone and insulin resistance. This also provides a clear link between low testosterone and type 2 diabetes.

If you have insulin resistance, your body will need to make extra insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. Over time, the pancreas — the organ responsible for producing insulin — can’t keep up with the increased demand.

Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance. Once you have diabetes, too much glucose (sugar) in the blood (also known as hyperglycemia) begins to circulate, causing damage throughout the body.

Testosterone may improve insulin resistance in people with diabetes, but it’s important to talk to a doctor about the risks of taking testosterone therapy.

A older study from 2006 rated the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in men with type 2 diabetes and low testosterone. The study found that taking TRT improved blood sugar, insulin resistance, cholesterol levels and visceral fat.

Also a more recent 2020 study in 356 men with type 2 diabetes and low testosterone, long-term treatment with TRT was shown to improve both glycemic control and insulin resistance. In addition, a third of the men in the study experienced a remission of their diabetes, and a majority of the study participants reached their target level of HbA1c (average blood sugar level over the past few months).

In another study in mice, researchers were able to determine how testosterone activates important signaling pathways in cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. This research could help scientists understand whether the hormone could potentially be used to treat diabetes.

More research, including well-controlled, long-term clinical trials, will be needed to determine whether TRT can improve insulin resistance and help treat diabetes in people with low testosterone. It is currently not clear whether the benefits of TRT outweigh the risks.

Some doctors do not recommend prescribing TRT to people under the age of 65, even if they have low testosterone levels, because the long-term risks are not well understood.

Testosterone therapy in AFAB people with diabetes

Testosterone is often referred to as a male sex hormone because testosterone levels are typically much higher in AMAB people compared to those assigned a female at birth (AFAB).

Some AFAB people may have elevated testosterone levels caused by an underlying condition, such as: polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). While insulin resistance is associated with low testosterone levels in AMAB humans, it is associated with higher than normal testosterone levels in AFAB humans.

AFAB people undergoing gender-affirming therapy (such as transgender men) often use TRT as part of the transition process, increasing their testosterone levels. The use of TRT as part of gender-affirming therapy appears to have no effect on insulin resistance.

A systematic review of 26 studies found that TRT increased lean body mass and decreased fat mass, but did not affect insulin resistance in AFAB people. Also a big one retrospective study of 2,585 transgender women and 1,514 transgender men who received gender-affirming hormone therapy found no difference in risk of type 2 diabetes between transgender women and men compared to the general population of cisgender adults

More research is needed to better understand the impact of testosterone therapy on insulin resistance.

Talk to a doctor if you suffer from any of the: low testosterone symptoms, such as decreased sex drive, fatigue, decreased muscle mass, mood swings, and difficulty getting an erection. Your doctor can check your testosterone level with a blood test.

If you also have diabetes, ask your doctor if low testosterone and your diabetes may be related and if TRT can help treat both conditions. If you decide to treat low testosterone with hormone replacement therapy, talk to your doctor about its potential impact on your diabetes treatment.

Be aware that TRT can cause side effects, including:

Some older studies have shown: that TRT could lead to an increased number of strokes and heart attacks, but this is controversial. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of testosterone replacement with your doctor.

Along with diabetes medications, your doctor may recommend other ways to lower your blood sugar, such as:

  • secure diet changeslike eating more vegetables and using less sugar
  • a training programsuch as walking or other low-impact exercises
  • reduce alcohol consumption

Ask a doctor to refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist who specializes in people with diabetes so they can create a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Researchers have established a clear link between low testosterone, increased insulin resistance and diabetes. While studies have shown that TRT can prevent or potentially treat diabetes in men with low testosterone, more research is needed to confirm whether the benefits of TRT outweigh its risks.

If you have low testosterone, diabetes, or both, talk to a doctor to understand the connection and how it could affect your treatment plan.

#testosterone #blood #sugar #levels #linked

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *