The Results of Free Estradiol, SHBG & Testosterone Testing
In 2016, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care offered new hope to men with type 2 diabetes. It found that six months of testosterone therapy significantly reduced insulin and glucose levels in men with type 2 diabetes who were also testosterone deficient. The therapy also reduced the men’s body fat by an average of nearly seven pounds, increased their muscle mass, improved their sexual function, and lowered their C-reactive protein levels, a blood marker of inflammation that has been linked to cardiovascular disease risk.
While we don’t know if one causes the other or they just tend to occur together, testosterone deficiency and type 2 diabetes are clearly linked—and the ability of testosterone therapy to improve symptoms in diabetic men led researchers to suggest that it could even potentially reduce the need for anti-diabetic medications. A new study published in the journal Andrology shows that testosterone deficiency is also a factor in prediabetes, suggesting that testosterone therapy may benefit prediabetic men just as much as it does men with diabetes. Prediabetes is often a stepping stone to the more serious illness of diabetes, so testosterone therapy may be one way to help forestall its development.
Link Between Testosterone Deficiency and Prediabetes
The study in the journal Andrology analyzed data from over a thousand men over the age of 20 and found that prediabetic men had lower testosterone levels, higher free estradiol levels, and lower sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels compared to men without prediabetes. Diabetic men show similar changes in sex hormones, suggesting that the same mechanism is at work in both prediabetic and diabetic men.
We know that diabetic men who are deficient in testosterone have greater insulin resistance and are more overweight compared with diabetic men who have normal testosterone levels—and they also have significantly higher blood levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker that may be a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease. Insulin resistance is a key part of both prediabetes and diabetes. It occurs when the body becomes insensitive to insulin, the hormone that transports blood sugar into cells for fuel. As a result, the body makes higher levels of insulin to get glucose into the cells, until eventually it cannot keep up with this increased demand. Over time, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by cells, raising blood sugar levels higher and higher.
In the 2016 study of diabetic men, there was a dramatic increase in the men’s insulin sensitivity when they were given testosterone, demonstrated by a 32% increase in the uptake of glucose by their tissues. If testosterone therapy can lower insulin resistance in male diabetics, it can certainly do the same for prediabetics whose disease isn’t as severe.
Testosterone Therapy for Prediabetes
If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or you know someone who has, testosterone replacement therapy may be a great treatment option to help normalize blood sugar levels along with a specialized lifestyle plan that includes targeted nutrition therapy, supplements, and exercise. If you have not been checked for prediabetes, have your physician check your hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level, which should be below 5.7 mg/dL. Many physicians don’t routinely check this number and miss out on the chance to address prediabetes before their patients become fully diabetic.
In addition to supporting blood sugar levels, the benefits of testosterone therapy in men can include improvements in mood, energy, sex drive, and as mentioned above, body composition. BodyLogicMD physicians are specially trained in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and integrative medicine, and they strive to uncover the root cause of your health conditions and treat the source of your dysfunction with advanced hormone and lifestyle treatments customized to each individual patient. Contact a BodyLogicMD physician near you today to schedule a consultation.