Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Is Low T Putting You at Risk?

Fatty liver disease (FLD), also called hepatic steatosis, is a chronic buildup of excess fat in the liver that affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. every year. The most common cause is the routine overconsumption of alcohol—AFLD (alcoholic fatty liver disease).

However, many people are surprised because their doctor diagnoses them with FLD when they drink little to no alcohol at all.

A doctor in a white lab coat talks to a patient wearing a beige button up shirt while pointing to a tablet computer. They may be discussing the possibility of non alcoholic fatty liver disease.

An increasing number of people each year suffer from NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), which could be related to low testosterone. TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) has been identified by medical research as a potential treatment.

Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease

The Cleveland Clinic estimates that 5% of the U.S. population suffers from AFLD, and as many as 33% of adults could suffer from NAFLD.

Though not particularly troublesome at first, both AFLD and NFLD can get worse over time, passing through 3 common stages of declining function:

  1. Steatohepatitis—inflammation and swelling cause damage to the liver tissue
  2. Fibrosis—scarring occurs in damaged areas of the liver
  3. Cirrhosis—excessive scarring begins to overtake healthy liver tissue and severely impedes liver function

People often suffer no noticeable symptoms until the disease progresses into stages 2 and 3, at which time symptoms such as these occur:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Sudden and severe weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • Edema—fluid buildup that causes swelling in the arms and legs
  • Extreme fatigue and weakness
  • Confusion

Cirrhosis often leads to liver failure and liver cancer, which are life-threatening conditions.

Risk Factors for NAFLD—The Low T Connection

Medical science has yet to discover exactly what causes some people to develop NAFLD, but there are some common co-occurring conditions that have high rates of correlation:

  1. General obesity, particularly with higher concentrations of belly fat
  2. Obstructive sleep apnea
  3. Type 2 diabetes
  4. Metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance
  5. High blood pressure

Rates of NAFLD are also reported higher among Asian and Hispanic people, as well as post-menopausal women.

The 5 health factors listed above are all general health concerns greatly affected by your hormone balance, of which testosterone is a critical component.

Medical researchers logically concluded that if these conditions were directly connected to both Low T and NAFLD, then Low T and NAFLD might well be related, too. Logically, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) might restore hormone balance and break the spiral of obesity and ill health, slowing or halting the progression of NAFLD toward its harmful latter stages.

TRT and NAFLD—What the Research Shows

Researchers have recently studied the effects of testosterone therapy on the progression and severity of NAFLD in obese men with functional hypogonadism and type 2 diabetes.

The two-year clinical trial observed 55 males with both conditions, in which the participants were randomly assigned to one of 2 groups. The first group received supplementary testosterone during both years of the study, while the second group received a placebo in the first year and testosterone therapy in the second year.

A range of tests including testosterone levels, prostate specific antigen, and routine blood tests were assessed at the beginning of the trial, and follow up tests were conducted at 12 and 24 months for comparison.

Liver ultrasounds were also conducted to assess the progression of NAFLD at the beginning of the study and after the full two years.

Subjects showed significant improvements with TRT, including:

  • General weight loss
  • Improved insulin resistance
  • Reduced body mass index and improved body composition

Lead researcher Dr. Kristina Groti Antonic concluded:

“As we know, testosterone increases lean body mass at the expense of fat mass, either alone or in combination with behavioral and lifestyle modifications. Testosterone with its anti-inflammatory effects also reduced chronic inflammatory state in the liver. Our study shows that testosterone therapy could be used as a suitable therapy for obese men living with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and therefore the findings can be used to tackle this growing pandemic.”

Learn more about this study here.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Get the Facts

NAFLD is a serious concern related to both low testosterone and poor general health. A growing body of medical research shows that restoring and maintaining healthy testosterone levels through Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) can lead to improvement in your overall health and your sense of wellbeing.

Learn more about whether TRT can help you get back to feeling more like you. Our comprehensive guide to TRT has the answers to the most common question men ask.

Read the Guide to TRT



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(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.

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