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Testosterone And Diabetes And The Surprising Role Of Fat Tissue

testosterone and diabetes

Testosterone and diabetes are not necessarily words you would associate with each other.

When you think of testosterone, you’re probably thinking of its positive effects. Testosterone is associated with leanness, masculinity, and strength.

Diabetes, on the other hand, has connotations that are decidedly more negative.

If you suffer from diabetes, you probably didn’t connect testosterone and diabetes right away—it’s not an obvious connection, but it’s one that more and more researchers are beginning to look at.

And more and more clinicians are beginning to see the effects of low testosterone on diabetes and diabetes on low testosterone.

It’s not really surprising that testosterone is involved in a disease like diabetes. After all, testosterone is an amazing hormone. It’s involved in a variety of functions in the body—more than just involved, really.

Testosterone often plays an integral role in bodily functions ranging from muscle and bone growth to brain function and puberty.

However, one major tissue has a powerful relationship with testosterone, possibly even more so than any other tissue:

Fat.

Testosterone And Diabetes And The Role Of Fat

Scientists have long known that a large amount of adipose tissue (fat) is often correlated with diabetes. Similarly, several studies have shown that low testosterone can often be found in conjunction with high levels of adipose tissue.

Naturally, researchers began to look at the possibility that low testosterone and diabetes could also be related.

We are still not entirely sure of the role that fat plays in the regulation of hormones, though we’ve learned quite a bit in the last few decades.

For instance, we now know that adipose tissue can produce estrogen—one of the many reasons that we recommend our patients lose weight as part of their fight against low testosterone.

Research has shown that large amounts of visceral body fat (that is, fat stored around the abdominal cavity) actually act a lot like an endocrine organ, taking on the same functions that should only belong to organs like the pituitary gland.

Diabetes is strongly correlated with high amounts of visceral body fat. Is it any surprise that testosterone and diabetes, especially low T and diabetes, could be related?

Clinically, we also often see a direct effect of testosterone on visceral body fat—men and women who undergo testosterone replacement therapy tend to lose weight.

Since the 2000s, an increasing amount of research on testosterone and diabetes has shown a strong link between the two conditions.

While it is still not clear if one causes the other, the correlation is significant. If you suffer from diabetes, you may also be suffering from low testosterone.

What To Do If You Think You Have Low Testosterone And Diabetes

I hope by now that you’re convinced that testosterone and diabetes are linked. If you suffer from diabetes, few things can help improve your condition, and increase your testosterone levels, like weight loss and regular exercise.

However, diabetic weight loss is often not a simple matter, and low testosterone generally compounds the problem.

While losing weight can help increase testosterone levels, it’s often not simple if you’re already suffering from diabetes.

And if you’re suffering from true low testosterone (that is, hypogonadism), natural methods of increasing testosterone probably aren’t going to be enough.

To learn more about what low testosterone looks like and what symptoms to look for, click here.

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(Bill) William J. White, PA-C

(Bill) William J. White, PA-C brings over 20 years of surgical experience to our practice. He is a decorated veteran of the United States Army where he served for nearly 6 years with duty assignments, both here and abroad.   During his military career, Bill was trained as a Certified Surgical Technologist, and following an Honorable Discharge from the Army, he attended Texas Tech University.   He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and went on to attend PA School at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He spent the first 10 years of his career in Neurosurgery.

4 Comments

  1. Bob on 09/24/2015 at 8:23 pm

    Direct testosterone replacement therapy (DRT), using injections or patches, seems to be the prevalent treatment option. I am curious as to why. I was fat and flabby for ALL of my life, until I got the workout bug at age 54. I made some progress, but was still envious of other guys at the gym. In talking to an older, but incredibly fit, older man at the gym, he inferred that I might have low T. He does regular T injections and highly recommends them. I checked it out with my DO, and my T was borderline. He prescribed Clomid rather than injections or patches, and the results have been nothing short of fantastic. My T-levels have increased remarkably, from below 400 to well in excess of 1,200 (and we have been working on normalizing the dose because that is kind of high). I maintain a regular (and relatively aggressive) workout regimen and have seen my body fat decline from 27% to 9%, and muscle mass increase to 42% (from what, I do not know). I have not had any of the side-effects typically associated with TRT, such as testicular shrinkage and T and E spikes. Acne is an issue, admittedly, but, as I understand it, that can occur when your T goes up. Clomid stimulates natural and very steady T production. It is also VERY inexpensive. So, I wonder why it is not more commonly prescribed, other than the fact that it is very inexpensive.

    • William on 09/26/2015 at 9:50 am

      Hello Bob and thank you for your insightful post. I am happy to hear that you have had success with your particular TRT method. Our predominant focus for TRT is typically centered around injections. The main reason for this is that our approach allows for not only normalization of T levels, but optimization of both testosterone and estradiol. This essentially means that the T levels of our clients is near the upper limits of normal and their trough levels are a few clicks above mid-range normal. Through the use of very safe and very effective aromatase inhibitor, which we provide free of charge, we are usually able to keep estradiol levels in the mid to low range of normal. This approach allows for a wide ratio between opposing androgens and estrogens. Moreover, the use of injectable testosterone products has been studied extensively and we have a vast knowledge base which can be relayed to our patients when discussing potential risks, benefits, side effects and so-on. It sounds like generic Clomid is working well for you in terms of increasing your endogenous production of testosterone, however the reality is it has been prescribed for “off label” use in your case and the side effect profile is arguably worse than that of an injectable testosterone. The potential long term effects of Clomid in men who are using it to increase T production are unknown because to my knowledge, there are no long term studies that support its use for this purpose. Thank you again for your insightful post and I’m hopeful this gives you some insight into our thought process regarding TRT.

    • Augie Galindo on 10/02/2015 at 11:12 pm

      Bob,

      I am glad that you have had a great experience thus far. Clomid certainly can increase endogenous testosterone production while still boosting fertility. It is cheap and easy to use. However, it does have it’s downsides.

      The studies on the medication as it pertains to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) are essentially non-existant. There is almost no data on it’s long term effects, largely due to the fact that it is not FDA approved for the treatment of testosterone deficiency. Clomid works by confusion the brain, and tricking it into thinking there is not enough estrogen production. Therefore, it induces the hypothalamus, to then induce the pituitary gland to push the testes to work harder. This increases testosterone, but it will also significantly increase estrogenic effects. If you are trying to raise testosterone levels, you DO NOT want to increase estrogenic symptoms. Many people experience mild issues like nausea, flushing, headaches, and abdominal pain while on the medication. The long term safety is unknown though, and patient do sometimes experience more serious issues like vision disturbances which can sometimes lead to blindness.

      Best regards,
      Augie Galindo, PA-C
      Testosterone Centers of Texas – Founding Partner

  2. […] on general health, and it can contribute to the development of diabetes. We also have evidence that low testosterone and diabetes are closely […]

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