A study on obesity and diabetes shows that having diabetes can reduce your testosterone as much as gaining 20lbs of fat.
In our ongoing series on testosterone, we’ve been examining the role of this master male hormone in detail. In light of what can only be described as an epidemic of low testosterone, which could have ramifications for the future of the species, we’ve been priming you on foods to eat to restore your testosterone levels, foods to avoid, how to reduce your exposure to testosterone-killing chemicals and much, much more. To help you on the road to reclaiming your masculinity, we’ve collected together most of these articles in an amazing new ebook which is now available from our Gumroad store.
How Diabetes Reduces Testosterone Levels
Obesity is one of the main causes of hypogonadism – low testosterone – in men. Obesity is also a leading cause of diabetes, and so we might expect there to be some kind of link between diabetes and low testosterone as well.
More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, with 90 to 95% of them having type 2. Although type 2 most commonly develops in people aged over 45, increasing number of teens and even children are developing the disease as a result of unhealthy lifestyles.
The disease develops as a result of insulin resistance, when the cells of the body become resistant to the hormone insulin, which is involved in regulating blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
In 2010, researchers at the University of Buffalo showed not only that obese men were more likely to have hypogonadism, but that obese men with diabetes were even more likely to have the condition. The researchers showed that clear correlation between BMI increases and decreases in testosterone.
The study was the first large-scale investigation into the relationship between obesity and testosterone levels. It involved 2,165 men, aged 45 older. The men provided provided blood samples for analysis of testosterone concentrations, as part of a broader Hypogonadism in Males (HIM) study funded by Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc. The study was conducted from November 2003 to February 2004 in 95 primary care practices throughout the United States.
Forty percent of the obese participants in the study had low testosterone, a percentage which rose to 50% if the obese participants also had diabetes. Researchers were even able to quantify an equivalent level of weight gain for the effect diabetes has on testosterone levels.
“The effect of diabetes on lowering testosterone levels was similar to that of a weight gain of approximately 20 pounds,” said lead author Dr. Sandeep Dhindsa.
Men with diabetes, whether obese or not, displayed lower levels of testosterone across all weight categories. The study led to a call for men with diabetes to be screened regularly for low testosterone.
Interestingly enough, a recent study, which we discussed in detail, has shown that testosterone therapy can actually reduce the risk of diabetes, pointing to a complex relationship between the hormone and the condition.
During the long-term study, the 1000 male subjects were divided into two groups: one received injections of testosterone every three months and the other received a placebo. Both groups were given access to a WW (formerly Weight Watchers) lifestyle program. 30% of men across both groups attending the meetings and 70% achieved the recommended amount of exercise.
Both groups lost an average of around 4 kg (8.8 lb). After two years, 21% of men in the placebo group had type 2 diabetes, whereas just 12% of the men who received testosterone injections had developed the disease. The men who received testosterone also showed a greater decrease in fasting blood sugar levels, small improvements to sexual function and increased muscle mass.
“The proportion of men with diabetes at two years in the testosterone treatment group was significantly lower than in the placebo group,” says Professor Gary Wittert, the leader of the study. “Importantly, the men who were most engaged in the WW healthy lifestyle program lost the most body weight.”
There are many things you can do to protect yourself against the risk of diabetes and having low testosterone. As well as taking up resistance exercise, you can choose the right diet, as a recent study on low-fat diets has shown. While choosing a low-fat diet will reduce your testosterone levels by 10-15%, a low-fat vegetarian diet can reduce them by a whopping 26%. Certain foods, such as eggs, are superfoods for boosting your natural testosterone production. Other foods should be avoided, including hopped beer.
You can also invest in testosterone-boosting supplements, three of which we have discussed in a recent article, instead of seeking out testosterone therapy.
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