Low Testosterone Linked to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Posted by Professor Anna Gray, Updated on September 11th, 2020
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A study just published last month in Liver International determined that there is an association between low testosterone levels/high estrogen levels and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Most people associate liver disease with alcoholics, but in recent decades an increasing number of Americans are hurting their livers through other means, including being overweight.

The recent study discussed here shows that hormone imbalance is associated with the disease as well – another issue that many Americans face but do not realize and go hand-in-hand with increased weight gain.

Testosterone, Estrogen, and NAFLD

This study utilized a cross-sectional analysis of data from 1988 to 1991 with a pool of 919 men as the sample size. Specifically, they wanted to see if there was any correlation between steroid sex hormones, liver enzyme levels, and NAFLD.

The researchers took the existing data from the late 80s on serum total and free testosterone, total and free estradiol, rostanediol glucuronide (AAG), and sex steroid-binding globulin (SHBG) as the sex hormones of interest.

Free testosterone/estradiol is the form found in the bloodstream in its original, unaltered form of the molecule while total levels include both free forms and the molecules that are bound to others in the bloodstream.

The liver enzymes in question were aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT).

The presence of NAFLD was determined via ultrasound after adjusting for other possible factors contributing to the disease such as alcohol, age, and waist circumference.

Waist circumference is important because the more fat a person is carrying, especially around the waist, the more fat there will be surrounding the liver – the definition of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The liver cannon function properly when it has fat accumulating in it and around it. The fat is actually stored in the liver cells.

Low Testosterone Associated With NAFLD

After analysis of the data, the researchers found that low total testosterone and high free estradiol (or estrogen) were associated with a higher chance of developing NAFLD. Free testosterone and total estrogen were not associated with NAFLD or liver enzymes.

The association was found to be so great between total testosterone and NAFLD that it is being considered as a biomarker for NAFLD diagnosis.

It is not surprising that low testosterone and high estrogen would be associated with NAFLD considering the fact that men with high estrogen levels in the bloodstream have been found to be overweight and have low muscle tone.

In addition, high estrogen levels in men cause low testosterone levels. They have an inverse relationship. Unfortunately, there is an increased number of men experiencing low testosterone levels and high estrogen levels in America – it could even be considered an epidemic of low testosterone!

Lower Estrogen Levels to Increase Testosterone

Essentially, the presence of estrogen inhibits testosterone production. Unfortunately, there are many environmental and lifestyle factors in modern America that contribute to increased levels of estrogen in men.

These include certain foods, such as soy, endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in various products such as BPA and obesity. The more fat/less muscle you have, the more estrogen your body will tend to produce.

If losing weight or removing the environmental factors in your life that may be contributing to increased estrogen are not working, it may be time to consider testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

Men suffering from low testosterone do not only deal with the possible increased risk of NAFLD, but they also have issues with erectile dysfunction, low muscle mass, fatigue, and increased belly fat. If you are someone who has been dealing with such issues, consider getting your testosterone levels checked with a simple blood test.

Our clinic is available for free, no-obligation consultation, and can get you set up with a local laboratory for the blood test.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have regarding the risks of low testosterone and hormone imbalance.

References

MDLinx

Liver International

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