In recent hormone replacement therapy news, specifically regarding testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), the results of a phase 3b trial are suggesting that TRT could prevent the development of diabetes in men that have low testosterone. This is wonderful news! Lets delve deeper into the research…
Australian Study Shows that TRT Could Reduce Diabetes Risk in Men
The link between low testosterone and type 2 diabetes in men is not a new phenomenon and this information has been known for awhile now: men with low testosterone appear to be at more risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, another risk factor for type 2 diabetes, being overweight or obese, is also associated with low testosterone.
The typical strategy employed to combat type 2 diabetes is lifestyle changes and programs. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. The author of the Australian study, Gary Wittert, MD, wanted to investigate the results of combining lifestyle changes with testosterone replacement therapy in order to reverse type 2 diabetes. Gary Wittert is from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.
Combining Lifestyle Changes With TRT to Reverse Diabetes Risk
The study took place over the course of two years with male subjects (1,007 total) ranging from 50-74 years of age who were enrolled in a lifestyle program developed by WW (Weight Watchers). Every man had a waist circumference exceeding 95 centimeters, testosterone concentrations 14 nmol/L or less and were recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or poor glucose tolerance.
To compare the two groups (this was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study), approximately half of the subjects were given intramuscular injections of testosterone undecanoate while the other half was given a placebo. The injections were given for six weeks, then every three months for two years running.
Baseline two-hour glucose tolerance tests were performed and after two years they were retested and the data compared. In the placebo group, 21% of the subjects had glucose levels of 11.1 nmol/L or higher whereas just 12% of the TRT group had elevated glucose levels. When comparing between the two year data and baseline, the placebo group saw a mean change of -0.95 nmol/L and the TRT group saw a mean change of -1.70 nmol/L.
The Decrease in Fat Mass From TRT May Be Improving Glucose Tolerance
Wittert gave his thoughts on the results of the study and why TRT may be lowering diabetes risk. He claims that, “It is most likely the effect is mostly mediated by a decrease in fat mass, however an increase in muscle mass and function may also be contributing.” It is well known that when engaging in a TRT program, you will see fat loss and an increase in muscle mass, as well as improvement in the gym (increase in muscle function).
The study shows promising results but more research needs to be done to analyze long-term safety as well as durability. TRT, when not properly mediated by a physician or endocrinologist, could potentially lead to prostate cancer. However, this is mainly seen when the hormone is abused and the patient does not follow the dosage protocol of his or her doctor.
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