Type 2 diabetes is oftentimes called a lifestyle disease, because it is associated with obesity, poor levels of physical activity and a terrible diet. It can be prevented through lifestyle changes, but what are other options?
A team of scientists led by the University of Adelaide conducted a 2 year double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial and found that testosterone prevents or reverses newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes in men.
Study called T4DM (Testosterone for the prevention of Diabetes Mellitus) involved over a thousand men, between 50 and 74 years of age. All of them were either overweight or obese and all of them were involved in a weight loss lifestyle program. For two years some of the participants were getting testosterone therapy while others were getting placebo. And scientists are happy to see that testosterone does seem to help preventing or even reversing type 2 diabetes.
After 2 years 87 (21 % of 413) men in the placebo group had type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile just 55 (12 % of 443) men in the testosterone group had this diagnosis. Because all of the participants were taking part in the WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) lifestyle program, both groups enjoyed significant weight loss – on average these men lost 3-4 kg. Weight loss in itself is a good way to prevent type 2 diabetes. 43 % of men in the placebo group had their glucose tolerance normalise. However, in the testosterone group this number was 52 %.
Professor Gary Wittert, one of the authors of the study, said: “The results of the study show that, on top of modest weight loss achieved with healthy eating and increased activity, testosterone has some added benefit to prevent or reverse newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes”.
Testosterone also improves the muscle mass, secual function, lowered fasting blood sugar, and reduced body fat. However, 22 % of men in the testosterone group experienced an adverse side effect – they saw their blood becoming “sludgy” due to an increase in the red cell concentration.
So that’s it – doctors should prescribe testosterone to prevent type 2 diabetes? Well, scientists argue against that. Normal weight loss with increase in physical activity and a healthy diet are still the best ways to go. Lifestyle changes are more sustainable and don’t have the adverse side effects. Prescribing testosterone would be easy, but it does not improve the quality of life. Losing weight does.
However, in some cases that might be a good option. Knowing and understanding that is important in societies that are getting fatter. Take the stairs, watch your diet and understand that becoming obese is equal to becoming miserable and unhealthy.
Source: University of Adelaide