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The Connection between Low T and Blood Sugar Level

The Connection between Low T and Blood Sugar Level

By Mike Kocsis | 7 minutes read | Last updated: May 7, 2024
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  • Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos

    Evidence Based Research

    Low T, also called testosterone deficiency, is a condition in which testicles produce low or no testosterone – an essential hormone that plays several roles in the body.

    Testosterone deficiency produces different effects on the body, such as fatigue, low libido, hot flashes, and loss of muscle mass and bone density. Researchers have found out that it may also cause high blood sugar levels. However, the scientific community is still trying to figure out how low T and blood sugar levels are connected.

    Let’s read more to find what experts say about the link between low T and blood sugar levels.

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    Testosterone and blood sugar levels

    Testosterone is a male sex hormone that controls the development of secondary sexual characteristics, body fat distribution, bone density, and many other functions. T levels fluctuate throughout a man’s life and naturally start declining as men age, particularly after 30.

    Low T is reported to produce many changes in the body. Some of these are:

    These symptoms can have a negative influence on your social and work life. You may not feel as confident as before to go out and interact with others, or you may not be as productive at work as before.

    In addition, low testosterone levels may also increase your blood sugar levels and risk of diabetes. The reason is unclear, but scientists are still investigating the subject.

    Some researchers believe that low testosterone may make your body insulin-resistant, meaning your cells will lose their ability to respond to insulin (a hormone that transports extra blood sugar to adipose tissue and the liver). Your body will have to make extra insulin to keep up with the high insulin demand. But it will not be able to meet the demand, and your blood sugar level will eventually become high.

    If the sugar level is not controlled, it will start producing adverse effects on your body; for instance, kidney damage, nerve damage, nausea, blurred vision, etc. It will also increase your risk of diabetes. If you already have diabetes, your glycemic control may get disturbed. Glycemic control is the ability to manage blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

     

    Effect of TRT on blood sugar levels

    Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a popular treatment choice among men with testosterone deficiency. It involves the administration of exogenous testosterone to bring low testosterone levels back to normal (ranging from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter). TRT helps manage low T symptoms and improve overall health.

    Men report the following benefits after starting this treatment.

     

    Scientific Studies

    In addition to these benefits, TRT may also help you manage your blood sugar level associated with low T. Several studies prove this effect; however, more work needs to be done to understand it better.

    In a 2016 study, 94 men with type 2 diabetes were divided into 2 groups. One group was given intramuscular testosterone (250 mg) every 2 weeks for up to 6 months, and the other was given a placebo (1 mL saline) for the same duration.

    By the end of the research, researchers concluded that TRT brought the following changes in the first group members.

    • Improvement in insulin sensitivity
    • Reduction in subcutaneous fat mass
    • Increase in lean mass
    • Reduction in free fatty acids
    • Reduction in tumour necrosis factor-α

    Researchers have still not discovered the exact reason behind TRT’s effect on sugar levels. Still, some believe that it might be because TRT reduces fat mass and increases lean mass, both of which are involved in increasing insulin sensitivity.

    In another study, researchers studied the effect of TRT on A1C levels, which gives information about blood sugar levels. A1C is a protein that attaches itself to blood sugar molecules. The higher the A1C protein is, the higher your sugar level will be.

    A1C levels below 5.7% are considered normal, while A1C levels above 6.5% indicate diabetes. A1C levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate prediabetes.

    Researchers studied changes in A1C levels in diabetic men taking TRT for the last 8 years. They found that the treatment reduced their A1C levels from 7.87% to 5.99%, which is quite a big difference that even diabetes medications usually fail to bring.

    Many other studies show similar results. These results are probably due to the ability of TRT to change body composition. Testosterone deficiency has a negative effect on body composition, which can be reversed through TRT.

     

    How is low T diagnosed?

    Testosterone levels decrease in men as they age. Some young men also have low testosterone due to a medical condition. If your testosterone levels are below the healthy amount, you may experience low T symptoms explained in the first section.

    If that is the case, you should visit a healthcare provider and tell them how you feel. Discuss your symptoms and share your medical history with them.

    They will have a physical examination to look for the changes that low T may have produced in your body. They will send your blood sample to the laboratory to check your serum testosterone levels. Testosterone levels below 300 nanograms per deciliter indicate low T.

    If you are diagnosed with low T, the doctor will find its cause and try to eradicate it to improve your condition. If the cause is obesity, medications, or an unhealthy lifestyle, they might suggest a few lifestyle changes. Otherwise, he may prescribe TRT.

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    How does TRT work?

    In TRT, you receive a testosterone dose based on how low your testosterone levels are. There are multiple ways to have testosterone, such as gels, injections, pellets, patches, and capsules. Learn the advantages and disadvantages of each testosterone form to choose the one that best suits your lifestyle, health, and budget.

     

    How is testosterone dose optimised?

    Your doctor will prescribe you a testosterone dose according to your testosterone levels before starting the treatment. They will ask you to monitor your symptoms and TRT side effects throughout the treatment.

    Are your symptoms improving? Are you experiencing side effects? Ask yourself all these questions and note down their answers to share them with your doctor during the next visit.

    They may adjust your dose based on its effects on your body. For instance, if your testosterone levels have not increased even after taking testosterone for 6 months, they may increase your dose. If you have minor side effects like acne, swelling of ankles, and breast tenderness, they may reduce your dose to ensure you get the most out of your treatment.

    Your doctor will ask you to visit the clinic every 6 months to evaluate your symptoms and side effects.

    You should contact your doctor immediately if the treatment causes serious side effects.

     

    Who should have TRT?

    TRT is effective for men, but it is not for everyone. If you have heart disease, high prostate cancer risk, or breast cancer, TRT may not be the right treatment for you. It can worsen your medical condition and put your health at risk.

    Men who don’t have these serious conditions are usually considered good TRT candidates. Reach out to a hormone specialist to learn if you can have TRT or not.

     

    Visit a hormone specialist for testosterone deficiency

    Hormone specialists know how all the hormones work in the body and how they are linked to each other. If your hormone levels are disturbed, they can offer you the perfect solution based on your needs, health, budget, and lifestyle.

    At Balance My Hormones, our medical professionals can design a customised TRT plan according to your particular needs. We have helped several men optimise their testosterone levels to improve their overall well-being and achieve health goals.

    If you think you have low T, feel free to contact us anytime. We are happy to listen to you and fine-tune your health!

    Book Free Consultation

     

    Conclusion

    Low T produces many effects on the body, including high sugar levels in some men. Several studies show that taking TRT can reduce low T symptoms and even bring blood sugar levels back to normal. It may be because of the TRT’s ability to change body composition (reduced body fat and increased muscle mass). If you feel you may be suffering from low testosterone, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. Just click the button above and we can discuss your options!

     

    References/Scientific studies/Bibliography/Further reading

    • Kapoor, D., Goodwin, E., Channer, K.S. and Jones, T.H., 2006. Testosterone replacement therapy improves insulin resistance, glycaemic control, visceral adiposity and hypercholesterolaemia in hypogonadal men with type 2 diabetes. European Journal of Endocrinology154(6), pp.899-906.
    • Dhindsa, S., Ghanim, H., Batra, M., Kuhadiya, N.D., Abuaysheh, S., Sandhu, S., Green, K., Makdissi, A., Hejna, J., Chaudhuri, A. and Punyanitya, M., 2016. Insulin resistance and inflammation in hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and their reduction after testosterone replacement in men with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes care39(1), pp.82-91.

    Muraleedharan, V., Marsh, H., Kapoor, D., Channer, K.S. and Jones, T.H., 2013. Testosterone deficiency is associated with increased risk of mortality and testosterone replacement improves survival in men with type 2 diabetes. Eur J Endocrinol169(6), pp.725-733.

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    Evidence Based Research

    This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.

    References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.

    Our team of healthcare experts and GMC registered doctors are licensed to UK GMC standards. We strive to provide you with the latest evidence based, researched articles that are unbiased, honest and provide you with accurate insights, statistics and helpful information on the discussed topic to ensure you gain a better understanding of the subject. You can read more about our Editorial Process by clicking here.

    We value your feedback on our articles, if you have a well-researched paper you would like to share with us please contact us.

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    About the Author: Mike Kocsis

    Mike KocsisMike Kocsis has an MBA with a focus on healthcare administration and is an entrepreneur and medical case manager for Balance My Hormones Ltd which offers medical services in the UK and Europe. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, much of that working with people who have hormone imbalances. Mike has appeared on podcasts and radio and is an expert speaker on the subject of hormone imbalance. He specialises in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has helped thousands of people suffering from hormone imbalances recover and regain control of their lives. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on the Balance My Hormones YouTube Channel.

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