Testosterone therapy is a topic I return to time and again. I don’t understand why it continues to be controversial when it can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, boost energy, elevate your mood, increase your sex drive and strength, and help you lose weight.
And now a new study offers even more reason to boost your T. The researchers found that increasing testosterone levels can help men with type 2 diabetes significantly lower their fasting blood sugar and improve their response to insulin.1
That’s good news whether or not you have diabetes. In previous studies, the researchers found that testosterone did the same thing for obese men who didn’t have diabetes. And they found similar results in a study conducted on men with kidney failure.
So I feel confident in concluding that testosterone can increase response to insulin in most men. But let’s take a closer look at this study.
Boost insulin sensitivity by 32%—and deflate that “spare tire” while you’re at it
Researchers gathered 94 men with type 2 diabetes. Fifty of the men had normal testosterone levels and 44 had low levels. The men with the low levels received either testosterone injections or placebos for 24 weeks.
At the end of the study, the men who had testosterone therapy showed a dramatic 32% increase in insulin sensitivity—while the placebo group had no change. The testosterone group also had significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels.
Of course, the less insulin sensitivity and the higher fasting glucose levels you have, the more likely you’ll develop diabetes.
And that’s not all the researchers found. The testosterone group lost subcutaneous fat (the kind right underneath your skin) and increased their lean muscle mass. That’s a strong argument for the benefits of testosterone therapy in fighting diabetes as well as improving overall health.
Even though this study only involved men, I recommend that everyone have their testosterone levels checked by a doctor. (You can also order your own testosterone testing kit through a company called Direct Labs. Just visit their website at www.DirectLabs.com/OVH1. Or call 800-908-0000 and reference account code: R-OVH.)
Women can suffer from low testosterone too, and diabetes certainly doesn’t discriminate by sex.
Optimal levels of testosterone vary with age—the younger you are, the higher your levels should be.
So for men, that means about 1,200 ng/dl at age 30, 1,000 ng/dl at 40, 800 ng/dl at 50, 700 ng/dl at 60, 600 ng/dl at 70, and so on.
For women, optimal testosterone levels really depend on what makes you feel your best. In my experience, that’s around 80 ng/dl—but it could be as low as 20 ng/dl.
But most important, testosterone therapy should always be individualized. And since your dosage will depend on your baseline numbers and other clinical factors, you should work with a doctor who knows what he or she is doing.
If you don’t already have one, the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) is a great resource. Check out www.acam.org to call 800-532-3688 to find a physician near you.
1“Insulin Resistance and Inflammation in Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism and Their Reduction After Testosterone Replacement in Men With Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care November 29, 2015. 10.2337/dc15-1518.