A new study has found that weight loss can boost low testosterone levels in middle-aged men with prediabetes by more than fifty percent. Involved in this study were close to 900 middle-aged men with prediabetes who participated in the Diabetes Prevention Program. The program, which was completed in the U.S., concluded that people at a high risk for Type 2 diabetes could delay or deter developing the disease through weight loss.
With most overweight men tending to have low testosterone levels, the authors set out to determine what the effects of weight loss on men's testosterone levels might be.
The researchers excluded men with hypogonadism from the study as well as any that were taking medications that might interfere with testosterone levels. Hypogonadism is a condition where men exhibit low testosterone levels with symptoms such as: low sperm count, poor erections, reduced sex drive, and enlarged breasts.
891 adult males were randomly selected to undergo one of 3 treatments:
- The metformin group - 305 received the diabetes drug metformin
- The new lifestyle group - 293 engaged in lifestyle modifications. They took part in 150 minutes of exercise each week, and ate a low-fat, low-calorie diet
- The placebo group - 293 received inactive placebo pills.
After the yearlong treatments, the authors reported that:
- New lifestyle group - low testosterone levels decreased from 20 percent to 11 percent of all men
- The metformin group - low testosterone levels dropped from 24.8% to 23.8%
- The placebo group - low testosterone levels dropped from 25.6% to 24.6%
Co-author Frances Hayes, MD, professor at St. Vincent's University hospital, Dublin, says:
"Losing weight not only reduces the risk of prediabetic men progressing to diabetes but also appears to increase the body's production of testosterone."
Hayes also recommends that doctors should first urge overweight men with low testosterone levels to lose weight and exercise before proposing testosterone therapy to raise their hormone levels.
What is prediabetes?Prediabetes is when blood-glucose (sugar) levels are excessively high - but not yet high enough for a diabetes diagnosis to be reached. An individual with prediabetes nearly has diabetes, but not yet. People with prediabetes have a considerably greater risk of developing diabetes type 2, heart disease and stroke, compared to others.
Signs and symptoms of prediabetes include:
- Higher than normal blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association recommends HbA1c testing as one basis for identifying diabetes and prediabetes. (Link to article)
- Acanthosis nigricans - darkened areas of skin, especially the knuckles, knees, elbows, armpits and neck
- Being very overweight
- Urinating more frequently (this could be a sign of diabetes type 2)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 79 million Americans have prediabetes. (Link to article)