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Testosterone could protect men against developing type 2 diabetes

Testosterone may offer protection against type 2 diabetes in overweight or obese men under 65
Testosterone may offer protection against type 2 diabetes in overweight or obese men under 65. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)

Testosterone may offer protection against type 2 diabetes in overweight or obese men under 65, but not in older men, according to new research.

"Low blood testosterone concentration is an independent risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, and high levels of testosterone appear protective against the development of type 2 diabetes," stated Mahesh Umapathysivam, M.B.B.S., from the University of Adelaide in South Australia. "We aimed to better understand the relationship between testosterone levels and type 2 diabetes risk, and to examine interactions between testosterone and various diabetes risk factors in middle-aged and older men."


The researchers used data from the MAILES Cohort, which includes men aged 35 to 85 years living in urban Adelaide. The study analyzed 1,315 men who were free from diabetes, cancer, or testosterone treatment at the start. After five years, 110 participants had developed type 2 diabetes, accounting for 8.4% of the study group.

Adjusting for factors known to influence type 2 diabetes risk—such as age, waist circumference, blood sugar levels, family history of diabetes, smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, and medication use—the researchers found a significant association between blood testosterone levels and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The findings showed that among men under 65, higher blood testosterone levels corresponded with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. "This implies that higher testosterone blood concentrations are associated with reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes," said Umapathysivam. However, for men over 65, no significant effects of blood testosterone levels on diabetes risk were detected.


Umapathysivam emphasized the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyle habits. "Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol helps maintain normal testosterone levels in most men and also helps prevent type 2 diabetes," he said.

The study's insights add to the growing understanding of the role of testosterone in metabolic health and diabetes prevention, particularly in younger men. These findings may guide future strategies for diabetes risk assessment and prevention in men, especially those struggling with obesity and related metabolic conditions.


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This research highlights the need for further studies to explore the mechanisms behind testosterone's protective effects and to determine if testosterone therapy could be a viable option for reducing diabetes risk in certain populations.

While the current study does not advocate for testosterone treatment, it underscores the potential benefits of maintaining optimal testosterone levels through healthy lifestyle choices.


Given the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and its significant health impacts, these findings are particularly relevant for public health strategies aimed at reducing the incidence of diabetes among at-risk populations.

By understanding the factors that influence diabetes risk, including hormonal levels, healthcare providers can better identify individuals at higher risk and offer targeted interventions to prevent the onset of diabetes.

Further research is necessary to explore the potential of testosterone-based therapies and to deepen our understanding of the complex interactions between hormones and metabolic health.


The most common factors influencing diabetes risk

Several factors can influence the risk of developing diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) these factors include:

Genetic Factors

  • Family History: Having a parent or sibling with diabetes increases the risk.

  • Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups (such as African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American) are at higher risk.

Lifestyle Factors

  • Diet: Diets high in processed foods, red meat, and sugary beverages can increase the risk.

  • Physical Activity: Lack of regular physical activity contributes to weight gain and insulin resistance.

  • Weight: Obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is a major risk factor.

  • Smoking: Tobacco use can increase insulin resistance and is associated with a higher risk of diabetes.


Medical Factors

  • Pre-diabetes: A condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Women with PCOS have an increased risk.

  • High Blood Pressure: Hypertension is often associated with insulin resistance.

  • High Cholesterol: Abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are linked to higher risk.


  • Age: The risk increases with age, particularly after 45 years old.

Hormonal Factors

  • Gestational Diabetes: Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Socioeconomic Factors

Education and Income: Lower levels of education and income are associated with a higher risk, potentially due to limited access to healthcare, healthy food options, and opportunities for physical activity.


Environmental Factors

  • Urbanization: Urban lifestyles often involve more sedentary behaviors and poor dietary choices.

  • Stress: Chronic stress can affect blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.

Sleep Patterns

  • Sleep: Poor sleep quality and irregular sleep patterns can influence blood sugar levels and increase the risk.


  • Certain Medications: Some medications, like corticosteroids, can increase the risk of diabetes.

Understanding these risk factors can help in making lifestyle changes and early interventions to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

For more science news stories check out our New Discoveries section at The Brighter Side of News.


Note: Materials provided by The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.


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