Type 2 diabetes is a major burden on healthcare systems in the entire world. It is especially prevalent among older men, who typically don’t follow healthy diets, don’t exercise and generally don’t take good care of themselves. Now a team of scientists led by the University of Adelaide found that two years of testosterone might help decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is usually considered to be a lifestyle disease. It usually bothers overweight people who do not follow a healthy diet. However, older people are more likely to develop the type 2 diabetes, especially men. This is because aging makes us more susceptible to this condition and scientists want to find ways to reduce the risk. One of the changes that aging brings to men is reduced levels of testosterone. And so scientists in Australia started The T4DM (Testosterone for the prevention of Diabetes Mellitus) study, which involved more than 1000 overweight or obese men aged between 50 and 74 years old.

Naturally, participants of the study were split into two groups. The experimental group got regular injections of testosterone, administered every 3 months. The control group received placebo. Of course, men didn’t know what they are getting to nullify possible effects of mental manipulation. The study took 2 years and brought some interesting results.

21 % of the control group after 2 years had type 2 diabetes. That’s 87 new diabetes patients. Testosterone therapy did not protect all the men either – 12 % of the experiment group also had type 2 diabetes at the end of the research period. However, that’s a great indication that testosterone injections do lower the risk of diabetes among middle age and older overweight men.

Scientists made other interesting observations as well. For example, fasting blood sugar was lower in both groups, but he decrease was greater in the testosterone group. Both groups managed to lose some weight, but testosterone group men also gained some muscle. They also improved their sexual function. Testosterone therapy is not perfect though – 22 % of the group were affected by an adverse side effect of increased in red blood cells potentially leading to sludgy blood and clots.

Scientists say that while testosterone seems to help, it is not a quick fix. Professor Gary Wittert, lead author of the study, explained: “We do not know either the durability of effect or long-term safety of testosterone for preventing type 2 diabetes. Treatment with testosterone might be an option for some men, but all men need a thorough physical and mental health assessment, and support to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle”.

Type 2 diabetes is avoidable. You just have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which is not that hard, when you know the consequences of getting stuck in your unhealthy ways.

Source: University of Adelaide