Long-term testosterone linked to type 2 diabetes remission in men with hypogonadism

Jack Woodfield
Mon, 02 Jul 2018
Long-term testosterone linked to type 2 diabetes remission in men with hypogonadism
A small group of men with type 2 diabetes and hypogonadism who received long-term testosterone treatment were able to achieve type 2 remission, research reveals.

The German researchers behind the study said the findings were "completely unexpected", although it remains to be seen just how influential a factor diet was in the results.

The results were presented by Farid Saad, PhD, from Gulf Medical University School of Medicine in Berlin, at the American Diabetes Association 78th Scientific Sessions in Florida.

Saad and colleagues reviewed data from 400 men with hypogonadism, 133 of whom also had type 2 diabetes. All the men received testosterone injections for 12 weeks, and were also prescribed metformin before the study, with five put on an insulin regimen.

The participants were followed up twice a year to measure insulin resistance as well as fasting insulin levels. In total the participants were followed for a mean of 6.9 years.

A total of 16 men with type 2 diabetes were in diabetes remission at the final measurement. Their HbA1c level of 8.3% at the beginning of the study had fallen to 5.7%, and insulin resistance, triglycerides and blood sugar levels all decreased.

On average, participants who achieved remission discontinued their diabetes medication after 74.8 months.

"This registry was not designed to study the effects of testosterone on type 2 diabetes," said Saad. "A remission of type 2 diabetes with testosterone has not been described in the literature. It was completely unexpected."

One patient who discontinued testosterone following a diagnosis of prostate cancer subsequently developed new-onset type 2 diabetes. But upon restarting testosterone therapy the participant experienced type 2 diabetes remission two years afterwards.

Meanwhile, in a control group of hypogonadal patients who did not received testosterone treatment, mortality was shown to increase compared with those taking testosterone.

"This mortality is usually of a cardiovascular nature, which is not the case in the treated patients. So, in our experience, everything that was said about cardiovascular risk increased by testosterone treatment is nonsense," added Saad.

Editor's note: The impact on how diet affected participants' likelihood of remission is unknown until the findings are published in a medical journal. Eating a healthy real-food diet has been shown to help people with type 2 diabetes achieve remission, and it will be interesting to see what diet participants who achieved remission adhered to.
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