Clinical research has shown that there is a definite link between low testosterone and metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is on the rise in the United States. Metabolic syndrome is described as a series of medical problems that together increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Just because you have one or more of these health issues does not necessarily mean that you have metabolic syndrome. However, doctors agree that having even just one of them increases your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Having three or more of these factors will warrant a diagnosis of “metabolic syndrome,” and it will significantly increase your risk of additional health issues.
Medical research has found that men with low testosterone are at a much greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome than men who have more normal testosterone levels.
The Relationship Between Testosterone and Metabolic Syndrome
Most of the risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome are related to obesity. Men with low testosterone tend to be overweight. In particular, they have an excess of belly fat. Also, men with low testosterone tend to have one or more of the conditions associated with metabolic syndrome.
The reverse is also true. Men with diabetes and/or some of the other conditions associated with metabolic syndrome almost always also have low testosterone. This is especially true of men over 45, the very same age group that is most at risk of death from stroke or heart attack.
Role of Testosterone in Metabolic Syndrome
There is ample evidence that low testosterone increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, especially in men. There have been many studies that indicate that low testosterone can predict the development of metabolic syndrome. The most common factor among such patients is obesity – especially abdominal obesity. Experts say that metabolic syndrome is becoming more common because of rising obesity rates. Lack of lean muscle, and a decreased ability to burn fat, are two of the main symptoms of men with low testosterone.
Diabetes is one of the main conditions associated with metabolic syndrome. According to the Diabetes Association, if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to also have low testosterone as men without diabetes. Studies have found that men suffering from both diabetes and low T are also more likely to have high- blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or one or more of the other conditions associated with metabolic syndrome.
Here are just a few of the medical research studies that identify the role of testosterone in the development of metabolic syndrome.
A 2010 meta-analysis (study of studies) published in Therapeutic Advances in Endocrinology and Metabolism, concluded “There is convincing evidence that low testosterone is an independent risk factor for the development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in men. Furthermore, evidence is also accumulating that testosterone deficiency is a cardiovascular risk factor.”
This study went on to say that, “There are many recent reviews highlighting the important link between hypogonadism, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”
Another study, this one published in 2012 in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, stated that “Serum testosterone has been shown to be associated with metabolic syndrome, (MetS). Several studies have shown a higher prevalence of MetS in subjects with low testosterone.” The study concluded by saying, “There is strong evidence of a high prevalence of MetS in patients with a low T level. Many components of MetS are adversely affected in the presence of hypogonadism [low testosterone].”
This study also concluded that testosterone replacement therapy could have a positive effect on reducing a patient’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome, stating, “Early interventional studies have shown that TRT in hypogonadal men with MetS has beneficial effects on central adiposity, insulin resistance, and glycemic control.”
A 2010 research paper published in the medical journal Hypertension Research echoed these conclusions, stating that, “Epidemiological studies have established that low testosterone/low sex hormone-binding globulin can predict the development of the metabolic syndrome.” And that, “There is increasing evidence that testosterone treatment has beneficial effects on visceral fat mobilization and other elements of the metabolic syndrome.”
How to Use Testosterone Therapy to Best Improve the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
The safest and most effective treatment for men with low testosterone is testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone replacement therapy is designed to bring men suffering from age-related testosterone deficiency back into the more normal range.
Testosterone therapy is not prescribed specifically as a treatment for metabolic syndrome. However, since testosterone therapy can reduce or eliminate several of the risk factors that lead to metabolic syndrome, it does lessen your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
Besides reducing your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, there are many positive benefits of testosterone replacement. While research continues into how and why they are linked, we know that testosterone therapy can reduce your risk of developing diabetes and the other conditions associated with metabolic syndrome.
It was once thought that testosterone replacement increased a man’s risk of heart disease. However, since we now know that it can reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, testosterone therapy can actually reduce the risk of death from stroke or heart attack.
In addition to lowering your risk of developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome, testosterone therapy can:
- Reduce belly fat
- Improve your sex drive and sexual performance
- Increase stamina and increase your energy level
- Improve your memory and other cognitive abilities
- Improve your ability to build muscle
- Improve sleep
- Lessen your risk of developing anxiety and depression
Again, while the main goal of testosterone replacement therapy is to restore concentrations of testosterone in the blood, there exists considerable evidence that, in addition to resolving the symptoms of testosterone deficiency listed above, testosterone improves insulin metabolism and most of not all of the other markers of metabolic syndrome.
Now that you understand more about the relationship between low testosterone and metabolic syndrome, why don’t you take a minute to contact us and see if testosterone therapy may be right for you.
- Vakkat Muraleedharan, MBBS, MD, MRCP, T. Hugh Jones
- Zahra Abbasi-Ranjbar, MD, Seyedeh Hajar Sharami, MD, Soudabeh Kazemi, MD, Daniyal Sayyad-Abdi, MD, Seyedeh Fatemeh Dalil Heirati, BSc.
- Dr. Nawras Makhsida, MD, Jay Bakul Shah, MD, Grace W Yan, PhD, Harry Fisch, MD, Dr. Ridwan Shabsigh, MD
- Ranabir Salam, Achouba Singh Kshetrimayum, and Reetu Keisam
- Hiroaki Kawano
Review: Testosterone and the metabolic syndrome
The Relation Between Free Testosterone and Components of Metabolic Syndrome in Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Hypogonadism and metabolic syndrome: implications for testosterone therapy
Testosterone and metabolic syndrome: The link
The relationship between testosterone and metabolic syndrome