High testosterone levels appear protective against the development of type 2 diabetes in men under 65

Testosterone appears protective against developing type 2 diabetes in men who are overweight or obese and under age 65, but not in men over that age, according to a study presented Saturday at ENDO 2024, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in Boston, Mass.

A 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. We wanted to better understand the relationship between testosterone and type 2 diabetes risk across the range of testosterone levels, and to examine interactions between testosterone and different diabetes risk factors in middle aged and older men."

Mahesh Umapathysivam, M.B.B.S., lead researcher of the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

The researchers analyzed data from the MAILES Cohort, a group of men ages 35 to 85 years living in urban Adelaide. The study included 1,315 men, none of whom had diabetes, cancer or testosterone treatment at the beginning of the study. After five years, 110 of the men had developed type 2 diabetes (8.4%).

After correcting for known factors that affect type 2 diabetes risk including age, waist circumference, measures of blood sugar, family history of diabetes, smoking, alcohol intake, self-reported physical activity and medication use, the researchers found that blood testosterone concentration was associated with the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

They found that in men under age 65, the higher a man's blood testosterone level, the lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"This implies that higher testosterone blood concentrations are associated with reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes," Umapathysivam said. "In contrast, there were no detectable effects of blood testosterone levels on diabetes risk in men over age 65."

Umapathysivam added, "Maintaining a heathy weight, exercising regularly and avoiding alcohol helps maintain a normal testosterone level in most men and also help prevents type 2 diabetes."

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