Testosterone Replacement Could Decrease Deaths in Men With Type 2 Diabetes

April 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Health, Healthy Ageing, Mens Health

A new study reported at the Society for Endocrinology by Professor Hugh Jones shows that men with low levels of testosterone may die sooner unless they are given testosterone replacement therapy.

Professor Jones’ team conducted a six year study of 587 men with type 2 diabetes, splitting them into three groups: those with normal and low testosterone levels and those with low testosterone levels treated with testosterone replacement therapy for two years or more during the follow up period.

The findings show for the first time that low testosterone puts diabetic men at a significantly increased risk of death. 36 of the 182 diabetic men with untreated low testosterone died during the six year study, compared to 31 of the 338 men with normal testosterone levels (20% vs 9%). Furthermore, only 5 of the 58 diabetic men that were given testosterone replacement therapy died during the study (8.6%), meaning they showed significantly better survival compared to the non-treated group.

It is well known that men with type 2 diabetes often have low testosterone levels, so it is important that we investigate the health implications of this. We now need to carry out a larger clinical trial to confirm these preliminary findings. If confirmed, then many deaths could be prevented every year.

This is the first study to show testosterone treatment can improve survival in men with type 2 diabetes and testosterone deficiency. Further studies now need to be carried out to fully investigate the potential therapeutic benefit of testosterone replacement in diabetic men with low testosterone but such men might well consider looking at natural testosterone supplements in consultation with their doctor.

Men and heart attacks – It’s the hormones

September 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Mens Health

Sex, or to be fair, hormones are now shown to be the reason why men are more prone to – and likely to die of – heart disease compared with women of a similar age. I thought it was just they worked harder, and worried more, but am always happy to be proved wrong! A new study from the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester, suggest that this “male disadvantage” may be related to the effects of their naturally occurring sex hormones, and yes they do have more than one: estradiol, estrone, testosterone and androstenedione. The researchers studied how each of these interacted with the three major risk factors of heart disease: cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. For once, it is not testosterone that is in the dock because they found that two of these sex hormones (estradiol and estrone, both oestrogens) are linked to increased levels of bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) in men and that they may be important risk factors of heart disease – even before men present symptoms of coronary artery disease or stroke.

In women, oestrogen helps protect women from heart disease so why it affects men differently is interesting – but the research didn’t throw up why this happens, only that it does. However, men concerned about their heart health could ask their doctor for a blood test to determine their level of these two oestrogens to see if they are at risk.

Testosterone – yes or no?

June 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Healthy Ageing, Mens Health

Just as oestrogen production declines in women as they reach menopause, so does testosterone production slows down in men as they too approach middle age. Women have physical symptoms to show them that their oestrogen levels are declining, but men generally do not have such markers.

The idea of a ‘male menopause’ is a popular one – the clinical term is “andropause – but there’s little evidence to back it up. However, the makers of popular ‘libido’ supplements have not let that get in the way of a potential market and there are a number of herbal products on sale that are aimed at men. It is true that some men do report sexual dysfunction or lack of desire, fatigue and weakness as they age, but most of these physical complaints are more often the influence of lifestyle factors such as diet, stress and inactivity.

The next step up from the freely available sexual dysfunction  is to take additional testosterone which may promise more energy, strength and virility – but rarely deliver. In fact, it can positively be dangerous. Although most healthy middle-aged men taking this hormone may experience a placebo effect at best, they do run an increased risk of prostate problems at worst.

Taking additional testosterone should only be undertaken if you have thoroughly discussed it with your doctor and they feel it would be appropriate for you.

By the way – it’s not just men who take testosterone, women also produce it in smaller amounts in their bodies and at menopause some women take it to increase libido and energy. However, my friend and colleague, Dr Bond and I used to run menopause seminars together and while we were watching the women seating themselves, we would look round the room and could easily identify the women who were on testosterone. They did not look ‘sexier’, but were instantly recognizable to those who knew what the signs were and it was not a particularly attractive look. Women too should only take it on their Doctor’s recommendation and always at the stated dose.

Testosterone for women?

February 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Sexual Health, Womens Health

Testosterone for women may seem like a strange idea, but it is being used increasingly to help women improve their sex drive and perk up their libido. You may be surprised to learn that women have testosterone, but it is one of the three main hormones in our bodies along with oestrogen and progesterone.
When women reach menopause, their progesterone and testosterone levels may drop by as much as 50 percent but before you rush to talk to your doctor about it (though your partner may try and beat you to it) remember that all hormones are powerful substances and not to be taken lightly.

The method of taking testestorone currently is orally in pill form, but the medical authorities have recently declined approval of a testosterone patch designed for women. The product was found to be only slightly more effective than a placebo patch, while the side effects included liver dysfunction, acne and unwanted hair growth. You might want to try some more natural, and safer, ways of boosting your sex drive first.

Fortunately, there are a number of plants and herbs that have been shown to enhance sexual drive and enjoyment by helping to maintain balanced hormone levels, including testosterone. For instance, saw palmetto (commonly used to promote prostate health) has been prescribed for centuries as a sexual stimulant for both women and men. The ancient Mayans used an herb called damiana to energize sexual vitality and it is freely on sale in my local health shop, along with Siberian ginseng which has the reputation for arousing sexuality and enhancing stamina in women. Anyone for Nettle tea? This also has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries though you might want to add some honey to it first!