If you are diabetic and have low testosterone, then you probably expect the answer to that to be a resounding no. And you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. When you have a long term medical condition like diabetes, you must make important lifestyle changes to stay healthy. It means paying attention to things that a non-diabetic would take for granted every day.
So, no, you cannot take testosterone boosters like everyone else. Or can you? Actually, the answer may be a little more nuanced than you would expect. I’ll start off by looking at the impact of diabetes on free testosterone levels.
Diabetes lowers testosterone
Not many illnesses are known to have as far-reaching an impact on overall health as diabetes. From mobility and vision, to high blood pressure and loss of muscle mass. Diabetics may experience a significant deterioration in their sexual health too. The illness leads to a testosterone decline. According to the American Diabetes Association, men with type 2 diabetes have twice the risk of experiencing low testosterone compared to non-diabetic men.
Studies indicate there’s a correlation between low testosterone and high insulin resistance though the exact way this connection occurs is not fully understood. Either way, the dropping testosterone levels will gradually become evident through erectile dysfunction, reduced libido, muscle loss, low energy and depressive mood.
Diabetes type 1 and type 2
You have noticed I mentioned type 2 diabetes in the previous section. It’s an important distinction. The testosterone-diabetes relation is most pronounced in persons diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. That comes down to the nature of the two types of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes usually shows up in middle age or senior years. It is often triggered by poor lifestyle habits that eventually strain the body’s insulin sensitivity and with that, its ability to regulate blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is genetic and will be evident in childhood.
As a diabetic and given the foregoing, you may be drawn to testosterone boosters or other treatment options that promise to increase your dwindling testosterone levels. Whereas caution is key, the studies on testosterone treatment and diabetes are mostly positive.
A 2006 study found that type 2 diabetics with low testosterone who were subjected to testosterone therapy experienced notable improvement in blood sugar regulation, reduction in insulin resistance as well as a decline in visceral fat and cholesterol.
More recently, a study of more than 350 hypogonadal (low testosterone) type 2 diabetics found that testosterone therapy diminished insulin resistance and improved blood sugar control. Diabetes remission occurred in one in three test subjects.
What does all this mean? Testosterone boosters could be good for you.
General testosterone advice for diabetics
Before you start to weigh solutions, make sure you actually have low testosterone. Just because you are grappling with low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and muscle loss does not necessarily mean low testosterone is to blame. Your doctor could evaluate your symptoms and, if need be, run medical tests and prescribe/recommend the best path of action.
When it comes to potential solutions, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be the first thing that comes to mind. But I’d advise against taking that path so early unless the doctor explicitly recommends. Instead, make some lifestyle changes. Exercise regularly, eat healthy meals, sleep well and catch some sunlight every day (or take vitamin D supplements if that isn’t feasible).
If that doesn’t work, don’t jump onto TRT just yet. Testosterone boosters are the better next level option. Unlike TRT which introduces testosterone directly into your bloodstream, testosterone boosters stimulate the body’s own production of the hormone.
They are made from natural tried-and-tested ingredients typically comprising a combination of plant extracts, vitamins, amino acids, and/or minerals. You are therefore far less likely to teeter into a hormonal imbalance or grapple with serious side effects.
And TRT does have some serious side effects that, as a diabetic, you are better off doing without. Acne, ankle swelling, breast swelling/tenderness and sleep disruption are the more mild ones. In moderate to severe cases, TRT may cause prostate diseases and cardiovascular illnesses including blood clots, strokes and heart attacks.
Some doctors are reluctant to prescribe testosterone replacement therapy to diabetics under 65 years of age since the longer term risks are not yet well understood.
As a diabetic, you can use testosterone boosters but not necessarily in the same way as a non-diabetic. Exercise caution by obtaining clearance from your doctor before you proceed. In case the boosters are not effective in regularizing your free testosterone, only then should you consider TRT with a doctor’s supervision.