Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes in Men

The answer to this question may be complicated, but there have been some promising studies on how testosterone affects these conditions.

This article explores two such studies where findings suggest that the symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type two diabetes can be lessened in men with testosterone treatment.

Seeing as NAFLD is the most common chronic liver disease in the USA, affecting nearly a quarter of Americans, and around 10% of Americans have type two diabetes, these findings may lead to treatments that will benefit tens of millions in the United States alone.

What is NAFLD?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is an umbrella term describing a range of liver conditions affecting people who drink little to no alcohol yet still store too much fat in their liver cells. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of NAFLD is that its mildest form is challenging to spot and treat, as there may not be any apparent symptoms.

Some patients with NAFLD develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive form of fatty liver disease that causes severe liver inflammation and sometimes progresses to cirrhosis and liver failure, having similar damage to heavy alcohol use.

Regarding the causes, experts can’t pinpoint precisely why some people accumulate fat in the liver and others do not.

There is still a lack of information concerning the role of genetics, yet NAFLD and NASH are both linked to obesity, insulin resistance, high blood sugar (indicating prediabetes or type two diabetes), and high levels of triglycerides in the blood. These combined factors appear to amplify the risk of accumulating fat in the liver.

Testosterone therapy is a potential treatment for men struggling with NAFLD

The great news is that a recent study conducted at the University of Ljublijana shows that testosterone therapy may reduce symptoms associated with NAFLD in obese men with type two diabetes and hypogonadism. The findings were presented at the 23rd European Congress of Endocrinology on 25th May 2021.

“Testosterone could potentially affect NAFLD due to its myogenic and anti-inflammatory effects, prompting us to include NAFLD as one of the areas of our study.

Furthermore, studies into effects of testosterone on NAFLD in patients with type two diabetes are rare, exacerbating the need for us to attempt also to address this interesting, yet often disregarded complication of type two diabetes,” according to Kristina Groti Antonic, MD, Ph.D., a specialist in internal medicine in the department of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolic disease at University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The team of researchers analyzed data from 55 men with obesity, functional hypogonadism, and type two diabetes and followed their reactions for two years. One group received 1,000 mg of testosterone undecanoate for two years, and the placebo group received the same quantity only during the second year.

Researchers noticed normalized testosterone levels in both groups and no adverse effects. The study shows that testosterone therapy may become an effective solution for obese men struggling with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Testosterone generates changes in body composition that make it easier to deal with NAFLD’s symptoms.

Type two diabetes and testosterone treatments

Another study published earlier this year by Gary Wittert, professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide, Australia, shows that testosterone therapy for two years can prevent or even revert type two diabetes in men who are overweight. This effect is accompanied by increased muscle mass, improved sexual function, and better grip strength.

While early to say for certain, there is hope these findings will encourage further research. Research stands to help hundreds of millions of people, as NAFLD and type two diabetes affect more than 110 million people in the United States alone.

About The Author:

Siggi Clavien worked in the alcohol industry for 15 years before launching Equilibrium Labs 10 years ago. With the help of my medical and advisory board, my aim is to reduce preventable liver disease through a combination of education, research, and product development. You can learn more about the work they do at https://www.equilibriumlabs.com/.

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