What’s your HbA1c? And here’s why it matters

Woman checking her upper arm. Arm fat in natural light

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What’s your HbA1c? And here’s why it matters…

Body fat generates inflammation.

Animal studies have shown that this fat-sourced inflammation can cause symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

The male hormone testosterone is often low in men with type 2 diabetes.

And testosterone plays a large role in body fat storage…

A recent study looked at the effect of testosterone on muscle mass and fat mass in men with type 2 diabetes.

The results show the critical importance of optimal testosterone levels in men with type 2 diabetes.

These researchers did their study  at the University of Sheffield in the UK. The journal Endocrine Abstracts published the results.

Body composition refers to the ratio of muscle mass to fat mass…

And hormones have a huge influence over muscle mass and fat mass.

“Sex hormones are important determinant of body composition.”

Scientists know about the association between higher testosterone and lower risk of obesity.

“There is a significant negative correlation between testosterone and obesity.”

We also know about the association between higher testosterone and more muscle.

“There is a significant positive correlation between testosterone and muscle mass. Testosterone increases muscle mass in men with low testosterone.”

This study set out to see if these observations held true in men with type 2 diabetes.

“We aimed to assess the impact of total testosterone on body composition in men with type 2 diabetes.”

The study recruited 200 men (41 to 83 years old) with type 2 diabetes.

“This was a cross-sectional study involving men with type 2 diabetes.”

It looked at the effect of testosterone on body fat and fat-free mass (indicating muscle mass).

“The study assessed the impact of total testosterone levels on fat mass and fat-free mass.”

They assigned the men to two different categories – based on their total testosterone levels.

The men in the first group had testosterone levels that were lower than they should be.

Some of these men were taking testosterone – but their levels were still low.

The second group of men had good testosterone levels.

Some of them that group were supplementing testosterone and others had naturally high levels.

The average testosterone level of the second group was more than twice that of the first group. (8 vs 18.)

The researchers observed significant differences in body fat and fat-free mass between the high testosterone vs low testosterone groups.

“We found significant differences in body fat and fat-free mass between the groups”.

Diabetic men with high testosterone had more fat-free mass (more muscle).

“Total testosterone is positively correlated to fat-free mass.”

And diabetic men with higher testosterone had less body fat.

“Total testosterone is inversely correlated to fat mass.”

These findings show that optimal testosterone levels are important for men with type 2 diabetes.

Decreasing the amount of body fat with testosterone supplementation could actually improve diabetic symptoms.

Testosterone supplementation should be dosed based on blood tests – to get the blood levels into the right range.

“Testosterone should be replaced to the mid-normal range as per guidelines.”

The study also looked at HbA1c – a critical blood test for people with type 2 diabetes.

HbA1c gives an indicator of the average blood sugar readings over long periods.

People with type 2 diabetes want lower HbA1c readings.

The study found that HbA1c is higher in people with more body fat and lower in people with more fat-free mass.

But proper testosterone supplementation could lower HbA1c.

“HbA1c is conversely correlated to fat-free mass and positively correlated to fat mass.”

In addition, proper sleep is absolutely critical for maintaining healthy levels of testosterone.

Stress management, good diet, supplements, and smart training can also help a lot.

For some people, testosterone supplementation is necessary.

But be careful. While too little testosterone can cause problems, too much from supplementation can cause other problems.

So testosterone supplementation should be overseen by a knowledgeable medical professional.

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Matt Cook is editor-in-chief of Daily Medical Discoveries. Matt has been a full time health researcher for 26 years. ABC News interviewed Matt on sexual health issues not long ago. Matt is widely quoted on over 1,000,000 websites. He has over 300,000 daily newsletter readers. Daily Medical Discoveries finds hidden, buried or ignored medical studies through the lens of 100 years of proven science. Matt heads up the editorial team of scientists and health researchers. Each discovery is based upon primary studies from peer reviewed science sources following the Daily Medical Discoveries 7 Step Process to ensure accuracy.
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