A new study suggests that testosterone replacement for men with low levels of the hormone greatly improves their fatty liver disease as well as their risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
"Physicians often are reluctant to prescribe testosterone for conditions not related to sexual function. However, our study shows that testosterone has a much wider therapeutic role than just for improving sexual desire and erectile function," said the study's co-author, Dr. Farid Saad, of Berlin-headquartered Bayer Schering Pharma.
During a presentation at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., it was revealed that the study included 122 testosterone-deficient men, aged 36 to 69 years.
The researchers found that restoring testosterone to normal levels led to major and progressive improvements in many features of the metabolic syndrome over the 2 years of treatment.
They said that, particularly, the men's weight, waist line and body mass index continued to decline over the full study period.
According to them, the other metabolic risk factors also significantly improved during the first year of testosterone treatment.
Of the 47 men who met the criteria for a diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the study, 36 no longer had the diagnosis after 2 years of treatment, the authors reported.
Furthermore, liver function significantly improved during the first 12 to 18 months of therapy and stabilized for the remainder of the study period.
The researchers said that the treatment also greatly decreased blood levels of C-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation that is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
"We conclude that testosterone therapy in men with testosterone deficiency can largely improve or even remedy the metabolic syndrome, which will most likely decrease their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease," Saad said.