Learn about Blood Sugar Health

Gender Specific Blood Sugar Health

by Dr Joseph J Collins, ND, RN

This article is part of the Blood Sugar Health Educational Module

Men and women both share common risks factors for developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, such as lifestyle, age and genetic risk. However, the hormonal differences between men and women bring about some very different risk factors very significant to the specific gender. While both genders have estradiol and testosterone, the levels and ratios of those two sex hormones have completely different effects in women than they do in men. 

Addressing the Special Needs of Insulin Resistance in both Men and Women
Both men and women have gender specific risks for developing insulin resistance, which can result in type 2 diabetes (once known as adult-onset diabetes). In type 2 diabetes, the body either resists the effects of insulin (the primary hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells), or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.

While some hormones, such as insulin, effect blood glucose function equally in both men and women, other hormones (such as estradiol and testosterone) have their own effect on how each gender metabolizes blood glucose. Insulin resistance develops due to multiple causes, most of which can be modified by healthy lifestyle and dietary habits.

Obesity and inadequate physical activity are two risks that can be modified by lifestyle change. Genetic predispositions, such as diabetes or polycystic ovary disease in the family are additional risks. Genetic predispositions can be significantly influenced by healthy lifestyle and dietary habits as well.  Even though obesity in adults increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it is important to note that type 2 diabetes can occur in adults who are not obese.

Age is another predisposing factor towards insulin resistance, making both men and women more likely to develop insulin resistance with each passing year. Lifestyle strongly influences how age affects insulin resistance.

Hypothyroid function is another factor that place both men and women at risk for developing insulin resistance and diabetes. Women are more likely to develop hypothyroid function. 

None-the-less, before addressing gender specific causes of insulin resistance, foundations of blood sugar health must be attended to in both men and women.

Foundations of Blood Sugar Health
The foundations of blood sugar health in both genders can be supported by the same guidelines that support general hormone health. The foundations of hormone health include (1) lifestyle and dietary choices that support optimal hormone function, (2) a high grade multiple vitamin-mineral formulation - such as Endocrine Complete™,  (3) essential fatty acids rich in docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, and (4) a high grade multiple species probiotic to support optimal health of digestive system and immune system. To learn more about the foundations of hormone health, please see the Hormone Health Guidelines series of articles.

Gender Specific Differences in Blood Sugar Health
The gender specific differences in blood sugar health are primarily due to changes in the normal levels and in the ratios of testosterone and estradiol in each gender. In men, testosterone levels my drop, and estradiol levels may increase due to obesity, as well as advanced age. When those changes take place, the testosterone to estradiol ratio (T:E2) will decrease, which place men at a greater risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In women, estradiol levels my drop, and testosterone levels may increase due to obesity - especially obesity that is due to polycystic ovary disease or PCO-Like syndrome. Advanced age can also cause a drop in estradiol, independent of testosterone changes. No matter what the cause, whenever the testosterone to estradiol ratio (T:E2) increases in women, there is increased risk of women developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

GlucoQuench™ can be used in both men and women with blood sugar dysfunctions. 

The most important points to remember in gender specific support of glucose health is that in men, there is often a need to support testosterone function and decrease excessive estrogen activity. Inversely, in women, there is often a need to important to support estradiol function and in some women, an additional need to decrease excessive testosterone activity.

GlucoQuench™ can be used in both men and women with blood sugar dysfunctions.

Next: Blood Sugar Health for Women



References and Additional Reading

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Cagnacci A, Soldani R, Carriero PL, Paoletti AM, Fioretti P, Melis GB. Effects of low doses of transdermal 17 beta-estradiol on carbohydrate metabolism in postmenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1992 Jun;74(6):1396-400

Barrat J, Giboudeau J, Polonovski J, Bigel P, Fourcat C, Porta F, Leger D. [Comparison of the effects of orally or percutaneously administered estradiol on carbohydrates and lipids after the menopause].[Article in French] J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris) 1984;13(6):621-7

Colacurci N, Zarcone R, Mollo A, Russo G, Passaro M, de Seta L, de Franciscis P. Effects of hormone replacement therapy on glucose metabolism. Panminerva Med 1998 Mar;40(1):18-21

Falkner B, Hulman S, Kushner H. Gender differences in insulin-stimulated glucose utilization among African-Americans. Am J Hypertens 1994 Nov;7(11):948-52

Haffner SM, Valdez RA. Endogenous sex hormones: impact on lipids, lipoproteins, and insulin. Am J Med 1995 Jan 16;98(1A):40S-47S

De Pergola G, Triggiani V, Giorgino F, Cospite MR, Garruti G, Cignarelli M, Guastamacchia E, Giorgino R. The free testosterone to dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate molar ratio as a marker of visceral fat accumulation in premenopausal obese women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1994 Oct;18(10):659-64

Khaw KT, Barrett-Connor E. Fasting plasma glucose levels and endogenous androgens in non-diabetic postmenopausal women. Clin Sci (Colch) 1991 Mar;80(3):199-203

Andersson B, Mattsson LA, Hahn L, Marin P, Lapidus L, Holm G, Bengtsson BA, Bjorntorp P. Estrogen replacement therapy decreases hyperandrogenicity and improves glucose homeostasis and plasma lipids in postmenopausal women with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1997 Feb;82(2):638-43

Pecherskii AV, Semiglazov VF, Komiakov BK, Guliev BG, Gorelov AI, Novikov AI, Pecherskii VI, Simonov NN, Guliaev AV, Samusenko IA, Vonskii MS, Muttenberg AG, Loran OB. [Changes in the expression of receptors of steroid hormones in the development of partial androgen deficiency of aging men (PADAM)], Tsitologiia. 2005;47(4):311-7.

Osuna C JA, Gomez-Perez R, Arata-Bellabarba G, Villaroel V. Relationship between bmi, total testosterone, sex hormone-binding-globulin, leptin, insulin and insulin resistance in obese men. Arch Androl. 2006 Sep-Oct;52(5):355-61.  

Rabijewski M, Kozakowski J, Zgliczynski W. [The relationship between testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate concentrations, insulin resistance and visceral obesity in elderly men.] Endokrynol Pol. 2005;56(6):897-903.

Barud W, Piotrowska-Swirszcz A, Ostrowski S, Palusinski R, Makaruk B. [Association of obesity and insulin resistance with serum testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin and estradiol in older males] Pol Merkuriusz Lek. 2005 Nov;19(113):634-7.


Last Reviewed & Updated: 07/24/2019