Say the word testosterone in a gym in the 1980s, and muscles start twitching in every corner! Gym candy, roids, juice, and Mr. Olympia all symbolize muscle-bound angry meatheads with small penises brimming with anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. However, the reality of this life-changing treatment bears no resemblance to misguided popular opinion. To answer the question 'Is testosterone bad for you?' we will have to go on a journey back to the 80s when you could smoke on airplanes, and the Chicago bears gave us the 'Super Bowl Shuffle.'
Is Testosterone Bad For You? The Past!
Many people are undeterred by the health risks and the utterly unknown origin of whatever they are pumping into their bodies to pursue the perfect body and sporting success. Many guys would inject themselves with hormones meant for the meat industry to enhance beef production. Trenbolone, for example, is used to increase muscle size and appetite in cattle and increase profitability, yet bodybuilders happily inject the stuff with only one objective, to gain more muscle.
There are a plethora of supplements, steroids, and anabolic steroids to enhance performance and appearance. Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are hormones that include testosterone and over 100 other synthetically produced steroids. AAS hormones have masculinizing effects and promote muscle growth.
Testosterone was first developed in 1835 in Germany and was initially used to treat depression. It soon became apparent that this powerful hormone had other extraordinary effects. During the '50s, its popularity started to grow, with the Russian weightlifting team in 1954 entering a team powered by testosterone. However, not until the '80s did the general public start to catch on and popularity exploded.
Studies have shown that men who typically use testosterone suffer from poor self-image, depression, and a poor attitude towards health and fitness. It was seen as a quick route to improve their self-esteem. Often, these men are more likely to have had a history of previous substance abuse and sexual abuse. Many suffer from a disorder called 'Muscle Dysmorphia' where they think they are skinny and weak even though they are well built. Many guys who feel like this see that they will be less of a target and able to protect themselves from attack by becoming ripped.
The importance of self-image and the perfect body may also lead men to try more extreme methods such as stacking and pyramiding using multiple products simultaneously to boost results. A common practice is the use of creatine, protein powders, ephedrine thermogenic supplements, even human growth hormones, along with testosterone. All these products in isolation may not be that damaging but, in tandem, can have multiple adverse effects on the body, and people assume testosterone is to blame. A great example is the condition erectile dysfunction. Steroid abuse, along with other medications, can cause erectile dysfunction. Testosterone replacement therapy will do the opposite and help many men cure E.D for good.
Testosterone, The Law
The Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 placed anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as of February 27, 1991. Under this legislation, anabolic steroids are any drug or hormonal substance chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone (other than estrogens, progestins, and corticosteroids) that promotes muscle growth.
Possessing anabolic steroids without a valid prescription is illegal, and possession carries a fine $1000 minimum and a maximum of a year in prison. Anybody caught trafficking can expect a maximum of 5 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. Anyone caught for a second felony can face double the fine and double the prison sentence.
There are valid reasons for the law to be so strict, and this is solely down to steroid abuse and black market operations. While testosterone prescribed by a qualified doctor is beneficial in many ways, unregulated testosterone use carries enormous potential risks to your health.
Where is Your Testosterone Medication From?
Black market anabolic steroids are a minefield, and you really cannot be sure of what you are taking. Much like street heroin or Crystal meth, illegal labs where 'cooks' produce anabolic steroids are putting thousands at risk. Yes, some will be the genuine article. These 'steroids' may be real, but are they fit for human use? Growth hormones, hormones for increased meat production, and even those only for veterinary use end up on the streets.
In Mexico, testosterone is available without a prescription, meaning smuggling from these countries into the USA is commonplace. Many pharmacies along the border carry large stocks of various anabolic steroids, some real and some fake. It is important to remember that it is illegal to bring them back into the USA without a valid prescription.
In one particular raid in Germany, 25.7% of a total of 70 vials of 'Anabolic steroids' declared ingredients different from the actual content. The drugs had an utterly unknown origin and, upon inspection, had no noticeable visible differences to legitimate versions and could quickly be passed off as real. This case was small fry compared to others, particularly one dubbed 'Operation Gym Candy,' which began in Columbia county in April 2013.
Operation Gym Candy
Operation Gym Candy highlights exactly how risky black market steroids are and the fact that you have no idea what you are putting in your bodies. This illegal drug ring involved two transcontinental anabolic-steroid gangs. This gang shipped hundreds of thousands of illegal pills and prescription drugs throughout five Pennsylvania counties. They imported raw materials from China, manufactured capsules stuffed with anabolic steroids, and even cooked up raw materials in their kitchen to fill liquid vials for injection.
During a search of one home, police discovered more than 90,000 steroid pills, 2,800 vials of 'Anabolic steroids,' gallons of unprocessed liquid steroids, and kilos of raw anabolic steroids. In total, 13 people were charged, including four correction officers and one probation officer.
Cases like this perfectly highlight the importance of only using testosterone from a legitimate source and only under prescription from an expert. If you fancy risking your health on something some guys have cooked up in their kitchen, then you don't understand the full risks involved.
Testosterone has a long, albeit incorrect history causing health problems, such as high cholesterol and liver damage. Abuse certainly will cause you problems, but therapy will not. Whether or not it gives you 'roid rage' and anger issues is still open to much debate. The term first appeared during the 1980s when violent crimes committed by high-profile bodybuilders hit the press, and an association between steroids and extreme anger issues was born.
It is essential to consider that we are talking about steroid abuse instead of 'Therapy' under assessment as prescribed by a doctor. Some extreme bodybuilders take far larger doses than is safe, even up to 100x, what is prescribable. Some may also be 'stacking' various medications, which may cause unwanted side effects such as 'roid rage.'
Does Testosterone Cause Prostate Cancer
There are scores of ill-informed articles and news reports that ask 'is testosterone is bad for you" and state it causes prostate cancer; this simply is not true. These assumptions are based on one study by Dr. Huggins and Dr. Hodges in 1941. The study looked at treating men for prostate cancer by a) castrating them (lowering testosterone), b) chemically castrating them (lowering testosterone), or c) giving them estradiol (estrogen). Also, they looked at a surrogate marker called alkaline phosphatase to determine disease improvement or progression.
They showed that by removing testosterone based on the results of the alkaline phosphatase, reduced prostate cancer burden. Incidentally, giving estrogen shrank the prostate without causing all the negative things that can occur with male andropause (loss of testosterone and estradiol).
Estradiol has a negative feedback on the testicular production of testosterone and thus decreases it. Researchers assumed (wrongfully!) that giving testosterone causes prostate cancer and worsens it, sort of like adding gasoline to a fire. https://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/1/4/293
This study did not look at men without prostate cancer and did not look at what happens when you GIVE testosterone. There have been several studies since. Two notable ones are two prospective studies. Both gave testosterone to men with prostate cancer that was advanced (Gleason scores above 5). One study used biopsy as a litmus test of whether the disease burden increased or decreased.
The other study looked at disease progression. In the Harvard study by Dr. Morgantaler (April 2011), 100% of biopsies of the 12 patients at the beginning of the study had prostate cancer. After the study in which they received testosterone weekly, 50% of the biopsies were negative.
In the Johns Hopkins Study (December 2017), 47 men were given pulse therapy with testosterone. One man was disease-free by the end of the study, and, in the rest of the men, the disease did not progress.
These studies correctly suggest the saturation model for testosterone and prostate cancer. You will understand the saturation model if you think of your prostate as a sponge and testosterone as water. A sponge will only hold so much water. Like the sponge, the prostate has a finite amount of testosterone receptors that can hold testosterone. Once it is full, it can hold no more.
Interestingly enough, when you look at cancer incidence with increasing testosterone, you see the incidence curve only rises to a serum level of testosterone of 200. Once you go above that, you see a flattening of the curve and a decrease at even higher testosterone levels. Why?
ESTROGEN! Estrogen, specifically estradiol, is not just a female hormone; it has many benefits in a man. One of which is killing prostate cancer cells through apoptosis, and the other is through reducing the blood supply to prostate cancer cells. How do men make estradiol? Two ways: One is via testosterone, which is good. The other is through fat, which is bad.
Why is making estradiol from fat bad? Estradiol from fat has a negative feedback mechanism on testosterone production, thus dropping your testosterone levels. That is why obese men have so many problems. In this case, it is not the estradiol causing the issues; it is the fat. The estradiol is simply an innocent bystander that happens to knock down your testosterone.
Some studies also show that men with naturally high testosterone levels have less aggressive prostate cancer if they develop prostate cancer than men with naturally low testosterone.
Does Testosterone Damage Your Liver?
Liver damage all depends on what type of testosterone or testosterone derivative you use. If you use synthetic non-isomolecular testosterone derivative as many bodybuilders and athletes have abused, then yes, it is highly likely you will get liver damage. You primarily see liver damage with testosterone and its derivatives in oral form because the drugs pass through the liver.
With the advent of micronization, especially in bioidentical testosterone, you don't see liver damage. The best way to take testosterone is either as a cream or injection, bypassing the liver. A micronized hormone means that the hormone's particle size is generally lee than 50 microns. So, these hormones are 4 to 10 times smaller than conventional drug particles meaning minimal burden on the lever.
Does Testosterone Shrink Your Penis
Testosterone will not shrink your penis! However, it can shrink your testicles. The average decrease in size is about 25%, but many men don't see a visible loss in size at all. There can be a decrease in sperm production by taking testosterone due to the negative feedback to the Leydig cells, making the testicles smaller. However, if you don't plan to have children in the future, then this is not an issue. Conversely, the average increase in penile size from testosterone usage is up to 12%. When God closes a door, he opens a window!
So is testosterone Bad for you?
It should be pretty clear by now that testosterone is not bad for you if taken under the guidance of an expert who knows what they are doing. Male Excel is leading the way with sound science based on objective evidence and testing.
If you abuse any substance, it will end up being bad for you. A small glass of wine a day is said to be good for your heart, yet a bottle a day may eventually kill you, raising your blood pressure and your risk of developing several kinds of cancer. Too little may exclude you from some of the benefits that careful drinkers enjoy, such as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and type-2 diabetes.
The same applies to testosterone replacement therapy. With a low regular dose, you will enjoy the numerous benefits it can bring, better mood, increased muscle mass, reduced visceral fat, and increased libido, to name a few. However, if you abuse this potent hormone, you can cause all sorts of health issues, from liver and heart disease to decreased libido and depression.
With the correct diagnosis, which includes a blood spot test, regular testing, and a symptom assessment, testosterone therapy enables men to regain their vitality and feel 20 again. It is not 'the fountain of youth' but, it certainly comes close!