Testosterone Supplements : Do They Work?

Testosterone Supplements

Testosterone is a sex hormone found in both male and female. Though found in both, it is especially essential for the male body. Often, due to several factors, these hormones might reduce in number. Testosterone supplements are used as a chemical treatment for treating low testosterone in the body.

Testosterone supplements have to be prescribed by a medical professional. After an assessment, the professional decides whether or not to put the patient on “testosterone replacement therapy” or TRT.

Just like any other supplements and medications, testosterone supplements have their own set of health risks. The real question is, do the risks outweigh the benefits?

Health Risks of Testosterone Supplements

Below mentioned are some of the common risks of using testosterone supplements

● Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

According to a number of clinical trials, the actual effects of testosterone supplements on obstructive sleep apnea are still unclear. However, it is still recommended to not consume testosterone supplements in case of untreated OSA. There are few prescription drugs such as Modvigil used to treat conditions like narcolepsy and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Visit our website to buy Modvigil online at an affordable price. However keep in mind that this drug doesn’t cure sleep disorders, including insomnia.

These supplements can cause an increase in the metabolic rate of the body which results in higher oxygen consumption. This might lead to hypoxia, a condition where a particular region or the entire body is rendered oxygen-deprived. An alternative way testosterone can affect OSA is by impacting the ventilatory response to hypoxia.

● Acne Flare-Up

High testosterone levels have been found to stimulate the production of sebum in the skin. Sebum is a kind of natural oil produced by sebaceous glands to keep the skin moisturized. High amounts of this waxy substance can cause inflammation of the sebaceous glands thus resulting in an acne outbreak.

This is the primary reason why children going through puberty are prone to experience more acne outbreaks. Then testosterone production increases drastically, leading to excess sebum.

● Worsens Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

In 2016, the FDA issued a warning that testosterone replacement therapy can increase the risk of signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is more of a danger to people who have already been diagnosed with BPH.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition where the prostate grows in size. This growth is noncancerous but can cause issues with the urinary system. These issues include inability to control the bladder, inability to urinate, too much or too little urination. BPH is more commonly known as “prostate enlargement”.

● Facilitates Existing Prostate Cancer

A majority of prostate cancer cells rely on testosterone for their growth and proper functioning. Patients with prostate cancer are often put on hormone therapy. This treatment hinders the production of testosterone and thus causes the cancer cells to grow a lot slower than normal.

Evidently, taking testosterone supplements is not a great idea for people diagnosed with prostate cancer. It will lead to a rise in the production of testosterone, thus causing the cancer cells to increase in frequency.

However, it is important to note that TRT can only worsen the symptoms of prostate cancer in a diagnosed patient. It does not induce it in an otherwise healthy patient.

● Testicular Atrophy

Testicular atrophy is basically the shrinking of testicles. Testosterone supplements halt the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). These hormones are essential for the pituitary gland to make luteinizing hormone (LH). Thus, in the absence of GnRH, there is no LH either and without LH, the testicles stop secreting testosterone. Therefore resulting in testicular atrophy.

● Limited Sperm Production

Low sperm count is a very common side-effect experienced by men undergoing testosterone replacement therapy. Many men even end up having a sperm count of zero. Unfortunately, like some other side-effects, it is not yet completely known if this is reversible after the therapy or not.

When the natural testosterone levels fall in the blood, it is an indication for the brain to boost production. The brain does this by secreting the luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The latter is an essential component of sperm production and directly responsible for the same.

With supplements, the brain feels there is no more a requirement for these hormones and thus reduces their production. Thus reduced FSH, along with naturally low testosterone can cause low sperm count.

● Enlargement of Breasts

The scientific term for enlarged breasts in males is “gynecomastia”. Since low testosterone is usually the cause of breast enlargement, it might be confusing to learn that testosterone supplements can lead to it as well. However uncommon, it is still a possibility.

Adipose tissue or fat tissue can easily convert testosterone into estrogen. Thus, in the early stages of taking testosterone supplements when T-levels are at an all-time high, testosterone might get converted into estrogen. This highly depends on the amount of body fat present.

Gynecomastia usually reverses itself naturally once the hormones balance themselves out. If not, the physician might prescribe another medication to resolve this.

● Increased Red Blood Cells (RBC)

A very common effect of testosterone supplements is an increase in the number of red blood cells (RBC). This condition is called “erythrocytosis” and can be harmful. Increased RBC’s can lead to the blood getting thicker which makes it prone to blood clots. However, increased red blood cells might be a plus point for an anemic patient.

Who Can Take Testosterone Supplements?

Testosterone supplements are usually prescribed to men over the age of 50. This is because, in younger men, it becomes harder to put a stop to the therapy. Their bodies become so heavily reliant on these supplements, that they stop producing any testosterone on their own. Thus after the medication stops, their bodies end up producing way lower levels of testosterone naturally as compared to before. This might take a while to rectify.

Abusing Testosterone Supplements

In 2016, the FDA released a statement regarding the revision of labeling on all testosterone supplements for men with medical conditions. This was done because of the increasing number of people constantly abusing these supplements, including athletes and body-builders.

Increasing the dosage without consulting a physician can lead to extreme safety concerns regarding the heart, liver, endocrine system, among others. In severe cases, the results may be as grave as heart failure, strokes, depression, extreme aggression, hostility, sterility, and toxicity.

According to the FDA, abusing supplements can also cause withdrawal symptoms later. These include exhaustion, irritability, loss of appetite, low sex drive, and insomnia.

Conclusion

Low testosterone levels in the body can be attributed to reasons like substance abuse, excessive stress, and many more. Various natural methods are also used to treat this condition.

Testosterone supplements will not replenish anyone’s youth. Even in the case of erectile dysfunction (ED), testosterone therapy might not help too much. Treating normal aging with these supplements is not recommended.

If you have been considering testosterone therapy, consult a healthcare professional first. They will weigh the benefits and risks unique to your conditions and probably measure your testosterone levels twice before any prescriptions. If the reason behind your low testosterone levels is some medical condition, they might suggest trying natural methods before jumping to testosterone supplements.