Are testosterone supplements safe?

Written by vladimir sarlat
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Are testosterone supplements safe?
How safe are these pills, anyway? (health supplement pills image by weim from

Testosterone supplements come in several forms ranging from skin patches and mouth patches to injections, implants and gels. Results of taking testosterone supplements vary because every man is different and every man responds differently to therapy.

Function of Testosterone

Testosterone is a sex hormone produced in the testes that stimulates the development of male sex organs, secondary sexual traits, and sperm. Testosterone in men peaks at age 30 and gradually decreases at a rate of about 1 per cent per year.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Symptoms of low testosterone can be confusing because of their subtlety and because they appear gradually over time. Common symptoms of low testosterone include irritability, depression, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction and fatigue.

Benefits of Therapy

Men report feeling a boost in energy level, sex drive and overall mood, though results are subjective. The gradual and natural depletion of testosterone is a major concern for many men, as testosterone plays a large role in insulin and obesity regulation as well as numerous other health concerns.

Risks of Testosterone Supplements

Testosterone therapy has some mild side effects including itching, irritation at the site administered, and rash. There are some pre-existing conditions that experts believe testosterone therapy could exacerbate, including prostate cancer, sleep apnoea, congestive heart failure, benign prostatic hypertrophy (difficulty urinating due to enlarged prostate) and erythrocytosis (high blood counts).

Short Term vs. Long Term Use

Clinical trials being conducted today may take years to provide answers about the long-term effects of testosterone supplements. Researchers at UCLA found that after six months of use carefully administered and monitored by physicians, testosterone did not appear to affect prostate tissue. According to Urologist Dr. Leonard Marks, who piloted the study, "The placebo-treated men actually had more cancers than the testosterone-treated men--all small cancers, but some were clinically significant. No carcinogenic effect of testosterone therapy could be identified." Ultimately, the need for and decision to undergo testosterone therapy should be made through careful and rigorous discussion with your doctor.

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