Are Testosterone Boosters Safe? Do They Work?
June 30, 2022
Testosterone is the dominant hormone in men, accounting for libido, fertility, sexual development in adolescents, bone density maintenance, and muscle maintenance. It also plays a role in erectile function, among many other roles. It seems that since the beginning of time, there has been a multitude of potions, elixirs, and snake oils claiming to function as testosterone boosters. This is despite our (continued) full understanding of how complex this hormone is, along with its effects in the body.
Testosterone is important in the adolescent years. As men grow, the body has a surge in testosterone (T) production, which contributes to the development of secondary sexual characteristics including hair growth, penile and testicular growth, spermatogenesis, and bony and muscular development to name a few.
T production peaks in a man’s 20s to 30s. After the age of 35-45, T begins a slow decline of 1-2% per year. A typical peak in T levels is in the 600-800 range, with steady declines to the 200-300 range in the 70s.
What Can Change T Levels?
A variety of factors that can either increase, or help maintain T levels as one ages, or alternatively hasten the decline of T levels include are (but not limited to) exercise levels, diet, sleep, stress, weight, sleep apnea, and certain medications.
T replacement therapy has exploded over the last two decades with flashy commercials, low T centers, social media etc. With this interest in low T came a flood of options including gels, creams, inhaled T, injections, pellets, and oral pills to name but a few.
Testosterone Boosters Safe?
A commonly overlooked danger in T supplementation is that they typically should NOT be used in men who wish to have children. Exogenous or externally supplied T will typically suppress the hormonal axis, which can cause testicular shrinkage or atrophy, which often after 1-2 years could become semi-permanent. Reversal with other agents can be possible, but not guaranteed. At AUI, we have seen many men unable to have children or have to resort to IVF. When T is supplied to the body by most routes, the testicles become ‘lazy’ and after a period of time, begin to shrink as the body gets used to the external supplementation. This is often reversible if stopped within a year of T therapy.
Do testosterone boosters work?
At our practice, we often attempt to start men on Clomid, which effectively tells the body to make its own T, versus external supplementation. Instead of making the testicles ‘lazier‘; it makes the testicles work harder to generate their own T. This option doesn’t work in all men but works in a significant number of men. Additionally, unlike injectable or other forms of T, this therapy can be stopped at any time without consequence. Clomid is also extensively used in fertility for both men and women and has been proven safe for long-term use.
If you are looking for T therapy we are happy to assess your individual situation, and after a comprehensive screening process can decide what therapy is best for you. Our comprehensive analysis screens for testosterone, thyroid issues, metabolic issues, vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, sleep issues, as well as any nutritional/weight issues that could mimic or exacerbate the signs of low T.
Ready to learn more about low T and the solutions that are right for you? Contact us today to learn more! We have several locations across the central Texas area.
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