Young men and teenagers hoping to improve in sports are turning to testosterone boosting products, raising concerns about their long-term health.
Testosterone replacement therapy is a prescription drug indicated for men whose blood levels show lower than normal levels of the male hormone, resulting in symptoms such as low sex drive, weight gain and fatigue. The treatment can also help build muscle mass, which makes it an attractive supplement to body builders and athletes.
Many professional sports have cracked down on the use of performance enhancing drugs, which include testosterone therapy. However, some gyms sell testosterone supplements, says Chad Zimmerman, a professional body builder. “If you know the right person or the right group of people, it would be fairly easy to get.”
For those who cannot get their hands on prescription testosterone drugs, natural products are available that are designed to support the body’s own testosterone. These “dietary supplements” found in health food stores and gyms are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and may contain undeclared and potentially dangerous ingredients.
Even prescription testosterone therapies can be dangerous. Recent studies on appropriate use of the drugs – on older men with low testosterone levels – have shown that the drugs increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death. The FDA is currently investigating safety risks associated with the treatments and recently issued a safety announcement warning that the drugs have been linked to potentially fatal blood clots.
The effects on young men and teenagers can be just as dangerous if not more so, says Dr. Marcel Casavant, director of Central Ohio Poison Center. “They can get a number of injuries to muscles and joints and ligaments and tendons just by stressing themselves too hard in their exercise,” he says, adding that testosterone therapy can also cause short-term problems such as acne, male-pattern baldness, and aggression, as well as long-term damage to the liver, kidneys and heart.
Source: 10 TV