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What Is the Trouble with Too Much Testosterone?

The FDA is warning men that taking too much testosterone could lead to heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, liver problems, infertility and depression.

The FDA has just issued a stronger warning about the hazards of too much testosterone. The previous warning from January, 2014, told men that taking testosterone could put them at risk for heart attacks and strokes. It restricted testosterone prescriptions to men with medical conditions that interfere with hormone production.

The Risks of Too Much Testosterone:

Inadequate testosterone may lead to symptoms such as fatigue, low libido or other sexual difficulties. Many men take it for such problems.

The agency is concerned that men may be taking testosterone to treat “low T.” Low T is due to aging rather than disease. In some cases, doctors have prescribed the hormone without determining a man’s own blood level.

The FDA is especially worried that men will abuse this male hormone or other anabolic steroids. Some bodybuilders have done this to bulk up their muscles. Taking too much testosterone could lead to heart attack, stroke, infertility, liver toxicity, depression, hostility and aggression.

Does the FDA Keep Up with the Science?

The Food and Drug Administration is a lot like a very large ocean liner. It takes a long time to make a course correction. When the science changes it takes a very long time for the FDA to readjust its thinking. The agency keeps scaring men about heart attack risk from testosterone therapy. What the agency does not point out is that low levels of testosterone are also dangerous.

For an overview of recent research on the Pros and Cons of Testosterone Therapy you may want to review this article from earlier this year. Then there is this:

Testosterone Side Effects: How Scary Are they?

Difficult Withdrawal from Too Much Testosterone?

The regulators also warn that men who have been using such products for some time may develop dependence and experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop suddenly. Men who discontinue testosterone treatment abruptly might experience depression, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, decreased libido, and insomnia.

Men concerned about low testosterone can raise their level naturally through diet and exercise. We discussed these possibilities with John LaPuma, MD, author of Refuel: A 24-Day Eating Plan to Shed Fat, Boost Testosterone, and Pump Up Strength and Stamina.


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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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