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Is Injecting Testosterone Safe?

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When you think of the word testosterone, you probably think of one of two things.

You either conjure up the idea of a strong, masculine man with muscular arms and shoulders, a square jaw and a cool, but assertive demeanor – the kind of guy you want to be…

or you think of the drug that the local bodybuilders inject to get huge.

Either way, millions of men take testosterone boosters, patches or injections levels each year. They understand that if they want their body to function optimally then it begins right at the hormonal level.

But some methods are safer than other. In this article we take a look at injecting testosterone – is it safe? 

We find out…


Testosterone: A Closer Look

Testosterone is a naturally-occurring male steroid hormone that regulates a number of health and performance characteristics.

Production of this hormone peaks between puberty and late twenties and when optimized, provides a number of androgenic and anabolic benefits. These include:

  • Sex characteristics – sperm production, libido, sexual appetite.
  • Androgenic characteristics – broadening of shoulders, deepening of voice, assertive temperament.
  • Anabolic characteristics – High muscle mass to body fat ratio, increased protein synthesis.

In order to reap the rewards, total testosterone levels should fall between 300 and 1,000 ng.dL. Any lower and these characteristic will slip through your fingers quicker than sand from a broken egg timer.

As you each your thirties, your natural T production system begins to slow down by about one or two percent per year.

By 65, the chances are your hormone production will have declined by around 30% [1]. By the age of 60, a large number of men will have clinically low T levels and by 80 that number will be well over 50 percent.

Worryingly, recent research suggests that the number of men being diagnosed with hypogonadism – clinically low testosterone levels – is increasing.

And for that reason, more and more men are turning to testosterone therapy in order to reclaim their vitality, vigor and youth.


A range of needles / syringes laif out in a circle on a white background

The Consequence of Low Testosterone

Low testosterone is more serious than just losing a bit of muscle. It can result in hugely negative effects on not just performance, but also health too.

As T levels drop, you are much more likely to develop metabolic, cognitive and other health-related side effects.

  • Increased belly fat and gynecomastia
  • Decreased bone strength
  • Higher risk of high blood pressure, insulin resistance and blood lipids
  • Increased risk of depression and low mood, anxiety and cognitive disease such as Alzheimer’s

Low T also linked to early death

Hypogonadism is a strong predictor of early mortality. Studies have shown that men with low testosterone are at a significantly higher risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery complications and high blood pressure [2].

And other research studies [3] have show that those with T levels below the cut off of 241 ng.dL are 40% more likely to die of ‘all-cause mortality’ – death from any cause.

You can fight back though

Research suggests that it isn’t the actual ageing process itself that causes your T levels to slow down; instead it is the accumulation of your lifestyle habits that eventually catch up with you. And that’s good, because that means with clever changes to the way you live your life you can fight back.

According to one research paper that looked at the relative contributions of age and health on hormone levels, “age-related hormone decline may be decelerated through the management of health and lifestyle factors” [4].


A bodybuilder holding a needle in the palm of his hand on black background

Is it Safe to Inject Testosterone?

There are two reasons why you’d be considering injecting synthetic testosterone into your body.

One is because you have been prescribed it by your health practitioner… and the other is because you choose to use it as an anabolic steroid to boost muscle mass and strength.

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)

If your doctor or medical professional diagnoses you with low T you might be sent for TRT. And if you are, it’s likely that you’ll receive either patches, implant or injection.

Whilst some men report an increased in quality of life using TRT, many say that the benefits are negligible. You may find that your libido and energy increase within a few weeks, but other physical benefits such as significant muscle gain or fat loss might not occur for months, or even at all.

It is certainly not a magic cure.

Whether or not TRT works for you is down to your age, individual lifestyle and medical circumstances [5].

Anabolic steroids

If you decide to inject testosterone as a performance-enhancing drug then there’s a lot to consider. As you’d expect, the risks are inherently bigger.

You can’t guarantee that steroids will work right for you, and you can’t guarantee that using them will be safe either.

Anabolic steroids are typically injected using a complex system of air and oil drawing, injection site preparation and aspiration. Not only is there a very precise pre-and post-injection protocol, there’s also the need for knowledge on where to inject too.

Get it wrong and you might hit a blood vessel which can lead to some of the injected steroids travelling to your lungs. This can cause a severe cough referred to as ‘tren cough’. 

Injecting anabolic steroids a risky procedure and takes years of practice to master.


Side Effects and T Injections – What You Need to Know

Whilst the jury is out on the effectiveness of TRT. There is one thing for sure – there are a number of side effects you need to know about.

There appears to be a strong correlative link between TRT and risk of cardiovascular disease. A large study of over 55,000 men reported that those who had a history of heart disease and decided to inject testosterone had double the risk of heart attack – even after only a 3-month period of TRT [6].

And another study found that injecting testosterone as part of clinical TRT elevated the risk of stroke by a massive 30% [7].

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not back up the use of TRT as a method of legitimate therapy for low testosterone. As of 2015, they require that injectable testosterone has clear labelling, and includes warning information about the possibility of cardiovascular complications. 

Injecting testosterone can also increase the risk of developing prostate cancer too, with many scientists having concerns that synthetic T could stimulate growth of cancer cells in the prostate gland. [8].

As well as severe cardiovascular, neurological and carcinogenic side effects, injecting testosterone can also cause the following side effects:

  • Oily skin, acne and irregular hair growth
  • Swollen and painful injection site marks
  • Gynecomastia
  • Sleep problems, lack of energy and low mood
  • Muscle cramps, aches and discomfort
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Increased risk of blood clotting

Man injecting steroids into his leg with a needle

Key Point: If you are considering undergoing testosterone therapy or steroid use you need to be aware that injecting testosterone is not safe and can carry an inherent risk of cardiovascular disease as well as other potential side effects.


Alternatives to Testosterone Injections

With so many risks to take into account with testosterone injections, you’d be wise to avoid them altogether.

But that doesn’t leave you out of options.

Testosterone boosters are nutrient-based supplements that provide your body with all of the natural nutrition it needs to stimulate its own testosterone, rather than relying on synthetic drugs.

They trigger an increase in T without the need for needles and syringes. And because they contain only-natural ingredients, you know you’re getting only safe essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you normally obtain from food – only in concentrations that will have a potent effect on your hormone levels.

Testosterone boosters influence rather than replace. They  give your T production systems a gentle nudge, reminding them exactly what they need to do to optimize the way your body works.

Here’s why you’ll benefit from a natural testosterone production:

  • Increased muscle mass, strength and athletic stamina
  • Boosted libido, fertility and sexual drive
  • Shredded body fat and improve your body composition
  • Improved mood, energy and motivation

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References

  1. Araujo, AB et al. Prevalence and incidence of androgen deficiency in middle-aged and older men: estimates from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004; 89 (12): 5920-5926
  2. Zarotsky, V et al. Systematic literature review of the risk factors, comorbidities, and consequences of hypogonadism in men. Andrology. 2014; 2(6): 819-34
  3. Laughlin, GA et al. Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men. J Clin Endoc Metab. 2008; 93(1): 68-75
  4. Travison, TG et al. The relative contributions of aging, health, and lifestyle factors to serum testosterone decline in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007; 92(2): 549-55
  5. Bassil, N et al. The benefits and risks of testosterone replecement therapy : a review. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2009; 5: 427–448
  6. Finkle, WD et al. Increased Risk of Non-Fatal Myocardial Infarction Following Testosterone Therapy Prescription in Men. PLOS One. 2014; 9(1): e85805
  7. Kuehn, BN et al. Cardiovascular Risks of Testosterone. JAMA. 2014; 311(12): 1192
  8. Eisenberg, ML et al. Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Prostate Cancer Incidence. World J Mens Health. 2015; 33(3): 125-129

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