Young men are increasingly reaching for testosterone boosters as a means of improving their athletic performance, sex drive, and body image. While testosterone is vital to the healthy functioning of men, an excess of testosterone can have devastating consequences.
It’s not bad to take testosterone boosters at 20 if the individual has clinically low testosterone levels, i.e., less than 300 ng/dl. Healthy 20yr old men with normal testosterone levels shouldn’t take testosterone boosters as this can cause serious side effects.
Before taking testosterone boosters, it is crucial to consider whether they provide measurable differences in the desired areas and what harmful effects may occur from using these supplements.
How Does Testosterone Affect The Body?
Testosterone is a male sex hormone synthesized in the testes and acts on numerous body systems.
Most individuals are surprised to find that a portion of the physiological effects attributed to testosterone is produced by testosterone which has been converted into estradiol, a variation of the female sex hormone estrogen.
Depleted estradiol in men is associated with increased body fat. Low libido and erectile dysfunction are linked to decreased levels of BOTH estradiol and testosterone.
Testosterone is the primary hormone orchestrating the masculinization of physical characteristics in adolescent males. As the hormone levels within the body increase, it will cause growth of body and facial hair, a lowering of the voice, increased growth and development of the sex organs.
In short, testosterone facilitates the physical transformation from child-like physical characteristics to sexually mature men.
In adult men, testosterone is linked to increased bone density, muscle strength and size, the number of quick-twitch muscle fibers, fat distribution, metabolism, sperm production, mood stability, and production of red blood cells.
Natural Fluctuations In Lifetime Testosterone Levels
Men, women, children, and even in-utero babies all have testosterone; however, the amount of testosterone in the body will depend on gender, age, and health parameters.
Nothing stays the same in life, and this is also true for testosterone; natural fluctuations cause testosterone levels to rise and fall according to physiological and environmental factors.
Testosterone levels in boys aged 0yrs to 11 years will range between 7 to 400 ng/dl. During puberty, the testosterone levels dramatically increase until they peak between 17yrs to 21yrs of age. Most males within this age group will have testosterone levels between 300 to 1200 ng/dl.
Testosterone levels gradually decline by 0,2% to 1% every year in men older than 21 years of age. Scientists initially believed that declining testosterone levels were inextricably linked with increasing age; however, research conducted in the past years has questioned this basic assumption.
What Non-Age-Related Factors Affect Testosterone Levels?
Researchers have discovered that genetic factors, Body Mass Index (BMI), general health, steroid use, diet, substance abuse, environmental factors, and even the generation you’re born in influence the amount of testosterone produced.
It is now believed that these factors are more influential on testosterone levels than age, which explains why you can simultaneously have a 30-year-old man with clinically low testosterone levels and a 65-year-old man who appears to have drunk from the fountain of youth!
What Is Considered To Be Low Testosterone?
According to the American Urological Association, men with testosterone levels below 300 ng/dl are testosterone deficient and are candidates for testosterone supplementation.
How Do Testosterone Boosters Work?
Testosterone boosters aim to increase the amount of testosterone in the body by providing the body with the nutrients necessary to synthesize testosterone or by directly introducing synthetic testosterone into the body.
Non-prescription herbal testosterone boosters stimulate testosterone production by supplying the body with nutrients necessary to synthesize testosterone. However, the majority of these products do not significantly improve testosterone levels.
Although not beneficial in treating low testosterone in men, these herbal supplements may still improve energy levels, libido, and mood by acting on other pathways within the body.
Men with clinically low testosterone may be prescribed pharmaceutical-grade testosterone boosters. In combination with lifestyle changes, these testosterone boosters are standard protocol for men with significantly depleted testosterone.
However, testosterone replacement therapy must be managed by a doctor as the side effects associated with prescription testosterone boosters are more severe than herbal remedies.
Prescription testosterone boosters cause measurable changes in testosterone levels and may come in an oral form, as a transdermal patch, or even as an injectable solution.
Why Do People Take Testosterone Boosters?
Men may choose to take testosterone boosters to address clinically low testosterone levels (i.e., less than 300 ng/dl) and correct the physical and emotional issues associated with depleted testosterone.
Healthy men will often take testosterone boosters to improve sex drive, sexual performance, muscle size, fitness, and mood stability.
Studies have conclusively proven that men with low testosterone syndrome benefit from receiving testosterone supplementation. The results are inconclusive on the positive effects of testosterone supplementation in healthy men.
Low testosterone levels are often mistakenly blamed for low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, weight gain, and low muscle mass. Sexual behavior, fitness, and muscle development are affected not just by testosterone levels but also by stress, general health, poor diet, fatigue, and exercise regime.
Testosterone boosters will not successfully address these issues if caused by factors unrelated to testosterone levels.
Is Too Much Testosterone Bad For You?
Men rarely suffer from disorders causing an excess of testosterone, although the effects of elevated testosterone levels have been studied in young men (e.g., men in their 20’s and 30’s taking testosterone boosters)
Most men would be shocked to discover that taking too many testosterone supplements can have the opposite effects than intended; these include:
- Increased appetite and consequent weight gain
- Stunted growth in adolescents
- Shrinking of the testicles with concurrent low sperm counts and impotence
- Mood swings and impaired judgment
- Fluid retention
Other more medically severe complications of testosterone boosters and elevated testosterone levels are:
- Prostate enlargement and increased risk of benign and malignant prostate cancers
- Chronic headaches (chronic pain significantly decreases a person’s quality of life)
- Increased risk of blood clots (embolisms and deep vein thrombosis) with a simultaneous increase in risk for potentially fatal pulmonary embolisms, stroke, and heart attack
- Liver disease and abdominal pain
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Damage to the heart muscle and risk for catastrophic heart failure
Testosterone is an essential hormone for men and women, but it can have devasting consequences at high levels.
Men with suspected low testosterone should be tested to see if testosterone supplementation is necessary, as the testosterone boosters may cause more harm than good if not needed.
Who Should Not Take Testosterone Boosters?
Not everyone will benefit from taking testosterone boosters and may experience harmful side effects.
Individuals with normal testosterone levels and healthy physiology will not benefit from taking testosterone boosters. Healthy men have an increased risk of experiencing adverse side effects of elevated testosterone, i.e., healthy 20-year-olds with acceptable testosterone levels should not take testosterone boosters.
Men with a history of cardiovascular problems or an increased risk of prostate cancer should steer clear of testosterone supplements. Excess testosterone is a known risk factor for prostate cancer and can place increased stress on the heart.
Men, even young men in their 20’s may suffer from measurably low testosterone levels due to various conditions. Doctors will prescribe testosterone boosters and lifestyle changes to these men to correct their testosterone levels.
Testosterone levels peak during a man’s late teens and early 20’s. A healthy 20yr old man is unlikely to need testosterone supplementation and may suffer severe side effects due to excess testosterone if they take testosterone boosters.