There is a growing number of men over 50 who turn to hormone replacement therapy and steroids to help with losing fat and building more muscle. This trend is growing every year, and the “Rejuvenating Industry” is making millions in the process. If you’ve been contemplating this for yourself I recommend you do thorough research before rushing into it. Because the time you spend on getting the facts will be an investment in your own health and well-being.
This is obviously a subject that divides many guys’ opinions, however I feel it is important we address this and not ignore the elephant in the room like so many fitness gurus do.
Let me point out up-front here – I have never seen the need to use steroids or hormones to achieve an attractive male body. Using myself as an example for a moment – I have proven with my 45 day body-transformation – and afterwards winning a bodybuilding competition – losing fat and building lean muscle can be achieved without drugs or steroids.
But I get that everyone who is serious about muscle-building and fat-loss will at some point sooner or later come across this issue and ask “What’s it all about???”
I will give you my take on Drugs, Steroids and Hormones so that at least you’ll be more informed on a subject that should not be ignored if we talk about health and fitness for men over 50. Let me point out I’m not a medical professional and what you read here should not be seen as giving medical advice. So now we got that out of the way – let’s get into it.
In many gyms members use steroids, mostly guys using them for reasons of vanity, to increase muscle size fast, even if they never want to compete on a stage for a title.
When I asked steroid users why they take them I found that unrealistic expectations and a culture of “Give it to me now, I don’t want to wait” is mostly responsible for the widespread use of steroids amongst young and middle aged muscle-builders. They often believe that using steroids is a shortcut to a lean, strong, big masculine body.
But the result in the extreme is often quite hideous to look at. And the women I talked to didn’t find any of those guys attractive or dating material. They want buffed, yeah sure, they want a toned, strong, masculine body – but not an abomination that can hardly move and has erection problems because of drug abuse. I think you get the picture.
What are the most common Steroids used?
There are different types of performance enhancing drugs and steroids. Orally taken pills like Danabol, Winstrol or Clenbuterol are reported to help with muscle growth and fat reduction. Clenbuterol is supposedly very popular in Hollywood as it is meant to help with rapid fat-loss.
We’ve all seen those miraculous transformations of famous actors or actresses who had to shape up for a particular role – rumour has it Clenbuterol is often used for fast fat loss.
Oral steroids are the preferred drug of choice for newbies in the gym who want to try it out. More experienced users go for a combination of oral steroids and injectables.
Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone injections are coined as “therapies”, making them sound more acceptable when phrased as “Hormone Replacement Therapy”.
It is not a question of whether the use of steroids and hormones is morally good or bad, legal or illegal, socially acceptable or not.
It is a matter of whether it is safe for YOU and whether you actually know what you are putting into your body and what it is going to do to you.
So let’s look at what the actual science says.
What Happens To Our Hormone Levels As We Age?
Certain hormones required in building and maintaining muscles like Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) decline with age.
This is a normal process and we all experience it. It means as we get older our bodies produce less and less of these hormones, and so we actually have to work harder to build and grow muscle than a 20-year-old would.
It does not mean that you can’t build muscle as you go through your fifties and beyond, you just have to put more effort into it. So you actually don’t need to add Testosterone and HGH.
Some guys I know in the gym who are over 50 are openly talking about the fact that they have used and keep using “hormone replacement therapy” to help them achieve the look they want, and feel fitter and more youthful.
I’m not going to go into the details of how and under what conditions most of these drugs are manufactured, where they come from, what risks you take and the whole legal situation , which is of course is a grey area and a mine-field depending on where you live. I cover this all in great detail in my video course.
Let’s just concentrate on the very basics here in this article for you.
Side effects cannot be ignored.
Drilling down to the facts is not easy, but the bottom line is – there will always be side-effects.
They are often determined by how high the doses are you may be using, for how long, and how well you monitor your bloods.
And some steroids, used over a prolonged period of time, can carry very serious- irreversible health risks.
However – it is a fact that almost anything you put into your body will have some reaction or effect.
Below you see just some of the possible side effects you may suffer from if you use performance enhancing drugs:
It is also important to know that you may seriously disrupt your normal day-to-day activities. For example, it is not a widely known fact that the drug Clenbuterol is very hard on the kidneys.
Therefore, you have to drink 2 gallons of water per day as a precaution while using it.
2 gallons of water means you got to be close to a restroom at any given time of the day or night. Night sweats, hand-tremors, severe cramps and headaches are part of the side-effects reported for this drug as well.
Now let’s find out what the medical profession thinks about Steroids and Hormones.
What Do Doctors Say?
When I talked to medical specialists their main concern is for unmonitored steroid use by amateurs who buy steroids of the internet or from a friend at the gym, have no idea what they are using, how much to take and in what intervals and what precautions to take… They are the ones most likely to experience liver failure, kidney failure, heart problems, shrinking testicles, erectile dysfunction, blood poisoning, infections and so forth.
Most of them who were General Practitioners admitted to me that they actually knew very little about it and would preferably refer a patient inquiring about performance enhancing drugs to a Medical Practitioner specialising in Sports Medicine.
Most doctors however discouraged their clients wanting to get steroids prescribed, due to real health concerns for the client, but also out of fear from potential law-suits if things did go wrong.
Let’s have a closer look at some of the most common warnings by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) that an increased level of testosterone is directly linked to an increased risk of having a heart attack. This has been mentioned for decades and is being repeated daily. Is this actually true? Let’s examine this a bit closer, because this highlights a common problem with research and how it is presented…
Does Testosterone Therapy Increase Your Heart Attack Risk?
With more and more men over 50 considering Testosterone Replacement Therapy, the question about side effects or risks is being asked in doctor’s offices every day.
The FDA has previously put warning labels on testosterone therapies as they could raise the risk of heart attack. But a new study (April 2016) now helps push for different labels to appear instead.
It is some welcome news for us guys over 50 who are worried about the risk of Testosterone Therapy.
As a recent study revealed – generally healthy men who undergo testosterone replacement therapy do NOT become more prone to getting a heart attack or stroke.
These findings come from researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.
They tested 1,472 men between age 52 and 63 with low testosterone levels who had no history of heart disease. The scientists found that healthy men who gained normal testosterone levels through testosterone therapy did NOT have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, or death.
The researchers found no increase in risk.
On the contrary – testosterone therapy for this men showed a reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to a group of men who didn’t get any testosterone therapy.
One of the lead researchers of the study, Dr. Muhlestein, is quoted as saying “This particular study provides assurances to physicians and patients that using testosterone replacement therapy in a generally healthy population of men over the age of 50 to normalize levels doesn’t increase a patient’s risk of a heart attack or stroke, and actually shows a reduction in those risks.”
A previous study last year also found that testosterone therapy does not increase the risk of heart attack in men. In that study over 25,000 mature men on testosterone therapy were examined.
This was done at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
25,420 mature men were treated with testosterone therapy for up to eight years. Lead author Jacques Baillargeon said: “This is a rigorous analysis of a large number of patients. Our findings did not show an increased risk of heart attack associated with testosterone use in mature men.”
In addition, the study also showed that even men with a higher chance of cardiovascular disease also experienced a lower risk of heart attack in comparison to men of same age not using testosterone therapy.
An alternative study found that men receiving testosterone therapy to treat low testosterone also saw a reduction in risk of stroke, heart attack, and all-cause mortality. This analysis is based on research data from 83,000 veterans.
The researchers split the men into three groups:
- Group 1 was treated with testosterone until levels normalized,
- Group 2 was treated with testosterone but the levels did not normalize,
- Group 3 did not receive testosterone and thus levels remained low.
The scientists found out that the men of group 1 had a 56 percent reduction of mortality during the follow-up period, 24 percent reduction of a heart attack risk, and 36 percent lower chance of a stroke, compared to those who did not receive any treatment.
So where does that leave you?
First – check if it is legal to undergo hormone-replacement-therapy in your jurisdiction. In some countries and states, it is illegal and hormones are considered banned substances.
It is prudent to meet with your doctor or medical specialist if you are considering Testosterone Therapy. Consult with your doctor and go through a proper patient evaluation, have regular follow-ups, and dosing considerations.
NEVER buy or use illegally obtained drugs, steroids or hormones. Never buy any drugs or steroids from the internet or a “friend of a friend“at the gym. Be safe, not stupid.
Talk to your doctor who will advise you of the safest way to normalize your testosterone levels.
Michael Bannert is a “Grandmaster” Bodybuilder over 50. The pursuit of Personal Fitness and Well-Being lead him to create his website www.MuscleBuildingForMenOver50.com where he teaches his safe and easy system how to get fit, lose fat, build muscle and achieve that attractive male body for your mature years.
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