Historically, testosterone supplements are recommended for men with hypogonadism, a condition where males produce too little of the hormone themselves. However, recently it seems that a larger pool of men are now taking testosterone supplements, even those whose blood levels are not clinically low. In fact, over the last ten years, the number of men taking testosterone supplements has tripled. Men in their 40s are the fastest growing group of users. Men are taking testosterone for a range of symptoms with the hope of increasing muscle mass and bone density, increasing performance, and increasing energy and vigor.
The issue with testosterone supplementation is that the long term risks are unknown. A study published in JAMA found that men in their early 60’s who took testosterone were more likely to have a heart attack than those who did not take the supplement. This study only looked at older men who had pre-existing conditions, so it is unclear if these results would transfer over to the younger, healthier population. Testosterone supplementation for individuals not deficient is controversial, so it is worth taking pause and considering whether the benefits outweight the possible long term consequences. Some possible side effects include liver problems, increased baldness, reduced sperm count, acne, and thickening of blood clots. So do your homework and weigh the pros and cons before deciding.