Physical Performance Enhancement Putting Health at Risk

12 02 2020

Updated: 27 February 2020 by Marc Woodard

Im sure most of you out there have noticed the low-T commercial ads.  The “T” is for Testosterone and defined as the male hormone that develops during puberty and maintains masculine characteristics throughout a mans life. As men age testosterone levels tend to decline (hence low-T).  We’ll first cover testosterone therapy and then the herbs that are known to increase, or influence testosterone production. Women’s use of testosterone to enhance physical performance is discussed below and in full detail within Ageless MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More” book. Click on the banner below to read the free book preview at Amazon.

The questions most men ask, is one type of treatment better than the other, how safe is it and is it right for me?

I recall about a year ago seeing a commercial on one of the big 3 networks stations that promoted, low-T asking questions like, feel like somethings missing, don’t have enough energy, or want more romance in your life? Seems harmless enough right?  Could fixing a low-T condition be that simple?  And is it for everyone?

Don’t be deceived by a great advertising spot that promotes a therapy and/or herb that offers a quick fix for a male symptomatic problem. Androgen (steroid hormone) therapy has been around for a long time.  Whether or not this type of treatment is right for you can only be answered by a physician.  And the doctors that your primary care physician should refer you to that specialize in hormone replacement therapy are known as an endocrine physician.  An endocrinologist is a specially trained doctor that specialize in diagnosing glandular disease.

I’ve often cited though my writings, there is no way man could ever make a chemical product that wouldn’t have a health risk associated with it.  And just like weight loss diet formulas that promote fast results… when repeated too often will eventually ruin the body ability to lose weight naturally.  Raising testosterone levels “when not needed” presents similar types of metabolic challenges and other health risks associated with its use if not supervised and applied correctly [Ageless MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More,”]. Learn more about the book and how it will change your life. Simply click on the Amazon Book banner link below.

Learn how to age gracefully and live the lifestyle you need, want and deserve now!

Let’s first understand why testosterone in a man’s body is important and what happens to its production during the aging process.  Testosterone is produced by the testes and important for balanced metabolic body function, to build muscle, bone, lowering the voice and activates the sex drive and sperm production during puberty.

Science has confirmed that as a man ages testosterone levels continue to drop after the age of 40, about 1-2% a year thereafter.  These numbers appear to vary slightly depending on the study.  As you age you should expect that your body will provide a proportionate amount of testosterone to maintain healthy male characteristics relative to age and throughout life.  This is part of the normal aging process, or aging gracefully.  There is no scientific evidence that shows by increasing testosterone levels for those diagnosed with low-T, or especially when one does not have an androgen deficiency problem – that there will be a significant benefit.

“Let’s first understand why testosterone in a man’s body is important and what happens to its production during the aging process. … If testosterone levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood than the general recommendation is to regulate toward mid-normal range.” Learn more about men and women’s SAFE use of enhancement and anti-aging products in Ageless MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More” Ch 15, Anti-aging and Physical Performance-Enhancement Truths. Click on image to read the free preview on Amazon.

There is a very low percentage of men that have lower than average low-T relative to age.  For those that do have unusual low levels of testosterone, this is the demographic that often receive a benefit from hormone therapy treatment says Karen Herbst, PhD., M.D., (an endocrinologist with the University of CA).

Little is known about the long-term effects of low testosterone and increasing those levels to normal range.  Science clearly understands that this hormone has an important connection to body weight and possibly cardiovascular health.  In other words, increasing testosterone levels may or may not be of health benefit for those that suffer with the following medical conditions:  osteoporosis – thinning of bone, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart health.  Andre Araujo, PhD, epidemiologist and researcher says illness that causes high blood pressure and diabetes for example could be the cause of low testosterone.  So for those that are diagnosed with low testosterone, some other illness, or disease may need to be treated first before the body can naturally elevate hormone levels.

Normal levels relative to age is important because a man’s overall health is dependent on these levels.  If testosterone levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood than the general recommendation is to regulate toward mid-normal range.  This treatment can be accomplished through skin absorption patches, tablets, or injections.  This therapy provides those with below average testosterone production a quality of life benefit, as opposed to those that didn’t receive treatment.

“Little is known about the long-term effects of low testosterone and increasing those levels to normal range. … This treatment can be accomplished through skin absorption patches, tablets, or injections.” Learn more about men and women’s SAFE use of enhancement products in Ageless MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More” Ch 15, Anti-aging and Physical Performance-Enhancement Truths. Click on image to read the free preview on Amazon.

If you are diagnosed with androgen deficiency (no other illness, or disease is the cause of your low-T condition), you may need testosterone therapy for life to correct the condition.  But if you start hormone therapy your testes will stop producing its own hormone.  This occurs once you influence hormone production with an enhancer because your body self regulates to maintain normal hormone balances.  Your body will gradually begin producing its own testosterone once you stop therapy to its previous levels.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that testosterone therapy will be of benefit when not androgen deficient.  As a matter of fact, medical science indicates many types of health problems may occur if one participates in hormone therapy without a screening and not under a doctor’s supervision.  Also, you need to know that not all scientific data is in on the safety results of testosterone therapy.

However, Herbst states, about 10% of men don’t get much of a response from therapy, while 90% see some sort of symptom improvement and 1 in 10 are ecstatic.  It is also stated that most of the men in clinical studies state improvement to erectile dysfunction and sex drive.  Primarily what these low-T marketers are selling is a quick fix for erectile dysfunction and sex drive.

Men diagnosed with the following conditions should absolutely not self administer, or participate without supervision in any type of testosterone enhancer program/product: men with metastatic prostate, or breast cancer.  This is because too much testosterone can cause these cancers to grow.  Other conditions that can be made worse when participating in testosterone therapy:  if you suffer from sleep apnea, severe congestive heart failure, severe benign prostatic hypertrophy, or high red blood cell count (erythrocytosis).

Outside of clinical testosterone therapy there are many herbs marketed as treatment to improve libido and muscle strength as advertised by marketers.  Beware, science tells us there are no known herbals that can be used to treat androgen deficiency.  Only that the herbals mentioned below and many more like them can influence higher levels of testosterone production.  These levels vary for each individual and relative to age.  And even if you use these products there is no guarantee that you’ll receive a benefit and in fact may be predisposing yourself to illness and disease with similar findings related to androgen therapy health risks.

Women also use enhancement products to produce testosterone levels to increase muscle mass and strength … yes, women naturally produce testosterone at a fractional level compared to men. Learn more about women’s SAFE use of enhancement products in Ageless MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More” Ch 15, Anti-aging and Physical Performance-Enhancement Truths. Click on image to read the free preview on Amazon.

For men thinking about a low-T product, it is recommended you discuss suspected low-T symptoms with a doctor who specializes in anti-aging and hormone therapy to address your concerns.  In this way you’ll ensure you’re not just trying various products that promise to:  improve sexual performance, improve mood or memory, increase energy, lower cholesterol, build muscle, lose body fat, and/or reduce high blood pressure (and anything else these marketers promise you).  If you know nothing about balancing hormones and you become sold on a product for which you now feel you are receiving a benefit; be suspicious and concerned and inquire about long-term use and health risks.  Herbs seem harmless enough to many consumers, but it’s what you don’t know that can cause internal metabolic harm.

Learn more about men and use of enhancement products in Ageless MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More” Ch 15, Anti-aging and Physical Performance-Enhancement Truths. Click on image to read the free preview on Amazon and learn more about the SAFE use of performance enhancement products to build muscle bulk and strength. Chapter 18 Customized Fitness Programming shows the optimum strength building process that naturally increases growth hormone and testosterone production naturally.

If you do not have a testosterone deficiency problem, it is not recommended you engage in influencing testosterone production without medical advisement and supervision.  MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More,” Chapter 18, Customized Fitness Programming, shows the optimum strength building process, programs and routines that naturally increase growth hormone and testosterone production naturally – at any age. Simply put, it is wise to consult with your physician before you engage in any hormone therapy/enhancer program regardless of whether it’s chemically synthesized or a marketed herbal product.

The most popular herbs sold in the market boast claims that their products influence testosterone production naturally and perceived to be safe. 

Four popular herbal enhancer products mixed into blends, or sold individually in high dose concentrations:   Horny Goat Weed, Mucuna Pruriens, Tongkat Ali and Ginseng.  If you want to know more about these herbal products, simply type the word into your Internet browser.

Just from the shear fact each one of the herbs listed, including those that are not, stimulate the release of testosterone by influencing the pituitary gland and testes should raise concern.  These hormonal metabolic functionalities within the body also have a huge influence on many other regulatory metabolic mechanisms.  For example, to increase testosterone production without understanding the risks, especially if you have an diagnosed medical condition could manifest itself into a chronic medical condition.  However, as stated, it is also true that men need to be within a specific safe testosterone range to stay healthy.  Being too low or too high appears to create unhealthy medical conditions and then disease risk for men.

The most common types of illness and disease may occur if testosterone levels are too high, or too low:  rapid heartbeat and rhythm disturbances, anxiety, fatigue, overstimulation, irritability, restlessness, impatience, easily angered, increased blood pressure and body temperature.  Additionally, some herbs can have adverse effects on those suffering from breast and prostate cancer; heart, kidney, diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea and liver disease and also weaken the immune system.  Other side effects:  nausea, diarrhea, nose bleeds, low blood pressure, breast pain, depressive mania when mixing product with antidepressants.  Gross overdose: Seizures, convulsions and delirium.

Another question you should ask yourself; if you self administer how do you know you’re not too high in blood testosterone?  Or low when you stop dosing, because the natural production of testosterone shuts down between starting and stopping doses?  Manipulating the start and stop of self administering and producing natural body testosterone is hard on the metabolic mechanisms and overall health if not supervised correctly.

I stand by the statement I made at the beginning of this article.  There is no way man could ever manipulate nature and create a quick results product that would not have some adverse health risk.  To manipulate the physiology through quick results products is to potentially break the metabolism, thereby causing other ill-health conditions.

“By administering an overriding circulatory enhancer to correct erectile dysfunction for example… How do you know you’re not masking a serious prostate, urethra, testicular disease? ” Learn more about performance enhancement drugs and supplements and risks. Click on the chart link to read the free preview on MirrorAthlete “Overweight and Unfit No More” book at Amazon. Chapter 15 covers “Anti-aging and Physical Performance-Enhancement Truths”

Here is something to think about if you’re administering low-T supplementation or self-administering weekly steroid shots, or growth hormone herb products to enhance physical and/or sexual performance… and the product is purchased through a local retailer, distributor, private dealer, or mail order and not monitored by a doctor. Are you sure that some other ill-health problem is not the cause of a physical or sexual performance dysfunction? And you’re not masking a metabolic-circulatory and/or disease. And the low energy and lack of physical stamina to achieve your fitness and physical performance goals are not caused by some other underlying disease, environmental, diet, food or drug complication on physiology. And if Low-T is not your metabolic nemesis and you self-administer without a doctor’s supervision, aren’t you unnecessarily increasing health risk?

For example, by self-administering an overriding circulatory enhancer to correct erectile dysfunction. How do you know you’re not masking a serious prostate, urethra, testicular disease?  Unless you’re a specialist in hormone replacement therapy (endocrist), or an urologist [one who specializes in male/female urinary tracts], how can you be sure?  The answer is you can’t.  Millions of men and women will continue to put their health at risk because the market manipulators will not error on the side of caution.  Instead, they’ll promote the benefits and down play the risks.  Whys that? Because performance enhancement supplements and drugs are a lucrative business and is sold within a globally connected marketplace. Where consumers can get their hands on just about any product they want.

There’s an important caveat to low-T therapy treatment … and that’s to safely use it for the sake of good health. Unless supervised by a medical doctor, I don’t believe the benefit of self administering would out weigh the potential health risks when not monitored. This is an important observation in caution since a very low percentage of men are actually diagnosed with androgen deficiency.  And women, in almost all hormone deficiency cases don’t need testosterone since their main hormone production for good health is highly dependent on progesterone and estrogen. Another thing to keep in mind – Science doesn’t understand what damage will occur in varying situations through long-term performance enhancement and anti-aging drug dosing. Especially if not androgen deficient. Long-term… even physician treated and monitored; and self-administered performance enhancement drug statistics don’t yet exist.

If you do choose to self administer low-T products to resolve a problem, at a minimum pay attention to the side effects listed and get monitored by a doctor.  If you or your loved ones note aggressive personality changes, or any of the listed symptom or side effect, immediately consult your doctor.

References,

Woodard, M.T. 41 Drugs to Die for.  Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets. Oct 24, 2010. http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2010/10/24/41-drugs-to-die-for/

Woodard, M.T. Aging Gracefully is it Possible? Mirror Athlete Fitness Secrets. Oct 25, 2008. http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2008/10/25/mirror-athlete-enterprises-health-blog-aging-gracefully/

Ezinearticles.  Low Testosterone Levels – A Combination of 4 Herbs to Increase Levels Naturally and Quickly.  http://ezinearticles.com/?Low-Testosterone-Levels—A-Combination-of-4-Herbs-to-Increase-Levels-Naturally-and-Quickly&id=1509055

Andrology Australia.  Australian Centre of Excellence in Male Reproductive Health.  http://www.andrologyaustralia.org/pageContent.asp?pageCode=LOWTESTREPLACE

Hoffman, M., MD.  Low Testosterone Explained: How Do You Know When Levels are Too Low? WebMD.  http://men.webmd.com/features/low-testosterone-explained-how-do-you-know-when-levels-are-too-low

Mayo Clinic. Testosterone therapy: Key to Male Vitality.  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/testosterone-therapy/MC00030

Blackman MR, Sorkin JD, Munzer T, et al. Growth hormone and sex steroid administration in healthy aged women and men: a randomized controlled trial.  JAMA 2002; 288:2282-2292

HormoneTherapyNetwork.  A Nationwide Network.  http://www.hormonetherapynetwork.com/?k=testosterone

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2012 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Recreational and Medical Marijuana Use Perspective

23 07 2014

Life is full of many potential roads that can be traveled.  Which life roads will you choose?

Life has many potential roads to travel. Which lifestyle path will you choose?

It is very interesting to learn how attitudes have changed about  marijuana use since I was a kid. After speaking with local youth in two states (California and Oregon) regarding marijuana use… there is a nonchalant attitude regarding medicinal and recreational use of this natural weed.

The common answers to my questions, “don’t you think marijuana will harm you in any way if you continue to use it?”  Or more to the point, “if you keep smoking the stuff, aren’t you afraid of addiction and associated health risks?”  Much like laying a bet, are you assured you are not gambling with your future life potential, relationships and health?

The common answers in reply, “Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes.” “Alcohol unlike marijuana use is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, broken families, job loss etc., where cannabis use does not appear to be the case.”  Other common answers I get from adults, “I can quit anytime I want to, it’s not addicting, it’s not a gateway drug and I don’t drink; I choose this drug as my recreational drug or pain management program of choice.  ‘I prefer this vice opposed to drinking.”

Others simply state, “For me there are no problems regarding the use of this drug, therefore, no harm to career, health, family or other future endeavors.” Much or our youth and many adults don’t appear to see recreational or medicinal cannabis a harmful substance derived from mother earth.  They see man-made pharmaceuticals and other illicit drugs to be worse compared to a natural weed habit or medical use.

It is interesting to note, they mostly compare weed within the same legal recreational drug class as tobacco, spirits, wine and beer. In other words, “on the street,” cannabis use perception is that weed is an  acceptable recreational and medicinal drug choice that is a right and should not be outlawed from such use.  However, there are risks of potential drug addiction and health problems from smoking marijuana just like any other toxin that needs to be filtered from the body.  Such as respiratory and carcinogenic risks from carbon monoxide inhalation.

My sampling of these queries is rather small, around 50 discussions on this topic where 80-90% concede (teenagers and adults), cannabis is probably the least harmful of the illegal drugs.  Almost all adults I spoke with acknowledge the medicinal properties and benefits for chronic pain sufferers and cancer patients.

Consumers today are very educated because of the Internet.  Allot of the paranoia over this natural weed has been removed from society.  Through demographic and cultural studies consumers see how various peoples have used marijuana socially, spiritually and medicinally for thousands of years without any documented deaths caused from an overdose.

I can see the medicinal benefits from scientific studies, however “all” drugs have the potential to addict the user and cause respiratory, or other secondary health and social problems similar to alcohol and tobacco overuse. Science does show in research studies where cannabis can have a negative impact on growing minds and bodies especially if one becomes addicted during the developmental stage of their lives [18 and younger].  This physiological fact alone can destroy a life before it begins.  This is why sales and regulatory controls must be put in place once State medicinal and recreational laws are passed.

I felt it was very important to add two addiction articles back in 2009 that support this updated article “Medical Marijuana Use; Part 1 (pain benefits) and “Lay your Bet” 2 (scientific support data) for chronic pain sufferers.”  As you read those two earlier articles, there is a very good case to continue THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) research and medicinal benefits.

There is some very good science based around severed or damaged nerve endings where only the THC and other cannabinoid receivers at the nerve endings provide pain relief through cannabis use.  Science also shows these damaged nerve endings do not respond to the typical opiate prescription; hence pain alleviation through the pharmaceutical prescription gold standard has little to no effect in many chronic pain controlled studies.  Read Part 2, Pain Relief Benefits. Regardless of the medicinal benefits, we must be very vigilant with our children while our states continue to relax marijuana use laws for patients and now recreational use in some states.

I’m in favor of legalized marijuana use for chronic pain sufferers and other ill-health conditions.  My concern over Recreational use legalization is controlling the substance distribution on a large commercial scale and keeping it out of the hands of our children. I’m very aware and concerned about our children’s access to marijuana should it become fully legalized for recreational use.  This would add an additional drug within hundreds or retail outlets and thousands of households that requires the same protections as prescription drugs, liquor and tobacco.

If and when recreational use of marijuana is approved by voters, it must have similar controls and penalties as our states liquor laws. In preparation for recreational marijuana legalization, parents must not and cannot depend on any school, or government agency to protect children from abusing any drug.  It is our responsibility as parents and educators to teach them to know differences between right and wrong and consequences of any form of substance abuse.

As part of this educational messaging, confusion can be mitigated amongst your youth if our federal government fully recognizes states rights per voters approved marijuana use laws and conflict of their drug laws.   Regardless of the voter approved marijuana use  consumers should not have to fear Federal prosecution because State and Federal laws differ.  Our kids and young adults should not be confused over Federal and State rights conflicts where incarceration may occur from an outside agency having no right to interfere with States Voters rights.  So long as its use and distribution stays within the legalized States boundaries.

Until DEA controlled substance laws relative to marijuana use become reclassified as less then a scheduled 1 controlled substance or recreational drug use, then cannabis users may be prosecuted over States rights by the FEDs.  These legalities must be resolved as cannabis will eventually be legalized in many states for medical marijuana and/or recreational use.  To not resolve this State’s right issue can only ruin young lives through unjust incarceration.

Here’s an interesting conflict within our DEA drug schedule classification.  THC the psycho active ingredient in marijuana is already legally sold as Marinol & prescribed by HMO medical providers.  However, most consumers don’t know this information.

Marinol is listed and classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), as a scheduled class III drug under the same physician prescription controls as Tylenol pain relief medication.  This is very easy for the patient to get their hands on. So instead of smoking the cannabis, or eating it which is the illegal part, you are legally able to ingest the THC oil [psycho active ingredient] prescribed by most HMO’s for almost any type of pain and/or disease.

Maybe our government within its infinite wisdom determined it would be easier to control marijuana distribution through legal pill prescription so children couldn’t get their hands on it.  Since Marinol must be refrigerated, it seems to me, it would be easier for our children to get their hands on these tiny capsules, conceal and consume.  So do they really have our children’s best interests in mind?

So it stems to reason, the medical community understands the medicinal use of THC and also enjoys the profits from this high cost prescription drug.   If the government was truly concerned about a chronic pain or cancer patient wellbeing the DEA would cooperate with States rights to fully legitimize the use of cannabis for pain patients.  They could do this by simply declassifying the DEA drug schedule to list medical marijuana as a Class III prescription similar to Marinol; and remove the fear of a patience medicine being taken away and prosecuted.

Recreational marijuana use on the other hand is a different ball game which requires a different set of rules to protect our children from drug abuse and addiction.  If and when medicinal and recreational use in your community occurs, it will be up to all parents to get involved within home town politics and tell elected officials your expectations of how local government will create home town policies to protect our kids from those that don’t want to play by the rules.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2014 Copyright, All rights reserved.  MirrorAthlete Corp., Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free eNewsletter.