The term ‘testosterone booster’ can apply either to testosterone injections or to tablets used to increase natural levels of testosterone. Both of these options have the same ultimate goal: to raise free levels of testosterone in the blood, but they have very different mechanisms of action and side effects.
In this article, we’ll be addressing the former. Are testosterone injections a safe way to increase the male hormone? Why do bodybuilders use them? And what are the side effects that you can expect? At the end, we’ll also discuss whether the other type of booster might be a safer alternative with similar benefits.
How do Testosterone Injections Work?
Increasing testosterone is desirable for bodybuilders and athletes for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it can accelerate muscle gains and lead to more rapid strength and size increases. At the same time, it also leads to increased fat loss, meaning it’s much easier to get a lean, ripped physique. To benefit from testosterone booster injections you’ll still need to work out and train – but the rewards for that effort will be even greater than they would otherwise have been. This is why pretty much every professional bodybuilder is using some kind of testosterone booster or steroid – they simply can’t achieve the same thing without them.
When you get a testosterone injection, you are essentially injecting more T directly into your blood stream. This works quite differently from other steroids that work through less direct methods. Many steroid for instance will work by affecting the androgen receptors. Others work by being converted into substances analogous to testosterone – such as DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
An injection on the other hand is a much more direct way to achieve the same end. This can make it a little less daunting for someone who isn’t quite so familiar with the biochemistry surrounding steroids and especially if they are able to get it prescribed by their doctor.
But that isn’t to say that testosterone boosters are safe or without side effects. In fact, their very direct nature means that some of the side effects are more severe and more noticeable.
Side Effects of Injections
When you get a booster injection, you’ll be unnaturally elevating the amount of free testosterone in your system. This can then lead to the positive effects on muscle mass and body composition. However, it also leads to some unfortunate side effects that are quite undesirable. These include:
- Gynecomastia – the development of ‘male breasts’
- Sweating, anxiety and insomnia
- Irritability and aggression
- Increased bodily hair growth
- Male pattern baldness
- Numbness and tingling
Several of these side effects are the result of extra testosterone. Because testosterone is the male hormone, it encourages all our most ‘masculine’ traits. These include the ‘positive’ effects (like muscle growth) but they also include the negative ones – such as aggression and body hair. Likewise, this can also make male pattern baldness more likely, as testosterone can aggravate susceptible hair follicles.
Acne and mood swings meanwhile are associated with any fluctuations in hormones. Remember going through puberty? Many of the most difficult ‘growing pains’ were actually the result of an increase in testosterone production.
One of the more alarming side effects of testosterone injections though is the development of male breasts. These are the result of testosterone being metabolized to create oestrogen. Oestrogen is actually made from testosterone, so if you raise one, you’ll also raise the other. This is then what leads to the pecs becoming swollen and tender – quite an embarrassing experience for most men.
What’s more concerning still, is the long term effect of using testosterone injections which occurs through something known as a ‘feedback loop’. Essentially, when you elevate your testosterone levels through ‘exogenous’ sources (meaning that you’re injecting it), your body responds by thinking it has enough testosterone and therefor doesn’t need to keep producing more. Given long enough, this can result in a permanent inability for your testes to produce adequate testosterone. This can lead to impotence as well as depression and low energy.
In short, if you use testosterone injections, your body will eventually come to rely on those injections to maintain normal amounts of testosterone in the blood.
Then there are the practical concerns of testosterone injections. If you don’t have a prescription, then you will be breaking the law and you will certainly be breaking the rules of most organized competitions. This then means sneaking around behind people’s backs and trying to hide the paraphernalia associated with using injectable testosterone. The injections themselves can be painful and may leave scarring, which will make it apparent that you are injecting something whenever people see your arms. Then there is the price, which is certainly not negligible.
With all that in mind, it’s crucial to consider that choosing to use testosterone injections will have huge implications for your lifestyle and could lead you down a path you’d rather not go down.
Other Uses and Alternatives
Despite all the risks and side effects associated with testosterone injections, there are some scenarios where it can be necessary. For instance, testosterone injections are prescribed by doctors for treating low testosterone and in this case they may be required to maintain normal levels of health and fitness. In some cases this might be necessary as a result of using other steroids like Dianabol that leave the body with stunted testosterone production.
For everyone else, using testosterone injections is not highly recommended. But what about other types of testosterone booster?
Natural testosterone boosters include products like Testo Max from Crazy Bulk. These products contain herbs and nutrients that have been shown in laboratory settings to increase natural testosterone production by stimulating the testes and by providing essential ‘precursors’ to signallers in the body. On there own, none of these herbs or nutrients is potent enough to rival the benefits of a direct testosterone injection.
However, when the very most effective ingredients are combined into a single synergistic product, the results are much more impressive. And because the body is producing more of its own testosterone, there are no dangerous side effects and the product is completely legal.