Do You Really Need Testosterone Supplements? Here's What Doctors Have to Say

Do You Really Need Testosterone Supplements? Here's What Doctors Have to Say
Source: AP
Source: AP

Testosterone supplements are often used by males who are looking to increase their sex hormones for various reasons, from muscle development to a raised sexual libido. While you can find testosterone supplements at stores that sell nutrition-related products, the jury is still out on whether these supplements really work.

A recent study of men 65 years and older with low hormone levels found that testosterone gel had a moderate effect regarding their walking strength or ability to have sex. 

Read more: The Protein Supplements You Should Avoid — Here's Why They're Bad for You

Even though the study showed some signs of improvement among those that participated in the study, according to Dr. Peter Snyder, the lead author and a University of Pennsylvania hormone specialist, they still aren't sure if they can recommend the treatment for older men with low testosterone.

"Making a recommendation depends on knowing all the benefits versus risks," the professor told the Associated Press. "We still don't know everything we want to know." The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

A 2015 trial found that testosterone supplements didn't improve the abilities of a group of older men. 

"That was the surprising thing," Dr. Shalender Bhasin, study author and director of the Boston Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told WebMD. "Many middle-aged and older men take testosterone because they feel it will improve their sex life, but the study showed that men who had low-normal or slightly low levels did not show any improvement."

Most young men, whose bodies are full of testosterone, don't have to worry about using the supplements. There is very little evidence that testosterone supplements do anything for healthy men.

"Although some men believe that taking testosterone medications may help them feel younger and more vigorous as they age, few rigorous studies have examined testosterone therapy in men who have healthy testosterone levels," according to the Mayo Clinic. "And some small studies have revealed mixed results."

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Philip Lewis

Philip Lewis is a programming editor at Mic. He was previously an editorial fellow for 'The Huffington Post'. He can be reached at plewis@mic.com

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