Interview with Nelson Vergel about his experience with testosterone

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Nelson Vergel

Here is an older interview

'A few years after his HIV diagnosis, Nelson Vergel [] began wasting away. No matter how much he ate, no matter how many protein shakes he added to his diet, no matter how much iron he pumped, the chemical engineer could not regain 25 pounds the virus had stripped from his 5-foot-7 frame. He watched as dozens of HIV-infected friends progressively lost body fat and muscle -- and, ultimately, their lives.

"Either I have to do something," Vergel thought, "or I'll be the next one." Then he found steroids.

For more than a decade, Vergel has been among the chronically ill patients who take anabolic steroids -- legally -- for the same fundamental reason some athletes use them on the sly: to build up their bodies.

A storm of attention has been paid of late to illicit use of steroids among athletes, who forever want to run faster and hit balls farther. But at the same time, a quiet movement is under way to discover what legitimate role the drugs can play in mainstream medicine.'


Nelson Vergel

This is the literal transcript of the interview:

Guys our interview today is with Nelson Vergel, he is a man who's been HIV positive for the last thirty three years, he's not a health or fitness expert, he's a wellness kind of guy, his ExcelMale is his website/newsletter. He's done a few other things and he talks about how - and he wrote a book he sent me a good book called "Testosterone," it was a good read. Just about how taking testosterone saved his life.

So it's a different view on - I don't necessarily want to call it performance enhancement, but it's a different view on antibiotics in general. And a different view on - it's the fringe. It's putting the information, he talks about some new science anabolic steroid use, and things like that.

So we're gonna jump into the interview.

Alright guys, my guest today is Nelson Vergel. Did I pronounce your last name right Nelson, is it pronounced Vergel?

Yeah, Vergel, yeah.

Yeah Vergel, Vergel okay. I wasn't sure how to do it, I didn't know if it was Virgil or Vergel, so I'm happy I kind of got it close. How are you today Nelson? Thank you for coming on the podcast.

I'm doing great thanks for having me.

Now are you out in Las Vagas, where are you?

No I'm in Houston Texas.

Ah, either way you're warmer than where I am man. I am in, right outside New York City, it is a cold cold day. Buffalo New York, just got six feet of snow and they're getting more so I'm happy we didn't get that but--

Oh man.


It's a little too early for this.

Just a little bit, just a little bit. So Nelson, I wanted to get you on, 'cause you have such a unique story you know. I, I saw your book "Testosterone," before. And I said you know what, from just the Amazon reviews and what not, it seemed to be a different book. And when I say different, I mean that most people often talk about testosterone in that - they talk ability to build muscle. And you do touch on that but you talk about a whole another world of testosterone use. You talked about people with muscle wasting diseases and people with various types of other diseases that compromise their immune function and compromise their muscle mass. So, can you just kind of give us little bit of a background about, about yourself and about what lead you to write such a different book that quite frankly I enjoyed.

Oh wow, thanks, thanks for the review. Yeah, well I've worked in the hormone field for maybe twenty five years or so. And I started really, out of my own desperation. I'm a chemical engineer, and I wasn't - I never really planned to work in the hormone field, I was actually working in the oil field. And, but I was - unfortunately I've been HIV positive for thirty two years, and back then back in the nineties - we were - most people were dying not only HIV but really of wasting syndrome. And one way to reverse that wasting, which is basically the involuntary weight loss that eventually kills people is with the use of hormones, testosterone and anabolic steroids, for medical purposes. I was shocked to find out that doctors didn't know how to use them to save people's lives including mine.


So I became obsessed and researched everything in the bodybuilding community. Obviously I was looking at magazines and saying "Hey, these guys are obviously lean and muscled, that's really what we need." Because actually muscle mass is what we call the food storage for the immune system. So, I learned a lot through the work that has been already done. I talked to a few researchers and became part of the few research teams at the National Institute of Health. I really pushed for the government to fund studies with the use of hormones for wasting syndrome. So I learned a lot through that process. And basically five years ago I decided, "You know what?" It's time now to share that knowledge ,that came out of desperation, with a general male and female population. So I wrote the book "Testosterone: A Man's Guide".

You touched on two really good points there, so first you talked about being HIV positive. And you said you been there for about thirty years. And the interesting thing about that is - a lot of the news recently has been on Ebola. And people don't - has filled, we still don't really know anything about Ebola, how it spreads, how to cure it, how to treat it. And it brought up so many references to HIV twenty, thirty, forty years ago. Because back then no one knew anything about it. When Magic Johnson, who was probably the most famous case of someone being HIV positive - when Magic Johnson came down with HIV, people literally had no idea. And back then, people had to take thirty pills four times a day you know?

Yeah, back in the days people didn't want to shake our hands or be in the same room with us. Or, if you ended up in the hospital they would wear all the protective gear that you see on TV now with Ebola. But, then we found that it is a very difficult virus. Ebola is a little bit like HIV, and a lot more easily - obviously it spreads because any fluid, saliva, sweat, etc . Thank God HIV became just something that either was transmitted through sexual contact or transfusions.


So but back then, I mean when they see the news now and it almost brings me to like a pity of seeing - feeling of back when we were treated like - nobody wanted to be around us because they thought were gonna catch. And even the mosquito for instance I used to, people used to ask me well how about if a mosquito bites you and then? So you know, and hopefully they'll find, there's some vaccines coming through for Ebola and that people really need the help in put (18:00?) conscious special in sight.

Yeah it's just crazy, 'cause like you said there was so much misconceptions about HIV and how HIV spread and, it's so similar to Ebola now. Because like you said there was the mosquito thing. And people just literally had no idea. And the other topic that you brought up that's interesting is how you initially went to the body building community. And I tell the story all the time that when you read early literature on anabolic steroids, and you read about how people initially were - said they didn't work and this is going back to the forties and thirties. They didn't work, they said, "nah." But the people that were getting the lectures that were sitting in the back of the room were the body builders that were using them. And they were sitting here saying "Well, I know testosterone works." It's just so funny how body building gets such a bad name, it's such a fringe thing, it's a fringe research because - you go back five years ago and there was people using a compound called Resveratrol, and now you see that everywhere on doctor Oz right?


It's funny how the bodybuilding community is so far ahead of things.

Yeah. The bodybuilding community I think is easily fifty years ahead of research.

So we have twenty years of experience with experimenting with legal and prescribable products. So, my concern is however that since there is such hysteria against hormones, that a lot of the guys that are getting into these kind of therapies are obviously using underground stuff and are not monitoring themselves well enough. And because doctors actually moralize their use,men do not disclose their hormone use. My goal in life is to ensure harm reduction for men using hormones. I'm here to teach men and women to maximize benefits and reduce potential side effects or harm. That is what we call that harm reduction in my world.

So I wrote a book on testosterone replacement, not a - it's not a body building book it's basically a book written for men that have low blood levels of testosterone and also all the symptoms associated with it. Which are low sex drive, fatigue, lack of focus, low mood, bad, you know? So you have those symptoms and you can get a blood test done. By the way I'm starting a new company soon called where I'll be providing really economical lab work for people that are willing to monitor themselves.

Because as I said, some men and women are having a hard time finding open minded, progressive physicians that are willing to monitor them through their whole path of improving their health. People with low T have lower survival, they have higher incidents of cardiovascular disease, higher incidents of diabetes, higher incidents of mainly metabolic issues. That can be recovered, repaired by just normalizing low levels of testosterone with injections, gels, pellets, etc.

So, there is on a lot of misconception, a lot of bad publicity, a lot of hysteria and little patient driven information.

There are books on the subject written by doctors. And they're great but I have the only book written by a patient like myself that was driven into this not by choice but by desperation to save my own life so.

Yeah, I mean that, that's what a lot of it ism and again - you touched on the fact that it's unfortunate right? 'Cause the biggest guy at the gym or the gym scientist will tell you what to take, but they don't know what to do when you come off of it. At the same time, your doctor is so afraid of it because steroids have been so demonized in society, that your doctor won't put you on it medically. Your doctor won't know how to supervise it medically. And that's a problem and that's why people are going the back roads or routes. And that's why all this stuff is happening, because people are just - doctors don't know enough to prescribe it. And then people are doing the other thing. I work with a lot of mix martial arts fighters, and a lot of fighters are going and - because they use anabolic steroids, they abuse anabolic steroids. They're going getting TRT prescriptions when they don't need trt. Maybe they have DHEA issue, and then there is so much to this misinformation out there. Which, a book like yours is really good, because it kind of lets people know the medical reasons behind it.

Yeah that's what I'm trying to do, I also have a forum website called And what I do there is we have a bunch of really intelligent guys and some doctors answering questions for men and women. It's not - even though it's ExcelMale there's a free forum page for women,where I have doctors, and really super smart guys answer questions. We then help people follow their blood work and their blood test to monitor - for instance the main side effects of anabolics and testosterone.

Anyways, the main side effect is the increase in red blood cells. And red blood cells are good for you, 'cause they bring oxygen through your body. But if you have too many your blood gets really thick, and you may have cardiovascular issues. So most, many bodybuilders out there do not monitor their - what we call red blood cell count proportion or hematocrit. Many they don't know that if they have a high level. They can lower it if they donate blood so that viscosity comes down. So it's a side effect that could be fixed easily so that you don't have a heart attack or a stroke.

And the second one is basically - anabolics and testosterone can decrease the good cholesterol HDL, which can also be monitored and managed. So everything can be managed as long as you're testing correct and as long - even if you don't have a doctor there is a lot of information on how to self-manage your potential side effects. Unfortunately, and I'm glad though that we have to be honest with you there's few doctors, there are networks that are not normalizing the use, they're not obviously prescribing anabolics for non-medical uses, but they're willing to monitor the patient.

I refer a lot people to different doctors so they ask me, "Nelson - I really--” Or coming off for instance, people that have come off for anabolics and they know once you go on anabolics or testosterone your own production of testosterone is shut down. And not only shut down, like when you get off of it. Sometimes it takes - a study shows that it takes sometimes six months to normalize your own production of testosterone. And while you're going through that phase, you're feeling like crap. Obviously your body's shut down, your hormone access, what we call is shut down.

So there are ways to accelerate that recovery of the hormonal access. And we - people talk about PCT, which is Post Cycle Therapy and their different approaches and so, so the whole field even though it can dramatically change people's lives is full of hysteria, full of misconceptions, full of moralization and people who moralize. And people are taking risks, unnecessary risks - because all of this is manageable. So ultimately, I'm working really hard and I'm finding ways not only to educate everybody, but also to find ways to improve the access through lab testing at affordable prices. As I said I have a big scan (26:24?) on which comes out soon. And I'm working with researchers so that we can do more research without moralizing the use of hormones - that have really actually, together as a deal, they can actually reverse some of the aging problems that we have.

Yeah I mean, people don't really get it. So, the first point is when you look at hormone health, hormone health is everything. So I do my own blood work once a year, because I want to testosterone, I want to know DHT, I want to know free testosterone, I want to know cortisol. But, what other people don't get is hormone health can literally - hormone health is the fountain of youth, right? Like I only use, often talk about that. Human growth hormone is the fountain of youth, that's what they were looking for when they went for the fountain of youth. And done right, done properly, done medically with a doctor can reverse numerous symptoms from immune function to - not just muscle mass. But the ability to sleep, the ability to be fertile, there's so many things that hormone health is implicated on. And our hormones, Nelson are under attack every single day by our environment, by our food, by our stress, by aging itself.

Oh yeah by synthetic products like the soaps we use, the creams we use the - you name it. The moisturizers we use, the plastics we use. So, the funny thing and I'm telling you, we have a congress that is full of old men, okay? Old men that - all of them - if you test their testosterone, it's very low. And they're the same people that are feeding into the hysteria and trying to regulate more and more of this field. So it's kind of weird that, that we have a congress and, talking for as an agency that is really run by old men that may benefit from hormonal balance. And as you said it's not only about the (28:11?) DHTA, thyroid, cortisol, - there are many things. And it's beyond sex, and sometimes people state testosterone is all about sex and stride or about aggression. Really, when you normalize people's testosterone it's not only about that - it's how we, we relate to other people. We become, many of us become nicer, because we are less stressed out, we can cope. We can cope with stress better, we can cope with relationships better - not only sexually but outside bed. So a person with lots of testosterone has low tolerance to stress at work, in a relationship, with the kids, so it really goes beyond sex.


So, so I'm as they say you know, obviously I'm a, I have strong biases for this. It's changed my life, I was able to put on thirty five pounds and save my life before - before we had effective medications that controlled the HIV virus. But for me it was - not only I gone on a crusade, I started lecturing to my own people obviously my own community first cause I didn't want any of my friends to die in bones like many of my friends had died like that. And I wanted to come to this doctor. So I actually started lecturing to the doctors too so - a lot of HIV doctors are super open minded, they write scripts for testosterone. So we have, I would say the HIV physician field is easily twenty years ahead of the rest of the medical population so--

They're open minded, they're really open minded and that's what it comes down to. Like you referenced earlier, the body building field is so far ahead, the anti aging field is so far ahead. Because they have to be, there's a necessity for a lot of men - their testosterone, their testosterone levels link to their feeling of being a man right? 'Cause when you have more testosterone you feel it. So, Nelson a question I wanted to ask you - and I don't know if it's the current cycle you're on. Can you briefly describe one of your cycles you took - of steroids for, for your health--

Let me just say first that testosterone replacement, which is replacing testosterone so that you can obtain youthful levels of testosterone of your - obviously being monitored and managing any potential side effects. Takes a lifetime commitment, so there's no such thing as a cycle when we come to. In anabolic in an anabolic world, obviously - body building cycle - because they expose their bodies to higher doses of different compounds that are relative to testosterone. So they, they don't wanna obviously expose your bodies to continuous use.

But let's talk about first talk about testosterone replacement. My protocol right now is actually something that I have researched on my own. And thank God, there's actually research now going on at Baylor School of Medicine. And they're very open minded also - place. Where they combine testosterone injections with HCG which is human chorionic gonadotropin which is a hormone that mimics that signal that the pituitary gland sends to your testicles to keep your testicles working. So what happens when you inject testosterone is that your testicles shut down. And obviously after a while they start shrinking. It is reversible and it is preventable with the use of HCG.

And HCG doesn't only prevent that testicular shut down, but it also maintains sex drive, maintains the feeling of the well-being. So now, many doctors are starting to use - prescribe injections we'll just say once a week, or twice a week with a little bit of HCG, subcutaneously to not only keep your testosterone up, keep your testicles working and keeping your sex drive and your well-being up too. So that's becoming very popular, I have actually a video on that I made myself - I show how I'd actually do it, I'm injecting myself.

I have nothing to lose, I'm already - out of my (32:54?). I'm already, if you Google my name, "Nelson Vergel," you'll find all the papers I've written. I have nothing to lose I have one two - I want every man out there, and women because women also need testosterone and all their hormone. To access information, hopefully, and I'm building a directory right now -physicians there are progressive and open minded and they go to the conferences like, and provide also lab testing. So my goal in life, within six months is to have a great network of doctors that are on board - obviously lab testing and education for everybody. And because I really think that there's no reason why a man or a woman out there have to be suffering a low quality of life because of stigma. Hormone optimization that can completely change their lives.


I think TRT/HRT will eventually will eventually become more mainstream because people more and more people are waking up to this, this reality of "Oh my God, my life is changed" I mean I get emails every day, "Nelson I read the book, I started therapy, oh my God, I was gonna get divorced, and now I'm back to keeping my wife happy. So, and that's what really keeps me going you know in my work. So those wonderful emails I get every day.

Right, right. Like you said, it has to come around at some point. Because it's like the organic food movement. Go back fifteen years ago, you couldn't find organic food anywhere. It has to be a ground swell first, and that's what really brings into the forefront. So, the question I want to ask you now Nelson, two questions really. First question, what are natural remedies? What over the counter testosterone boosters? What natural supplements do you find effective for you? Do you recommend these supplements with an addition?

Well, testosterone boosters are really a scam. If they do boost they boost for a short period of time. They're oral, and many of them raise liver enzymes. They decrease kidney function. So they - or if they really work that well, it's usually because they have a compound, usually bought China, that is potent. So you remember supplements are not really regulated by the FDA, and we want to keep it that way. But many companies are abusing consumers.

There is actually a website called, where they actually test supplements - and they tell you which ones have flunked the different tests.

So I have, I have issues, I'm not one of those that buys the latest supplement that I see on a magazine, because there is thousands of them, and usually they're not proven.
Creatine is being extensively studied for lean body mass, energy, and strength. That's definitely being studied in several medical schools. And whey protein, obviously is being studied for, not only lean body mass but in HIV it was proven to increase immune cells called CD4 cells.

Right, right. Last question for you Nelson. So you obviously have your own forum, which has a lot of information articles and news. What are few of the websites that you go to, 'cause a lot of the stuff you're talking about isn't out of the box nutrition?

Yeah, yeah.

What are some of the websites you can--

The guys from - it's got all the reviews of all the studies on supplements. They completely summarize everything. They even tabulate the studies. So I love that, obviously I'm a geek myself. For supplement lab testing, I like

Oh, there is, it's a - a friend of mine also owns that site, older than, excellent info, I really love those guys too.

Well Nelson, you kinda gave us your, your website. You gave us some good information. I thank you for coming on the podcast, sorry I can't talk with you more, but due to my sickness here, I got a little head cold. I get sick once a year I'm gonna have to cut it short but - I will message you when the podcast comes out, thank you very much.

Thanks a lot for the opportunity and, and glad you, you liked the book.

Thank you.

The book is actually available on

Oh that's right, we didn't mention the book, so Nelson's book which I read, it was a great book. It's called, "Testosterone," it's a really good guide to, should you use TRT, what works what doesn't work so you guys can check that out on

Alright you take care. Thanks a lot for having me.

Bye, bye now and thank you.
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