Steroid abuse by men leads to long-lasting impaired testicular function

madman

Member


Study used a new marker of testicular cell capacity

Illegal use of anabolic steroids not only has dangerous side effects during use but also can harm men's testicular function years after they stop abusing steroids, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.



Anabolic steroids are synthetic forms of testosterone, and their abuse is prevalent among athletes worldwide. Some people use these steroids without a prescription to improve athletic performance or get a more muscular look. Known side effects of these drugs in men include breast growth, hair loss, shrunken testicles, and lower testosterone levels. Also called hypogonadism, low testosterone can cause decreased sex drive, poor erections, and a low sperm count.

"It is still debated whether illicit use of anabolic steroids causes long-lasting testosterone deficiency," said Jon J. Rasmussen, M.D., Ph.D., the study's principal investigator and a scientist at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Researchers at the hospital have identified a hormone made by Leydig cells -- cells in the testicles that produce testosterone -- as a promising biological marker of testicular function, Rasmussen said. Because blood levels of testosterone can vary greatly during the day and vary by body composition, Rasmussen and his co-workers are investigating a more stable marker than testosterone, called serum insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3).

For this study, supported by Anti Doping Denmark, the research team included 132 participants from another study: men who did recreational strength training. Their ages ranged from 18 to 50 and averaged 32. Three study groups consisted of 46 men currently using anabolic steroids, 42 former steroid users, and 44 who had never used these steroids. On average, former users had reportedly not taken anabolic steroids for 32 months.

Among current steroid users, INSL3 was markedly suppressed compared with former users and never-users, Rasmussen said. Compared with never-users, the former steroid users had lower INSL3 concentrations: 0.39 versus 0.59 microgram micrograms per liter. Furthermore, the longer the duration that the men reportedly used steroids, the lower their INSL3 levels, the researchers found.

"Our results suggest a long-lasting impaired gonadal capacity in previous anabolic steroid users," Rasmussen said.


Although the clinically relevant difference in INSL3 levels is not yet known, because INSL3 measurement is primarily for research, he said their findings indicate that prior steroid users may have an increased risk of hypogonadism later in life.

"The results," Rasmussen said, "raise the question whether some previous anabolic steroid users should receive medical stimulation therapy to increase Leydig cell capacity in the testicles."

This therapy would include drugs used to block estrogen production or its conversion to testosterone, such as aromatase inhibitors and selective estrogen receptor modulators, he noted.
 
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madman

Member
Unfortunately, many young men do not think of the possible long-term effects on the hpta let alone cardiovascular, neuropsychiatric/behavioral effects when abusing testosterone/AAS for the sole purpose of muscle enhancement.


"Our results suggest a long-lasting impaired gonadal capacity in previous anabolic steroid users,"
 

bixt

Member
I don't think any of these guys really care to recover testicular function as far as testostorone production is concerned. Many of them blast and cruise, or get onto TRT.

Its a given that after so many cycles (number varies between individuals) of AAS, eventually recovery will not happen.

The reasons are not simply muscle enhancement, theres a whole other life out there which becomes much more accessible (read easy mode). Most young guys IMO want muscles to get girls.
 

gerardo

Member
I don't think any of these guys really care to recover testicular function as far as testostorone production is concerned. Many of them blast and cruise, or get onto TRT.

Its a given that after so many cycles (number varies between individuals) of AAS, eventually recovery will not happen.

The reasons are not simply muscle enhancement, theres a whole other life out there which becomes much more accessible (read easy mode). Most young guys IMO want muscles to get girls.
What can you think about doing is stopping the TRT every 6 months and recovering the HPG axis?
 

Seth

Member
I was always a little confused about the difference between steroid use verses testosterone. If steroids are a form of synthetic forms of testosterone, then is that what I am injecting with testosterone cypionate? If it's the same, at what levels does it become steroid abuse verses replacement?
 

madman

Member
I was always a little confused about the difference between steroid use verses testosterone. If steroids are a form of synthetic forms of testosterone, then is that what I am injecting with testosterone cypionate? If it's the same, at what levels does it become steroid abuse verses replacement?

On trt we are using therapeutic doses of T in order to achieve healthy testosterone levels in order to experience relief/improvement of low-t symptoms.

Whether that ends up having T levels mid--->high-end or above the top end of the physiological range comes down to the individual and what TT/FT level is needed.

Many on trt may feel their best running T levels on the higher-end or above whereas others will do just fine running lower levels.

Most on trt are using what would be considered a therapeutic dose of T 100-200 mg/week (considered the high-end).

The majority of men could easily achieve high-end let alone very high TT/FT levels on such doses.

Many would never need what would be considered the higher end dose of 200 mg/week to achieve healthy let alone high TT/FT levels.

Sure there may be some outliers who use slightly more than 200 mg/week but this is far and few as in very rare that one would need such a dose to achieve healthy let alone high-end TT/FT levels.

When using/abusing testosterone for the sole purpose of muscle/strength enhancement the doses used are beyond therapeutic as in 300-600 mg/week and in many cases can be much higher.

Such doses would have one's TT/FT levels well into the supra-physiological range.
 

madman

Member
I was always a little confused about the difference between steroid use verses testosterone. If steroids are a form of synthetic forms of testosterone, then is that what I am injecting with testosterone cypionate? If it's the same, at what levels does it become steroid abuse verses replacement?

You have been on here long enough and it is hard to believe that you are not familiar with what would be considered therapeutic doses of T.

100-200 mg/week (common)

Some inject <100 mg/week and can still achieve healthy TT/FT levels.

200+.....very rare as in far and few would ever need such as dose!
 

xqfq

Active Member
Looking at the data in this paper, there is no statistically significant difference in total testosterone, free testosterone, SHBG, LH, or FSH between the two groups.

The marker used, INSL3, was 0.59 (0.45 - 0.72) versus 0.39 (0.24 - 0.62) [past users].

Given that the other biomarkers showed no significant difference, the large confidence interval of the INSL3 marker implies this study was underpowered. The two groups may very well have had the same INSL3 level.
 

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