Like most performance-enhancing drugs, testosterone can help athletes build bigger, stronger muscles very quickly, improving their athletic ability and their recovery time - but testosterone carries significant health risks that aren't fully understood yet.
It's unclear whether Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was using natural testosterone or a synthetic version of the hormone, but both kinds are a form of anabolic steroid.
The body produces testosterone to promote growth in men and women and to regulate masculine characteristics, such as a deep voice and the development of sex organs in men.
It's muscle growth and quick recovery that athletes who abuse steroids are after. Testosterone - whether it's injected, applied via a patch or cream, or taken by pill - allows athletes to rapidly increase muscle mass beyond what their body would generally manage, and also reduces their recovery time, meaning they can train hour after hour, day after day, with little need to rest their bodies in between workouts.
"Testosterone can help increase muscle mass in a much faster fashion. Athletes who use anabolic steroids may find that they're able to increase their endurance and their strength by doing the same amount of training as they would otherwise," said Dr. Anthony Yin, an endocrinologist at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
Major League Baseball has banned testosterone use by its ballplayers, but Yin noted that the hormone is an important and federally approved medical treatment.
Men who are testosterone-deficient can get hormone replacement therapy, and the hormone also is given to children with developmental or growth problems. Doctors sometimes give testosterone to patients with muscle-wasting diseases like cancer or AIDS.
But the side effects can be brutal, especially because testosterone must be given regularly over a long period to be effective. Side effects include liver damage, unsafe cholesterol levels, and heart and circulatory problems. Testosterone abuse may affect the prostate and cause cancer, as well.
Men who chronically abuse testosterone may experience effects that would seem to be contrary to the hormone's purpose, including breast development, shrunken testicles, and infertility.
And the side effects may not end there. Most of the known risks associated with testosterone use come from clinical trials applying the hormone for medical treatment, or from anecdotal evidence among athletes.
It would be unethical for researchers to attempt a scientific study of steroid abuse in athletes, which means the full range of side effects is unknown.
"Testosterone use can lead to several undesirable effects, whether it's used for therapeutic purposes or in situations such as this," Yin said. "There are certainly potential benefits if you can call them that. But testosterone has those negative points too."
- Deer Antler, HGH and Testosterone: Tim on Scott and BR Radio Show - Video - April 17th, 2021
- What is Testosterone? What does Testosterone do? Find on - April 14th, 2021
- Testosterone, the Power Hormone - April 8th, 2021
- Testosterone Levels and Wall Street - March 27th, 2021
- Women can resist testosterone-fuelled political debate - March 12th, 2021
- BUSTED: Myths About Testosterone And Its Link To Sexual Desire In Men And Women - March 11th, 2021
- Baby Boomers find “The Fountain of Youth” in Testosterone - March 4th, 2021
- Declining Testosterone Levels in Men Not Part of Normal Aging - February 28th, 2021
- Quick Weight Loss Tips and Diet Recommendations for HRT - February 28th, 2021
- Testosterone and Alcohol: Your Health and the Holiday Season - February 27th, 2021
- New Study Finds That Testosterone Does Not Increase Cardiovascular Risk - February 22nd, 2021
- Evidence Suggests Testosterone Plays Powerful Role in Motivating Revolutionary Change - February 15th, 2021
- How Testosterone Affects the Skin of Men - February 11th, 2021
- The Effects of Parenthood Upon Testosterone Levels - January 9th, 2021
- Testicular Cancer Survivors are at Risk for Low Testosterone - January 6th, 2021
- Amygdala and it's Relationship to Testosterone and Fear - December 25th, 2020
- Testosterone Does Not Cause Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the Arteries) in Older Men - December 24th, 2020
- Increased Testosterone DOES NOT Cause Prostate Cancer to Spread - December 23rd, 2020
- Testosterone Cypionate and Testosterone Enanthate: The Real Facts - December 20th, 2020
- A Surprising Side Effect of Methadone Treatment: Suppressed Testosterone - December 18th, 2020
- The Testosterone Industry Globally is Booming - December 12th, 2020
- Five Benefits of Testosterone That You Need to Know - December 11th, 2020
- Testosterone Nasal Gel: A New Form of Testosterone Replacement Therapy - December 5th, 2020
- New Research Proves Testosterone Replacement Therapy is Safe for the Heart - December 3rd, 2020
- Skinny Bartender with Low Testosterone Becomes a Ripped Bodybuilder - December 3rd, 2020
- Low-T and Your Health - November 30th, 2020
- Low Testosterone Levels may Affect Man's Sex Drive and Affect his Intimate Relationships - November 19th, 2020
- Is Testosterone the New Drug of Choice on Wall Street? How Traders are Using Male Hormone Booster Shots to Maintain a ... - November 12th, 2020
- Shorter course of ADT for high-risk prostate cancer patients yields improved quality of life - November 11th, 2020
- Testosterone Litigation: What You Need To Know - MTMP - Video - November 9th, 2020
- Methadone Lowers Testosterone in Men Only - November 8th, 2020
- Intricate relationship between Oestrogen & Testosterone XXY Guys (Klinefelters' syndrome) - Video - November 7th, 2020
- Should middle-aged men consider 'low T' treatment? - November 5th, 2020
- Testosterone and Crime: What Can Genes Tell Us About Behavior? - Video - October 25th, 2020
- Testosterone shown to help sexually frustrated women - October 22nd, 2020
- Testosterone levels seen prior to birth in fetus' fingers, jawline - October 20th, 2020
- Tri-Blend Testosterone. Understanding the Benefits of Testosterone Oils - October 19th, 2020
- Testosterone levels in older men - October 17th, 2020
- Tlando Testosterone Clinical Trial for Low-T and Fatty Liver Disease - October 4th, 2020
- Testosterone Focus in Diabetes Study – Video - September 30th, 2020
- Testshock Review All Natural Testosterone Enhancement – Video - September 30th, 2020
- Testosterone, Anxiety, and Depression - September 30th, 2020
- Average Testosterone Levels Decreasing Over Time Among Younger American Men - August 21st, 2020
- Testosterone Creams for Low Testosterone Treatment and Andropause - August 10th, 2020
- Testosterone Therapy and Androgen Deficiency Guide - August 6th, 2020
- Testosterone's Surprising Link to Men's 'Love Hormone' Oxytocin - August 5th, 2020
- Fortesta Brand Testosterone Therapy - August 3rd, 2020
- Andropause: Age-Associated Testosterone Decline - August 1st, 2020
- How to Build Muscle Quickly by Boosting Testosterone Levels - July 29th, 2020
- Testosterone Deficiency Strongly Linked to Heart Attack Risk in New Study - July 26th, 2020
- Seven Types of Drugs That Can Inhibit Sex Drive and Libido - July 22nd, 2020
- Testosterone and Geriatric Frailty - July 21st, 2020
- Testosterone and Aggression: How T-Levels Impact Human Response to External, Social Threats - July 12th, 2020
- High-Dose Testosterone Injections May Be a Viable Palliative Late-Stage Prostate Cancer Treatment - July 12th, 2020
- Could Civilization Have Been Formed as a Result of Declining Testosterone Levels in Males? - July 6th, 2020
- Testosterone Therapy Allows Man to Have the Body That He Was Meant to Have - July 5th, 2020
- Testosterone Injections for Low-T and Andropause - July 4th, 2020
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) Reduces the Risk of Serious Adverse Health Consequences! - June 30th, 2020
- More Sex: A Better Way to Boost Your Testosterone Levels - June 29th, 2020
- Testosterone not always to blame - Sat, 04 Aug 2012 PST - June 28th, 2020
- Five Facts About Testosterone (That Maybe You Didn't Know) - June 27th, 2020
- Manhood Washed Away: You Could Unknowingly be Annihilating Your Testosterone - June 23rd, 2020
- Testosterone: Should You Take it to Regain Your Libido and Youthful Energy? - June 22nd, 2020
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy Boosts Aerobic Capacity - June 15th, 2020
- Physiology of Testosterone - June 9th, 2020
- The Truth Behind Common Male Sex Myths - May 26th, 2020
- Dr. Andre Berger on Testosterone Deficiency in Men - Andropause Symptoms and Treatment By Doctor's Desk Series - May 21st, 2020
- How to Raise Testosterone Naturally. Sermorelin - Some Have Called It A The New Fountain of Youth. A Natural Cure for Anxiety and Depression. - May 9th, 2020
- Are Athletes Using Green Tea to Mask Testosterone Doping? - May 7th, 2020
- Some Animal Research Suggests that High Testosterone May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk - May 5th, 2020
- Eleven Foods that Can Drain Your Libido - May 4th, 2020
- Testosterone Can Make Us Generous, But Only When We Do Not Perceive a Threat - May 3rd, 2020
- A New Link Between Testosterone and the Prevention of Dementia in Women - May 3rd, 2020
- Why Women Make Better Money Managers - April 30th, 2020
- Is Being a Lumberjack More Manly Than a Football Player? It's All in the Testosterone! - April 28th, 2020
- Testosterone Drug, Androxal, Helped Gay Cubans Have More Sex - April 10th, 2020
- Androxal Meets its Testosterone Study Goals - April 1st, 2020
- Testosterone Replacement Beneficial for Modern Men? - February 11th, 2020
- Low on Testosterone? No Problem! - February 10th, 2020
- Dr. Richard Bebb - Testosterone, Diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome - Video - January 21st, 2020
Word Count: 447