The Dangerous Hyperbole Surrounding Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Written by Dr. Michael White, Published on March 30th, 2012
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This article reflects the opinion of the author.

Steroid use can be a dangerous game of "Can you top this?" Pro wrestling fans will remember the 1980s, when the success of ludicrously ripped acts like the Road Warriors and Hulk Hogan convinced promoters that swollen muscles were the key to monetary success. What followed were a ridiculous menagerie of overly muscled human action figures, wrestlers like Hercules Hernandez, who rewrote the book on human anatomy.

The result was tragic. Swollen hearts were an unfortunate byproduct of those swollen muscles. Wrestlers from that generation started dropping like flies. Most of our heroes, the wrestlers from thatera we grew up on, like Rick Rude, Hawk and Curt Hennig, are dead and gone. No one who was a wrestling fan can possibly minimize the real danger in the drug's misuse.

But testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)is not the same thing as steroid abuse. It's just not. If you don't trust the doctors who prescribe it to millions of men, trust your eyeballs. The UFC's top stars don't look like bodybuilders. They have lean and functional physiques.

The largest arms in the world brother

The pythons Hulk Hogan was so proud of? That's a show musclethe bicep is a muscle for people who want to look strong, not people who want to be strong. After all, its sole purpose is to lift up the lower part of your arm. That's it. Functional strength is built in your back, thighs and butt. Not in your arms.

The purpose of testosterone therapy isn't to build giant and jacked super warriors, complete with comic-book-style physiques and powerhouse punching prowess. TRT is designed to bring people, typically men in their 30s and above who have seen the amount of testosterone their bodies produce dip, back up to normal levels of testosterone.

It doesn't give athletes an unfair advantage over their opponents. If properly managed by the state athletic commission, a fighter will never even take particularly large doses. In Nevada, for example, a fighter looking to get approval for TRT has to submit at least five different tests to the commission. That doesn't leave much room for abuse (for more on the ins and outs of drug testing, please see Mike Chiappetta's exhaustive article at MMA Fighting).

Chael Sonnen talks TRT

That's what makes critiques of the procedure so baffling. Take Fight Opinion's Zach Arnold, an outspoken opponent of TRT, even if the fighter is under a doctor's care and carefully scrutinized by the state:

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The Dangerous Hyperbole Surrounding Testosterone Replacement Therapy

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