Testosterone is commonly referred to as either a naturally occurring male sex hormone‚ or the synthetic anabolic steroid that's used to build muscle mass quickly. Because of this difference‚ many guys wonder where testosterone boosters fall on this spectrum. What test boosters do‚ their side effects‚ and their benefits.
Are test boosters closer to steroids‚ which can have devastating side effects? Or are testosterone boosters perfectly fine to use?
Let’s answer these questions by discussing what testosterone boosters and steroids do‚ differences in their side effects‚ and the risks associated with using each one.
What Do Testosterone Boosters Do?
Testosterone boosters use a combination of natural ingredients to boost your body’s own testosterone production.
For example, No.17 contains 12 natural ingredients that work on increasing testosterone production naturally, two of these ingredients, Bulbine Natalensis and Fadogia Agrestis increase natural testosterone by up to 347% and 200%, respectively.
Some test boosters like No.17‚ also decrease and block the female hormone estrogen from rising‚ allowing the body to produce more of the male hormone‚ testosterone.
Other testosterone–boosting ingredients that can be found in these products include Cnidium Monnieri‚ Catuaba P.E. 4:1 Extract‚ Desmodium Gangeticum 10:1‚ Fenugreek‚ Ginseng‚ Ligusticum‚ Safed Musli‚ and ZMA.
Bind to SHBG and Increase Free Testosterone
The best testosterone boosters have a mechanism for minimizing sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG)‚ which attaches to your free testosterone and prevents it from being effective.
Avenacosides A&B and 3‚4–Divanillyltetrahydrofuran (both found in the No.17 formulation) are two ingredients that are effective at binding to SHBG so that it can’t affect your free testosterone. The result is that your free testosterone level will spike.
Testosterone Booster Benefits
When you have more testosterone coursing through your body‚ you’ll be able to build more muscle‚ burn more fat‚ have a greater feeling of confidence‚ and have an extreme surge in your libido.
Unfortunately‚ some guys don’t get these benefits because they have low testosterone (a.k.a. hypogonadism). This leads to depression‚ fat accumulation‚ fatigue‚ loss of muscle mass‚ low libido‚ mood swings‚ and decreased brain function.
Testosterone boosters are a great way to combat hypogonadism and these potential problems.
Testosterone Booster Side Effects
The good news about test-boosters is that their side effects, if any, are very mild, especially in comparison to anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS). But there are still possible side effects that you should be aware of‚ regardless of if they’re mild.
Acne and oily skin are common in younger guys who use testosterone boosters because many young guys already have high testosterone‚ and adding more can increase their androgens and subsequently cause acne.
One side effect is a muscle–tendon imbalance‚ where your muscles grow at a rate that’s too rapid for your tendons and ligaments. This makes you more susceptible to injury. Although it’s doubtful that a testosterone booster will cause your muscles to grow at such a rapid rate, it’s uncontrollable. But rather test-boosters, steadily increase muscle growth at a controlled rate with which the body can tolerate and adjust to.
Again‚ testosterone booster side effects aren’t nearly as strong as what steroids cause. In fact‚ most guys can use these products without experiencing any problems at all.
What Do Steroids Do?
The best–known anabolic steroid is testosterone‚ which is a chemically synthesized version of natural testosterone. Other anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone that have been modified to achieve muscle gain better‚ fat loss and/or strength gains to a higher degree.
A few examples include Anadrol‚ Dianabol‚ Nandrolone‚ and Trenbolone. Steroids like Anadrol and Dianabol can be taken orally‚ while others like Nandrolone‚ testosterone‚ and Trenbolone must be injected.
Benefits of Testosterone Injections
Testosterone and its synthetic AAS derivatives promote muscle and strength gains at a much–higher level than testosterone boosters. These drugs introduce a large quantity of synthetic testosterone into your body‚ which will increase your body’s testosterone to an extreme level.
Aside from enhancing your physique‚ steroids are also used in the medical community to treat a variety of conditions. Medicinal uses include combating muscle wasting‚ stimulating bone marrow‚ stimulating growth in children‚ and preventing hypogonadism.
Men who have abnormally low testosterone can undergo testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)‚ where they receive small injections for the rest of their lives.
Steroids Are Illegal without a Prescription
Due to steroid side effects and their abuse in sports‚ AAS is illegal in many countries without a doctor’s prescription. This means that you either need to have a medical condition or purchase steroids through the black market – the latter of which is filled with counterfeit and/or under–dosed drugs.
This is one big reason why many guys opt for testosterone boosters over buying illegal anabolic steroids.
Steroid Side Effects
The downside to the rapid muscle gains and fat loss that steroids promote is that they come with dangerous side effects. Some of which last forever!
Some of the side effects of steroids occur during a cycle – notably the androgenic and estrogenic varieties – while others happen after a cycle.
On–cycle Side Effects
When your testosterone level rises dramatically through anabolic steroids‚ your estrogen level can rise too. This leads to estrogenic side effects like fat gain‚ gynecomastia (man boobs)‚ and water retention.
Some of the androgenic side effects of steroids include acne‚ increased aggression‚ accelerated hair loss‚ and increased body hair. Other possible problems include poor cholesterol and liver toxicity.
The level of estrogenic and androgenic side effects that you experience depends upon the drug that you’re using. For example, the steroid Trenbolone doesn't convert to estrogen (aromatize)‚ but has some of the worst androgenic side effects of any steroid.
If you do use AAS‚ it’s vital to know the qualities of each drug so that you can get the right on–cycle support.
Arimidex and Aromasin minimize aromatization‚ Finasteride protects your hair‚ milk thistle protects your liver‚ a testosterone booster stabilizes your natural testosterone‚ and fish oil helps manage your cholesterol levels.
Post–cycle Side Effects
Aside from what we’ve discussed above‚ you’ll also suffer side effects following a steroid cycle (a.k.a. post–cycle crash).
This occurs because you’ve put synthetic testosterone into your body‚ and your Hypothalamus–Pituitary–Testes–Axis (HPTA) – the chain reaction that produces natural testosterone – takes the synthetic testosterone as a cue to stop making your own testosterone.
Once you go off AAS and the drug(s) exits your system‚ your natural testosterone takes a while to restore‚ if it’s restored at all. This is when you begin to experience loss of muscle‚ low libido‚ fat accumulation‚ and lethargy.
Most steroid users take Clomid‚ Nolvadex‚ and/or a potent testosterone booster after their cycle to restore hormone levels (a.k.a. post–cycle therapy).
A lot of steroid users love No.17 ability to keep their natural testosterone production high and inhibit estrogen on and after a steroid cycle, which helps stave off low libido, shrunken testicles, low sperm count, gynecomastia (a.k.a. bitch tits) and water retention. This allows them to experience massive lean muscle gains and fat loss through steroids, without all of the nasty, long-lasting side effects afterward.
Summary of Testosterone Boosters vs. Steroids
The big problem with steroids‚ including that they’re illegal without a prescription, and they cause severe side effects. What’s more, is that if you permanently alter your natural hormone levels and increase your risk of having to go on TRT someday.
As for testosterone boosters‚ they help accelerate your natural testosterone level to a significant degree‚ leading to more muscle‚ quicker fast loss‚ higher libido‚ and more confidence. What’s more, is that the side effects, if any, are mild‚ and you won’t suffer any post–cycle crash.
Now that we’ve discussed the differences between steroids and testosterone boosters‚ it’s up to you to decide what aligns with your goals.