Bodybuilders, athletes, and those who are experiencing hormonal declines related to the aging process are often keenly interested in anything can provide a safe hormonal boost. The word "safe" is key here since many of the potential users of over-the-counter supplement products don't want to resort to actual hormonal therapy or use because of fears of possible side effects. Most physicians are still reluctant about prescribing testosterone and other hormones such as growth hormone that provide anabolic effects. Such fears stem from the notion that these hormones are related to such serious problems as prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease in the case of testosterone. Indeed, as this is being written, the Food and Drug Administration just announced that all testosterone-based drug preparations must now come with a warning about the possibility of promoting cardiovascular disease (CVD). This controversy was discussed in a recent issue of Applied Metabolics, where it was noted that the preponderance of published studies shows that, if anything, testosterone exerts protective effects against the onset of CVD. Since then, a number of other studies have confirmed the safety of testosterone replacement therapy in relation to cardiovascular disease onset. The FDA warning is based on two highly flawed studies that have been severely criticized by a number of professional medical organizations and physicians.
This leaves open the possibility of obtaining a testosterone-boosting supplement that is sold over the counter (OTC) in supplement form. Such supplements do not require a doctor's prescription, although until recently, many of them were actual drugs. For about the last 10 years, many of the supplements sold as "testosterone boosters" were in fact, old, discarded anabolic steroids that were developed 50 years ago by major pharmaceutical companies, but were never released, usually because of issues involving adverse side effects shown in preliminary animal tests. But that didn't stop unscrupulous entrepreneurs from resurrecting the discarded old steroids and producing them as OTC supplements. When the FDA became aware of this, Congress passed the Anabolic Steroid Control act of 2004 that sought to ban the sale of many of the OTC prohormone and steroid supplements. This action led to the development of entirely new steroid preparations, which were known as designer steroids. In actuality, however, most of these so-called designer steroids were usually again old steroids brought back from obscurity. They just weren't on the list of the substances banned by the 2004 Steroid act. Others were old steroids that were structurally manipulated to resist premature liver breakdown, which is precisely how all common oral anabolic steroid drugs work. There is no question that such designer steroids were effective. Indeed, in some cases, they were far more potent than existing legal, prescription oral anabolic steroids. But it's also unquestionable that they were highly toxic, especially in the liver. Several cases of liver failure requiring a liver transplant . . .