Can Increased Testosterone Make a Better Athlete?
Recent studies have revealed that injecting testosterone to male rats caused them to become quite aggressive, especially in terms of marking their territories. The same effect has been noticed on red deers even with best testosterone booster. They experienced antler growth and female rhesus monkeys who displayed male-like screeching behaviours.
On humans, however, testosterone injections were found to increase muscle mass and strength. However, will taking testosterone, a substance which is only administered legally for medical reasons, help improve an athlete’s overall performance?
Testosterone in Sports
In sports, when you want to boost testosterone levels, you either use testosterone creams or shots to experience major performance boosts such as enhanced endurance, improved strength, and even increased sex drive.
However, the idea of taking testosterone for boosting athletic performance was derived from the fact that Floyd Landis, winner of the 2006 Tour de France, was tested positive for elevated testosterone levels during the day of the event. Landis has denied any allegations of taking any performance enhancers.
Meanwhile, some experts weren’t convinced that testosterone as a sports supplement helps improve an athlete’s overall performance. Compared to a sports drink with high caffeine content, testosterone doesn’t give you an instant jolt. Instead, it works over time to increase muscle mass and strengthen them.
The effects of taking testosterone among athletes are still up for debate.
A Closer Look at the Hormone
According to Allan Muzur of Syracuse University, a long-term buildup of the hormone can possibly lead to positive results. However, they still can’t confirm its short-term effects on athletic performance, if there are any.
Testosterone is basically a male sex hormone which is secreted by the adrenal glands and testes. It’s responsible for the secondary sexual characteristics among men including body hair and a deep voice. It also has a role in maintaining body fat, muscle strength, size, and function.
There are some athletes who use anabolic steroids, substances which are related to testosterone, through injections or pills. While such supplements can stimulate muscle building, it won’t necessarily turn a sedentary individual into an athlete overnight.
Douglas Granger of the Pennsylvania State University mentioned that steroids won’t actually transform someone with no athletic talents into a star. However, if you have those athletic genes within you, testosterone might help you with that.
The use of steroids among American bodybuilders became popular in the 1950s after finding out that Soviet weightlifters were actually using them. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s when the American medical establishment accepted the performance-enhancing effects of testosterone supplements.
A study, which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine back in 1996, revealed that volunteers who have received supplemental testosterone experienced larger triceps and quadriceps and even experienced a major increase in muscle strength.
As pointed out by Dr. Donald Catlin of the Olympic Analytical Laboratory, synthetic steroids will cause any normal male to gain bigger and stronger muscles. The fact that they work effectively is one reason why athletes love taking them.
However, do steroid-boosted muscles win the game?
Michael Bahrke, steroids researcher, stated that while bigger strength allows you to perform better, it might not be the case always. In sports like baseball and football which demands power, explosive muscle mass might mean more power. However, it’s hard to confirm if it can lead to better athletic performance or not.