I was going to title this post:
How So-Called “Natural” Testosterone Boosters, Prohormones and Other Over-The-Counter Health Supplements for Building Muscle May Cause Hypogonadism
But that’s a little long 😉
While the FDA does a pretty good job of regulating “medicines” they don’t do such a good job of regulating health supplements, which generally fall under “food” guidelines, which are much more lenient than what prescription-grade pharmaceuticals have to deal with (e.g. years of laboratory testing, human trials, etc…). The FDA has tried several times to expand the definition of pharmaceutical drugs and thus their jurisdiction over health supplements. Some see this as a good thing; others see it as a bad thing. I’m going to stay out of that argument. But I will say this: There’s a big difference between something like vitamin B, whey protein, or acai berries and things like 3,17-keto-etiocholetriene and 4-chloro-17a-methyl-androst-1,4-diene-3b,17b-diol.
Have you ever taken an over-the-counter, legal supplement – like pro-hormones – only to find out afterwards that you have low testosterone?
Did you gain lose fat while taking a supplement, only to gain all of it – and more – back when you stopped taking it? Did you get steroid-like side effects (e.g. gynecomastia, hair growth…) from legal bodybuilding supplements? You may be surprised to find out that many of those so-called supplements actually break down into the same ingredients found in “real” illegal or prescription-grade steroids, aromatase inhibitors, estrogen blockers, erectile dysfunction drugs and other pharmaceutical substances. If you find this difficult to believe, just read some of these recalls, which are just the tip of the iceburg (those that got busted) when compared to how many are still out there:
Recalled Health “Supplements”:
Gaspari Nutrition Recalls Novedex XT, Marketed as a Dietary Supplement Containing ATD
(AKA 3,17-keto-etiocholetriene, an anti-aromatase used to lower estrogen-related side-effects in men taking steroids.)
iForce Nutrition Recalls Reversitol, a Dietary Supplement Containing ATD
(See above description RE: ATD)
Bodybuilding.com Supplements Recalled: May Contain Steroids
(Big recall in 2009 involving dozens of supplements that the FDA said should have been classified as steroids like Trenbolone, Androstenedione and Turinabol.)
Good Health, Inc. Recalls Vialipro – Contains Prescription-Only Ingredients
(These recalls in which sexual enhancement drugs sold at gas stations, truckstops and online contain real erectil dysfunction medications like sildenafil -aka Viagra – or substances like Sulfoaildenafil, that break down into Sildenafil, are quite common.)
IDS Sports Conducts a Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Bromodrol, Dual Action Grow Tabs, Grow Tabs, Mass Tabs, and Ripped Tabs TR
(Similar to the Bodybuilding.com recall, there were several supplements that were found to contain ingredients the FDA deemed should have been classified as steroids.)
Want to see hundreds more like this? Check out US Recall News’ Dietary Supplement section
If something is being marketed in the back of a bodybuilding magazine with steroid-sounding names like Bromodrol, Dbolz, Testosterone Booster Tripple X… you should think about what that marketing is trying accomplish. I’m not anti-steroids when it comes to adults making their own health decisions. And I certainly don’t think the government should be telling us what vitamins we can take without a prescription. But neither should teenagers, women or unsuspecting male athletes be conned into taking health risks and job risks under the false pretense that they are taking “legal” supplements that don’t have any side effects.
So if you’ve ever taken a health supplement that produce too-good-to-be-true results, only to find that you crashed when you came off, or that your testosterone levels were low after long-term use of these drugs, you may have actually been taking steroids, or something analogous to them in effects and side-effects. It makes me wonder how many guys end up on lifelong testosterone replacement because of these supplements, especially since they probably didn’t take appropriate post-cycle-therapy precautions.