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The Oxford dictionary defines exogenous as relating to or developing from an external factor or factors. It’s the opposite of endogenous, meaning naturally developed from within. More simply, and especially when related to hormones like testosterone, exogenous equates to synthetically produced. Exogenous testosterone therefore is a form of synthetic or commercially designed testosterone replacement therapy. Famous athletes have been caught using it including Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins who was suspended for 80 games for using exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol.
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Testosterone is a hormone typically produced in adequate amount by the male testes, one of the many glands that compose the endocrine system. It typically rises in males during adolescence or puberty, and then levels off in early adulthood. These levels then naturally begin to decline as a man reaches his 30s or 40s. A typical range of the hormone in a healthy adult males averages anywhere from 300 to 1000 ng per deciliter. Anything within this range is considered normal.
As a hormone, it is responsible for producing secondary sex male characteristics in men. Body and facial hair, larger muscles, leaner muscle to body fat ratio, maturation of genitalia and sperm production, libido, and more. It is also important in muscle and bone development, growth, and strength.
The hormone is manufactured in the testicles, but this manufacturing process is controlled by the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. The hypothalamus gland is located in the brain close to the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is responsible for maintaining normal levels of fluids in the body.
The pituitary gland is known as the master gland because it controls the function and maintenance of all other glands found within the endocrine system. In cases where the pituitary gland is not functioning properly or has received some type of injury, its ability to do its job may suffer and contribute to a decrease in production of the male hormone.
Natural is always considered best, and safer, and in most situations, the body is perfectly capable of producing adequate amounts of the hormone on its own. In the case where levels are low (hypogonadism), androgen replacement therapy may be recommended. That’s where exogenous testosterone comes in.
Synthetic or substitute hormones, due to their source and manufacturing processes, are not always as good as the “real deal” but can still provide a number of benefits and help to relieve many of the symptoms of low T in men.Check out the best natural ways to increase testosterone levels here.
Some controversy has been reported regarding benefits and drawbacks associated with exogenous testosterone supplements. A number of studies have gained attention in recent years regarding the effects that it has on other hormone and metabolic functions and levels in the body.
One study reported in the Iranian Biomedical Journal (“Exogenous testosterone, finasteride and castration effects on insulin, zinc and chromium in adult male rats”) determined that testosterone combined with the use of finasteride can increase zinc as well as insulin levels and led to a decrease in levels of chromium and adult male rats. [Finasteride is a drug often recommended in the treatment of male pattern baldness and benign prostatic hyperplasia].
Another study (“Exogenous testosterone: a preventable cause of male infertility) published by Translational Andrology and Urology in 2013 expressed concerns that use of it suppressed production of the hormone in the testicles, which is required for production or formation of sperm.
The study concluded that the use of exogenous test supplements decreased sperm production, contributing to potential for male infertility. At any rate, the medical community defers to the side that the use of this type of therapy, provides more benefits than risks and side effects.
Therapy utilizes a number of methods including implants, oral (not common), and injectable agents, and transdermal or topical application. A few of the most common forms of injectable testosterone prescribed by physicians includes:
The type of exogenous test recommended by a doctor may depend on what is being treated. For example, different products would be recommended in the treatment of male hypogonadism, delayed puberty in males, as a palliative for breast cancer for women, and so forth.
Controversy and disagreement regarding the types and severity of side effects through the use of exogenous testosterone therapy continues. Some side effects are temporary in nature and disappear after a few months of treatment. Most common side effects associated with this therapy can range from headaches to increase for the potential of coronary artery disease, gynecomastia, liver toxicity, and as a contributory factor in the development of prostate disease.
Other side effects may be more prevalent in elderly men than a younger man, so it’s always important to talk to your doctor about the potential for side effects when using exogenous testosterone (not to be confused with endogenous testosterone) based on your age and your general health status as well as situation.
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