Indirect Doping—The Harmful Misuse of Estrogen Blockers to Increase Performance

Most people are concerned about how they look and want to perform at the top of their games as often as possible. Societal pressures can convince us to take shortcuts and utilize less than safe measures to achieve those goals. Steroids and human growth hormone have been made famous in media scandals involving popular athletes using them to unfairly improve their performance and physique.

However, a less-publicized drug is being abused by professional athletes and weekend warriors alike who are willing to put their health at risk to gain an unfair advantage over their competition—aromatase inhibitors, more commonly known as estrogen blockers.

A silhouette of a man performing the bench press. Estrogen blockers are the latest method of doping for performance enhancement.

What Are Estrogen Blockers?

First off, it’s important to note that the production of estrogen in a male body is a completely normal and necessary process. Estrogen is required for the healthy physiologic functions of your brain and other important organs, including:

  • Erectile function and sex interest
  • Maintenance of bone health
  • Regulation of fat mass vs. lean mass
  • Brain functions
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Skin metabolism

Estradiol, a form of estrogen, is produced as a byproduct of the utilization and breakdown of testosterone, which is catalyzed by an enzyme called aromatase.

Aromatase is produced in the adrenal glands, the brain, fatty tissue, and even the testicles.

Since the level of estradiol that men require to fuel these critical bodily systems listed is derived from testosterone, a correlation develops. Low testosterone means your body doesn’t have the raw materials for estrogen production, but high testosterone levels would result in high estrogen levels.

Therefore, when testosterone levels are intentionally increased during Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), it’s likely that estrogen levels will also increase.

An aromatase inhibitor, such as anastrozole (arimidex), is used to keep rising estrogen production in check by inhibiting the aromatase enzymatic activity, leaving higher levels active testosterone compared to estrogen in the bloodstream.

This reduction of estradiol is often necessary to control some TRT side effects, such as gynecomastia (the development of breasts in male patients).

Learn more about estrogen blockers and their critical role in preventing side effects here.

 The Misuse of Estrogen Blockers

People using these medications for performance enhancement are trying to achieve an effect referred to as indirect doping. Instead of putting large quantities of synthetic testosterone medication into their systems to achieve drastic increases in total and free testosterone, they’re seeking to drastically suppress estrogen levels to achieve a similar testosterone-heavy hormone profile.

On the surface, this might seem to be less risky than anabolic steroid abuse to achieve similar results. However, tampering with your own hormone levels in any manner is a dangerous undertaking for the simple reason that your levels aren’t being monitored.

Without the direct supervision of qualified medical practitioners, you would have no idea how these medications actually affect your delicate hormone balance or the harm you might be doing to your body.

Self-testing of hormone levels can’t be performed with any level of precision, because you would have to constantly test your own levels. Any error could lead you to take far too much medication, driving your estrogen levels far too low.

Yes, low estrogen occurs in men and is an actual hormone imbalance with unpleasant symptoms that can reduce your quality of life, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Oversleeping or sleeping too often
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Water retention
  • Bone loss
  • Fat accumulation

Your hormone balance is not a DIY project. Whatever your fitness goals may be, shortcuts that tamper with your endocrine system should be strictly avoided.

(TRT is NOT steroid abuse—learn more.)

Struggling With Performance or Not Seeing Progress?

If you’re not seeing the results you believe you should despite putting in the training and proper nutrition, or if chronic fatigue is preventing you from putting in much effort at all, a hormone imbalance like Low T might be the root cause.

Don’t take matters into your own hands. Seek professional help.

We recommend taking the first step towards looking and feeling better by getting a thorough examination that focuses on finding the actual source of what’s holding you back.

At Testosterone Centers of Texas, the first consult is free—click the button to get started.

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(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C

(Augie) Juan Augustine Galindo Jr. MPAS, PA-C started his career in healthcare as a fireman/paramedic in West Texas where he served on the Midland Fire Department from 1998-2004.   He became interested in testosterone treatment after seeing how hormone replacement doctors helped those suffering from low testosterone.   After graduating from the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center Physician Assistant Program, he moved to DFW where he currently lives with his wife and three children.

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