OTC testosterone supplements are something we recommend against for all of our clients.
The reason is pretty straightforward: not only do they not work, but they may actually be dangerous.
These supplements are marketed as a cheap to not-so-cheap way to increase testosterone while still being effective, but that’s just not accurate.
Believe me, I understand the attraction: If you can get an OTC testosterone pill or powder that lasts you for weeks or months, that you can take in the comfort of your own home, why bother with topicals, pellets, or weekly injections?
These supplements also appear to have another major benefit: You don’t need to go to a clinic or medical care provider to get them.
Testosterone Supplementation Without Close Supervision Is Dangerous
Let’s pretend, for the sake of the argument, that OTC testosterone supplements work (they don’t) and that they are safe (they’re not — they’re actually very dangerous for your liver).
Even if a particular supplement worked and wasn’t directly dangerous, you wouldn’t know what they were actually boosting your testosterone levels up to or with because your levels aren’t being accurately checked or monitored.
Furthermore, the ingredient list is often withheld, and even when printed, it has a high potential for inaccuracy.
Testosterone replacement therapy requires precision — especially for women suffering from low testosterone, but for men too.
Which means you could end up taking far too much, boosting your testosterone levels beyond what your body needs, and inducing some very serious side effects.
And there’s no way to know, with any level of precision, how your body is reacting to the supplement. You would have to constantly test your own testosterone levels, which is a practice fraught with its own issues (The short version of the article I just mentioned is this: Home testosterone testing is inaccurate at best).
So, if you’re supplementing on your own, and it’s unclear what your testosterone levels are to begin with, and it’s unclear how much the supplements are actually increasing your testosterone levels, and you have no one monitoring you to tell you where your testosterone levels should actually be…
Well, you’re starting to see the problem.
But This Is All Hypothetical, Because OTC Testosterone Pills and Supplements Don’t Work (and Many Are Actually Dangerous)
The reason they don’t work is simple — testosterone is not something you can simply ingest through your stomach.
And, if a substance you purchased online or in a supplement store has actual anabolic components (steroids) in an oral form, your liver is at risk!
Your body is supposed to create its own testosterone. Testosterone is not a compound that your body evolved to ingest directly. Even if certain foods can help raise testosterone levels, they can only raise your body’s ability to create its own testosterone.
They can’t increase your testosterone directly, and the same is true for these OTC testosterone supplements. The best effect these supplements can achieve is to increase your body’s ability to make more testosterone.
And even if these supplements could increase your testosterone directly (that is, if they were actual methyltestosterone or something similar) that would be terrible for you!
Ingesting testosterone through your stomach can cause severe liver damage. According to several doctors interviewed in this article:
“Users of oral (typically, over-the-counter) testosterone supplements… should be wary, both doctors warned. Some over-the-counter forms of testosterone taken orally are known to cause liver damage when the supplements are metabolized….”
If you value your liver (and your life), OTC testosterone supplements are something to stay away from.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Requires Medical Supervision
First, before you even consider some form of testosterone supplementation, you should speak with a medical provider. It’s critical that you get your testosterone levels tested appropriately so that you know where to begin.
It’s just as critical that you have your levels tested regularly to ensure you’re not getting too much or too little testosterone and that you receive proper testosterone supplementation from a medical provider well versed in testosterone replacement therapy.
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