Are You Testosterone Deficient?
Muscular Development|January 2022
On a cloudy day, time moves less clearly than it does on a sunny day. Harken back to the summer days of youth, before the responsibilities of a job or family required one to pay attention to the passage of time. It wasn’t until the streetlights went on that one realized the sun had set and night had covered the neighborhood in a cloak of darkness. The activity on the streets settle as children are called in, even the dogs and squirrels sought shelter as they prepare for their nocturnal slumber.
By Daniel Gwartney

A man’s physiology undergoes a similar change as time passes, though on a much grander scale. In decades, rather than hours, the “sunshine” of youthfulness passes gradually as the “darkness” of aging suppresses many activities in the body. Among the many documented changes that occur with aging is a clear decline in the concentration of testosterone. Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone that is responsible, either directly or through one of its metabolites – dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol (E2) – for promoting anabolic processes in many tissues, as well as initiating and maintaining secondary sexual characteristics. Testosterone is often referred to as the male sex hormone, but it is shortsighted to pigeonhole testosterone to a single set of processes. Testosterone obviously promotes muscle mass and sexual/reproductive function, but it also affects bone density, red blood cell mass, hair growth patterns, organ function, fat cell metabolism, stem cell differentiation, etc.

The Fluctuating Hormone

Testosterone is not a static presence in the blood. Its “normal” concentration varies among age groups, races and individuals; even in the same person, it not only varies from season to season, but hour to hour. If a man’s serum (blood) testosterone concentration were plotted on a graph, it would have as many ups and downs as the stock market has shown over time. To complicate matters further, the effects of testosterone are not dependent solely upon the concentration of testosterone in the blood (serum), but also on androgen receptor density, structure, converting enzymes, co-factors (both activators and suppressors), genotype, nutritional status, non-genomic receptors, etc. Even when restricting the evaluation of a man’s androgen status to serum testosterone measures, there remain a number of variables, including: sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG); albumin; total versus free versus bioavailable; E2; DHEA; etc.

To be fair, few people understand the greater scope of testosterone’s roles and action in human physiology. Certainly, there has been no call by academics, professional journals, the popular media or even the public to pursue, let alone fund, investigations into the role of testosterone and its benefits to society and individuals. This would contrast too sharply with the emotion-laden reactionary messages about the ethical violations of doping and challenges of high-risk youths abusing anabolic steroids that are so effective in gaining media attention and political backing.

Looking at testosterone objectively, one must admit that the illicit (illegal) distribution and use of testosterone and related anabolic-androgenic steroids (collectively called AAS) is problematic. Despite the fact that most users are socially responsible adult men who report surprisingly moderate use, regulations need to be in place to prevent and punish illicit trafficking of AAS. Failure to do so results in the administration of abusive levels by uninformed and unsupervised users, administration of the drug(s) to unsuitable candidates who may have overt or covert contraindications (obvious or undetected reasons to not be given access to AAS; i.e., pregnant women; adolescents who have not reached final height; persons with personality disorders, psychoses or neuroses; those with hormone sensitive tumors; etc.); introduction of adulterated products (drugs that do not contain the stated amount of a drug or contaminated with other drugs/chemicals), etc.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENTView All

THE SHED

There really is no "magic" split that is far superior to any other. Work hard, give the muscle groups time to recover between sessions, and you'll do well on any split.

4 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

BIG RON With Big Ronnie Coleman, Eight-Time Mr. Olympia

Ronnie Interviews Shawn Ray

4 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

PRO SECRETS TO 6 PACK ABS

We bodybuilders tend to give short shrift to abdominal training, focusing the lion's share of our time and energy on building bigger pecs, delts, lats, arms, quads and hams. Many of us don't do a damn thing for them until summer is approaching and we suddenly realize we are going to be shirtless at the beach or the pool. You should already know that low body fat levels are essential to display the abdominal muscles, but it's also true that the abs need to be developed or else they're nothing to display! This month, we have compiled some ab-training tips, tricks and routines from some of the best bodybuilders ever. Use their knowledge and experience to help you craft your own perfect 6-pack!

10+ mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

DON'T COUNT THE BUTCHER OUT! BRETT WILKIN STILL HAS A WORLD OF POTENTIAL

Bodybuilding fans can be a fickle lot. Brett Wilkin turned pro in Classic and did his first two shows as a 212, hardly making an impact. But when he made his Open debut last summer at the Chicago Pro and came close to defeating Hunter Labrada, who went on that fall to place fourth at the Mr. Olympia, he was being praised to the heavens as being the next big thing. Update photos leading into the 2022 Arnold Classic only cemented that belief, with many feeling he would be the one to push eventual champion, Brandon Curry, the hardest. Alas, it was not meant to be. He failed to deliver on those lofty expectations, ultimately placing sixth out of nine men. In a flash, many labeled him yet another example of being "all hype," and decided he had no future in the sport. I spoke with Brett three weeks later about the Arnold, his new sponsor and a move from Colorado to Florida, and what he needs to do moving forward to ensure he is in contention for the win the next time he gets on stage - as well as when that will be.

9 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

Rafael Brandão THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME!

In the fall of 2017, MD's own Giles Thomas was in San Marino, Italy covering the pro show. Two future stars made their pro debut that day. One was the tank-like Hadi Choopan, and the other was a study in shape and symmetry named Rafael Brandão from Brazil. Giles immediately recognized the vast potential in the young man, and as time went by the rest of the bodybuilding world caught on. Fast-forward to 2022 and "Rafa," as many know him, is one of the best up-and-coming competitors in Open Bodybuilding. We spoke about training with Flex Lewis, the true power and rewards of bodybuilding beyond the superficial muscles, the meteoric rise of Brazilian athletes in the IFBB Pro League, and his first Mr. Olympia coming up later this year.

10 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

Classic Shawn

10 QUESTIONS WITH SHAWN RAY

7 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

CLASSIC TRAINING CAMP

By Chris Bumstead, Three-Time Classic Physique Olympia Champion

4 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

THE DOCTOR IS IN...Shape!

George Touliatos aka Dr. Testosterone Is Living the Bodybuilding Lifestyle

10 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

The Black Swan

This Will Be My Final Year in Classic Physique

4 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022

THE OHIO POWERHOUSE!

Dean Caputo Is an Industry Legend

7 mins read
Muscular Development
June 2022