Two Big Testosterone Dangers

In our final testosterone article (for now, at least), we’ll cover the top two worries men, and oftentimes their partners, have when it comes to hormone replacement therapy. First:

“Won’t my natural production shut down?”

That’s a valid concern. When you take additional hormones, your body tends to kick back… relax… and stop producing the stuff on its own. “If you don’t use it, you lose it” and all that. Good news, though: When the supply runs dry, your body revives its production.

A review of studies by the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine shows testosterone levels tend to bounce back to their previous levels.

That’s good…

… but this “bounce back” is to the same previously low levels that spurred the therapy in the first place.

That’s bad.

This, if anything, can cause a psychological dependency. But that’s like saying coffee should be avoided at all costs because you start jonesing for the energy every morning and risked crashing later on. It comes down to what your body can handle and how well you can manage an external stimulant.

(And before anyone freaks out because sex hormones are obviously more serious than coffee, it’s the principle of which I speak.)

Balancing a little extra testosterone on the side and dealing with the occasional taper, however, is a far cry from “take testosterone and your testicles will go on strike forever.” Here’s one reader’s experience:

“I am 60 years old and have been on doctor’s prescription for 10 years. I think it’s overrated for sex drive. It does help with energy level and mood swings. My muscle mass has not disappeared like a lot of buddies of the same age. However, I do work out three times a week in old traditional karate, which includes an hour of stretching and hour of karate forms. I have my blood checked every six months and annual visits to urologist. Don’t feel 60, but if I don’t work out, I do. Have tapered off testosterone before and the only noticeable side effect is a big case of lazy ass.”

Now let’s move onto something a little more scary: prostate cancer. If you’ve ever researched increasing your testosterone levels through hormone replacement therapy, you’ve probably read that doing so grows prostate cancer.

There’s just one problem with this:

It’s BS.

This rumor began based on the research of Charles B. Huggins, who won the Nobel Prize for, in part, castrating men. Seriously.

This party pooper reported that testosterone injection “activates” prostate cancer and enhances its growth “in all cases.” I’m sure he concluded that based on extensive studies and experimentation… right?

Oh, not so much.

This was discovered by Dr. Abraham Morgentaler in the basement of the Countway Library at Harvard Medical School. There, he dug up an old volume Huggins had contributed to in 1941. To make things more interesting, I’m picturing it as something similar to the scene where Indiana Jones swipes that weird golden figure thingy from the booby-trapped cave in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Anyway, Dr. Morgentaler found out the myth of testosterone and prostate cancer was the result of three men being studied! The results were reported for only two… and one was already castrated. Plus, their possible prostate cancer growth was determined with a method since abandoned for its crappy results.

After outrunning a giant boulder threatening to trap him in the Countway Library forever (still doing the Indiana Jones thing here), Dr. Morgentaler went on to publish studies showing testosterone therapy has zero risk for increasing prostate cancer growth.

Not that the fear-mongering of evil steroids has ceased:

In a 2013 study published in JAMA, the authors conclude there’s an increase of heart problems among men with low testosterone who get testosterone therapy.

Dr. Morgentaler was quick to fire back to JAMA’s Journal Oversight Committee. Here’s what he wrote, according to

“This article is a mess, and JAMA has behaved badly. Something is terribly amiss when a premier medical journal publishes such an obviously weak study that contradicts well-established literature, and in so doing fosters fear among the public. The concern is heightened when the journal’s response to inescapable evidence that the study is meritless is to deceive, distort, stonewall, and dig in. JAMA’s behavior suggests it is more interested in sensationalism and media coverage than scientific accuracy and integrity.”

Feel that, JAMA? That’s Dr. Morgentaler… to borrow a phrase from The Rock… laying the smackdown on you.

In fairness, I’ll grudgingly admit the good doctor has received financial backing from AbbVie, which sells AndroGel, the most popular testosterone treatment.

But here’s something you should know about researchers and their corporate ties (yes, it’s time for one of my sidetracks): Any sort of financial conflict of interest must be disclosed in a study. Yes, they can lie, and there is “back seat of a Lincoln Town Car-sized” wiggle room for messing with data to get the outcome the study funders want.

But here’s the thing: This is the villain everyone knows about. What people rarely consider is the bias toward toeing the government’s line or the culture of the school where the study’s taking place. This influence is much stronger and more insidious.


For all the study’s controversy, the increase in absolute risk it published for cardiac outcomes was a paltry 5.8 percent. Call me cavalier, but I might be willing to roll the dice if the upshot included feeling, functioning and looking more like a hormone-dripping 20-something. But that’s just me.

Especially considering a study out of Germany found an association between low testosterone and all-cause mortality. In other words, men with low T tended to die more from… everything. (And yes, that probably includes terminal cases of lazy ass).

Here’s to staying motivated,

Nate Rifkin
Underground Health

Nate Rifkin

Written By Nate Rifkin

Nate Rifkin is an obsessed health and mind-power researcher and author. To hear more from Nate, sign up to receive Living Well Daily for free, here.

View More Free Articles

Nutrient Fix for Deadly "Orphan Condition"

Venous thromboembolism is what I call an “orphan condition.” The chances are high that you’ve never even heard of it before. But we should discuss it more often because it’s underdiagnosed, SERIOUS, and preventable. A (VTE) happens when a blood clot forms in a vein. When that clot is in a DEEP vein (usually in...

Read This

"Liquid Gold" Packs a Powerful Healing Punch

Bone broth has popped up on grocery store shelves nationwide in the last few years. And I couldn’t be happier about it! I love to drink bone broth. But I used to have to make my own “liquid gold.” And to be honest… it’s time-consuming. Now, you can pop down to your local supermarket and...

Read This

Diabetes Risk PLUMMETS with THIS Vitamin

I’ve got to be honest with you. When it comes to health, the future is looking a bit grim. If you’re no spring chicken, a tsunami of poor health could be headed your way. Recent research has found that 25 percent of people over 65 ALREADY have diabetes. But it gets worse. Over 50 percent...

Read This

MAILBAG: Exercise AFTER a Heart Attack?

“My wife had a heart attack a few months ago. She’s sitting around and doing even less than she did before. I’m a regular reader and know you’ve mentioned moving is important for heart attack patients. What are some safe things she can do to keep moving? How much should she move?” – Rob from...

Read This

Olive Oil Compound WOWS Researchers

Olive oil has been getting some well-deserved attention the last few years. So it would be easy to assume that the golden oil’s status as a health food was recently earned. But the truth is, olive oil has been considered a healthy staple in the human diet since it was first developed 600 years ago....

Read This

NEW Medicinal Mushroom Benefit UNCOVERED

I’m a big fan of medicinal mushrooms. Almost everyone has eaten a standard mushroom on a pizza or in a spaghetti sauce, of course. But most folks have yet to experience medical mushrooms’ power to improve our health. Medicinal mushrooms are already used to treat heart, liver, and brain conditions. They can boost the immune...

Read This

[SENIORS] Cellular GLITCH Discovered?!

Aging isn’t for sissies, that’s for sure. But hey, I always remind myself the alternative is FAR worse! Besides, when you sit back and take stock, you’ll realize that a life well lived – like your own – is something to be proud of. But those accomplishments, unfortunately, don’t reduce your risk of suffering the...

Read This

Overlooked Diabetes Risk Drives Up Blood Sugar

If you’re concerned about diabetes, you’ve probably done your research. You likely focused on all the common problem areas to ward off rising blood sugar: the grocery store… the gym… and the bathroom scale. And those ARE all great places to start! Eating better, exercising, and losing weight can go a long way toward bringing your...

Read This

Boredom BUSTING Hack Keeps You Sane AND Healthy

This time of year, I start to feel a little stir-crazy. Cabin fever sets in as I tire of the cold and snow. And I start thinking about the warmer weather that’s right around the corner (but still feels SO far away). You see, I enjoy walking, hiking, and running outside. It’s good for both...

Read This

Loneliness Linked to THIS Startling Side Effect

Before the pandemic, we didn’t talk much about being lonely. But when the virus locked us down in our homes, the issue of isolation could no longer be ignored. Some of us were experiencing that kind of loneliness for the first time. But the truth is social isolation has ALWAYS been a common problem for...

Read This