To most people, the mere word “muscles” brings to mind huge muscular bodybuilders. The importance of muscle mass, strength, and power for physical performance in exercise and sports is obvious. However, muscles aren’t just for show. Here I will explain why….
In the past, anabolic steroids were used primarily by athletes in order to boots physical performance. However, today anabolic steroids are also common among non-athletes, who use them with the goal to improve their physique and appearance. It was recently estimated that among Americans aged 13-50 years, 2.9 to 4.0 million have used anabolic steroids. Within this group, roughly 1 million may have experienced anabolic steroid dependence.
Most of these folks have gone down this pathway blindly, obviously without physician supervision, using underground black market resources and products. Not only is non-medically supervised use of anabolic steroids per see potentially dangerous, but the purity of underground products is highly speculative, which adds additional health risks. Also, because of the common practice of “stacking”, which is use of two or more anabolic steroids (often androgens) in progressively increasing doses in cycles lasting for different durations of time, it is hard to predict the cumulative potential health consequences. Also, most anabolic steroids are synthetic man-made compounds that are not natural to the body. This is in contrast to testosterone, which is naturally produced by the body and necessary, in the physiological range, for health and wellbeing. Anabolic steroids are not.
For those who have chosen to use anabolic steroids, this article will outline ways to restore the HPG-axis (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal axis).
In an effort to slash heart disease, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans  have since 1977 been urging people to:
1. Reduce total fat consumption to 30% of total caloric intake.
2. Reduce saturated fat consumption to 10% of total energy intake.
Government issued dietary guidelines are highly authoritative and regarded by a majority as being backed by solid research. However, as it turns out, this is not the case…
Dietary recommendations regarding intake of total and saturated fat are highly controversial, and the debate is heating up. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of six studies that were available 1977, when the first version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was published, shows: 
It is well documented that obesity may cause hypogonadism, and that hypogonadism may cause obesity [1-4] This has generated debate about what condition comes first; obesity or hypogonadism? And what should be the first point of intervention?
In this article I will summarize data from several reviews on the associations of hypogonadism and obesity [1-4], and make the case that these conditions create a self-perpetuating vicious circle. Once a vicious circle has been established, it doesn’t matter where one intervenes; one can either treat the obese condition or treat hypogonadism first. The critical issue is to break the vicious circle as soon as possible before irreversible health damage arises.
Nevertheless, as I will explain here, treating hypogonadism first with testosterone replacement therapy may prove to be a more effective strategy because it to a large extent “automatically” takes care of the excess body fat and metabolic derangements. In addition, treating hypogonadism first also confers psychological benefits that will help obese men become and stay more physically active.
Key Points [1-4]
• Traditional obesity treatments with diet and exercise programs are notorious for failing in long-term maintenance of weight loss due to lack of adherence. Anti-obesity drugs have limited efficacy and may not be without adverse effects.
• In the prospective Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS), non-obese men who became obese had a decline of testosterone levels comparable to that of 10 years of aging.
• Testosterone deficiency and obesity each contribute independently to a self-perpetuating vicious cycle.
• Long-term testosterone therapy in men with hypogonadism improves body composition, metabolic syndrome components and quality of life, and thereby can help break the vicious cycle.
• Treatment of hypogonadism with long-term testosterone therapy, with or without lifestyle modifications, effectively treats obesity by correcting testosterone deficiency; one physiological root cause of obesity.
• In contrast to the U-shaped curve for weight loss seen with traditional obesity treatments, which are characterized by weight loss and weight regain, treatment with testosterone therapy results in a continuous reduction in obesity parameters (waist circumference, weight and BMI) for >5 years, or until metabolic abnormalities return to healthy ranges.
• The significant effectiveness of testosterone therapy in combating obesity in hypogonadal men remains largely unknown to doctors. Educational efforts are therefore critical to bring research findings into clinical practice in order to improve patient care and health outcomes.
Recent studies have shown some controversial findings that high-rep training is as effective as the traditional medium rep training for muscle growth. If you missed it, check out my two previous articles:
In this article I will show some examples of how high-rep sets can be implemented in a serious weight lifting program, and look at the results of some studies that have investigated this.
The term bioidentical hormone does not have a standardized definition and thus often confuses patients and practitioners. The Endocrine Society has defined bioidentical hormones as “compounds that have exactly the same chemical and molecular structure as hormones that are produced in the human body.” That is, bioidentical hormones are identical to endogenous (produced within the body) hormones.
Note that this generalized definition does not address the manufacturing, source, or delivery methods of the products and thus can include non-FDA-approved custom-compounded products as well as FDA-approved formulations.
EDITORS NOTE: The New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM) currently has a poll for people to vote for or against the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) based on a case study they present. Currently, the poll is in the negative for TRT, which is totally illogical based on the case study. NJEM is a very influential journal in the medical community and followed closely by the non medical community, so the poll results do matter as to how both medical professionals and non (including the media…) view TRT. If you’re for TRT (and if you have read the many articles on the topic on BrinkZone you should be!) I highly recommend you take a few seconds to vote on this poll. It’s on the right side of the NJEM page and a tad small.
The highly acclaimed medical journal New England Journal of Medicine has a poll for people to vote “For or Against Testosterone Replacement Therapy”.
Poll open through Dec 3, 2014. There is still time for health conscious folks and healthcare professionals to make their voice heard.
Join the fight for the justice of testosterone and men’s health!
During testosterone therapy, total and free estradiol (the main form of estrogen) levels increase dose-dependently in both young (aged 19-35 year old) and 52 older (aged 59-75 year old) men, and more so in older men compared to younger men. The potential clinical consequences of higher estradiol levels and higher estradiol-to-testosterone ratios in older men remains poorly understood, and the optimal management of high-normal or elevated estrogens is controversial among clinicians.
Interestingly, in some patients, an initial elevation in estradiol is followed by decreased estradiol after prolonged testosterone therapy.[3, 4] This may be due to reduced body fat mass or decreased testosterone levels over time with fixed dose treatments.
Here you will get advice on how to best approach estrogen management while on testosterone therapy…
Creatine is one of the few dietary supplements that have a very solid scientific support for its efficacy in increasing strength, explosive performance and muscle mass. So the question in not whether it is effective, but rather how to supplement it to reap maximal effectiveness?
There are several theories on how to take creatine; some say you should load and then lower the dose to maintenance, while others say you can get good results by a constant low dosage regimen without loading. Yet others say you should cycle the creatine and take breaks from it in between cycles. And then we have the issue of dosages and how to ingest it. In addition, there is a lot of confusion about the myriad for creatine forms that claim to be superior over the gold standard creatine monohydrate – the form that was used in research which proved its efficacy. Are the new fancy creatine-super-duper formulations really worth their price? Let’s tackle all theses creatine issues here…
Alleged concerns regarding risk of cardiovascular disease with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) have been promulgated recently. However, a large and growing number of intervention studies show to the contrary that TRT reduces cardiovascular risk factors and confers multiple beneficial health effects. Thus, fears promoted by some recent flawed studies need to be critically re-evaluated.
This article gives an overview of studies that have investigated health effects and safety of TRT. As outlined here, the position that testosterone deficiency (TD) should be regarded as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease is supported by a rapidly expanding body of evidence.[2-4]