Can you Take Testosterone in the Military?

by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.

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Question: Can You Take Testosterone While Serving in the Military?

Answer: The policy regarding testosterone use in the military varies depending on the specific branch and individual circumstances.

It is recommended to consult with a medical professional or military representative for accurate and up-to-date information.


If you're serving in the military and considering taking testosterone, it's important to understand the regulations and potential consequences.

While testosterone replacement therapy may be prescribed for certain medical conditions, it's important to follow the rules and guidelines set forth by the military.

Read on to learn more about the regulations and potential risks associated with taking testosterone while serving in the military.

The Military's Policy on Testosterone Use

The military has strict policies regarding the use of testosterone, as it can have potential risks and side effects that could impact a service member's ability to perform their duties.

In general, testosterone replacement therapy is only allowed for medical conditions that have been diagnosed and approved by a military healthcare provider.

Any unauthorized use of testosterone or other performance-enhancing drugs can result in disciplinary action, including discharge from the military.

It's important to consult with a healthcare provider and follow all regulations and guidelines before considering testosterone use while serving in the military. 

Military training and operations can cause intense physical stress that leads to degraded performance, due to a suppressive effect of these activities on the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis and endogenous testosterone production.

This results in less functional capacity as endogenous testosterone production drops resulting in diminished endogenous production and subsequently less functional capacity.

This can include reduced muscle function which may increase injury risk as well as cognitive function deficits that compromise health, safety and welfare of both soldier and their comrades alike.

This is particularly relevant for service members and veterans involved in high-risk careers that demand their physical and psychological best condition during unpredictable and dangerous circumstances.

Many military personnel and veterans utilize dietary supplements to boost hormone levels.

However, too many of these contain banned substances which could result in positive drug tests. A such it is paramount that you choose a military safe supplement.

Testosterone, is an essential endocrine hormone which regulates muscle-bone mass and strength, metabolism and sexual drive.

Naturally produced within the body, its production can be further augmented through exercise, adequate sleep and diet rich in proteins and healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and fatty fish.

Research into the use of testosterone and its safety is ongoing. OPS II will examine whether synthetic testosterone undecanoate administration can safely enhance performance while attenuating muscle and total mass loss during a simulation of sustained military operation-like scenario (SUSOPS).

32 male participants will either receive testosterone or placebo prior to undertaking four consecutive five-day cycles that simulate multi-stressor sustained military operations with 23 days between cycles as recovery periods.

The Military's Policy on TRT Use

In 2017, approximately four out of every 1000 service members filled a TRT prescription, according to AUA clinical guidelines for 2018.

Most met this indication; however, in some instances inappropriate prescription occurred which caused side effects including sleep apnea, worsened urinary tract symptoms, and edema which has an adverse impact on medical readiness and force health protection.

Testosterone has been found to increase muscle mass, strength and cognitive performance as well as reduce heart attack risk in men with low levels.

Furthermore, testosterone may help prevent fatigue- and stress-related illnesses during periods of high mental or physical activity.

Service members who identify as transgender or have received medical treatment for gender dysphoria (such as cross-sex hormone therapy or surgical gender reassignment surgery) can serve openly in their preferred gender.

However, they must abide by biological standards associated with their biological sex to maintain unit readiness, deployability and lethality.

If these standards cannot be met then presumptively disqualified from service until approved with an exemption waiver.

An increasing number of service members are facing violations for using steroids, pro-hormones and other banned drugs that have been banned by the Department of Defense.

These cases require a skilled defense attorney who understands how these substances metabolize in the body and affect test results as well as one who can connect their client with an expert toxicologist.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Testosterone Use

Testosterone, produced by the testes to facilitate male sexual characteristics development, also plays an integral part in bone mass, fat distribution and muscle strength development.

Furthermore, testosterone may play an integral part in preventing osteoporosis as well as regulating blood sugar and aiding red blood cell and sperm production.

A small amount of testosterone can even be converted to estradiol (a form of estrogen).

Men with low levels of natural testosterone (hypogonadism) often turn to testosterone replacement therapy in order to increase their levels of circulating testosterone. Testosterone injections as well as gels are available with valid prescription.

Studies indicate that taking excessive amounts of testosterone above those pharmaceutical doses increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke, particularly among older men with preexisting heart disease.

One 2017 research paper published in Journal of American Medical Association indicated that among men 65 or older taking testosterone for one year doubled their chances of heart attack or stroke when compared to not taking this drug at all.

UIC reported on further research indicating that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may exacerbate existing cases of obstructive sleep apnea in men who already suffer from this condition, likely because testosterone acts like a steroid and can block oxygen from reaching the brain.

Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, breastfeeding or pumping should avoid taking testosterone-containing medicines as it may harm an unborn baby.

Also, its use could affect fertility issues by altering sperm count - potentially leading to fertility problems.

Testosterone abuse may increase your risk for lung microembolism, which could cause chest pain, coughing, difficulty breathing or feeling as though something is stuck in their throat as well as fainting symptoms.

While testosterone replacement therapy can be beneficial for those with medical conditions such as hypogonadism, there are potential risks and side effects associated with its abuse in order to perform better in the gym.

Additionally, it's important to understand the regulations and guidelines set forth by the military regarding testosterone use, as non-medical use can result in disciplinary action. 

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Alternative Options for Boosting Testosterone Levels

If you are looking to boost your testosterone levels without the use of testosterone replacement therapy, there are alternative options available.

These include lifestyle changes such as:

  1. Regular exercise,
  2. A healthy diet, and
  3. Getting enough sleep.

Certain supplements and herbs, such as ashwagandha and zinc, have also been shown to potentially increase testosterone levels. 

Military Muscle testosterone booster has been specifically formulated to provide athletes and soldiers with the evidence informed nutrients they need to maximize testosterone production, safely and legally. 

Round-up

Before considering taking testosterone in the military, it is important to understand the regulations surrounding hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the use of testosterone.

1. Understanding the regulations

Each branch of the military may have different policies and guidelines, so it is crucial to consult with a medical professional and review the specific regulations of your branch.

2. Medical evaluation

If you are interested in taking testosterone in the military, you will need to undergo a thorough medical evaluation.

This evaluation will assess your hormone levels, overall health, and determine if testosterone therapy is medically necessary.

It is important to note that not everyone will qualify for HRT, and the decision will ultimately be made by medical professionals.

3. Performance and readiness

The military places a strong emphasis on performance and readiness. If you are considering testosterone therapy, it is essential to consider how it may impact your ability to meet the physical and mental demands of your military duties.

It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your medical provider to ensure that testosterone therapy will not hinder your performance or compromise your readiness.

4. Potential side effects

Like any medication, testosterone therapy comes with potential side effects. It is important to be aware of these potential side effects and discuss them with your medical provider.

Some common side effects of testosterone therapy include acne, mood swings, increased aggression, and changes in cholesterol levels.

Understanding these potential risks is crucial in making an informed decision about testosterone therapy in the military.

5. Compliance with regulations

If you are approved for testosterone therapy in the military, it is essential to comply with all regulations and guidelines.

This may include regular monitoring of hormone levels, adherence to dosage instructions, and reporting any changes in health or side effects to your medical provider.

Non-compliance with regulations can have serious consequences and may result in disciplinary action.

6. Alternative options

If testosterone therapy is not an option for you in the military, it is important to explore alternative options for addressing any hormonal imbalances or health concerns.

This may include lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, and other non-hormonal treatments. Consulting with a medical professional can help you explore these alternatives and find the best solution for your specific situation.

7. Seek professional guidance

Ultimately, the decision to take testosterone in the military should be made in consultation with medical professionals who are knowledgeable about military regulations and the potential impact of hormone therapy.

They can provide guidance, answer your questions, and help you make an informed decision that aligns with both your health needs and military obligations.

Conclusion

Testosterone plays an essential role in health and disease, including prostate cancer and hair growth (facial and body), men's height and voice development, etc. Testosterone plays an essential role for both young and old people alike but particularly active-duty military personnel.

Low testosterone levels can result in fatigue and slow muscle growth that mimic the psychological and mood symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions common among veterans and active-duty service members.

Low testosterone may also be caused by certain medical treatments. For instance, antidepressants may interfere with how the body produces and absorbs testosterone; anti-inflammatory drugs may also have this effect.

Injury can also reduce testosterone levels; for instance, severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can damage the pituitary gland which then has an indirect influence on production.

If a soldiers suspects he may have low testosterone he should discuss their symptoms with a physician or other medical professional.

There are different regulations regarding the use of testosterone, but the abuse of testosterone and other anabolic hormones is strictly prohibited. 

If you want to maximize your mental and physical performance naturally, safely and without risk, try Military Muscle. 

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