Testosterone Booster Side Effects Kidneys

by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert

Ben Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert Sports and Exercise Nutrition Level 2 Strength and Conditioning CoachWritten by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.

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Testosterone boosters are dietary supplements marketed to increase testosterone levels in the body.

Common examples are fenugreek, zinc, ashwagandha ("Indian ginseng") and a variety of other nutrients with the aim to stimulate natural testosterone production.

Whereas anabolic steroids are often sold as quick solutions for men seeking more muscle, but can have serious adverse health impacts, including kidney and liver damage.

What Are Testosterone Boosters?

Testosterone boosters are dietary supplements taken to increase testosterone production in the body. These pills typically sell over the counter and advertise potential weight loss, muscle growth and sexual drive.

These products are popular because testosterone plays a significant role in shaping characteristics commonly associated with masculinity, such as facial hair and deep voice.

Additionally, it builds muscle mass, increases bone density and can even boost moods and energy levels - however over time natural testosterone levels may decline, potentially leading to low libido or depression for men.

There are various natural supplements available to people looking to raise their testosterone levels naturally, including nettle leaf extract, d-aspartic acid, and fenugreek extract - which have all been supported by scientific evidence as supporting natural testosterone production.

Unfortunately, however, other commonly used ingredients found in testosterone boosters like dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) or tribulus terrestris may pose health risks and should be used with caution.

Military Muscle is a highly recommended testosterone supplement, as its combination of ingredients has been clinically-proven to increase natural testosterone levels.

Unlike many over-the-counter products that claim to increase natural testosterone, Military Muscle doesn't contain artificial hormones or steroids and is made in the UK.

Can Natural Testosterone Boosters Damage the Kidneys?

A sportsman revealed that he was using a commercial testosterone booster product called Universal Nutrition Animal Stak to improve his testosterone levels and achieve better performance and body composition.

This product is designed to enhance the body's natural testosterone levels, potentially leading to increased muscle mass and improved physical performance.

The use of testosterone boosters has been linked to potential liver damage, as seen in a recent case study.

The patient underwent a battery of lab tests and an abdominal ultrasound, which revealed elevated levels of liver enzymes ALT and AST.

While other serum parameters were within normal range, the results suggest that caution should be taken when using testosterone boosters and regular monitoring of liver function is recommended. 

After conducting a thorough blood test, it was determined that the individual had normal levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Additionally, ultrasound images of the individual's abdomen were taken and found to be completely normal.

However, it must be noted that this product contains a wide variety of  ingredients such as Phosphatidylserine which may cause stomach upset and insomnia. 

Similarly, Diindolymethane can also cause nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea. Arginine alpha-ketoglutarate can also cause stomach upset.

Furthermore, Animal Stak contains Growth Hormone Secretagogues which can potentially cause intracranial hypertension. 

That said, the published review looking at this particular event couldn't confidently conclude that the supplement caused the issue as the user declared he used it a further two times without any ill effects.

The researcher's of the review also noted that because many of these products are not tested and maybe tainted with other substances buyers should ensure that the product they are buying is from a trusted company.

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Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy Damage Kidney Function? 

Testosterone plays an essential role in male sexual functions like sperm production and erections, while it's also essential for maintaining muscle strength and bone density.

Unfortunately, many individuals suffer from low levels of the hormone due to age, illness or diabetes-related causes.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) can restore low testosterone and enhance health for men suffering from hypogonadism, but does long-term treatment increase their risk of kidney damage?

TRT has long been used to increase muscle mass, sexual function and mood; however, its effects on kidney function and disease remain understudied.

A recent publication by Kidney International suggests that long-term TRT increases GFR significantly among men suffering from hypogonadism.

Researchers conducted an analysis on data collected from 38,708 men with low total testosterone who were treated with TRT versus those who weren't.

At 6.1 years median follow up, those in the TRT group saw normalization and improvement of kidney function while those not treated saw gradual decreases in GFR levels.

Researchers attribute the positive results of TRT to improved liver and kidney functions, including reduced fatty liver index levels and an increase in glomerular filtration rate.

Their researchers believe these benefits could help slow or prevent the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) as well as decrease risk of premature mortality among men with hypogonadism. 

 Do Anabolic Steroids Damage Kidneys?

Anabolic steroids abuse by athletes can damage both their liver and kidneys, including tumor formation as well as an uncommon disorder called peliosis hepatis, in which blood-filled cysts form on the liver resulting in internal bleeding.

Furthermore, steroids can lead to protein leakage into urine (known as glomerulosclerosis), decrease kidney function (renal osteodystrophy) or cause irreversible changes which ultimately result in death.

Testosterone can exacerbate renal disorders through direct or indirect effects that include oxidative stress, potentiation of the Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone System (RAAS), up-regulating endothelin expression, and increasing tubular sodium and water re-absorption.

These effects are due to increased tubule permeability from excessive nitric oxide levels as well as enhanced expression of Rho kinase signaling pathways within kidney tissues.

TNF-a is one of several inflammatory cytokines produced during an attack, stimulating oxidative stress and leading to renal tubule and interstitial area fibrosis.

Testosterone increases renin-angiotensin system activity via direct effects on RAAS as well as increasing endothelin production within kidney tissue, leading to vasoconstriction and renal hypoperfusion.

Long-term anabolic steroid use has been linked with various kidney conditions. Although kidney abnormalities, including reduced proteinuria and renal glomerulosclerosis, may improve after discontinuing anabolic steroids in most individuals, some may experience worsening of kidney disease leading to end-stage renal failure requiring dialysis treatment.

Before using any sex hormone products, it is always a good idea to consult your physician first. They will evaluate your health history and recommend tests to check for prostate cancer, heart disease or any other issues linked to hormones - including PSA tests that monitor testosterone levels for high levels.

Conclusion

There isn't a great deal of information regarding the impact of natural testosterone booster supplements on kidney function. However, there is one study available which potentially linked the use of a product called 'Animal Stak' with a liver injury. 

This particular product contains a large number of ingredients that may cause some adverse effects, but not necessarily on the liver or kidneys. Additionally, the patient in the case study noted that the same product was used at other times and didn't expereince any helth problems.

Furthermore, for patients who suffer from hypogonadism testosterone replacement therapy has demonstrated positive outcomes regarding kidney function for those being administered TRT.

On the flip side of the coin, long term testosterone abuse for athletic purposes seems to have a negative effect on renal function. No doubt because the products and the doses are not being monitored by medical professionals which can lead to serious complications particularly if the user suffers from any other health conditions.

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