Testosterone Booster Under 18

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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In today's world, where physical appearance and athletic performance are highly valued, the use of testosterone boosters has gained significant popularity.

But should teenagers jump on this bandwagon? This controversial topic has sparked debates among experts, parents, and teenagers themselves.

Testosterone boosters are supplements that claim to enhance muscle growth, increase energy levels, and improve overall performance.

While they may seem enticing to teenagers looking to attain an ideal physique or excel in sports, the potential risks and side effects cannot be ignored.

Experts argue that teenagers already possess naturally high levels of testosterone during their developmental years.

Introducing ingredients developed to increase hormone secretion can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance, leading to a host of problems including stunted growth, and even long-term health issues. 

On the other hand, proponents of testosterone boosters argue that when used responsibly and under medical supervision, these supplements can offer benefits like increased muscle mass and improved mood.

They believe that teenagers who are struggling with hormonal imbalances or low testosterone levels may find relief through the use of these boosters.

In this article, we delve deep into the controversy surrounding the use of testosterone boosters among teenagers, weighing the pros and cons and shedding light on the potential risks and benefits.

Understanding testosterone in teenagers

The onset of puberty (menarche) is accompanied by emotional and hormonal changes.

Physical changes include the development of breasts in females (thelarche), pubic growth in males (pubarche), changes to voice, genital development, and an increase in height. 

Tanner stages are five distinct stages of puberty, from prepubescent to full-grown maturity.

In males, testosterone production increases 20 to 30 times during puberty. This dramatic increase in testosterone has been attributed to a variety of nonphysical effects, including changes in mood and behaviour. 

These changes can be viewed as undesirable or worrying and include depression, increased risk-taking, and an increase in aggressive behavior. 

The most common behavior that is associated with testosterone is aggression. 

Aggression can be defined as a set of behaviors which may result in physical or mental harm to the self, others or objects around you. 

The Youth Self-Report and the Child Behavioral Check List, which is a parent-report version, are the most common ways to measure aggression in children.

The Youth Self-Report (YSR) and the Child Behavioral Check List (CBCL) assess a variety of aggressive behaviors including bragging and arguing. They also look at screaming, attention-seeking, teasing and demanding behavior.

The implied association between testosterone and these behaviors is based upon related, but indirect evidence - normal developmental events and conditions of abnormal androgen overproduction and exogenous use of testosterone. 

It is believed that the surge in testosterone in utero during the second trimester in males plays a role in neural modification, which allows for expression of behaviors seen more often in boys. 

The same play pattern can be observed in females who have congenital adrenal hypoplasia and are exposed in utero to high levels their adrenal androgens including testosterone. 

In males who fail to progress through puberty because of abnormalities in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, the initiation of puberty by exogenous androgen therapy has demonstrated increases in physically aggressive behavior. 

Exogenous androgen abuse in testosterone-repleted individuals has been used to support the assertion that testosterone plays an important role in mood and conduct disorders. 

There is no guarantee that these data can be extrapolated into the normal physiological increase in testosterone seen during puberty.

 At normal physiological testosterone levels, the androgen receptors have been saturated. Therefore, some of the effects from androgenic steroids may be due to different mechanisms, such as increased estrogen levels or an effect on the GH/IGF1 axis.

It is true that there are concerns about behavior and mood changes being falsely attributed by parents to unchangeable hormones of puberty, while the real diagnosis may not be considered or ignored. 

While adolescence can be viewed as a time of stress and storm, many adolescents manage the period with no long-term or short-term negative behavioral outcomes.

The changes in mood and behavior often improve over time, even though testosterone levels remain largely unchanged compared to those during puberty.

Numerous animal studies have shed light on the role of testosterone as it relates to adolescent behaviour.

These include studies of rats, mice, monkeys, hamsters, and hamsters. These include the activational effects and organization effects of testosterone on neurohormones and neural circuitry, as well as the effects of anabolic androgenic steroids and the influence prenatal testosterone has on behavior. 

These models may be useful for human studies but we also know that there are significant differences between species and strains. This may or may not translate into the complexity of human behavior.

Teenage males typically experience various bodily changes during puberty, such as increased blood pressure and decreasing testosterone levels.

While these changes are part of normal puberty, they can sometimes result from medical conditions or unhealthy lifestyle choices; some teens may suffer from low testosterone due to this, which can lead to low libido, fatigue and acne breakouts; if left untreated it could result in long-term issues with the endocrine system.

The first sign of puberty for boys is usually an increase in the size of their testes. The seminiferous tubes develop during puberty, which is why the size of the testes increases. 

Leydig cells produce testosterone when LH is increased, and Sertoli cells produce sperm when FSH is raised. The size of the testicles increases during puberty, up until Tanner stage 4.

At this point, the longitudinal diameter and volume reach adult levels. The scrotal skin becomes thinner and darker as the testicular growth increases. 

Typically, boys experience their first ejaculation about a year after testicles start to grow. However, the first ejaculation does not necessarily indicate that a boy is able to reproduce. Fertility is usually achieved about a year after the initial ejaculation. 

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Delayed Puberty

A delay in puberty for boys is if there are more than four years between first signs of enlargement of the testicles and the end or if the testicular growth has stopped by the age of 14. 

In girls, delayed puberty is defined as the absence of breast development by the age of 13 or a period of more than 4 years between menarche and thelarche. 

Causes of delayed puberty are hypogonadotropic and hypergonadotropic gonadisms, hypopituitarisms, chromosomal anomalies, and hypothalamic dysfunction due to secondary causes. 

Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism

Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism results from a pituitary or hypothalamus disorder resulting in a GnRH or FSH deficiency. 

Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism can be caused by a number of factors, such as damage to the pituitary or hypothalamus from injury, surgery, tumors, infections, or injuries. 

Genetic defects, stress and long-term opioid or glucocorticoid use can be causes. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism can also be caused by nutritional problems or iron overload.

Constitutional Delay of Growth and Puberty

Constitutional Delay of Growth and Puberty refers to a transient hypogonadotropic hypogonadism that is associated with a prolonged childhood growth phase, a delayed skeletal maturity, a delayed pubertal spurt and low IGF-1 production. 

These children will show prepubertal FSH, LH levels, estradiol and testosterone on a GnRH test. 

These children will eventually experience puberty, which results in a progression of their development. The final adult height is usually not the same as the predicted adult size, and the trunk tends to be disproportionately small. 

Hypergonadotropic Hypogonadism

Hypergonadotropic Hypogonadism occurs when the gonads fail to produce sexual hormones. FSH and LH will be elevated due to minimal negative feedback on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. 

Genetics and physical trauma can both cause gonadal failure. Noonan Syndrome and Myotonic Dystrophy are known to be the cause of gonadal dysfunction in boys. 

There have also been reported cases of LH receptor mutations in boys that result in a lack in gonadal response. Gonadal failure can also be caused by trauma to the testes, such as testicular torsion and cryptorchidism. 

A possible cause of hypergonadotropic Hypogonadism in females is autoimmune ovarian dysfunction. The child may also show signs and symptoms of another autoimmune condition. 

It is interesting to note that half of galactosemic girls develop ovarian dysfunction, which may be caused by toxic metabolites.

Hypopituitarism

Hypopituitarism occurs when the pituitary gland does not release hormones. Hypopituitarism can also manifest as delayed puberty, hypothyroidism and insufficient adrenal glands. 

Kallman Syndrome is a disorder that falls under hypopituitarism. Neurons in the developing brain do not migrate properly, leading to anosmia (the absence of a smell) and a lack GnRH in the hypothalamus.

Chromosomal abnormalities

Chromosomal abnormalities can delay puberty in both men and women. Turner syndrome (45XO) in females is caused by a missing or an incomplete X-chromosome. 

Turner syndrome is characterized by ovarian dysfunction, but also includes other characteristics such as a webbed or short neck, a delayed growth pattern, coarctation in the aorta and a shield chest with widely separated nipples. 

Turner syndrome is usually characterized by delayed puberty in females or primary amenorrhea due to ovarian dysfunction. 

Klinefelter Syndrome (47 XXY) is a common chromosomal condition in males who have delayed puberty. This disorder results from a random mutation after conception. 

Patients with this condition usually have small testes and gynecomastia. They also tend to be tall, have long legs, short arms, and have a high stature. 

Klinefelter Syndrome is characterized by low testosterone in adolescents. This results in delayed or incomplete pubertal growth.

Other causes of delayed puberty

Pubertal delay is not limited to the causes listed above. Hypothalamic dysfunction may also be a cause. Hypothyroidism is one example. Other examples include cystic fibrosis and celiac or sickle cell diseases. Delay in puberty has also been associated with poor nutrition and long-term glucocorticoid usage.

Adolescent androgenic anabolic steroid use

Teenagers take a variety of supplements and drugs, including anabolic steroid, to enhance their athletic performance and appearance. 

According to this 1998 review, the prevalence of steroid usage among adolescents is between 4% and 12 percent for males and 0.5% to 2% for girls. 

The short-term effects of androgenic anabolic steroid (AAS) use on the liver and serum lipids as well as the reproductive, cardiovascular, and mood and behavior systems have been studied more, but the long-term effects are still unknown.

A study was conducted in Denver, Colorado to determine the prevalence and use of AAS by high school students.

This area has a high level of participation in sports. Six thousand nine hundred thirty students from 10 Denver high schools (response percentage 96.6%) completed a confidential questionnaire. 

The prevalence of AAS usage was 2.7% (4.0% boys and 1.3% girls). The prevalence was higher among sport participants than in nonparticipants. 

The average age at which AAS began was 14 years old (range 8-17). This was the first study to assess in detail the knowledge of high school students about the risks associated with AAS. 

This study shows a lack of knowledge about potential side effects. Only 18% claim that their physicians have informed them about AAS. 

These results indicate that health care providers need to provide adolescents with more information about AAS. If the educational efforts prove to be effective, then teaching about AAS should begin in junior high or earlier and continue throughout high school.

What are testosterone boosters?

Natural testosterone boosters are dietary supplements designed to support healthy levels of the hormone. It is important to note that they are not androgenic anabolic steroids.

They are typically made up of nutrients, herbs, and minerals like fenugreek seed extract, ashwagandha root extract, saw palmetto extract, horny goat weed, magnesium etc - in addition to improving sexuality these supplements also enhance energy and support muscle growth! 

However, not all testosterone boosters are the same! This is because there isn't a standardized formula or dose.

As such, you'll find many different products that are widely different. This means it can be extremely difficult to navigate as someone who may not be educated in sports science or nutrition. 

Testosterone boosters and athletic performance

Testosterone boosters are legal supplements intended to boost an individual's testosterone levels naturally and safely.

Most contain herbal and natural extracts thought to boost natural production of testosterone within the body, as well as vitamins and minerals to provide additional health benefits.

Before selecting a testosterone booster product it is important to read its label, as some may contain ingredients banned by sports associations or that may cause side effects.

In order to select high quality boosters it should contain ingredients backed up by scientific research studies and clinical testing.

Can testosterone boosters benefit teenagers?

As a sports nutritionist and physical training instructor, I would always promote a 'food first' approach to nutrition. 

It is not a secret that certain nutrients, dietary habits, and general nutrition can play a beneficial or negative role in hormone balance.

Let's look at diet

It is known that different nutrition patterns such as fasting, excess calories and foods with higher glycemic loads can impact the circulating hormone levels. 

The steroid cortisol also regulates many body processes. Cortisol has a stimulant effect on appetite. However, extremes in diet, such as overeating or starvation, and intake of specific nutrients, like fish oil, can also affect cortisol secretion.

In this 2018 study, the  testosterone related total dietary pattern (a higher consumption of dairy products and desserts and eating out compared to the lower intake of home cooked foods, dark green vegetables, and noodles) independently predicted hypogonadism in those with high scores. 

The results of the study suggest that people who prefer Western food (bread, pastries, dairy, and desserts), go out to eat, and eat less homemade food, noodles, or dark green vegetables, are more likely than others to have an unhealthy physique (e.g. increased visceral fatty tissue and decreased skeletal muscles mass) as well as low serum levels of total testosterone. They are also more likely to develop hypogonadism.

Teenagers and food

Adolescence is defined as the period between 10 and 19 years old. This stage is unique in human development, and it's a good time to lay the foundations of good health. 

The Western Diet (WD), which is currently dominant in developed nations, is based on convenience foods that are highly processed. It is characterized as a diet high in processed meats, sweets, fried food, dairy products high in fat, refined grains, and vegetables. 

Numerous studies have revealed that the diets of young people are geared towards WD. Adolescents consume foods that are low in nutritional value and high in sugars.

Why does this data matter?

It is clearly not uncommon that adolescents are exposed to poor dietary intake which can have an effect on hormonal and physiological development. 

How can a testosterone booster help?

If a person, teenager or adult, consumes a nutritionally poor diet they are not necessarily reaching peak performance as it can be having an impact on their hormone levels. 

Now, some, natural testosterone boosters can fill nutritional deficiences. For instance, this can be really simple. If you are not exposed to much sunlight, a testosterone booster with vitamin D will help you get the amounts your require. 

Furthermore, a 2004 study published in the journal of Clinical Endocrinology demonstrated that six months of vitamin A and iron supplementation was comparable to more traditional methods of hormonal therapy used to increase testosterone in teenage males suffering with delayed puberty.

Certain, but not all, testosterone boosters include a wealth of safe and natural ingredients that demonstrate positive outcomes on natural testosterone production as well as other health outcomes.

As a result, a product such as Military Muscle could help those teenagers suffering from low testosterone. 

However, choosing an appropriate supplement comes with risks, because, as stated earlier there isn't a standardized formula. 

The majority of the products include unproven ingredients without credible or reputable evidence to provide any health or performance benefit.

These tyes of products will just be a waste of money at best, and contaminated with potentially illegal and unsafe substances at worst.

Therefore, you should only buy from a reputable brand and manufacturer that demonstrates their qualification, credibility, as well as the ability to provide transparency and evidence of their formula.

Alternative ways to naturally boost testosterone

If you are a teenager who wants to maximise hormonal production to grow, develop and perform and reach your full potential, or indeed a parent or coach, there are a few simple ways to do this. 

Diet

As previously mentioned, dietary intake can have a large impact on overall health and bodily function with many teenagers consuming a typical western diet, whereas a Mediterranean diet is much more healthy. 

The Mediterranean diet is rich in lean meats, eggs, fish, tofu, nuts and seeds are crucial in increasing natural testosterone levels; as are foods rich in Vitamin D such as salmon, tuna mackerel dairy products leafy vegetables fruits containing flavonoids as well as Vitamin D.

Diet can have a dramatic impact on a person's testosterone levels, with certain foods helping to increase production and energy while others may decrease it.

Consuming more protein, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and magnesium is particularly helpful for increasing testosterone production while cutting back on refined carbs can reduce inflammation while supporting healthy blood sugar levels.

Exercise

Exercise plays an integral part in our body's natural production of testosterone.

Strength training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) have both been proven to have a beneficial impact on men's testosterone levels, particularly through short bursts of activity that push to your limits before rest periods - an effective strategy for increasing testosterone without taking up much time from busy schedules.

Long-term endurance cardio exercise can negatively impact testosterone levels. Professional cyclists in particular often suffer from reduced testosterone due to exposure to extreme weather and excessive training, causing their levels to decrease significantly and leading to bone densification and muscle atrophy, as well as leading to tender or swollen breasts (gynecomastia) as well as diminished sexual desire.

Individuals who are exposed to such training regimes will need to ensure that they are consuming adequate calories and additional micronutrients to accommodate for the additional nutrient turnover.

This is where a testosterone booster such as Military Muscle would be of particular benefit.

Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in promoting health and well-being, and this is increasingly recognized among adolescents and young adults. 

There are many young patients who will present to their doctors with complaints or conditions related to sleep.

Most adult doctors will come across young patients who may have complaints or conditions related to fatigue and/or poor sleep. 

Sleep is often overlooked by doctors, resulting in treatment that is ineffective if the problem isn't addressed. If a patient complains of sleep problems, they may have a hidden agenda or another concern. 

This study looked at a sample of healthy young men who were subjected to sleep restriction of 5 hours per day for 1 week. This led to a daytime decrease of testosterone levels by 10% to 15%.

At least 15% of US workers experience this condition. Normal aging, on the other hand, is associated with a decline in testosterone levels of 1% to 2 % per year.

Are there any negative side-effects?

I'm going to play devils advocate here, and say no. Or at least, very little risk. 

However, this does depend on the product. I have mentioned that not all testosterone boosters are the same.

As such, I could not guarantee a product that you pick from a shelf in a store to one available online will not be contaminated with illegal substances.

That said, a product from a trustworthy source should contain nothing more than evidence informed nutrients that are safe, legal and effective, such as Military Muscle.

They will not upset the endocrinological system, and should enhance and aid it. 

Conclusion

What we must acknowledge is that natural testosterone boosters are not steroids. Instead, they are dietary supplements that commonly include micronutrients and plant extracts to fill any nutritional deficiency gaps.

However, you must always read the labels and understand the nutrient profile before buying a product, or ensure that you buy from a reputable company. 

While teenagers are going through their adolescent phase, they are producing the most amount of testosterone in their life. Once they get to around 30 they will start to see the production tail off. 

However, as we are often too aware, teenagers tend not to eat a healthy balanced diet, exercise enough nor get enough rest. 

In which case, a natural testosterone booster may actually help to maximise their potential by helping the body get the key nutrients it needs for optimal recovery, promote sleep and muscle building

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