What Does Taking Testosterone Do? Benefits and Risks You Need to Know

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


Testosterone fuels muscle growth, strength gains, and sex drive – you know the basics.

But what else does this powerful hormone do inside your body? Produced mainly in men's testicles (and in smaller amounts in women's ovaries), it has a far-reaching impact. Some athletes even go down the route of steroids for a testosterone boost.

Want a safer, more effective way to reach your peak? Military Muscle helps you unlock your body's natural potential.

Want to dig deeper into the power of testosterone? Keep reading...

Testosterone and the body

As the main anabolic steroid testosterone stimulates both anabolic- and anticatabolic-functions in skeletal muscles and neuronal tissues leading to increased strength, power and endurance in a dose dependent manner.

Testosterone is synthesized under control of the hypothalamic-anterior pituitary-gonadal axis.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), released from the hypothalamus, stimulates the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary gland into the circulation. LH stimulates Leydig cells in the testes, which synthesizes testosterone.

A negative feedback mechanism will inhibit the release of gonadotrophins, GnRH and LH, when testosterone concentrations increase.

GnRH is controlled by several hypothalamic neuronspeptides

Testosterone, a sex-hormone that has important functions in the body, is an important hormone.

It's believed that it regulates sex (libido) in men, as well as bone mass, fat, muscle strength and mass, and production of red cells and sperm.

A small amount (less than 1%) of the testosterone in circulation is converted into estradiol. Estradiol is a form estrogen. As men age they make less testosterone and therefore produce less estradiol.

Estradiol decline may be responsible for some or all of the changes that are often attributed as a result of testosterone deficiency.

The first time testosterone was used in a clinical setting as early as 1937. However, its mechanisms were not fully understood.

Men with low hormone levels are now commonly prescribed the hormone.

The exact levels of testosterone deficiency that are medically significant have not been determined.


The Massachusetts General Hospital, under the direction of Dr. Joel Finkelstein, conducted a study on testosterone and estradiol in 400 men aged 20-50.

Researchers gave participants a drug to suppress their testosterone and estrogen production.

Men were assigned randomly to five groups, each receiving different daily doses (ranging from 0-10 grams of topical testosterone gel 1%) for 16 weeks.

The half of participants also received a medication that prevented testosterone from being transformed into estradiol.

Participants were examined every four weeks.

The questionnaires assess the physical function of the woman, her health, vitality and sexual function.

At the start and the end of 16 weeks, measurements of body fat and muscles were taken.

Researchers found that the amount of testosterone needed to produce different effects on the body varied greatly.

Estradiol and testosterone also have different effects. Scientists found that as the dose of testosterone gel was reduced, there were reductions in muscle mass, lean body mass, and strength in the leg press.

Estradiol levels are also correlated with increases in body weight. Estradiol and testosterone levels are both associated with libido.

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Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) Explained 

Hypogonadism, the medical term for low testosterone levels, is simply a lack of testosterone. When the testes don't function properly, it can cause hypogonadism.

It can be caused by a problem with the testes where testosterone is produced, or the pituitary under the brain which controls the testes.

Men of all ages can have low testosterone. As men age, testosterone levels tend to decline.

You may be able to benefit from supplemental testosterone if your body doesn't produce enough.

An endocrinologist will initiate testosterone replacement therapy if indicated.

Injections of testosterone undecanoate are commonly administered three times a month. However, alternative forms of testosterone can be used at different intervals.

Your natural testosterone production may be affected by testosterone replacement.

This can also cause a decrease in sperm. Your fertility will be affected if you start testosterone replacement therapy 

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic androgenic steroids is often abbreviated to "anabolic steroid," "steroids," or "androgens." is the most commonly misused Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs).

These synthetic substances are similar to the hormone testosterone.

Both males and women can benefit from their anabolic and androgenic effects. 

The compounds can be used to treat muscle loss and delayed puberty in men who have a medical condition.

Anabolic steroids is the misuse of testosterone or testosterone-like substances, by bodybuilders and athletes.

In 2022, it is estimated that 0.8% of 8th-graders, 0.5% in 10th-graders, and 1.3% in 12th-graders have used steroids within the last 12 months.

When combined with weight training, anabolic steroids can increase the lean muscle mass.

Weightlifters who are not athletes usually aim to improve their appearance.

The use of steroids is associated with male body dysmorphic disorders, such as muscle dysmorphia. This disorder causes men to be preoccupied with their perceived inadequacy of muscles.

What does taking testosterone do to your body?

According to the Testosterone Trials, testosterone treatment for one year improved bone density in older men who had low testosterone.

It also corrected anemia from both known and unidentified causes. However, it increased the volume coronary artery plaque.

The treatment of testosterone had no impact on memory or any other cognitive functions. 

The men of one study were randomly allocated to either receive a placebo gel or a testosterone gel for 6 months.

The gel was applied to the upper arms, abdomen and torso daily. The men or the clinical staff did not know which gel was given to each participant.

A panel of experts evaluated the safety of the trial during the trial. In December 2009, they found that 23 of the 106 men in the testosterone group had experienced cardiovascular-related events, compared to 5 of the 103 men who received placebo.

Heart attack, stroke and elevated blood pressure were among the events. One death was also suspected to be due to a heart attack.

The panel considered the potential benefits and the severity of negative side effects.

Scientists note that the increased risk of cardiovascular disease in the testosterone group persisted during the 6-month treatment phase and did not decrease during the subsequent 3-month observation period.

The study found that significantly more men who were in the testosterone group suffered from heart, lung, and skin conditions.

However, the testosterone group improved significantly more than the placebo group in terms of leg-pressing strength, chest pressing strength and stair climbing while carrying a weight.

There were no differences between the two groups when it came to walking or climbing stairs without a weight.

Testosterone can improve bone strength and well-being, and testosterone-supplementation therapy is an increasingly common treatment for mood and sexual performance problems associated with male aging, and it is controversially being prescribed even for younger men.

Strength can be improved by increasing muscle mass which can be extremely beneficial for athletes and also for older people who may have lost muscle and strength through ageing.

Users also report that they recover from muscle injuries and intense strains faster.

The treatment of testosterone significantly improved all aspects sexual function including sexual desire and activity as well as erectile functioning.

The treatment of testosterone in men increases hemoglobin levels and corrects anemia.

The treatment with testosterone increased the volumetric density of bone and the estimated strength.

The treatment of testosterone is associated with statistically significant but smaller improvements in walking, mood and depressive symptoms.

Taking testosterone shots side effects

There have been reports about the side effects when people use testosterone in higher doses or with other male hormones.

Side effects can include heart attacks, heart failure or other heart conditions; strokes and mini-strokes; liver disease; seizures or mental changes like depression, mania, (a frenzied or abnormally excited mood), unfriendly or aggressive behavior, hallucinations, (seeing or hearing things that don't exist) or delusions.

The increased haemoglobin levels or haematocrit may indicate a thickening in the blood. This can be linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and blood clots.

You will be tested for haematocrit and haemoglobin before and during treatment. The treatment with testosterone can cause an enlarged or abnormal prostate.

Your prostate specific antigen will be monitored to detect any changes. It is especially important for men older than 45.

If you use more testosterone than your doctor recommends, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal such as depression or extreme fatigue, irritability or restlessness, loss of appetite, difficulty falling or staying asleep, and decreased sexual drive.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should speak to a medical professional. 

  • Pain in the chest/breast area or swelling
  • Sexual desire decreased
  • Mood changes
  • Consistent tears
  • Dry or itchy Skin
  • Diarrhoea
  • Skin redness or irritation

Some side effects are more serious and will require attention. Call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Swelling of the lower legs, hands, feet or ankles
  • nausea or vomiting
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • The arm or leg may feel weak or numb
  • Chest pain
  • Having difficulty breathing during sleep
  • Erections which occur too frequently or last too long
  • Urination problems, including frequent urination and a weak urine stream, can be caused by a number of factors.
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes

Alternatives to taking exogenous testosterone

Although the use of testosterone in athletic competition is prohibited, the search for "natural ways" to increase testosterone levels has continued, as such there is a lot of research available that examines the effect of the natural alternatives to using manufactured testosterone.


A number of studies have shown that low energy availability may decrease LH levels, which can then affect testosterone synthesis. 


Fat is an essential macronutrient for the optimal functioning of the hormone system, as it is the basis for the production of steroid hormones.

For both general populations and athletes, the minimum recommended dietary fat intake should not be below 25%.

It is important to remember that although there are studies showing a positive impact of dietary fats on testosterone levels, fat is not an optimal fuel for athletes who participate in power/strength sports.


Insufficient protein intake and exercise can cause muscle catabolism.

If the intake of protein is not adjusted according to the body's protein requirements, it becomes difficult to maintain or improve muscle mass, and to increase muscle performance.

The general recommendation of 1.6-2.2g per kg of bodyweight per day appears to be adequate to optimize testosterone levels.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is both a micronutrient and a prohormone.

The Leydig cells in the testes contain vitamin D receptors. This is where testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol. Vitamin D plays a significant role in testosterone synthesis.

Men with low vitamin D levels have significantly lower testosterone levels than men with normal vitamin d concentrations.


Zinc's physiological role in testosterone biology is directly related to the requirement of its presence in (luteinizing hormone) LH synthesis and secretion.

LH is known to stimulate testosterone synthesis by Leydig cells. 


Magnesium is important for athletic performance because it affects skeletal muscle functions and energy production. This suggests that magnesium may have an ergogenic impact.

According to several studies, athletes are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency due to their insufficient magnesium intake.

In one study, magnesium supplementation combined with a 4-week endurance program in young men was shown to increase both FT concentrations and TT levels at rest and after exhaustive exercise.


There is evidence that testosterone levels are elevated in menopausal women and healthy men after boron supplements.

The mechanism by which boron increases testosterone levels was suggested to be due to its role during the hydroxylation of testosterone, and its ability to reduce SHBG.


In this study, an exercise program was administered that consisted of 20 minutes aerobic exercise, followed by 10 minute whole-body stretching and 30 minutes strength training, before concluding with 10 minutes aerobic exercise. The training program was repeated three times a week in order to maximize the treatment effects. 

Exercise has been shown to improve the effectiveness of testosterone treatment in patients with testosterone deficiencies (TD) and extend the treatment effect even after the treatment is stopped. 

Natural supplements

The main findings from a review indicate that 2 herbal extracts, fenugreek seed extracts and ashwagandha root and root/leaf extracts, have positive effects on testosterone concentrations in men. 

Military Muscle Testosterone Booster Increases Testosterone Naturally

Over three years, a group of sports nutritionists and military physical training instructors working closely with soldiers and athletes devised this supplement in order to address nutrient deficiencies caused by strenuous training or combat sports that reduce natural testosterone levels.

Military muscle testosterone boosters stand apart from typical boosters by using ingredients proven to boost natural test production, such as high doses of boron .

Not only can it increase testosterone, but boron can reduce inflammation and prevent calcification of arteries/veins for improved blood flow and therefore enhanced testosterone production.

Other ingredients found in military muscle include Ashwagandha, which has been shown to positively impact stress hormones, and tongkat ali, which has been scientifically shown to significantly boost testosterone levels.

Each serving of military muscle provides ample amounts of each of these essential ingredients - providing your body with all of the nourishment it needs for producing more testosterone naturally.

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It is garnering praise from customers who've experienced extraordinary results through this supplement. Trustpilot users who've reviewed Military Muscle have left nothing but positive reviews - many reporting incredible transformations! 


Testosterone, commonly referred to as "the sex hormone," increases libido and sexual function; however, it also plays an essential role in health and disease. Most men don't notice changes in their testosterone levels until reaching 250 ng/dL or above; however, its impact varies based on individual.

Once you begin taking testosterone, its levels will rise along with those of other hormones that regulate blood flow and energy use in your body.

This may result in side effects such as bloating, sweating or mood swings that become apparent upon commencing therapy; your doctor can assist in managing these side effects effectively. 

However, some changes caused by testosterone therapy can be reversed to an extent; how reversible depends on how long you've taken the medication and its side effects. 

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