Testosterone is the hormone most responsible for sexual development and body composition in men. Testosterone production increases with the onset of puberty and usually peaks in most males during their late teens or early twenties. There are few studies on testosterone supplementation on teenagers; existing studies focus on normalizing teenagers with low testosterone. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends caution when using sports performance supplements, including those that boost testosterone.
Body Composition Changes
Increasing testosterone can result in changes to body composition, such as increased muscle mass and reduced body fat. Subjects showed measurable increases in muscle mass and weight while decreasing body fat in a 1999 study at the School of Exercise Science and Sports Management, Southern Cross University in Australia. During puberty, average teenagers will see increased height, faster muscle growth and expansion of existing muscle fibers. Use of anabolic compounds, such as steroids or pro-hormones, to increase testosterone can halt bone growth and permanently reduce final height.
Increased testosterone tends to result in increased oil secretions to the skin, causing clogged pores and pimples. Acne outbreaks can commonly occur on the face, shoulders and back. Frequency of outbreaks can increase, dependent on the levels of active testosterone in the body.
Gynecomastia, commonly shortened to gyno, is the growth of larger than normal mammary glands and breast tissue in males and may include lactation. Caused by an imbalance in the testosterone to estrogen ratio, gyno can be difficult to reverse and may require surgery. These imbalances can be caused either by a shutdown of normal testosterone production, which can occur when testosterone production is artificially manipulated for too long, or from conversion of the increased testosterone to estrogen.
Increased testosterone can result in increased sexual desire and performance. Studies show this increase occurs in females as well as males. If testosterone is increased by using a supplement that contains an aromatase-inhibitor, sexual performance can be greatly reduced over time. This is because these types of supplements work by reducing estrogen. Sexual desire and performance requires both estrogen and testosterone.
- The American Academy of Family Physicians: Ergogenic Aids: Counseling the Athlete
- Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport: Muscular strength, body composition and health responses to the use of testosterone enanthate: a double blind study; Giorgi A, Weatherby RP, Murphy PW; December 1999
- BBC Science and Nature: Boys Growing Up
- HealthGuidance.org : Testosterone and Back Acne