Androgens (from Greek “andro” – male) – are male hormones. Testosterone is one of them.
These hormones are responsible for male sexual functions and development of “male” physique. Estrogens are female hormones, which are opposite to androgens.
One should know that both sexes produce androgens and estrogens. However, women produce much less androgens than men, whereas men produce much less estrogens than women.
Effects of androgens
- Increase the excitability of psychosexual centers in central nervous system
- Increase libido in both sexes
- Strengthen erections in men and erection of clitoris in women
- Lower blood glucose
- Increase muscle mass and strength
- Speed up regeneration of tissues
- Increase the synthesis of proteins and inhibit their decay
Testosterone is a major male androgen. It forms a part of most anabolic compounds.
All organisms have different reaction to Androgens. It depends on receptor sensitivity to androgens. So the higher the sensitivity the smaller is the dose required for the same effect.
According to different reports, one can improve the sensitivity by:
- Training with heavier weight
- Consumption of high protein food
- Taking L-caranitine (red meat, avocado, soy)
Side effects of Androgens
Androgens can induce the growth of already existing (undiagnosed) prostate cancer in men.They also may cause prostate enlargement, which doesn’t mean cancer, however it’s better to see a doctor in this case.
High doses of androgens may cause virilization (man-like features) in females– deepening of voice, excessive body hair growth, clitoris enlargement etc. Some of changes may disappear after discontinuation of the drug. However, some of them may stay (e.g. voice deepening and clitoris enlargement).
At high doses androgens can affect the sperm production in men. But this effect is transient and occurs only during the intake. Howbeit if you are planning to have children you should consult a doctor before taking these drugs.
Since Androgens are “male” hormones, the following side effects are quite natural:
- deepening of voice
- increased growth of hair on face and body
- high sweat secretion
- irritability, aggression
also in women:
- decreased size of breast
- irregular menstrual cycles
- increase of female genitals
Less significant or temporary side effects:
- Redness of the skin
Anti-androgen are substances that block androgen receptor, thus preventing the effect of androgens. They can slow down androgen-dependent types of cancer (e.g. prostate cancer) and shrink the tumors.
Nevertheless, they cannot stop androgen production. Anti-androgensare often used in combination with other treatments, such as surgical or chemical castration.
Side effects of anti-androgens:
- Decreased libido
- High levels of liver enzymes
- Reduction of body hair
- Birth defects if taken during pregnancy
- Liver injury
- Erectile dysfunction
- Menstrual irregularity
- Skin rash
Before taking these drugs ask your doctor to choose an anti-androgen with lowest side effects.
One should remember that anti-androgens cannot suppress all the androgenic side effects. Therefore, in case of androgenic side effects, it’s better to lower of using androgen containing drug.
Take anti-androgens only in extreme cases.
Do not forget about proper nutrition, healthy sleep and walking outdoors.