What Does Synthetic Testosterone Do To The Body?

What Does Synthetic Testosterone Do To The Body

Let’s make this clear: Synthetic testosterone is an anabolic steroid.

As such, it allows athletes and gym enthusiasts to increase their strength and build more muscle than is naturally possible. [1]

But this synthetic steroid also has a dark side – negative health effects. Leaving us with the following question: “Are the benefits of synthetic testosterone worth the risk?”

Definitely not! Synthetic testosterone is an artificial hormone which you inject in your body.

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Synthetic testosterone disrupts your natural testosterone production, causing a hell of a lot of side effects. Such as red skin, hair falling out, shrinkage of your ‘manhood,’ cancer, heart attacks, and premature death. [2, 3]

By injecting anabolic hormones, you’re playing the Russian roulette with your health. 

Luckily, there are much safer, natural alternatives available. Including herbs and nutrients that are shown to safely enhance man’s health.

In this article, we’ll explain the effects of synthetic testosterone. Along with showing you natural alternatives to improving your male hormone.

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What Is Testosterone?

Back to the basics… what is testosterone?

For starters, it’s the king of all steroid hormones in men. It’s produced by the Leydig cells found in male’s testes. Think of testicles as the factory of testosterone, and Leydig cells as the workers. [4, 5]

Testosterone is the basis of your sexuality, muscle mass, and countless other bodily functions. When your T levels are high, you’ll experience [6]:

  • Ripped and strong muscles
  • Restful sleep
  • Healthy erections
  • Dense bones
  • High self-esteem and a positive outlook on life
  • Low body fat percentage
  • Sharp focus and mental abilities

There are two main types of effects of testosterone; anabolic and androgenic.

Anabolic actions include muscle growth and repair. On the other hand, androgenic effects cause your voice to become deeper, your shoulder wider, along with hair growth.

These changes began to occur during puberty. This is where testosterone levels surge and cause a number of changes in our body – it’s what turns a boy into a man.

Further Reading: Men’s Testosterone Guide

chemical formula of testosterone written on a blackboard
Blackboard with the chemical formula of testosterone

Until What Age Do Testosterone Levels Stay High?

T levels peak at around the age of 19, and stay raised till your early 30s.

After this, they slowly began to lower. Studies estimate that testosterone decreases by about 1% per year, depending on the person’s genetic makeup.

However, with our modern lifestyles stressing us out, along with unhealthy foods and a lack of exercise, testosterone levels have now been on a decline more than at any other point in history. [6, 5]

Men have opted for various methods to combat this decline. Some have chosen a natural route, while others have decided to start injecting synthetic testosterone.


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Key point: Testosterone helps you build muscle, keeps your bones strong, and raises your libido and energy levels. T levels are at their highest during late teens.

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Effects of Low Testosterone

As I’ve mentioned, low testosterone is no longer a rare thing in our society. In fact, it’s become somewhat of an epidemic.

That’s right – more and more men are starting to suffer from the effects of low T. [7, 8, 9]

Without further ado, here are the 7 most common effects of low testosterone [9, 10]:

#1 Loss of Sex Drive

Your male hormone and sex drive are very much interlinked.

When your T levels crash down, so will your libido. [11]

The result? You lose interest in women.

And yes, there could be other reasons for a drop in libido. But testosterone is among the most common ones.

#2 Erectile Dysfunction

Linking this to a loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction is yet another symptom in the chain reaction of effects of low T.

When your testes don’t produce enough male juice, you’ll not only lose your sex drive but also your erections.

This is because testosterone stimulates nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide helps dilate your blood vessels, making your erections stronger.

But when your T levels are low, chances are your nitric oxide will plummet too, resulting in flabby erections.

Want to know more about low T and erectile dysfunction? See my in-depth article here; Does Low T Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

#3 Deflated Muscles

Studies have linked low T with weak and flat muscles. [12]

If you find yourself training hard in the gym, and your muscles still seem weak. Then you might want to check if your testosterone levels are low.

Speaking of training hard, remember not to exercise too much too often. Studies show that training too hard leads to overtraining, causing your testosterone to crash. Read more here; Does Constant Hard Training Reduce Testosterone?

#4 Fat Around the Belly

Fancy having man boobs?

Neither do I.

But, if your testosterone is low, that’s exactly what will happen.

Studies show that men with low T have higher levels of body fat. Especially around the belly and breast tissue. [13]

This condition is so common among men with low T that it even has a clinical name: gynecomastia. It means enlarged breast tissue.

Another reason for man boobs is an imbalance in hormone levels – high estrogen, and low testosterone.

#5 Fragile Bones

Since testosterone plays a role in bone health and calcium metabolism, it makes sense that low T leads to weak and fragile bones.

Osteoporosis is an extreme result of bone loss. It’s a condition that’s more often linked to women than men.

However, chronic (long-term) T levels can lead to loss of bone volume, increasing the risk of bone fractures and development of osteoporosis. [66]

#6 Anxiety, Depression, and Other Mood Disorders

Testosterone doesn’t just affect your physical abilities. It has a huge impact on your mental state, too.

Studies show that men with low T experience anxiety, depression, and brain fog. [14]

So, if you’re often experiencing mood swings, low testosterone might be to blame.

#7 Low Energy Levels

It’s shown that men with low T often experience bouts of extreme fatigue and low energy levels.

If you find yourself tired all the time, even after a good 8 hours of sleep, then it might be time to check your T levels.


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Effects of low testosterone include: flabby erections, loss of libido, deflated muscles, mood swings, low energy levels, fragile bones, belly fat, and man boobs.

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What is Synthetic Testosterone?

When it comes to boosting testosterone levels, some men choose natural methods. Others opt for synthetic forms of testosterone – injecting it into their body.

It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that injecting synthetic T in your body is far from healthy.

But, what is synthetic testosterone? And how does it differ from the natural testosterone produced by your body?

First of all, synthetic testosterone is exactly what the name suggests – a steroid hormone that’s used to artificially boost male’s T levels.

It’s often used by men recreationally, in order to increase their strength, muscle mass, and reduce body fat.

Unlike natural testosterone, the synthetic version isn’t produced by your body. Instead, it’s synthesized in the lab.

There are various forms of synthetic testosterone, but the most common ones are those used for TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), and those used by bodybuilders via injections.

man injecting synthetic testosterone

How Does Synthetic Testosterone Work?

There are many different mechanisms through which synthetic testosterone boost your T levels, strength, and muscle mass.

These processes are extremely complicated and require more studies to determine its exact effects. For this reason, I won’t bore you to death with an hour-long text showing scientific formulas.

The important thing to know here is that your receptors soak up the synthetic testosterone, allowing it to move through cell membranes where they bind to an androgen/anabolic receptors. [15]

From there on, the nucleus of the cell gets a signal to change its mechanisms of action, leading to a new effect – an artificial increase in T levels.

Another mechanism of action of synthetic T is that it stimulates your muscle cell receptors, activating genes that play a key role in protein synthesis. This ultimately results in bigger and stronger muscles. [16]

You Might Like: Men’s Health Enhancers Guide

What Are The Uses of Synthetic Testosterone?

For Treating Hypogonadism (Clinically Low Male Hormone)

Here’s the thing; synthetic testosterone can be beneficial for men who suffer from hypogonadism.

This is a condition where testes aren’t able to produce sufficient amounts of the male hormone. Resulting in clinically low T levels.

Sometimes, this happens due to an unhealthy lifestyle. But it can also happen as a result of an illness or genetic problem.

In such cases, doctors use clinical methods to boost male’s hormone levels. These methods include Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Testosterone Injections.

Let’s briefly explain both:

  • Testosterone Replacement Therapy – Here the doctor prescribes synthetic testosterone in patches, gel, or pills that you ingest or apply on the skin. This helps increase your body’s total T levels, treating hypogonadism.
  • Testosterone Injections – Testosterone Injections are another type of TRT. These can also be prescribed by the doctor. The difference with testosterone injections, though, is that you use them less often than other TRT methods; every 2-3 weeks, instead of every day.

needle hormone therapy at the doctor

For Increasing Strength and Muscle Mass (Bodybuilders)

Not all men use synthetic testosterone because they have hypogonadism.

In fact, many use it recreationally. Or as a part of their profession.

The most obvious example of this are bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts, who inject themselves with synthetic forms of T to improve their ‘gains’ in the gym.

Now, even under doctor’s supervision, taking synthetic testosterone can produce negative side effects (which I’ll cover in a second). But when you do it on your own – that’s when things get really risky.

Let’s take a look at the biggest risks and side effects linked to synthetic steroid use.


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Bodybuilders and men who suffer from hypogonadism are the two most common groups of people who use synthetic testosterone.

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What Are the Side Effects of Synthetic Testosterone?

Needless to say, anabolic steroids such as synthetic T don’t just affect your hormones.

They have a huge impact on your health as well.

While there are clear benefits to synthetic testosterone use – such as being bigger, stronger, leaner, and faster – there are just as many, if not more side effects.

Here are the most serious risks linked to steroids and synthetic T;

The Risks of Taking Synthetic Testosterone Are:

Heart And Circulation Problems

Research from the European Heart Journal showed that long-term use of steroids such as synthetic T leads to an enlarged heart, raised vascular resistance, and weakened functions of the heart muscle. [17]

In other words, your entire cardiovascular system becomes enlarged and weak.

Severe Mood Swings

Many studies show that a continuous use of steroids leads to reduced feelings of well being, and serious mental disorders. Such as psychosis, schizophrenia, homicidal thoughts, and severe anger episodes.

There are numerous documented cases of depression, suicidal attempts, and aggressive behavior toward others in steroid users.

However, it seems that these effects are dose-dependent.

One study found that raising the dosage of synthetic testosterone from 150mg to 600mg produced a huge increase in aggressive behavior over the two week period. [18]

Hormonal and Reproductive Malfunction

As you inject synthetic testosterone into your body, you’re causing a feedback loop between your brain and your testes.

The brain starts signaling to the testes that there’s no need to produce testosterone, since you’re already providing your body with it through injections.

As a result, a common side effect of taking a synthetic T is reduced levels of natural testosterone.

A reduction in your T levels becomes obvious after just 24 hours of injecting synthetic testosterone. Manifesting as lowered fertility and smaller testicles. [19]

Cystic Acne and Skin Rashes

While this isn’t as serious as some of the issues from the above, it will definitely negatively affect how you look.

Taking synthetic testosterone will make your sebaceous glands larger, increasing their production rate. [20, 21]

Sebaceous glands reside deep in your skin where they secrete ‘sebum,’ an oily substance that can clog up your pores. This causes inflammation, leading to a formation of severe cystic acne.

Other Side Effects of Synthetic Testosterone Use

Here are other common long-term risks of steroid use [22, 23]

  • Hair Loss
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Premature death

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Key point: Synthetic testosterone causes hair loss, liver disease, heart disease, hormonal problems, mood swings, cystic acne, and even premature death.

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Is Synthetic Testosterone Legal?

Many countries have banned anabolic steroids, and this includes synthetic testosterone.

Some of these countries are the UK, Canada, and USA.

But, many other countries allow for legal use of steroids without a doctor’s prescription. These substances are sold legally in some of these countries.

That’s why you’ll often go on a web and see many websites selling anabolic steroids without breaking any laws. Their country legally allows it.

Here’s the thing though; Anabolic steroids are banned when it comes to boosting athletic performance in sports and disciplines. They have been on the banned list of substances ever since 1974.

Furthermore, WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) directs scientific research and monitors anabolic steroid use amongst athletes – preventing any unfair advantages in sports. [24]

Safer Alternatives To Synthetic Testosterone

It’s clear that synthetic testosterone comes with a ton of serious side effects. For this reason, many men aren’t willing to go that route.

So, is there a safer alternative?

Yes there is!

When it comes to naturally enhancing your T levels, there are a variety of herbs, spices, and nutrients that will help you achieve this goal.

And while they obviously aren’t as potent as steroids, these natural ingredients come with no side effects. Meaning, you can take them for as long as you want without any risks.

How do these natural T-enhancers work, you ask?

Simply put, they stimulate your testes and pituitary gland to naturally produce more T juice.

They don’t artificially increase testosterone levels as steroids do – instead, they encourage a safe and natural boost in the male hormone.

Read on to see our list of the most effective men’s health enhancers…

Related: A Guide on Most Effective Testosterone Enhancers

herbs and spices that naturally raise testosterone

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb. It’s been a part of traditional Indian medicine for thousands upon thousands of years. [30]

When you look at its benefits, it becomes clear why it’s a such a popular herb in the East.

Studies have linked Ashwagandha with a direct boost in testosterone levels and sperm quality. It stimulates your testes to spurt out extra T, along with improving fertility. [31, 32, 33, 34]

Not only that, but this herb also reduces cortisol levels by up to 35%. [35]

If you didn’t know, cortisol is a hormone that negates testosterone production. These two hormones work the opposite ways; when one goes up, the other one crashes down. So, by reducing cortisol, Ashwagandha raises your T levels. [36]

But the benefits of this ancient herb don’t stop here.

Ashwagandha is also one of the most potent aphrodisiacs, aka, libido boosters out there. If you’ve been struggling with your interest in women lately, then this herb will help you out. [37, 38]

It’s also an incredibly potent ingredient when it comes to reducing stress. Not only does ashwagandha lower cortisol (the stress hormone), it also reduces anxiety and other mood disorders. [25]

Ashwagandha also fights cancer cells, helps lower inflammation, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and increases strength and muscle mass in athletes. [26, 27, 28, 29]


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Ashwagandha raises T both directly and indirectly. It stimulates testes to produce higher levels of testosterone, along with reducing cortisol – the stress hormone.

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Vitamin D

Even for people who aren’t into taking supplements, vitamin D is usually the exception. The one vitamin they take no matter what.

This makes sense, when you consider that more and more people don’t get enough sun – the main source of vitamin D.

You see, effects of low vitamin D include [39]:

  • Low Testosterone Levels
  • Weak Bones
  • Loss of Muscle Mass
  • Weak Immune System
  • Erectile Dysfunction and Libido Issues

If left untreated, a chronic vitamin D deficiency can even lead to heart disease, rickets, and premature death. [40]

One study showed that men who took 3,332IU of vitamin D daily experienced raised T levels. [42]

So, if you aren’t getting at least 20 minutes of sunlight daily, consider taking this vitamin as a supplement to boost your male hormone. [41]


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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient. Our skin makes it when exposed to sunlight. Supplementing with vitamin D is shown to raise T levels and improve overall health.

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Zinc

Zinc is a natural mineral that we get from foods. It plays a key role in countless functions in the body, including testosterone health. [42]

Zinc also regulates the immune system. It helps your body fight inflammation. [44]

Not only that, but Zn is also shown to boost libido and muscle mass. Along with improving mood, cognition, and thinking. [43, 44]

The foods that are rich in zinc include Oysters, beef liver, and pumpkin seeds. However, many people don’t eat enough of these foods, making it hard to obtain optimal levels of zinc through diet. [45]

Couple this with the fact that we lose zinc through sweat, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for zinc deficiency.

If you’re lacking this mineral, you’ll experience [46, 47];

  • Weak immune system
  • Poor cognition & mood
  • Low testosterone
  • The inability of the body to fight free radicals
  • Fragile nails and skin

That’s where zinc supplements come in. By taking enough zinc daily, you ensure optimal levels of the male hormone, and good health.

However, if you’re supplementing zinc, make sure not to take too much. 10-20mg daily is fine. Any more than that, and you risk getting stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting symptoms.


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Zinc is an essential mineral which regulates your testosterone, immune system, and overall health. Zn deficiency leads to low testosterone, among other health issues.

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D-Aspartic Acid

D-Aspartic Acid, or simply D-AA, is an amino acid and men’s health enhancer.

Studies show that D-AA helps boost testosterone, libido, and sperm quality in men who suffer from hypogonadism (clinically low testosterone). [48, 49, 50, 51]

The mechanism of action of D-AA is fairly simple. It raises the levels of certain hormones that signal your testes to produce more testosterone. [52]

That said, D-Aspartic Acid only appears to work in those who have low T levels to begin with. Research suggests it isn’t as effective in athletes. [48, 53]


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D-Aspartic Acid will help you raise your testosterone levels if they’re low. But it can’t improve the male hormone if it’s already at optimal levels.

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Fenugreek

Fenugreek is not only rich in magnesium and zinc, natural testosterone & libido enhancers. This herb is a powerful T booster in its own right.

Studies show that fenugreek reduces the levels of Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds to free testosterone in your blood, making the male hormone useless.

By inhibiting SHBG, fenugreek enhances the availability of free testosterone in your body.

Not only that, but fenugreek also suppresses the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone to estrogen (female sex hormone). This allows for more total testosterone to be available in your blood. [54]

Another benefit worth mention here is that Fenugreek also improves muscle mass and strength. Citing a quote from an NCBI study [55]:

“It is concluded that 500 mg of this proprietary Fenugreek extraction had a significant impact on both upper- and lower-body strength and body composition in comparison to placebo in a double blind controlled trial. These changes were obtained with no clinical side effects.”

These benefits make Fenugreek one of the safest, and most effective men’s health enhancers out there.


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Fenugreek is an ancient herb known for improving men’s health, vitality, and strength.

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Other Ways of Boosting Testosterone Naturally

The natural T enhancers from the above are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to boosting your T levels naturally.

In fact, some of the most effective ways to raise your male hormone don’t require you to take any supplements or substances. And best of all, they don’t drain your wallet.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to boost up your testosterone naturally;

Sprints

It’s well-known that exercise of any kind boosts men’s health. [56]

But sprints are in a league of their own.

Studies show that high-intensity exercises such as sprints significantly increase testosterone and growth hormone release. [57, 58, 59]

Exercises with similar benefits include uphill running, kettlebell swings, and HIIT cardio on a Stairmaster machine. Basically, anything that makes your heart rate jump through the roof.

So, if you’re short on time and want to increase your T levels naturally, why not give sprints a try. Or any type of High-Intensity-Interval-Training for that matter.

a man sprinting on a road demonstrating how to raise testosterone

A Nutrient-Dense Diet

What you eat doesn’t just impact how you look and feel. It also has a huge effect on your testosterone.

You see, a diet rich in refined grains, sugar, and processed foods is linked with not just poor overall health but also hormonal imbalances. [60, 61]

In men, low-quality diet leads to low testosterone and high estrogen levels. Causing infamous man boobs.

Make sure to eat a diet packed with lean proteins, complex carbs, and good fats. Also, include plenty of green vegetables for antioxidant support.

This will not only improve your male hormone, but your overall health and well-being too.

Which are the best foods for boosting testosterone?

My answer: any food that contains plenty of zinc. These include oysters, beef and chicken liver, and other types of animal products.

Want to know more about foods that improve your T levels and make you more sexually active? See my in-depth review here; Foods That Make You More Sexually Active.

berries, citrus fruits, and avocado spread on a whole grain bread

Long Walks

There are many benefits to taking a long walk.

It reduces blood pressure, calms down the nervous system, and above all – reduces cortisol. [62]

If you’ve read this article carefully, then you know that cortisol is a stress hormone that wreaks havoc on testosterone.

So by taking long walks, you are doing much more than just reducing your stress levels. You’re improving your testosterone, too.

bridge surrounded by trees and snow with a man walking in the distance

Sunlight

Sunlight is important because it gives your skin the ability to produce vitamin D.

Studies show that just 20 minutes of direct sunlight daily is enough to reap all of the benefits linked to this vitamin. [63]

And one of these benefits is improved testosterone.

man standing on a shore looking at the sun on the horizon

Deep Sleep

A good night’s sleep will improve your testosterone more than any supplement can.

Conversely, a lack of sleep leads to plummeting levels of the male hormone.

A study found that men who restricted their sleep for just 1 week had their T levels reduced by over 15%. [64]

And the reduction in testosterone didn’t stop there. Research suggests that the less you sleep, the weaker your male hormone will be.

So before you do anything else, try getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Your testes will thank you.

man sleeping in a bed

Final Word

With our stressful lifestyles and testosterone levels on the rapid decline, it’s no wonder that more and more men reach for questionable methods of boosting the male hormone. Including synthetic testosterone.

This is an anabolic steroid which helps men improve their strength, muscle mass, and burn fat. It’s often prescribed by doctors to men who suffer from hypogonadism (clinically low T).

However, it’s not just men with clinically low T that take synthetic testosterone.

Bodybuilders and fitness fanatics also inject this anabolic hormone, in order to improve their progress in the gym.

But while there are benefits to taking synthetic testosterone, there are even more side effects. These include heart disease, hair falling out, testicle shrinkage, severe mood swings, depressive episodes, liver & kidney disease, and premature death.

It’s clear that synthetic testosterone brings a lot more harm than good on the table. So the question is: is there a better alternative? Can you boost your testosterone safely, without having to take artificial injections of the male hormone?

The answer is: yes, you can.

The most effective ways to naturally raise your T levels are sprints, sunlight, nutrient-rich diet, getting 8 hours of sleep, and avoiding stress.

You can also take natural herbs and nutrients that are linked to increased testosterone production. Such as ashwagandha, vitamin D, zinc, D-Aspartic Acid, and fenugreek.

So before reaching for synthetic compounds, consider trying some of these natural routes. Which offer safer, and much more sustainable benefits to your health as a man.

Next up: A Look At Men’s Health Boosters

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[2] Side effects of anabolic androgenic steroids: pathological findings and structure-activity relationships. (source)

[3] Medical Issues Associated with Anabolic Steroid Use: Are They Exaggerated? (source)

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[54] Effects of a purported aromatase and 5α-reductase inhibitor on hormone profiles in college-age men. (source)

[55] The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males. (source)

[56] Increased physical activity has a greater effect than reduced energy intake on lifestyle modification-induced increases in testosterone. (source)

[57] Variations in urine excretion of steroid hormones after an acute session and after a 4-week programme of strength training. (source)

[58] The effects of short-term resistance training on endocrine function in men and women. (source)

[59] Human growth hormone significantly increases sprint capacity in healthy recreational athletes. (source)

[60] Hormonal changes in normal men under marginally negative energy balance. (source)

[61] Testosterone concentrations in young pubertal and post-pubertal obese males. (source)

[62] Combining walking and relaxation for stress reduction-A randomized cross-over trial in healthy adults. (source)

[63] How much sun is good for our health? (source)

[64] Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men. (source)
[65] Aging and Declining Testosterone: Past, Present, and Hopes for the Future. (source)

[66] A concise review of testosterone and bone health. Mohamad NV, Soelaiman IN, Chin KY. (source)

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