If you have watched TV or listened to the radio lately, you have probably encountered a commercial or two touting the benefits of testosterone supplements. The makers of these male vitality supplements go on and on about their supposed benefits, from a better sex drive and more muscles to greater endurance and an improved mood. But are these testosterone supplements really all they are cracked up to be, and even more importantly, are they safe for men to use?

For men who have been diagnosed with low testosterone levels, the answer is probably yes. Low testosterone is a real medical problem, and one that should be diagnosed by a medical professional. Men who truly have low levels of the male sex hormone can likely benefit from testosterone supplementation, although those supplements may be different from the ones sold on late-night TV and talk radio stations.

Men who have normal levels of testosterone should proceed with caution before placing their supplement orders. For men with normal testosterone levels, a sudden drop in sex drive or a lack of energy could have other causes, and a thorough workup by a doctor should be the first order of business.

While it may seem like a good idea for men to boost their testosterone levels, doing so without medical guidance could be counterproductive and even dangerous. Before placing that supplement order, men should weigh the potential benefits of extra testosterone against the very serious risks. Here are some of the potential health risks of testosterone supplements for men with normal hormone levels.

.   Depression – Far from elevating mood, too much testosterone can actually leave men feeling depressed and lethargic. While testosterone supplementation can help men with low testosterone feel better, for men with normal hormone levels, the affect can be just the opposite.

.   Increased risk of cancer – Higher than normal testosterone levels have been associated with an increase risk of prostate and other cancers. Men with normal testosterone levels should think twice before taking any kind of hormone supplement.

.   Irritability and changes in mood – Men with normal levels of testosterone may experience changes in mood and an increase in irritability and anger when taking a testosterone booster. The effect is similar to the ‘roid rage some bodybuilders experience from the abuse of steroids.

.   Loss of appetite – A loss of appetite can accompany the use of testosterone supplements, resulting in unhealthy weight loss and other troublesome symptoms.

.   A lack of libido – While taking testosterone supplements may seem like a good idea, men with normal hormone levels may actually experience a decrease in their libidos and problems with their romantic lives. Just one more reason to proceed with caution.

For men who truly need them, medical-grade testosterone supplements can be a game changer, but those with normal testosterone levels should proceed with caution. Before ordering any supplements, men should talk to their doctors, get a thorough physical and talk about what they hope to achieve with such supplementation.

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