Many, many individuals, experts, fans, enthusiasts, athletes, physicians, trainers and coaches have varying, conflicting and most certainly differing professional and personal opinions about the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (such as TRT). However, the term Performance Enhancement is a bit disingenuous when many of the drugs in question (TRT specifically) have more than one function for and effect on the human body.
As medical science has evolved, life spans have increased. Along with that we have enabled what was once considered elderly to now be part of an active, productive and experienced part of society.
In sports there has been use, and some would argue, overuse of drugs that also enable a human body’s natural potential to be exceeded. However let’s break things down for a moment. Why do we make such a fuss about things like TRT and EPO versus Asprin, Creatine and Hydrolized Whey Protein? Asprin has been used as a blood thinner for many years to assist those with potential arterial blockage to reduce the risk or magnitude of a heart attack. However, in the same way Asprin can be used to allow blood to move more freely throughout the body and enable a slight increase in oxygenation, transportation of nutrients and other factors which would reasonably enhance the performance of an individuals ‘natural’ biological state. We tolerate this, we endorse this and we certainly don’t make a fuss about anyone using Asprin to help relieve pain from a headache or reduce the effect of a fever.
Creatine and Hydrolized Whey (as well as Microfiltered Whey) are dietary supplements used by both casual athletes and body builders to supplement the body’s need for water retention and protein for muscle recovery and growth. Additionally, many in athletics take L-Glutamine supplements to reduce recovery time and further speed up muscle recovery and growth.
Well that’s great isn’t it? These are man made, synthesized and targeted supplements that while not regulated by the FDA, certainly do produce gains in performance, muscle mass and recovery. What about liquid glucose packets for long distance runners? A quick and easy way to get a boost during a marathon. Yes sugar is natural but the form it is delivered in is synthesized.
Back to TRT. Testosterone is naturally produced in both the male and female body (in differing proportions). However Testosterone Cypionate (a liquid intramuscular injectable form of synthesized Testosterone) is commonly used in both patients with chronically low T and also in athletes who are considered to be abusing the substance for gains in performance.
In a previous article written by one of our journalists, the key argument was against the use of misleading arguments or blatant lies to allow for the use of a controlled substance that is widely known to cause significant performance gains for almost any athlete. Why it is a controlled substance (regulated by the FDA) can be debated in a separate conversation. Now we can easily say that anyone using anything less than the absolute truth to get a hold of synthetic Testosterone or other performance enhancing drugs immediately calls their integrity into question. Which also brings up more questions and assumptions about what is and is not fair in the world of competitive athletics.
However, the fact remains that the science behind which levels are “truly” natural, and what an individuals specific Testosterone level should be at during a period or specific time of day is still hotly debated among experts. There are absolutely safe limits which have been identified but those levels are generally almost twice that of the average level of Testosterone for an individual in the same age bracket. Now let’s consider for a moment that our statistics are flawed or our science is still maturing and thus contains inaccuracies. How can we regulate something when we don’t even know what the absolute target levels should be on or off the substance? We even have physicians who will argue for and against the same individual with the same level of Testosterone taking synthetic forms for supplementation.
If you have ever taken an antibiotic to get over an infection, taken an aspirin to relieve a headache or used any synthetic substance to just “help you get along in life a little easier than before” then you are now part of a class of individuals, who is in many cases, considered to be “cheating” the system. There is far too broad a brush being painted for Testosterone use. Were we to use the same level of scrutiny for someone who had asthma and simply said, “Oh no, you’ll just have to get along in life and in athletics without your inhaler, because the other athletes don’t use them.” we would be accused of discrimination and the result would be deeply frowned upon.
In short, we need to rethink our position on TRT as well as other PEDs. If someone is smart enough to know how to manage the use of TRT without inducing cardiac arrest from overdosing then they may be no more culpable of cheating the system than someone who has a better diet, access to higher quality foods and a better training regimen designed by their coach or camp director.
We welcome any and all feedback as even within the walls of the office at SciFighting, there is debate on what is and is not fair when it comes to these matters. What are your thoughts?