Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

Are There Any Side Effects To Taking A Testosterone Boosters?

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: October 18, 2021

One thing you always need to be careful about is any health risk associated with testosterone supplements. Now, we only ever recommend taking over-the-counter herbal supplements, but even those could have some side effects.

Keep in mind that here we didn’t look at the negative effects of testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone therapy is something you have to discuss with your doctor.

But we did get a dietitian to help us out with the most common problems that some people encounter.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • We focused on the side effects that are common with testosterone supplements and not medical testosterone treatment. 
  • In most cases, side effects are rare because the boost in testosterone levels is moderate and not sudden. 
  • The most common issues are hair and skin problems, but you need to be aware of a few others and not just expect health benefits.

Do Testosterone Boosters Have Side Effects?

shirtless man showing his skin rash, and a woman holding her head in pain

Yes, ​​testosterone supplements may have side effects, but in most cases, they are rare and moderate.

They are also reversible by adjusting the dosage or taking a break for a few days.

Here’s what to look out for.

1 - Skin Problems

The first thing to be aware of is that higher testosterone levels may also lead to an increased risk of skin problems like acne. It’s a common misconception that acne is mainly down to bad skin hygiene.

It’s far more likely to be down to a sex hormone imbalance, and it’s why teenagers tend to suffer from this the most.

With normal aging, testosterone production decreases and stabilizes, and that’s why acne normally settles down.

2 - Hair Loss

hair brush full of hair loss strands

Ok, so while the supplements might do wonders to deal with sexual dysfunction, you might also have to pay the price of some hair loss.

Now, I will say that this is usually a sign of steroid use.

But when men recover from very low testosterone, similar things can happen to head and facial hair.

It's less common to impact body hair, and it might be a price worth paying to deal with decreased sex drive.

3 - Breast Enlargement

One thing you have to be careful about when dealing with testosterone deficiency is that the male body transforms excess levels of testosterone into estrogen.

This is a normal process, but when there are sudden changes, the excess estrogen can lead to the development of breast tissue [1].

It should be controllable by changing the dose, and it’s not a price worth paying for more muscle mass or just to improve low libido.

4 - High Cholesterol

man suffering a heart attack

This is particularly important to understand for older men as many of them end up taking cholesterol medication.

While it’s usually more common to happen with very high levels of testosterone, it’s not worth risking a heart attack.

So, if you have been diagnosed with heart disease, check with your doctor before taking supplements.

“In high doses, androgens tend to raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels. That's one of the things that gave testosterone its bad reputation.” - Harvard Health Publishing.

5 - Mood Swings

A sudden testosterone level increase could result in some mood swings. It’s a lot more common in medical testosterone therapy and something that doctors keep a close eye on.

But some people respond very well to herbal supplements and see quite a large increase over just a few weeks, and that sudden change could make you a bit grumpy and reactive.

These psychological issues are a bit more common, so make sure you have family and friends warn you about such changes.

Testosterone boosters we've reviewed:

 

6 - Decreased Kidney And Liver Function

man in kidney pain

Now, you may have read some stories about young men suffering from a serious medical condition after taking supplemental testosterone injections. That can include kidney and liver damage.

And while that is a common side effect of medical testosterone therapy, it’s very rare with herbal supplements.

It’s mostly due to a preexisting condition, and again you need to discuss such symptoms with your doctor before taking supplements.

7 - High Blood Pressure

Some of these supplements may improve blood flow in a similar way to what viagra does to deal with erectile dysfunction. But viagra is not a good idea for men with heart health conditions.

Heart attacks could develop due to increased blood pressure, and when such symptoms go untreated, then sex hormone boosts could end up being a big problem [2].

8 - Prostate Issues

man covering his penis with his hands

In rare cases, consistently increased testosterone may lead to benign prostatic hyperplasia.

This is not prostate cancer, but it would involve medical treatment.

Now, if you have a family history of prostate cancer or have been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, then talk to a doctor first.

FAQs

Is Taking a Testosterone Supplement Dangerous?

No, taking an herbal testosterone supplement is generally not considered dangerous. However, if you have had kidney, liver, or prostate issues, it’s important to talk with your doctor first.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Testosterone Boosters?

Some long-term effects of testosterone booster supplements are hair loss and skin problems. In rare cases, you may also run into blood pressure issues and mood swings, but those usually require quite high T-levels.

Do You Know What To Look Out For?

Dealing with low testosterone, sex drive, and sperm production is a good idea for men over 30 years old.

That’s when testosterone production starts to decrease, and in some cases, it can result in weight gain as well.

But, it’s not worth risking things like prostate cancer or liver issues, so if you know of any underlying problems, then always seek medical advice first.


References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gynecomastia/symptoms-causes/syc-20351793
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/testosterone-and-the-heart

About the author

You may also like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *