Testosterone Cypionate Muscle Gains (Is It Safe Or Risky)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: April 2, 2024
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Drawing from our experience working with performance athletes and bodybuilders, we've often heard discussions about testosterone cypionate. In our observations, it's frequently chosen alongside testosterone enanthate for muscle mass gains.

To help my readers and clients fully understand what they might be letting themselves in for, our team got together with a medical doctor to research scientific literature on how it impacts low testosterone and overall health.

We paid special attention to all the side effects that most athletes don’t take seriously enough.

Quick Summary

  • Testosterone cypionate, an anabolic steroid commonly used for testosterone replacement therapy, is also utilized by athletes for muscle mass gains.
  • The effectiveness of testosterone cypionate in muscle gain is dependent on dosage, current testosterone levels, diet, and physical training.
  • A 2016 ScienceDirect study classifies testosterone cypionate as an ester, effective longer in the body, with significant changes in muscle strength within 12–16 weeks, stabilizing after 6–12 months.
  • In my personal opinion, the benefits of testosterone cypionate in muscle gain are outweighed by its risks, highlighting the need for safer options and medical advice.

How Effective is Testosterone Replacement Using Cypionate Injections for Muscle Gain?

Injecting a testosterone cypionate to a person

Testosterone replacement using cypionate injections can be effective for muscle gain, as supported by a 2011 NCBI study demonstrating muscle mass improvement in 12 weeks [1].

Bodybuilders often say these steroids limit their conversion to estrogen, but there's no solid proof.

However, having spoken to a doctor about this, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support this.

A 2014 Sage Journals article advises men on hormone replacement therapy to also use estrogen blockers [2]. While these treatments enhance muscle, libido, and fertility, they might affect other body functions negatively.

Related Article: Fountain TRT Review

How Does The Body React To Testosterone Cypionate?

A muscular person holding a syringe to inject to his body

The body reacts with a rapid response to testosterone cypionate injections, as it acts like natural testosterone and quickly binds to receptors, promoting muscle growth and repair.

Chemically akin to natural testosterone, it swiftly latches onto body receptors. It's known to signal muscles for enhanced growth and repair, backed by an NCBI study on protein synthesis [3].

From firsthand experience with bodybuilders, these steroids gain lean muscle mass rapidly, but not without hefty bodily costs.

A fascinating point about testosterone cypionate: it's a testosterone ester. A 2016 ScienceDirect study notes this makes it more durable in the body, slowing down its breakdown [4].

“Testosterone levels decline naturally in men as they age over decades. But certain conditions can also lead to an abnormally low level.”

- Matthew Hoffman, MD at WebMD.com

Does It Have Other Benefits?

Injecting a syringe on a biceps

Testosterone cypionate provides several benefits, including addressing delayed puberty in young boys and alleviating hypogonadism symptoms in adult men, along with the potential to reduce body fat.

For young boys, it's used to tackle delayed puberty, and in adult men, it combats hypogonadism symptoms like weak bones and poor muscle growth [5].

It also aids in reducing body fat in men, thanks to the connection between sex hormones and fat storage.

Research from The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) indicates that while boosting testosterone might not directly aid weight control, low testosterone levels can worsen health issues linked to obesity in men [6].

However, these advantages are paired with significant risks.

What Are The Side Effects?

The side effects of testosterone therapy can range from gynecomastia and blood clots to cardiovascular disease and mood swings due to its potential impact on various hormones and bodily functions [7].

Here are just a few of the adverse reactions:

  • Gynecomastia
  • Blood Clots
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Worsening Prostate Cancer
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Liver Disease
  • Mood Swings

The reason there are so many potential negative effects is that fluctuations in testosterone may also impact sex hormone-binding globulin, follicle-stimulating hormone, and human growth hormone. So it’s not like it’s limited to one kind of interaction.

Is It A Banned Substance?

A man showing his palms while holding an injection

Yes, testosterone cypionate is considered a banned substance in sports. It is classified as a class III controlled substance, making it illegal without a prescription and capable of leading to positive drug test results [8].

Some athletes claim it's less likely to trigger positive tests due to its gradual effects, but there's no evidence supporting this. Modern tests are highly sensitive to synthetic drugs.

For bodybuilding, testosterone cypionate poses health risks and the risk of failing a drug test. Despite these dangers, many athletes are still tempted by its potential to increase muscle mass.

Are There Better Ways To Boost Testosterone levels?

Yes, there are safer and more effective ways to boost testosterone levels, such as natural testosterone-boosting supplements.

Hormone therapy should only be considered after consulting a doctor. Natural supplements incorporate testosterone-boosting herbs, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids to stimulate the body naturally.

Anyone looking for the performance and muscle impacts of higher T-levels should consider natural T-boosters. 

Unlike hormone injections, supplements don't deliver an immediate boost, but regular use over about two months can lead to substantial improvements. They typically have minimal to no side effects.

FAQs

How Many Times A Week Should You Inject Testosterone Cypionate?

Testosterone cypionate should be injected no more than once a week and is often only given every two weeks or even less often. Taking it more often than recommended by a doctor can lead to more severe side effects.

How Long Does It Take Testosterone Cypionate To Peak?

It takes about 2-5 days for testosterone cypionate to peak. From then on, the levels will gradually reduce over a few weeks, and doctors monitor the T-levels carefully to determine the ideal timing and dosage.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3188848
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1557988314539000
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2917954/
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/testosterone-ester
  5. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5185/testosterone-cypionate-intramuscular/details
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25982085/
  7. https://www.drugs.com/pro/testosterone-cypionate.html 
  8. https://www.usada.org/athletes/substances/prohibited-list/
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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