- Men's Health & Wellness
4 Steps to Select Safe, Effective Hormone Supplements
Consider for a moment that any 18-year-old can walk into a local health store or hop online and purchase a hormonal supplement. This might not initially seem alarming, but these supplements can dramatically affect your hormone production for the rest of your life. Clearly, a little bit of research should come first.
The FDA can’t possibly keep up with the monthly influx of new supplements. This makes it difficult to say exactly what’s in the latest cure-all being marketed to guys seeking big gains at the gym. Most of the time, people are paying for an expensive placebo.
What’s even more frightening is that people sometimes manage to buy items that do actually affect their hormones, but they are doing so without any idea of what’s happening inside their bodies. They aren’t consulting with medical professionals or undergoing tests to monitor their hormone levels. They’re basically flying an airplane while blindfolded — a crash is inevitable.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Let’s be honest: Most guys are not scientists. While a bottle of natural supplements might say to take two pills, Dr. Pumpenstein will make the logical leap that six pills will triple those benefits. While his intentions might be noble, our good doctor has created a monster.
In fact, I’ve seen guys in their late 20s sterilize themselves — no testosterone or sperm function — by overdoing hormones this way. Things that are natural and accessible aren’t always better for you, particularly if you’re taking eight to 12 times the suggested dosage.
Your body knows what it’s doing. It has all the building blocks necessary to produce normal, natural, and safe hormone levels. You might feel better taking supplements if your diet is lacking in three or so key nutrients, but you won’t have the overwhelming sense of well-being that you would get from fixing your diet. Manage your expectations, and make sure you’re taking supplements for the right reason.
4 Steps to Ensure Healthy Supplement Use
While there are many potential pitfalls, hormonal supplements can also be incredibly useful. Before you begin any sort of regimen, be sure to conduct plenty of research and set realistic expectations. Here are four steps to safely integrate hormone supplements into your life:
1. Consult a professional.
In fact, consult multiple professionals. Don’t take your gym buddy’s advice — he likely didn’t go to medical school, and he might not know the harmful side effects of various supplements. Make a plan regarding the amount of supplements you will take, and seek a professional opinion to ensure the approach won’t have detrimental effects on your body.
2. Consider your goals.
I frequently talk with people who have picked the wrong supplement to achieve their goals. Know the effect your supplements will have on you. Whether you want to lose weight or have more energy in the gym, find supplements that will help you accomplish those goals. And don’t get overzealous when you start to see results — stick to your plan.
3. Do your homework.
There are risks associated with any supplement you might take. Conduct plenty of research and know exactly what you’re putting into your body. If you don’t have time to fully analyze a given supplement, you probably shouldn’t be taking it.
4. Focus on long-term effects.
Your favorite new supplement might help you achieve short-term gains, but it’s not worth it if those benefits come at a long-term cost. If a supplement is still relatively new to the market, wait until you have reliable information about its long-term consequences. Never be a guinea pig.
If I haven’t already made this painfully clear, do plenty of research before you begin any sort of supplement regimen. When done correctly, hormone supplementation can be a safe and effective way to achieve your goals. When done haphazardly, it can be an utter disaster. Make sure you fall in the former category.