The Tale of Too Much Testosterone

October 20, 2006

imagessa1.jpgThe macho image of being fit with bulky bodies has driven a lot of men to self prescribe testosterone… hoping to boost energy and muscle mass.  Indeed too little testosterone can be bad to ones health and well being but too much can have a more lasting ill effect!

A study published in Journal of Biological Chemistry showed that “Too much testosterone can kill brain cells. “ Tests done on brain cells in the lab showed that too much testosterone results in cells to self-destruct… a process similar to what happens with Alzheimer’s Disease.

This finding will definitely have an impact among athletes who tend to abuse steroid and hormones to enhance competitiveness through an increase in endurance and muscle mass.  But at the expense of nerve cell damage… which in the long run can mean dementia.

This is a tale that we want to remain a tale…not a reality!

Be Safe… Be Happy With What You Have!

9 Responses to “The Tale of Too Much Testosterone”

  1. maxim Says:

    Doc, could this also lead to a more violent behavior, too much testosterone?

    • jenny Says:

      My husband has already be a manly man..He is the Alfa Male.Strong,powerful both mentualy and body but lately he has been lifting weights. He behavior has changed.He gets angry easy & sometimes for no reason. Then he wants sex a lot more… I would like to know if lifting weights has to do with it.Also what can I do or will it even out it self? TY

  2. Doc Gerry Says:

    Yes Max… true observation here is aggressive behavior and social dysfunction have been observed among those who have testosterone excess.

  3. Susana Says:

    Dear Doc,

    My 14-year-old son was diagnosed with Absence Seizures due to Generalized Epilepsy after a near drowning accident.

    During evaluations of his brain scan MRIs, his neurologist discovered what appeared to be a microadenoma on his pituitary gland, so she referred him to a pediatric endocrinologist who diagnosed him with a pituitary adenoma based on the MRI.

    However, the endocrinologist says it may very well be a pituitary “lucency” that could go away around the age of 16, after puberty.

    He based the diagnosis of “lucency” on the results of his blood tests which show 866 for Testosterone. The endocrinologist says it is over twice the testosterone level of the average man.

    My son must have brain scans MRIs every 4-6 months to monitor the “pituitary microadenoma or lucency” to ensure it doesn’t start to grow (exerting pressures on surrounding brain tissues or optic nerve) or to secrete hormones (that may result in gigantism and a whole other slew of problems).

    In the meantime, he is also being monitored for his Epilepsy to ensure the Lamictal medication is decreasing the amount of Absence seizures. It appears to help, as his grades had plummeted in 8th grade, with the teachers complaining about his “daydreaming” and being “almost as if he’s not even there.”

    This year, 9th grade and his first year of high school, he is back on the honor roll.

    My questions to you:

    What problems can such a high rate of testosterone cause for my son? You mention brain damage on your site.

    My son is currently exhibiting a lot of Acne, nausea and dislike of food, fatigue, irritableness, forgetfulness, clumsiness, and what I think is depression.

    Are these side effects to puberty, or Lamictal, the shock of knowing that he almost died in the pool and woke from unconsciousness 24 hours later in the hospital, the temporary lack of Oxygen, or too much testosterone?

    As you can imagine, my ex-husband and I want to help our son as much as possible during this time, and we are also very worried about him.

    Although I am a Technical Writer, I ask that you please respond in as clear a scientific answer that you can give to a lay person.

  4. Doc Gerry Says:

    Hi Susan…I am not very sure of the significance of high testosterone level…have it rechecked as testosterone assays worldwide still have problems.

    The sympotms you are mentioning may well be related to his seizure +/- seizure medications but doubt it be due to the pituitary adenoma.

    The diagnosis of a tumor was based on an MRI done due to epilepsy and this may as well be just pituitary inicidentaloma and as long as it is non functioning, clinically at this stage is a wait and see. Most likely if the near drowning incident did not happen, the pituitary mass may have been unnoticed nor discovered. Remember 30-40% of normal inidividuals harbor a small nodule that will not be harmful to the person.

  5. Cynthia Says:


    My 24 year old sister has medical reports that indicate that according to an MRI done last year, “there is at least one punctate area of increased signal in the subcortical white matter in the right midfrontal region.” The doctor did not rule out a legion in that area, and he also indicated that there may also be the presence of a microadenoma on the pituitary gland extending to the optic chiasm. My sister could not afford to return to the doctor for follow-up exams.

    I know that the microadenoma has very little to do with behavior, but am I correct to believe that it is possible that a legion or damage to the mid frontal region of the brain could have an adverse affect in one’s behavior? My sister’s behavior patterns have changed from being involved in extracurricular activities to being involved in criminal behavior. We are just looking for answers.

    Thanks for your reply.


  6. Doc Gerry Says:

    Tough to say Cindy as I am not a neurologist. I deal with pituitary tumors but not brain tumors.

  7. Erica Says:

    well i have been trying to do some research on testosterone, and the affects if there is too much. i have not found much. the reason i was looking was because i my sons father seems odd to me. everything about him is almost as if if he has gone through puberty more than once. ill explain for it to be more clear…i looked up testosterone and things that happen when you are going through puberty(of it was actually too much testosterone, not sure) but anyways, his face is very thin, high cheekbones and defined jaw. he has a receding hairline and he said he has since he was a teen. he has very oily skin and when he was younger he had acne. he voice is very deep, has a very large adams apple, his shoulders and chest are huge (like they dont fit his body) he does not work out at all but yet and eats fairly unhealthy and yet he is very skinny and very toned. he has a low education, very aggressive, has 3 children almost 4, and a very high sex drive, and not to mention has been to jail on numerous occasions. does this sound strange to you as it does with me? i dont think something is right here…please help me find an answer!

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